Saturday, August 30, 2008

Staycation in Detroit- Eat at Cozy House

Pittsburgh isn’t too far from the “D”-- just around six hours. So, with economic times being what they are, a staycation in Detroit seemed like a good idea. Afterall, Kwame Kilpatrick is on a court ordered staycation, with a tether. So, what’s good enough for the Hip Hop Mayor should be good enough for lowly old Sisterdoc and Brotherdoc. And it was…generally. Let’s start with the fabulous.

This year was the (free) 26th annual African World Festival in Detroit at Hart Plaza. We breezed through on a steamy Saturday, August 16. I am so glad we did. There were vendors galore selling all things Black…”soul” mixtapes, DVDs (poor Tyler Perry…if you only knew), shea butter, black soap, textiles from across the continent of Africa, jewelry, clothes, all manner of Obama wear, carvings, art, bags (poor Coach…if you only knew)…wow! Sisterdoc picked up: a nice workbag made from a patchwork of African cloths, loc jewelry, shea butter, and a Barack and Michelle “Yes We Can” pin. Then we took in a double-dutch demonstration and a step-show. We got a kick out of the stilt-walkers—jammin’ up high! Sisterdoc got a little line-dance instruction. Music filled the air. And food filled the ole’ belly. Ethopian, Caribbean, soul food, and even a little Greek and seafood. We had to get back on the road, so we missed Mo’Nique and the OJays. But, we’ll catch the event again next year…fabulous, for sure.

Then, on the 23rd, we took in the (free) Heidelberg Project Festival over on the East side of the D. There was plenty of spoken word, comedy, and a fashion show. There was a hair show too, but we had to hit the road, so we missed it. This Festival is unlike any I’ve ever been to. This Brother, Tyree Guyton, was raised on Heidelberg Street. He watched with dismay as his neighborhood turned into one of the worst, blighted communities—more empty lots and condemned houses than homes. Poor city services left the place trash strewn. So Tyree started picking up the trash, refashioning it into art. Vacant lots became “lots of art” (clever!) and the dilapidated homes became giant art sculptures. I liked what he did with the abandoned houses…he strung up stuffed animals, shoes, discarded appliances, and what not to create what to me looked like some seriously spooky haunted houses. He likes to mark his creations with his trademark polka dots and, of course, he makes sure to thank God on most everything. Tyree turned his neighborhood into an art project, bringing in tourists, vendors, and revenue. Fabulous, for sure.

Before hitting the road, the ‘Docs took a ride down McNichols, trolling for restaurants. Our plan was to get lots of take-out and have a little buffet when we got back home. A few places were (unexpectedly) closed. Others, too crowded given our time crunch. So we settled on two places—Rono’s Caribbean at 14001 W. McNichols and Cozy House at 7504 W. McNichols. Cozy House was wonderful! A beautiful young Sister greeted us at the door, and handed us a menu—one full of imagination. Okra… Salmon salad… Ribs… Catfish… Tempura shrimp… Crab… Smothered chicken… Meat loaf…Steak… Red beans… Black eyed peas… yams… collards… mac and cheese… cakes… pies.. Wow! We got a blackened catfish dinner and a chicken dinner with THREE sides. Yum. While we waited for our order, the “chef” sent out a little taste of muffin. When we got home, I couldn’t get enough of the cornbread stuffing with gravy, which was good-as-whew! And don’t even get me started on the sweet potato muffins! The interior of this restaurant is pristine and sprawling. I hope this joint makes it. They try really hard to please.

