i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill

arizona governor jan brewer on wednesday vetoed a polarizing measure intended to allow state businesses to deny service to gay and lesbians for religious beliefs. during a hotly anticipated news conference at the state capitol she said, "the bill could result in unintended and negative consequences. i sincerely believe that senate bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve."

gay rights advocates gathered outside the capitol broke out in cheers, hugs, kisses and smiles immediately after brewer's announcement. the contentious bill sparked outrage with the lgbt community and their allies, drawing vocal criticism from business interests, civic leaders and state economic groups.

senator john mccain (r-az) urged brewer to veto the bill. he said he "hopes we can now move on from this controversy and assure the american people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy the state." former secretary of state hillary clinton said her veto - of what clinton called "discriminatory" legislation - recognizes "that inclusive leadership is what the 21st century is all about."

alessandra soler, executive director of the aclu of arizona said, "discrimination has no place in arizona, or anywhere else. we're grateful that the governor has stopped this disgraceful law from taking effect, and that arizona will remain open for business to everyone." sarah kate ellis, president of glad said brewer, "demonstrated that basic respect for lgbt people extends across party lines, and anti-lgbt bias isn't just bad politics, it's bad for business."

defenders of the measure said it was a key safeguard for religious freedom. the lawmakers who backed it said it was intended to add another layer of protection from lawsuits to individuals who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays and lesbians. the center for arizona policy, a prominent social conservative group and architect of the bill said, "today's veto of sb 1062 marks a sad day for arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty."

in the last week, a number of major corporations strongly voiced their opposition to sb 1062. among them were american airlines, delta airlines, intel, major league baseball, marriott hotels, petsmart and yelp. apple, inc., which recently announced plans to build a new manufacturing plant in mesa, arizona, joined others against the bill.

arizona is scheduled to host next year's super bowl. however, that coup de grace was in jeopardy. in fact, sports illustrated reported the nfl was seriously considering moving the game (super bowl 49) from the phoenix-area city of glendale, if the bill were signed into law.

several republicans, including mccain, senator jeff flake and former gop presidential nominee mitt romney, pressed brewer to veto the bill. even three state lawmakers - who voted for the proposed law initially - asked her to veto the bill. the republican-controlled state legislature passed the measure last week. however, brewer was in washington, d.c. for the national governors association meeting at the time, and did not return to phoenix until tuesday. 

sb 1062 would permit any business, church or person to cite the law as a defense in any legal action brought by the government or individual claiming discrimination. proponents called the bill a slight adjustment to the state's existing freedom law, which doesn't protect people based on sexual orientation. the law would've trumped local ordinances offering protections for lgbt people in cities like flagstaff, phoenix and tucson.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jason Collins plays for the Nets and becomes first openly gay NBA player

with 10:28 left in the second quarter and the brooklyn nets leading the los angeles lakers 35-26, jason collins entered the game. he was greeted warmly by the staples center fans. he played ten minutes, gathered two rebounds, had one steal and missed his only field goal attempt. although the nets beat the lakers 108-102, their win belied nba history.

collins became the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major professional sports. he spoke after the team's victory and said, "i thought it was great. being an l.a. kid, i can't think of a better situation, playing for the nets and playing here, and getting the win. i'm just glad kobe and shaq weren't out there."

brooklyn general manager billy king said, "the decision to sign jason was a basketball decision. we needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a ten-day contract." however, collins was not their first choice. its no secret brooklyn coveted orlando's glen davis, but they were unable to sign him.

the nets are owned by russian billionaire mikhail prokhorov. his pro-lgbt stance alienated him from people and  politicians in a country where anti-homosexual propaganda was the subject of controversy at the 2014 winter olympics in sochi. before purchasing the nets, prokhorov ran for president and came in third place, losing to vladimir putin. 

nba commissioner adam silver - less than one month into his new job - welcomed collins into the league with open arms. he said, "jason told us that his goal was to earn another contract with an nba team. i want to commend him on achieving his goal. i know everyone in the nba family is excited for him and proud that our league fosters an inclusive and respectful environment."

collins, 35, is a savvy 12-year veteran. he played seven seasons with the nets - when they were in new jersey - and the team's point guard, jason kidd, is now the nets' coach. the 7' center helped them earn consecutive nba finals appearances; losing to the lakers in 2002 and spurs in 2003. also, collins has been a teammate of several current nets players, including veteran forward paul pierce.

