Sunday, June 28, 2009


The hype was everywhere. The BET awards (Black Entertainment Television) were coincidentally going on a mere days since the unfortunate passing of Michael Jackson. This would be a golden opportunity for the black community to celebrate the life of a true musical genius. They would potentially achieve a rating never heard of in their history. This was going to be good, given the talent they would have in town.
The opening act was five unknowns with an extremely poor sound system attempting to sing a Jackson family hit, but failing miserably. That's OK, they were called into service quickly and unexpectedly (and it showed). Surely the next act would be the show stopper, a serious tribute to an American icon. This would call for the host of the show, Jamie Foxx to bring down the house in superstar fashion.
What I saw was an egotistical, self absorbed and over hyped fool embarrassingly grabbing his crotch and bragging about the size of his package. Worse than that, he showed true class by uttering the words "boa constrictor" while he did it, then giving us 20 feet of a white man's moon walk, replete with a near stumble on stage.
I would tell you this total embarrassment of a performance left Michael spinning in his grave, but the poor man hasn't even made it there yet. After seeing what I did, I am surprised he didn't get up and dig his own hole.
As for the "music" presented, you had to read between the network bleeps to makes heads or tales of any "story" they were telling with their rap; but needless to say, it wasn't Steinbeck. The verbiage used in todays music is, without question, appalling. As I watched the acts unfold, I couldn't help but wonder how it was being accepted by the younger crowd, who see these artists as role models.
I will end this critique with two observations: "Is there a shortage of black dress shoes in the marketplace today?" There seemed to be an inordinate number of tuxedos and sneakers at the awards show. But whatever, express yourself....who am I to judge.
What I do feel qualified to ask, and judge, beckons me to ask..."Is there an epidemic of penis thefts in the world today?" There seems to be, since every act seemed to be grabbing, groping and verifying the continued existence of their penis through the evening. I get it. Women find you sexy, and you have a penis. Happy for you. But did we have to see a continual cupping of hand(s) around your personal Johnson? Trust me, if someone stole it while you weren't looking, you would be the first to know. What goes for cool now days blows my mind.
The BET awards...a golden opportunity wasted. An opportunity to show some class and dignity to a very large swath of America tuning in to see the MJ tribute was absolutely squandered. What should have been a tribute worthy of an American icon turned into a night not worthy of remembrance.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Elvis Presley, John Lennon........true genius is rarely truly appreciated or understood. Michael Jackson was in that league of performers. Truth is, like it or not, Michael Jackson, at least professionally, was an American icon who may have transcended the legacies of both Presley and Lennon.
A true innovator, Jackson took the music video from its infancy to an art form. His video Thriller exploded onto the music scene, and music videos have never been the same since then, practically creating the MTV network. For all of his controversy...for all of the drama, when it came to composing music, singing, dancing and entertaining, Michael Jackson was without peer.

His career started at a very early age (5), arguably robbing him of his entire childhood, which undoubtedly resulted in his fascination with carnival rides and all things childlike. He sought love and lost, he sought friends and found predators, he sought privacy and a sense of normalcy, and his immense talent precluded that possibility.

Sadly, he attempted to rebound after experiencing a tumultuous decade before his death; he died as lonely as he was financially challenged in relative terms for an iconic international recording star. They say bad news travels in threes. Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, and now the stunning news of the death of Michael Jackson, at the age of 50.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


In yet another installment of the soap opera "Housewives of the GOP," Republican Governor goes missing for four days, claiming to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail, in order to "get away and clear his mind." An emotional Sanford, who spoke about "God's law" several times in his press conference today, said he needed a break from his job after what he called an "exhausting" battle against President Obama's stimulus bill.
Truth now out, the Governor was actually in Argentina to see his mistress, a woman named Maria, whom he had seen for quite some time, much to the surprise of his wife and children. Sanford has admitted to the affair publically, and a series of e-mails he had sent to his concubine has exploded in today's media. Needless to say, Sanford was yet another example of a hypocritical "religious" conservative who consistently ran on a platform of family values.
But the news isn't entirely about the marital cheating, as this is old hat around the political world. What ignited national curiosity was that Sanford's security agents were unaware of his whereabouts and Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer -- who would be in charge in the governor's absence -- said he didn't even know Sanford was going away. Added to this, he failed to notify the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, which is the protocol. Curious behaviors indeed for a Republican star on the rise, and the current chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
Questions still remain: Did he use state funds to travel to see this woman in the past, and did he use state funds to entertain her during the affair?
Of course this is the second such scandal to rock the GOP this month. Earlier this month, Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., admitted to an affair with a campaign staffer and resigned as leader of the Republican Policy Committee.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


He denounced NBC’s broadcast of Schindler’s List as “an all-time low, with full-frontal nudity.” He has warned of “rampant” lesbianism in Oklahoma public high school bathrooms. And he has battled to discredit condom use. Elected to the Senate in 2004 after serving eight years in the House of Representatives, he has demonstrated an uncanny ability to transform zealous and occasionally very weird moral crusades into headlines.