Rono’s Caribbean on the other hand did not. Take-out was handled through bullet-proof glass, and you had to yell your order at the waiter. You waited for your food in a tight little entryway that was so hot, I thought I was going to faint. Hello…can a Sister get a cup of water???? I ordered the curry chicken, while Brotherdoc tried the jerk chicken. We also put in an order for some curry powder and homemade gingerbeer. And then we waited… 10, 20, 30 minutes. We went to the parking lot, but no one even noticed we had left. I decided to go back about five minutes later to see if someone had missed us…they hadn’t. I tapped on the glass for someone to tell us what was up. A guy peeked out and said, “its coming.” And then he disappeared. Another five minutes, and our order was given to us through one of those bullet-proof slots that rotate open. We can’t figure out why it took 40 minutes to get our food. Nothing in our order was fresh cooked. The rice was, literally, h-a-r-d…like when you leave it out all day, uncovered. The chicken was dry, dry, dry and hard. There was no curry or jerk sauce to speak of. Just dry rice and chicken. They did give us a small spoon-full of cabbage, which was really tasty. As for the “homemade” gingerbeer, it was just a bottle of soda from the grocery store, but they charged us the special price of $2.75 instead of the regular buck-fifty for a pop. We were really disappointed, especially since Rono’s cost the same as Cozy’s, but Cozy’s gave you lots, lots more (delicious) food. Next time, we’ll try Karibbean Kitchen—sources tell me it’s the good joint. But we will be sure to hit up Cozy House again!

(Images: The Heidelberg Festival)

Friday, August 29, 2008


OHH YEA!!!! POTUS-in-67-days Barack Obama knocked it out of the park last night! Sisterdoc was nervous. She is still hating on that traitor-turned race-baiter, Bill Clinton….but Bill knows how to deliver a speech. So, I wondered if ‘Rak was going to measure up. OHHH YEA!!!! The speech worked because it toned down some of the rhetorical flourish, to focus on the substantive. He broke it all the way down: McCain doesn’t get it…tax cuts for the middle-class…eliminating capital gains taxes for small businesses…breaking away from a dependence on foreign oil…tapping natural gas reserves…he is a patriot, not a celebrity…higher salaries for teachers….affordable college education…lower health care more homeless vets…no more AK-47s on the streets…no more Bush policies!!!

And, Barack accepted the nomination on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” He echoed King by imploring us to not walk alone, never turn back, and to keep marching. Folks were in tears!

Which brings me to my mother. With a lump in her throat, my mother told me that there were so many reasons that this day was the most important day of her life. But one thing she said stood out. She said that she was glad that our country was witnessing this achievement while those hateful Jim Crow era people are still alive. My mother is glad that many of those segregationists are witnessing a Black man, with a very Black name, about to enter the White House. You see, my mother’s parents (my grandparents) struggled hard for their right to vote. My mother had a bayonet pointed at her by a National Guard soldier when they stormed her neighborhood during the riots. My mother has had some tough experiences. But, she wants those people, who denied her so very much, to see it with their very own eyes---Black people will never be bowed or beaten.

Barack was speaking to my mother when he said:

“At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of scripture-- hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Mom…no more dreams deferred.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why Hillary Fans Choose McCain over Cynthia McKinney

Last night, Hillary delivered one of her best-read speeches (certainly better than her “I don’t feel no ways tired” gaff). She spent 85% of the time reminding folks of why she is great. The reminder of the time she said she supported Obama….but she didn’t tell her fans that she was just doing campaign jousting when she said Obama was not ready to lead. She didn’t tell her fans in specific terms why Obama is the best candidate.

Lacking a clear message from Hillary on what Obama can do for them, die-hard female Hillary supporters continue to threaten that since they can’t put their woman into the White House, then they will either not vote at all, or they will vote for McCain. In voting for McCain, they eschew what Hillary believed in (women’s rights/choice, reduction of global warming, going green/ebbing global warming, a sane Supreme Court pick, ending the war…). Why would they, quite literally, sell their souls?

Suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton may give use a clue. Anthony and Stanton gave lip-service to the abolitionist movement… that is, until Black men earned the right to vote ahead of White women. Seeing Black men’s advancement as a challenge (sound familiar?), Anthony and Stanton hooked up with the notorious racist newspaper publisher George Train, and begin circulating their own (White) women ‘right to vote’ appeals while throwing Blacks under the bus. For example, Stanton pointedly declared of Blacks, "Sambo and Dinah" are not fit to share citizenship with "the Daughters of Jefferson and Washington.” Anthony, on the other hand, remained silent when asked to speak out against the lynching of Blacks.