pierce said, "in the society we live in, this was going to happen eventually. he is a guy that is going to be able to open up the door for athletes around the world. it doesn't matter your race, gender or sexuality because it's about being part of a team and caring for one another. every guy in here does their own thing and so be it. in this sport everything is magnified and it's great to have him here to open up doors for so many athletes."

collins played 38 games with boston and washington in 2013, averaging less than two points and two rebounds per game in limited minutes. last april he revealed he's gay - on the cover of sports illustrated. collins' article led to a media explosion, and the subject of gay athletes in sports was ablaze in america. still, he remained an unsigned free agent.

although the personable african-american downplayed the magnitude of his experience, collins is fully aware of his impact on societal attitudes and sports policy. during a crowded news conference after the game he said, "right now i'm focusing on trying to learn the plays, learning the coverages and the game plan and the assignments. so i didn't have time to really think about history." 


Friday, February 21, 2014

Attorney General Schneiderman to introduce Unjust Imprisonment Act

attorney general eric schneiderman announced he will propose legislation to revise section 8-b of the new York state court of claims act. the act presently allows people who are wrongfully convicted of a crime, imprisoned and subsequently had their convictions overturned to present a claim for damages against the state.

scheiderman's newfound initiative, the unjust imprisonment act, would remove unjust and burdensome provisions from current law. These barriers can stop people - falsely convicted and imprisoned - from recovering damages from the state of new York.

adopted in 1984 and updated in 2007, the law, today, negatively impacts people who can prove their innocence, even after pleading guilty. in fact, some of these people falsely confessed. but the attorney general, in the spirit of equality, fairness and justice, wants those erroneously convicted and imprisoned to get restitution by pursuing their claims.

Monday, February 17, 2014

President Obama disapponted with proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda

on sunday president barack obama released a statement voicing his displeasure with the proposed anti-homosexuality bill in uganda. the bill seeks to punish same-sex relations with life imprisonment, and denies bail to those accused of "aggravated homosexuality."   

obama wrote, "as a country and a people, the united states has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights. we believe the people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love."

"that is why i am so deeply disappointed that uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality. the anti-homosexuality bill in uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in uganda. it will be a step backward for all ugandans and reflect poorly on uganda's commitment to protecting the human rights of its people. it also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights."

"as we have conveyed to president museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with uganda. at a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the lgbt community from russia to nigeria, i salute all those in uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons." 

under existing colonial-era law in uganda, anyone found guilty of "carnal knowledge against the order of nature" can face sentences up to life imprisonment. this new bill expands penalties; it bans the promotion of homosexuality, makes it a crime punishable by prison not to report gay people to the authorities, and enables life sentences to be imposed for various same-sex acts, including touching in public.

uganda is one of 37 countries on the african continent where homosexuality is illegal. ugandan gay activists have accused some of their country's political and religious leaders of being influenced by american evangelicals. susan rice, the u.s. national security adviser, said on sunday on twiter she spoke "at length" with museveni on saturday night and urged him to not sign the bill. the u.s. is uganda's largest donor, sending more than $400 million in aid annually in recent years.   

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Black Teen Jordan Davis' Killer Found Guilty on Four of Five Counts

michael dunn, the 47 year-old white man accused of killing jordan davis, an unarmed 17 year-old black male outside a jacksonville, florida gas station in november of 2012, was found guilty on saturday of four of the five counts. dunn was found guilty on three counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle. the jury was deadlocked on the first-degree murder charge.

judge russell l. healey declared a mistrial on the first-degree murder charge. he thanked the jurors for their service, told them they could speak with reporters if they chose to, and dismissed them. judge healey told florida state attorney general angela corey she can decide if she wants to pursue a trial on the first-degree murder charge on march 24 at 9:00 am.

dunn will serve at least 60 years without the opportunity of parole as the three counts of second-degree murder fir the shots fired at the other three teens in the vehicle carries 20 years apiece. the firearm charge can carry up to 15 years depending on the judge's ruling.

after the verdict, davis' parents spoke to reporters. "it is sad for mr. dunn that he will have to spend the rest of his life in prison torture...we will pray for him and we will pray for his family," said davis' mother, lucia mcbath. "it's not in my nature to lash out, or to say inflammatory statements, so i've had to hold all that in...but my son was a good kid...he (dunn) must be remorseful over the killing of my son. he must not be allowed to see it as another day at the office, "said ron jones, davis' father.