Who is he? He is Congressman Coburn, the "roomie" of John Ensign, who sat quietly bye on his high horse while his roommate and colleague had an adulterous affair with the wife of his top staffer. He is the man who knew about Ensign’s affair for 16 months and maintained his silence so it would not become public.

“Our culture that too often glorifies promiscuous sex without consequences should not be surprised by this scandal,” Congressman Coburn declared at the height of impeachment proceedings targeting President Bill Clinton for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. “The tragic consequences of the president's behavior should prompt us to reassert the high moral standards that form the foundation of our freedom.”

In October 2007, when Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) announced he would finish his term after pleading guilty to soliciting sex with an undercover cop in a bathroom stall, Coburn joined Ensign and a number of other Republican senators in calling for Craig’s immediate resignation. “He ought to keep his word,” Coburn rumbled. Now, with Ensign is at the center of an embarrassing sex scandal, Coburn has affected an unusually tolerant tone. His transformation from anti-sex crusader to adultery enabler has been overnight.

Coburn: "If you look at it in the light of everybody makes errors, at least he fessed up and resolved the problem with his family, so I think it speaks well of his corrective force." Trouble was his "corrective forces" did not come into play until he heard that the husband of the woman he had an affair with was speaking with various news sources about the affair, and was about to explode onto the national media scene. Their are unconfirmed reports Mr. Hampton was asking for money from the Senator as well.

Ensign spokesman Tory Mazzola claimed that Doug Hampton, the husband of the woman Ensign had an affair with last year, tried to demand money from the senator before Ensign revealed the affair earlier this week. In a statement obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mazzola wrote "Within the past month, Doug Hampton's legal counsel made exorbitant demands for cash and other financial benefits on behalf of his client." Mazzola went on to say the "outrageous demand was referred to Senator Ensign's legal counsel."

The woman with whom Ensign had the affair is Cindy Hampton, 46, a campaign treasurer for two committees connected to the senator. Her husband, Doug Hampton served as an administrative assistant on Ensign's Senate staff. Neither have worked for Ensign since May 2008. The senator acknowledged the affair continued until August 2008.

After leaving his post, Hampton, 47, quickly landed jobs with companies associated with the senator. He worked briefly for a consulting firm founded by Ensign's closest adviser, Mike Slanker. His biggest client was a Las Vegas-based airline whose executives have contributed generously to Ensign over the years.

Allegiant Air chief executive Maurice Gallagher and his wife have contributed more than $86,000 to Ensign's campaign and political action committees, federal records show. Hampton later joined Allegiant Air in August 2008 and is currently vice president of government affairs, a company spokeswoman said. Mazzola said Thursday that the senator made calls recommending Hampton for work after he left the Senate office.

Interesting timing. He calls off the affair in August, the same time Mr. Hampton gets a high paying cushy job with one of the Senators top financial supporters. So much for conservative values, and high moral standards they so vehemently demand of others. I am so sick of the political deviates speaking one thing, and doing another, I could puke. Bill O'Reilly and his deviate phone calls. Rush Limbaugh and his drug addiction. Larry Craig and his gay BS in a public bathroom stall (denied to this very day "I am not gay...I have never been gay"). Now these two eggheads and their freaky-dicky apartment o'sin.

Isn't it time these public figures come down from their high horses and soften their stances a mite? Just once I would like someone to come clean to the public and tell them it is none of their business. I think the perfect opportunity would have been with President Clinton, who opted out, preferring to lie under oath about the Lewinsky affair (outstanding choice, Mr. Prez). At least I can take solace in the fact that Clinton never would have dared to claim he was of high moral character like these two jarheads. And so it goes......