The racial divide among feminists have been well-documented. Lani Guinier asked, “Why not come together around concrete proposals to better the lives of poor and working-class women, rather than merely championing the stepping stones to which many college-educated professional women now feel entitled? From the proliferation of HIV among black women to the double bind of work and family faced by all women, it is time for a women's agenda that enlists support from all classes, all races and from men as well as women.”

The root of resistance is obvious--the poor, working-class, and the sick are seemingly not part of the agenda for Hillary supporters.

This is all clearly about race and not really about womanhood, or else these women would not threaten to withhold their votes entirely. Because, there IS a woman running for President…Cynthia McKinney. And, McKinney has chosen as her running-mate Rosa Clemente. These Sisters are saying interesting things about women’s rights, the war, multi-racial coalitions, the Patriot Act, and even hip hop. Heck, if Hillary supporters turned their attention to McKinney/Clemente instead of McCain, then they could prove Amari Baraka wrong…their run is not an “empty gesture.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama Speech...Simply Beautiful!

Sisterdoc loves her some Michelle Obama.

I am thrilled that she was able to deliver a speech last night at the DNC. Some have wondered why she was given the time. I can think of several reasons. First, relative strangers (e.g., a ‘representative’ of the working class; a union leader) have been permitted to speak to Barack’s qualities. What’s wrong with a more intimate picture into the lives of the Obamas? “Family values” was the platform of the G.O.P….well, hey, the Obamas have got some great family values as well. Second, Michelle is just so smart! There are first ladies—LisaRaye, anybody—and then there are FIRST LADIES. Michelle’s speech on the surface was about values, but it also revealed important insight into how Barack thinks. Michelle told us that he values hard work, but also understands that sociopolitical inequities can disrupt conviction and prevent success. He gets gender inequities. He believes in parental responsibility and involvement. Who can quarrel with that?

And Michelle was just so GOOD. I love this part of the speech:
I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history — knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I’ve met all across this country…
And Michelle is a class act. Because I can’t say “Hillary Clinton” these days without it feeling like hot, steamy poo in my mouth. But Michelle showed up the Clinton hatemongers with this line:
People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters — and sons — can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.
Michelle took some heat for her “for the first time I love this country” comment. No problem Sister, I know what you mean. But just to set the record straight, Michelle proclaimed: “I love this country.”
To see that talented, professional, giving, and loving Sister up there…heck, for the first time I am lovin’ this country too! (Um, for a minute).

I am with Michelle on this one ‘fo sure!!!:
Let us stand together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America.
And while we’re at it. Forget Joe Biden, put ‘Chelle on as V.P. or Secretary of State. Condi got the hook up. Let’s give one to Michelle—she’s got legal, public service, and policy experience.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

White Flight...Prison Breaks

Just over three decades ago, an interesting trend was taking place in the state of Michigan…women were escaping from prison like crazy!

In 1975, Rebecca Hatcher jumped the fence of a Michigan’s Scott Prison, walking away from her sentence for unarmed assault with intent to rob. After her escape, she moved to Tennessee, married, had a kid, and got on with her life.

In 1976, Susan LeFevre cleared a fence from Michigan’s Scott Prison, leaving behind her sentence for selling heroin to an undercover cop. After her escape, she moved to California and into a “mansion,” married, had three kids, and got on with her spendy life.

Technology and snitches caught up with these two women, and they are all now back in the “D.”

There is something interesting about all of these cases. First, the media persists in referring to these (White) women in cutesy terms such as the “Moms” and “Desperate Housewives.” Second, both women have people advocating for their release since, it is argued, they stayed out of trouble after their escapes.

Sisterdoc is getting whiffs of racial disparity here.

