Entries from February 2006 ↓

Baseball Elects 18 to the Hall of Fame

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY announced the selection of 18 former players and executives, including 17 from the Negro Leagues and pre-Negro League era, as this yearís class of inductees. Included in the group is the Hallís first female inductee, Effa Manley, a White woman who passed as Black, and who along with Black husband Abe, owned the Newark Eagles franchise in the Negro Leagues.

This is the largest group of inductees in any single year, and also includes relief pitcher Bruce Sutter of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Baseball Hall of Fame Elects First Woman (ABC News)

Negro Leaguers called to Hall (Philadelphia Daily News)

Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees (Kansas City Star)

The Kidís in the Hall (Bejata.com)

I Blame Bush

And why not?

Weíre in a costly, protracted, unnecessary war in Iraq that is siphoning off money that should be used to maintain necessary domestic programs by diverting our tax dollars right into the pockets of already rich defense contractors while also destroying any form of normal life in that country .

As a further result, our ability to deploy National Guard troops in response to natural disasters here at home has now been jeopardized.

And former FEMA Director, Michael Brown, isnít going to take all the blame for the screw-up after Hurricane Katrina. He too says, Bush and his henchmen dropped the ball.

Clinton gets a blowjob from an intern and Republicans want him impeached. Bush fucks over the whole world and nobody is doing anything about it. Whatís wrong with this picture?

Short Takes on Black Folks and HIV/AIDS

Despite all of the reasons why black gay men are beaten down, beaten up, discriminated against and blamed for the spread of HIV among African Americans, the main perpetrator is, in fact, black gay men ourselves. Thatís the opinion of AIDS advocate and journalist Keith Green. It’s time for the black gay community to stop blaming everyone else for its plight, he says, and to start standing up for itself.

A group of black, gay community leaders, businessmen and activists joined together in the Windy City to publicly launch the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, one of a small but slowly growing series of efforts among black, gay men in the United States to mobilize in the fight against HIV. The group’s official launch included an unveiling of its first HIV prevention effort, a music video and public service announcement encouraging men to learn their HIV status.

Michelle Williams of Destinyís Child talks about playing an HIV-positive character on UPNís Half & Half.

African-American HIV/AIDS Resource Center at The Body

Family Matters

Today would have been my fatherís 85th birthday. That he lived to see 84 years is a feat in itself and I am happy for all the time we had together. I think of him everyday and carry his picture with me. Happy birthday, Dad.

The hospice facility that he was about to enter just before he passed has offered bereavement counseling to our family for up to 13 months. They are located back home and thus not easily accessible to me, although they do offer telephone counseling services. I honestly donít believe that I am in need of this assistance, although it is appreciated. Because of his slow, but steady decline over the years due to the Alzheimerís, a lot of the grieving happened before he died. I watched him leave us over the past 5 years or so. The actual passing brought a sense of relief to a large degree.

But I do acknowledge I have many other unaddressed and unresolved personal issues that were impacted by his passing. Pre-existing feelings of isolation and loneliness, heightened awareness of my own mortality and the desire to still achieve many things while the clock is ticking, midlife-related emotional and sexual needs and anxieties, were all exacerbated. Consequently, I have finally decided to seek out professional assistance to deal with these and any other residual issues that may surface. I canít promise you Iíll share any details of those sessions in this space, but I will continue to talk about things going on in my life.

This day also comes with the news last weekend that my uncle, my fatherís sole surviving sibling and immediate family member, is also suffering from dementia and was recently put in a nursing home in Texas. His decline is following familiar patterns.

Positive news was received last night about my mother, who underwent knee replacement surgery this past Monday. Recovery is going realistically well, unlike the somewhat overly optimistic objectives she had set for herself. My brothers and I are all taking a week off to go up to help out. One brother has been there this week, my week starts tomorrow, and others will take following weeks.

That period when the children become caretakers to the parents has been in effect for some time now and is an accepted fact of life. But it doesnít make things any easier.

State of the Artists

It is no secret New York is a tough place to live. The high cost of everything makes it particularly hard on those just barely eeking out a living. New York also prides itself on being the cultural capital of the country (if not the world), but those who create that culture are often the ones finding it hardest to make ends meet.

That reality was the finding of a new study from the Freelancers Union, a group organized to advocate for benefits for this cityís self-employed workforce. While arts organizations contributed some $14.5 billion to the local economy as recently as 2000, individual artists themselves typically live without health insurance, unemployment benefits or retirement plans. Many are thinking of leaving.

Among the findings:

ē More than 40 percent made less than $35,000 last year.

ē 39 percent experienced a significant gap in health insurance coverage.

ē 75 percent avoided seeking medical care when uninsured.

ē They are highly educated: 85 percent have a college degree.

ē They are politically engaged: 92 percent are registered voters.

The Freelancers Union has called on the city to create a directory to help independent workers access resources and set aside funds for professional associations or unions to develop programs for them such as ďportable benefit modelsĒ that tie traditional benefits to individuals as they job-hop, rather than to employers. Other ideas include shared housing equity for artists in joint-living workspaces. The concept is for them to pick a space where they want to live, and then a fund would assist in obtaining a mortgage and providing some sort of guarantee or allow for low-interest rates.

Who are the young Black actors to watch? Moviefone offers up a highly subjective list of young Black movie stars (best viewed in browsers other than Internet Explorer) we should keep our eyes on. Iím always suspicious of such lists, figuring some PR guy had a hand in it somewhere or that they went for name recognition over real acting talent, but there are one or two names I can accept. The restÖIíll wait to be impressed. Take a look at their list and tell me who you think belongs or not.