also reacting to the verdict was benjamin crump, who has served as an attorney for trayvon martin. "as much as we want to put faith in the criminal justice system, it seems to fail us every time. this verdict reminds me not only of trayvon martin, but of all our sons, brothers, cousins and friends. i'm filled with mixed emotions," said crump.

crump said, "yes, i am happy that michael dunn will live out the rest of his life behind bars, but i am also disturbed that jordan davis' family has yet to receive justice, in the same way that trayon's parents have yet to receive justice. if the american judicial system is truly colorblind, then why does it always seem to fall between the lines of black and white?"

mcbath sent a message on twitter early saturday. "tomorrow is my boy's 19th birthday. i pray we will celebrate not only him but a just and righteous verdict." but after nearly 30 hours of deliberation and repeated urgings by the judge, they did not reach a consensus on the first-degree murder charge. the jury consisted of four white females, four white males, two black females, one asian female and one latino male.      

the jacksonville, florida jury upheld the controversial stand your ground laws, which are on the books of 22 other states. dunn fired ten bullets at davis and his three friends - all unarmed - because they wouldn't turn down the "thug music" he despised. dunn claimed he feared for his life, testifying he saw an object in their vehicle resembling a shotgun barrel. but his emotionally distraught girlfriend fully denied his story when she was on the witness stand.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Public Sexual Disclosure of Michael Sam: A Different Perspective

on sunday, university of missouri defensive lineman michael sam disclosed his gay identity to the world. sam, the 2013 sec co-defensive player of the year, could become the first nfl player whose homosexuality is self-disclosed. his stunning announcement sent america into a media frenzy, with analysts on cnn, espn, fox sports, nfl network and msnbc weighing in on his possible impact in the nfl.

i've watched a number of talk shows and sense a heightened, somewhat disturbing, anxiety with heterosexual men. when questioned about how to deal with sam's orientation, they attempted to smile and say the right things on television. but they've never had to deal with a man, a black man, who's confident, handsome, talented, open and proud of being gay - before he enters the nfl. 

not that the nfl, a multi-billion dollar industry, has other 'issues' to contend with. nfl commissioner roger goodell is currently dealing with annual pro bowl game dissatisfaction, concussion settlements, international expansion, medical marijuana, and their not-for-profit tax status. nonetheless, sam's historic revelation is unprecedented and the league will have to respond to long-standing and recent concerns of anti-homosexual attitudes within the hallowed institution.

just days before playing the baltimore ravens in super bowl 47, san francisco 49ers cornerback chris culliver was interviewed and asked if an openly gay man would be welcomed on an nfl team. said culliver, "i don't do the gays, man. i don't do that. no, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. can't be with that sweet stuff...nah...can't be in the locker room, man. nah."

last year, the manti te'o girlfriend hoax saga was, for some, a media ploy to hide his homosexuality. the former notre dame all-American linebacker vehemently denied such claims. in january 2013, former 49ers offensive tackle kwame harris was charged with felony domestic violence and assault charges involving a former boyfriend. their situations were very different, but the nfl's don't ask, don't tell policy silenced any meaningful discourse on same-sex relationships.     

chris kluwe is a free agent, after eight seasons with the minnesota vikings as their starting punter. he's also an ambassador for the pro-lgbt group athlete ally. last month, he wrote a poignant article for deadspin saying he was "pretty confident" the reason the team let him go - rare among nfl punters - in march 2013 was because of his advocacy for lgbt rights.

there have been other gay-identified athletes in the nfl, including wade davis, dave kopay, roy simmons, jerry smith and esera tuaolo. each of these men went public many years after they retired from the game. and, there have been other gay athletes in the nfl who chose not to disclose their orientation publicly. their identity was not a secret to teammates, coaches, general managers and owners.

michael sam, however, is unintentionally, though perhaps by default, forcing the nfl, as well as western society, to "come out."  similarly, the nfl, from my perspective, is neither more nor less anti-homosexual than faith-based institutions, fox news, hip hop, historically black colleges and universities, hollywood, or the republican party.