35 years ago, Barbara Corley, who is Black, walked away from the Detroit House of Corrections. Barbara was in prison for assault, writing bad checks, and carrying a concealed weapon. After her escape, she moved to South Carolina, married, and got on with her new life. Corley claims the state of Michigan knew exactly where she was since back in 1980, accompanied by her attorney, she turned herself in to authorities for her escape. She claims that she worked out a plea-deal. The State says they have no record of this, and believe she is lying. There are other things missing in addition to these purported legal records, there are no no pretty family pictures of Corley, no cute "Desperate Housewife" headlines, no calls for her release.

Also, take this week’s case of Robert Cooper (White) versus that of Jason Smith (Black). Cooper is a known scam artist. He is described as charming and a smooth talker. He is wanted in at least three states for ripping off the elderly—dozens of them to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Police knew of Cooper’s “trademark ruse,” as they called it, of faking chest pains and then walking away from hospitals and police custody when police leave him unguarded. And still, they left him uncuffed and unguarded in a Michigan hospital…you know the rest. Compare this to Jason Smith, a car thief and burglar, also wanted in three states. Smith is described as a “huge arrest.” Smith has real heart problems and even underwent emergency heart surgery in a Michigan hospital. In Smith’s case, police bragged it never even crossed their minds to leave him unguarded, while in Cooper’s case police said it would have been too expensive in time and resources to keep him under guard for 48 hours. Police hope technology or a snitch will locate Cooper one day. As for Smith, he has deputies posted on him around the clock while he spends the next two weeks recovering from open-heart surgery.

According to scholar Richard Culp, historically Whites have been more successful at prison escapes than Blacks. I am beginning to get a sense as to why. Sisterdoc says prisoners should be treated equitably. Stop the trend of minimum security for some, but maximum security for others. Keep our streets safe...fairly.

(Image: Susan LeFevre and fam'; Barbara Corley)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Spanish Olympics Teams' Racism

Some of Spain’s athletes and fans continue to lose their racist minds. In 2004, Luis Aragones, the coach of Spain’s men’s soccer team, told his player Jose Antonio Reyes to “tell that Black [expletive] you are better than him.” Aragones was referring to the Black French player Thierry Henry. That same year (and pretty much ever since), Spanish soccer fans shout monkey sounds at rival Black players. This year, Spanish fans showed up to a Formula One racing event in blackface to mock driver Lewis Hamilton, a Black driver from England. Today, the Spanish athletes have turned their racism toward their Chinese Olympic hosts.

The Spanish men’s basketball team posed for a sponsor’s camera advertisement by making stereotypical Asian “slant eyes.” One player, Pau Gasol, also plays for the L.A. Lakers. Another, Jose Calderon, plays for the Toronto Raptors. Gasol apologized for the portrayal indicating that he felt victimized be the team’s ad because it wasn’t particularly funny and it made him look clownish. Oh…and it wasn’t supposed to be racist or offensive Gasol said. Calderon was angry that anyone would challenge him on it: “we did it because we thought it was going to be something nice….but somebody wants to talk about it. It is too much of a big deal with you guys [the press]…” The men’s head coach of Spain’s team, Aito Garcia Reneses, made it sound like political correctness run amok—“I can’t understand anything more.”

What I understand is this ad, which is running, needs to be pulled and that the racisms coming out of Spain’s athletics has got to stop. Yuck.

Follow-up: It has just come to my attention that the Spanish tennis Olympic team posed for a similarly racist photo in February. That's them gathered around a table.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kwame Kilpatrick…the Next Willie Horton?!!!

This morning a Detroit judge removed Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s court-ordered tether, thereby permitting Kilpatrick to travel to the Democratic National Convention. It is being speculated that the Republican judge set Kilpatrick loose so that the Mayor can be seen (and videotaped) in the proximity of Barack Obama. The Republicans are already running ads in Tennessee invoking Kilpatrick as a scary, incompetent Black man. The ads ask voters to consider whether they really want to elect another (potentially scary and incompetent Black man) to the White House. UGHHH! It is Willie Horton all over again.