some pundits believe sam will be a third or fourth-round draft pick. others fear his stock will drop considerably because he told the world he's gay. but according to cameron weiss of empire athletes, which represents the personable missouri grad, he's been contacted by 26 of the 32 nfl teams. weiss said, "michael should be drafted in the first two days of the draft."

seven former sec defensive players of the year were chosen in the first round. eric berry, morris claiborne, glenn dorsey, jarvis jones, rolando mcclain, patrick peterson and patrick willis have all enjoyed varying degrees of success after their transition from college ball to the nfl. as such, history is on the side of sam's historical self-disclosure. 

last august, sam courageously told his teammates he's an openly gay man. their unequivocal support proved to be liberating. he said, "i could go on campus and go around local gay bars in columbia and not worry about anybody judging me. prior to coming out, i would be in a local restaurant with my boyfriend and coaches would come in and i would feel insecure and want to sneak out."

sam's play on the field was evident of a man with a sense of freedom. his sack total increased from three and a half in his junior year, to 11 1/2 as a senior in 2013. the team finished with a 12-2 record and won the cotton bowl. at 6'2, 260 pounds, he's a ruthless pass rusher with a wing span of nearly seven feet. missouri coach gary pinkel recently said, "michael sam has raised the bar for expectations and excellence." 

2014 will be the most anticipated draft in nfl history. everyone will be watching sam's performance in the upcoming nfl combines. everyone will be listening to how he handles the projected media onslaught. but he won't be accepted by everyone. some might become jealous of his attention. players will resent being asked - more than once - how they feel about his sexual orientation.

will someone lose their job for inadvertently (or not) using a homophobic slur on live television?

right before last year's super bowl, former pittsburgh steelers running back and current espn analyst jerome bettis told the huffington post, "you always think because of the odds and the numbers there are gay players in the nfl. they haven't obviously come out and told anyone about it not even behind the scenes."

bettis said, "obviously there will be people who disagree and people who don't have a problem with it, but that will be in life as well. i don't think it is going to affect someone's play. because it is so testosterone driven, it'd be really difficult for a gay player to stand up and say, hey, i'm gay, and i'm an nfl player."

in the spirit of cultural icon, global diva and living legend diana ross, michael sam has literally proclaimed, 'i'm coming out, i want the world to know-oh, got to let it show-oh...i'm coming out, i want the world to know-oh, got to let it show-oh."     

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Origins of Black History Month

black history month, also known as african heritage month, is a time to appreciate, celebrate and rejoice in the magnanimous beauty and unparalleled brilliance of the motherland and her people. in acknowledging africa's extraordinary contributions to global society, we honor all members of the diaspora. let us begin by taking an in-depth look at how this cultural phenomenon originated.

in the early 1900's, omega psi phi, one of the oldest black fraternities, commended the achievements of black people on february 12, abraham lincoln's birthday. later, in 1916, dr. carter g. woodson, an honorary member of the fraternity, convinced the association for the study of negro life and history - an organization he started - to sponsor "negro history week."  his aim? to reach a larger, more diverse audience.

dr. woodson began the annual celebration in 1926 to increase awareness of, and interest in, black history amongst blacks and whites. he vigilantly distributed promotional brochures and pamphlets to various state boards of education, elementary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, women's clubs, white scholarly journals, and black newspapers and periodicals: implementing different ways to document truth.

unequivocally accepted as the founder of a national movement and observance, dr. woodson comes from humble beginnings. his parents were enslaved and illiterate. as an adolescent, he worked in the west virginia coalmines to support his family. as a result, he began school later than most children, yet he earned a high school diploma with honors. his motto in life was "it is never too late to learn."

dr. woodson received his masters and ph.d. at harvard university. he also studied at the prestigious sorbonne in paris, france. but while developing as a scholar he recognized a disturbing pattern in history and literature books: africans were intentionally omitted from history. and, if they were mentioned, it was only to advance the culturally oppressive myths regarding africa and her people. this social engineering fostered in europeans a false sense of superiority and in africans a fatal sense of inferiority.

for example, the african ancestry of alexander pushkin is "blacked-out" from standard history texts. he was heralded as the father of russian literature, yet was castigated for embracing his heritage. another literary giant of african descent, alexander dumas, spent most of his life in france. dumas once stated publicly, "when i discovered i was black, i was determined to act so that men should be beneath my skin."