The Horton story in a nutshell: In 1974, in Massachusetts, Horton and two others robbed a gas station, and in the process murdered the attendant by stabbing him 19 times. Horton earned life in prison without parole. Just over a decade later, Horton was given a “weekend pass” from prison. The passes were given out as part of a rehabilitative furlough program Massachusetts Governor Francis Sargent first instituted in 1972. However, when in 1986 Horton received his pass, it was not Sargent who was in the Governor’s mansion, it was Michael Dukakis. And, it so happened that Dukakis was running for President against George Bush (not “W,” but his daddy).

While on his pass, Horton walked away from his confinement and kept on going until he ended up in Maryland. In Maryland, in 1987, he broke into a house and knifed the male owner. When the guy’s fiancĂ©e showed up, just back from her engagement party, Horton beat and raped her. Horton was convicted for this crime and sent to a maximum-security prison in Jessup, MD.

Bush supporters ran two political ads. One featured Horton prominently, and it accused Dukakis of being a liberal who opposed the death penalty and would let a murderer out of jail to roam the country. The second ad, the “Revolving Door” ad, again referenced the furlough program, and feature a revolving jail door in which criminals left the prison as they pleased. The association of Dukakis with a scary Black man cost Dukakis the election. The Willie Horton ads, even today, are counted as some of the most controversial racial propaganda in history.

Kilpatrick isn’t Willie Horton. But it won’t be hard to paint a similar picture given the stories and scandals surrounding him—assault on police officers, perjury, extra-martial affairs, a $8 million judgment paid by tax-payers for his lawlessness, a rumored party with strippers, the murder of a stripper after she was beaten by the Mayor’s wife, racist rants, his father under investigation by the FBI for corruption, $400 million missing from the public schools, 911 operators who curse out and then hang up on emergency callers….

Kilpatrick—STAY AWAY FROM THE DNC!!! RESIGN NOW!!! You’ve destroyed your city; don’t continue to put yourself in a position where you can be used to destroy Obama!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Justice for Arletha! When Did We Stop Caring?

My very first blog was about four little girls in Washington, D.C. who had been killed by their mother Banita Jacks. The school-age girls had disappeared from school at least four months earlier, and had been dead for at least two weeks before anyone even noticed they were missing. Now we have the case of Arletha Hopkins, the 36 year old wife of Mobile, Alabama minister Anthony who was murdered FOUR YEARS AGO and hidden in her husband’s freezer. Her body was discovered just two weeks ago. What gets me is that no one tried to investigate what happened to her…even though she had delivered a baby just two and one half weeks before her disappearance, and that her husband was walking around with the motherless newborn.

It seems that the 37-year old Anthony had been sexually abusing one of his daughters, unbeknownst to Arletha, since the girl was at least 11 years old. In 2004, Arletha unexpectedly came home one evening to find Anthony hurting the girl, who by then was 15. Arletha put the “Rev,” as he was called by neighbors, out of the house. However, before Arletha could take any action, such as reporting the incest to the police, Anthony convinced his abused daughter to let him back into the house. Once inside, “allegedly,” Anthony killed his wife and with the help of his daughter, placed the body in the freezer.

And there Arletha stayed, with no one reporting her missing, until about two weeks ago when the abused daughter, now 19, walked into a police station seeking protection for herself and her seven other siblings. The daughter told it all. Police found a body in the family’s freezer, and arrested the “Rev” while he was preaching a sermon at a revival.