in germany, the word "mohr" designates black. in english, however, that same word is spelled, moor. one of the world's most revered and treasured musicians is a man of african origin: ludwig van beethoven. in germany, he's referred to as the "blackamoor." in other countries, he's known as the "black spaniard."

many folks thought we celebrated black history month in february because its the shortest month of the year, and it was 'given' to us by guilt-ridden whites. but dr. woodson, chose the second week in february to commemorate the birthdays of lincoln, and more significantly, frederick douglass. in the early 1970's, his vision was extended throughout the entire month of february. and, the use of the noun "black," symbolizing power, pride and purpose, was ceremoniously added to the title.

today, dr. woodson is generally best known for his groundbreaking book, the miseducation of the negro. he wanted black history affirmed everywhere it is researched: on every continent and in every culture. like w.e.b. dubois, marcus garvey and malcolm x, dr. woodson clearly understood the power of accurate history within a community's collective self-value and self-worth.

we can share dr. woodson's third eye this month, and everyday of our lives, by honoring our ancestors, cultivating our spirit, and expressing our creativity. dr. woodson left behind a powerful legacy for people of African descent to begin treating our brothers and sisters with compassion, dignity, kindness, love, respect, selflessness and trust. 


Justice Department will extend federal benefits to same-sex couples

the justice department on monday will extend a new package of federal benefits to same-sex couples. attorney general eric holder said the benefits will give "lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent possible under the law."

in remarks prepared for a speech on saturday night to the human rights campaign in new york, holder said the new benefits apply to gay couples who are legally married. he said they will also be extended to couples who live in states which do not recognize same-sex marriage.

the moves are the latest in a series of actions following the u.s. supreme court's ruling in june on the defense of marriage act (doma). prior to the court's historic ruling, doma barred the federal government from recognizing legally valid same-sex marriages. "our nation moves closer to its ideals of equality and fairness for all, " said chad griffin of the human rights campaign, in response to the announcement.

under the new directive, government lawyers will operate under the assumption same-sex spouses should have the same rights in federal courts as opposite-sex couples - such as declining to testify against a spouse. that rule will apply in federal criminal and civil cases, holder said, "even in states where same-sex marriages are not recognized."

same-sex couples will also receive federal death benefits and educational payments given to surviving spouses of public safety officers who suffer catastrophic injuries or die in the line of duty. "the federal government should stand by that hero's spouse - no matter whether that spouse is straight or gay," holder said.

inmates in federal prison who have same-sex spouses will be given the same benefits as those in opposite-sex marriages, including visitation rights and eligibility for compassionate release or reductions in sentences based on the incapacitation of a spouse. additionally, the justice department feels same-sex couples should be treated equally in federal bankruptcy proceedings.

holder made civil rights one of the top priorities for the justice department upon his appointment by president obama. with this newfound initiative, he acknowledged his commitment to fighting racial discrimination. he said, "my commitment to confronting discrimination based on sexual orientation runs just as deep."  


Saturday, February 08, 2014

A Visit With My Doctor

last thursday afternoon i visited my primary care physician for a routine check-up at a clinic in the bronx. she's a powerful latina; 60 years old, compassionate, kind, loving, progressive, and very thorough with her medical assessments. she always encourages me to honor my body, mind and spirit, no matter what challenges life presents me.  

while giving me the results of my blood work from the last session, she informed me i'm pre-diabetic, which is her major concern regarding my health at this point in my journey. she said my "number" is 5.8. and, if the "number" reaches 6.5, it means i'm diabetic - and will require treatment, in the form of medication.

i tried to act cool in her presence, but i feel anxious, overwhelmed, sad, upset and worried. diabetes is not pervasive in my family, however, my mother and aunt maxine have diabetes. also, i just learned my oldest brother, michael, was diagnosed in march, 2012. he shared this with me on facebook as we chatted around 2:00 saturday morning.

all of these feelings have competed for undivided attention since i left her office. additionally, i'm 15 pounds overweight and developed fatty tissues underneath both armpits. initially, i thought the excess fat was a side effect from stribild, the daily pill i take for hiv. well, at least, i was hoping she would tell me this to relieve me from the responsibility of having to do something about it.

when i look in the mirror i don't feel good about my physical self. i've never had to deal with fatty tissue underneath my arms. never. several months ago i began to have this nagging feeling something isn't quite right. every time i lifted my arms i'd feel a new and unwarranted sensation. i thought it would go away. when it didn't, i struggled to survive my emotions.

i've recently fantasized about surgery to remove the uncomfortable weight. at age 53, my body seems to betray me. i try to eat right and hit the gym three times a week. still, i've been unhappy with the results. normally i would try to cover my emerging self-pity with fried foods and ice cream. but that unhealthy remedy stopped working years ago.

over the last decade or so, i've inventoried my dysfunctional relationship with food. i have a weight problem: i can't wait to eat. my weight tends to go up and down like luther and oprah, though not as extreme. last august i weighed 192 pounds. but when i got on the scale the nurse said i was 206 pounds. i asked him to delete a few pounds because i was wearing boots. i felt embarrassed.

when my doctor told me to lose 15 pounds last summer, i complied. not for her, but for me. I felt so good about my accomplishment. she was pleased as well, giving me a high five in her office after doing a double-take reviewing my chart. nonetheless, at the moment, i can't remember how i did it. the news she gave me has fully compromised my brain.

she asked me what foods have i been eating to cause weight gain. my first impulse was to lie by omission, a familiar shortcoming to mask old feelings of inadequacy, shame and worthlessness. I felt naked and vulnerable in her office as she looked me in the eye with her penetrating gaze. our relationship spans a decade and I trust her loving care.

she has my best interest at heart.

if i want to prevent diabetes, i have to stop eating what hurts me. she suggested bread, pasta and wheat products once a month only. i like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on wheat bread. for my lunch, it's economical, quick and tasty. i like turkey and veggie burgers on wheat bread. for dinner, these sandwiches also serve the same purpose.

i like to buy pre-packaged sandwiches for lunch, normally with salmon or turkey on wheat bread. not anymore. damn. i've decided to eat salads regularly for lunch. i like huge salads with bananas, croutons and mixed nuts. my doctor gave me a recipe for a salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar. i need to buy some cooking utensils to make it happen. sigh. 

i like organic pasta with turkey meatballs and newman's sauce for dinner. $10 covers three meals, which takes about 10 minutes to cook. and now i have to change. i'll buy more frozen vegetables to eat with salmon, turkey burgers and veggie burgers. it's' another adjustment i have to make, yet i don't feel confident in my ability to discipline myself without slipping into old, familiar patterns. 

i truly believe in my heart god won't give me more than i can handle, regardless of how i feel about the issue at hand. i've learned feelings sometimes don't make sense. i need to rely on his strength and courage, along with putting spiritual living first. am i scared? yes. do i believe i will be okay? yes. i don't want diabetes. however, i know i'm neither alone nor unique. i will survive, with a smile.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

George Zimmerman and DMX preparing to fight in a "celebrity" boxing match

george zimmerman agreed to fight embattled rapper dmx in a pay-per-view, so-called "celebrity" boxing match to be broadcast online. the bizarre announcement was made on the same day as trayvon martin's birthday. he would have been 19 years old.

fight promoter damon feldman suggests the fight will bring "justice" to martin. but feldman, who lost his promoter's license and was banned from promoting fights in his native pennsylvania - after admitting 95% of his matches were rigged - stands to profit handsomely from a racially polarizing event.

zimmerman announced on monday he wanted to fight kanye west, because west "attacks defenseless people." yet during his infamous trial, zimmerman claimed he feared for his life in a struggle with an unarmed teenager, whom he ultimately shot and killed. martin is similar in height and weight to dmx.

the fight's details are scheduled to be outlined at a press conference on wednesday. march 14 is the projected date, and  floyd mayweather, sr. is to be the referee. however, dmx has yet to finalize his contract and no corporate sponsors have signed on. dmx is 43 years old. zimmerman is 30 years old. feldman says he got over 15,00 e-mails about the fight, but no one knows where it will be held.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Seattle Seahawks crush Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl 48

the seattle seahawks defeated the denver broncos 43-8 to win their first super bowl title. seattle completely disarmed the highest offense in league history. on denver's first play, their center snapped the ball over peyton manning's head, resulting in a safety. denver never established a rhythm, and seattle's top ranked defense coerced four costly turnovers.