The question remains: why did no one report this woman missing? According to Arletha’s family, Arletha was “sweet and caring” and had phoned them just days before her murder to check on the condition of an ailing uncle, and to pray with him. A few days later, after her murder, Anthony phoned her family claiming she no longer wanted to have contact with them…and they didn’t seem to question this or try to reach her! They never tried to see their grandchildren?! Arletha had just given birth, but no hospital inquired when she didn’t return for follow-up care for her or the child. Anthony and Arletha were active members of a church. A church member wondered what became of Arletha when Anthony began showing up with the children, but without Arletha. The church member claims Anthony could not provide a satisfactory answer to explain her disappearance…but then nobody in the church phoned the police!! Soon after, Anthony moved to a new church, and to further protect his secret, he pulled his children out of school, claiming to home-school them. Arletha was officially ignored and forgotten about by those whom she seemingly had been so “sweet” and “caring” to in the past.

What a disgrace. Justice for Arletha!

(Image: The Rev. Hopkins)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Anton Dunn- Crazy isn't Cute

Anton Dunn is 42 years old. He likes to post videos on Youtube under the alias “The Trashman.” The Trashman claims to be waging a one-man war against Black people—starting with Black women and their newborns. Dunn is Black.

In March of this year, The Trashman appeared in a video (no, I will NOT link to it) claiming that he purposefully infected 12,000 to 15,000 Black girls in New York with HIV. His motive was two-fold. First, he sought to get revenge against some unknown Black woman who infected him. Second, he wanted to act as a sort of community mentor for young girls. Ummm hmmm. The Trashman wanted to teach little girls an important lesson about the dangers of having unprotected sex. To ensure they were infected, The “Pedophilic” Trashman claims he had sex with each child twice.

His claims are highly unlikely—no women have come forward. And, given his claims that he just recently started molesting little girls, it would have been quite impossible to have sex 30 thousand times. Still, no one raised much of an eyebrow over his threats against Black children.

The Trashman didn’t warrant the attention of local police, the FBI, and even the FDA until, on July 24th, he posted videos claiming to be doing away with Black babies by poisoning Gerber baby food products. Seven days later, Dunn had been located, arrested, arraigned, and settled into his jail cell to await trial. Apparently, threats of product tampering against “interstate commerce” (aka, a big company) can get you on a bunch of agencies hit-list and facing 10-years in prison. Threats against Black women or their babies…not such a big deal.

This real-life Uncle Ruckus has wreaked havoc and spread hate, so I am glad he was finally silenced. It’s just too bad it couldn’t have happened sooner.

Dunn says he simply wanted to “cut down on the Black population.” It looks like his antics are going to find only Dunn himself going bye-bye. Dunn is done.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Rick Ross- Just Say No to Studio Gangster'itis

Ahhh….chooo!!! Sisterdoc is allergic to gangstas, be they the real kind that shoot bullets, or the fake, studio kind that shoot their mouths off about their wanna be criminal lifestyle.

The Smoking Gun, with more than a little bit of help from the Florida Department of Corrections’ human resources office, has exposed rapper Rick Ross for what he really is, a fine upstanding citizen who was gainfully employed as a corrections officer back in the day. According to his 86-page personnel file, Ross—real name William Leonard Roberts—earned a “Certificate of Appreciation” for his perfect work attendance record while a corrections officer. It also seems that protecting our communities was a long time interest of Ross/Roberts because also back in the day he spent a year at Albany State studying criminal justice. In all, Ross would have made any mother proud….until…

Until Ross stole the real Freeway Ricky Ross’ name and persona and started talking about being a drug kingpin. Ross/Roberts said, “when I say I’m rich off cocaine it’s because I did it” and “I never ratted on a nigga, I never prosecuted a nigga, I never locked up a nigga, that is first and foremost” and this gem—“you know I’m strapped to the teeth. We got more bullets than we got dollars.”

It is a sad day when a Brotha is embarrassed to admit he did right by his people by going to going to college, getting a good job, and avoiding that narcotic. And, what does it mean when someone would rather assume the identity of a death dealing drug dealer than that of a smart, hard working man. Really???

The real Rick Ross is getting out of prison in two years, and he is none too happy about studio gangstas trying to ride on his infamous coattails. William Leonard better start putting in those job applications—I hear he is pretty good about coming in to work everyday.