the championship game, played at met life stadium in east rutherford, new jersey, was hyped as a classic between the two best teams. denver ended 2013 with a record 606 points, averaging nearly 39 points per game. manning set single-season records with 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdowns, and was voted league mvp earlier in the week.

the seahawks defense, fueled by all-pro cornerback richard sherman, led the nfl in forcing turnovers and making interceptions; they surrendered just 16 touchdowns all year. their front four punished opposing quarterbacks regularly, and their secondary is the most physical in recent memory. some pundits compared their victory to the 1985 bears and 2000 ravens.

punctuating the seahawks' dominating performance was a 69-yard interception return by linebacker malcolm smith, giving seattle a 22-0 to take into the locker room. smith was named mvp - just the third linebacker to win the award. when percy harvin opened the second half with an 89-yard kickoff return, their fans - known in seattle as the 12th man - chanted, "l.o.b. l.o.b. their hard-hitting secondary is called legions of boom.

smith was a seventh-round draft pick. both he and sherman referenced their unheralded teammates as "misfits with a chip on our shoulder." he said, "i always imagined myself making great plays, but never thought about being the mvp." sherman said, "i hope we etched our names into the record books." all-pro safety earl thomas said, "it's all about making history. this was a dominant performance from top to bottom."

seattle's average age is 26 years, 138 days, youngest in super bowl history. the victory was particularly sweet for coach pete carroll, fired by the jets in 1994. he was let go by the patriots after three seasons at the helm. after a brief stint out of coaching, he won two national titles at the university of southern california.       

carroll won just four years after coaching the seahawks, and eight years after seattle lost their only super bowl trip against pittsburgh. his team was labeled too brash, too inexperienced and too young. but after lifting the vince lombardi trophy, there was nothing left to prove - to themselves and others. super bowl 48 was the most watched event in television history, with 111.5 million viewers.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Stop and Frisk Policy will be reformed by Mayor de Blasio

mayor bill de blasio on thursday committed to reform stop-and-frisk police tactics, agreed to the appointment of a monitor and seeks to end a 14-year court fight culminating in a judge's ruling the new york city police department discriminated in carrying out the controversial program.

"we believe these steps will make everyone safer," de blasio told a brooklyn news conference shortly after city lawyers asked the second u.s. circuit court of appeals to return the case to the lower court "for the purpose of exploring a full resolution." he also said, "this will be one city where everyone rises together, where everyone's rights are protected." 

de blasio said the city agreed to the appointment of a monitor for three years to oversee the creation of reforms aimed at ending discrimination. the monitor will oversee a process in which those communities most affected by the stop-and-frisk tactics, will provide input on the reforms.

"i can't wait to get started," said vincent warren, executive director of the center for constitutional rights, which has represented plaintiffs in the lawsuits. but he cautioned the announcement won't immediately end discrimination. warren said, "nobody standing here today is pretending this mission is accomplished. the problem hasn't been solved. we will have a collaborative reform process. we'll have a court monitor to ensure these reforms move forward."

police commissioner william bratton said the policy, as it had been carried out for years, left too many people who were frisked wondering, "why,why me?" while police officers, being pressed to make more arrests - even as crime rates fell dramatically - were wondering, "why more?' he said the practice tore the fabric between the police and the population. he said, "we need to repair it."

a judge ruled last year the nypd discriminated against blacks and latinos when stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people on the street. the judge ordered major reforms to the nypd's implementation of the policy. former mayor michael Bloomberg vehemently appealed the decision. but de blasio, who took office last month, prioritized this issue in his campaign, and wants results.

during bloomberg's 12-year tenure, stops had soared to more than five million in the past decade, primarily black and latino men. about 10% of the stops resulted in arrests or summons; weapons were found 2% of the time. four men sued the nypd in 2008, saying they were unfairly targeted because of their race.

u.s. district court judge shira scheindlin presided over a 10-week bench trial. she heard testimony from a dozen new yorkers who said they were wrongly stopped. she agreed, imposing a court-appointed monitor to oversee reforms. but her ruling has been on hold pending the appeal.

the federal appeals court took the unusual step of removing scheindlin from the case, saying she misapplied a related ruling allowing her to accept it to begin with, and had inappropriately spoken publicly about the case. plaintiffs' attorney jonathan moore said the city's decision to drop the appeal "vindicates the findings by judge scheindlin and provides the opportunity for the nypd to reform policies and practices that the district court found unconstitutional."