Saturday, June 20, 2009



An American Security Project mid-year update to their annual report on global terrorism trends today showed several trends that raise serious concerns about U.S. counter terrorism policy, including a dramatic increase in Islamic violence in the Middle East, a worsening situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, new “hot spots” of violence in Somalia and Russia, as well as a dampening of the initial “Obama effect” in the Muslim world.
In spite of initial optimism in the Muslim world following the election of President Obama, there is no evidence to suggest that the United States has overcome the damage done to its standing by several unpopular Bush Administration policies, including the war in Iraq and treatment of detainees. American support of Israel during the recent Gaza incursion seems to have slowed any initial momentum toward improving the image of the United States in the Muslim world. Furthermore, Approval of al Qaeda has increased in Egypt and approval of the United States has decreased in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Added to these issues, North Korea is openly threatening its emerging nuclear capabilities, along with actively staging test launching, much to the worlds chagrin. Worse yet, they have imprisoned two American journalists, leaving little doubt of their defiance for the United States super-powerdom.

What had hoped to be an improvement in overseas perceptions to the United States standing in the world with the election of Barack Obama has been marginally effective at best. Obama addressed these issues with a speech in Cairo targeted towards the Muslim world, which was favorably received. He mixed apologies for our nations actions with strong words to the Muslim world, in an unprecedented address which quoted from the Bible, the Talmud and the Quran.

Despite initial attempts by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, the world continues to be a very unstable place. The Times photo above depicts violent protests from Iranians over a clearly staged, unfair election which delivered another election victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Clearly, it is too soon to expect any real change in the world with the election (and detente) of Obama. But, was is it naive to believe that he can make any substantive headway at all? Was it naive of us to think that his "Obama effect," engaging people with dignity, respect, candor and a basic understanding that our fates are fundamentally intertwined and linked, could make a dent in centuries old perceptions and hatreds? Perhaps.

But many believe, including myself, that he may be our best chance...indeed our only chance at correcting the damage of the previous administration. There is little doubt that because of Obama, we began the year living in an era of unprecedented optimism, one where we hoped it was not unreasonable for us to expect that he would take his strategy of strength, integrity, and candid engagement to, at the very least, begin to open discussions with all foreign leaders and regimes to affect positive change.

But this period of optimism, this hope for our futures, this post election Obama effect will indeed be short-lived each additional day we cannot separate the Obama administrations actions, from the previous administrations. The nation, and the world is waiting for rhetoric to morph into action. So far, all we have gotten for our troubles is "just words."

And that is the world....the "World According to Kimba." Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Due to unforeseen and unexpected circumstances this week, I have begun to come to grips with what I believe are the three benchmarks facing the average male. Shaving? Earning a drivers license? Your first sexual encounter? Your first legal visit to Las Vegas?
No, I am not talking about such superficial and relatively trivial events in a mans life. I am talking of huge, earth shattering experiences that ultimately may mark the three trimesters of a mans life; specifically...
The birth of a child: There is arguably no feeling to compare to the birth of your own child. The world is seen through your child's eyes, filled with promise and hope and limitless possibilities. This marks a period of discovery and challenge. You are now in charge of a life other than your own, and are (hopefully) mature enough to handle it. You look at your child as he/she looks up to you for guidance and security.
The death of your parents: Suddenly, you are the head of the family tree. While in the past you relied and took comfort in your family elders, you now must fulfill that role to the children and family members younger than you. Nothing will mature you faster than handling the funeral arrangements for your parents; you want to cry like their child, but know you must show strength as a family elder for the sake of the younger members of your family.
When friends your age begin to die: Talk about your ultimate eye opening experience, your feelings of invincibility and youth recede as you ponder your own longevity and legacy. You begin to wonder if the time will come when you must look to your offspring for guidance and security. You see that you are on a collision course with a moment of time when you will go from family elder to a member of the elderly. You go from in charge to out of control, from looked up to by others, to looked down upon and needing to be cared for. Is it time to make a "bucket list," or is it too late? Is it time to stop putting off that diet, stop smoking / drinking / eating like a college freshman, or Lord forbid, stop putting off that colonoscopy?
Of course this is all relative, depending on your age at the time of these occurrences. Every person is different, and no two perspectives are the same, but I have now experienced all three "benchmarks," and am grappling with my personal feelings along with mourning the loss of someone I worked with for over twenty five years.
He seemed so young, everyone says, but recent facts proved otherwise. He wasn't too young to die (of a non accident related death). And we were about the exact same age. I know this will pass, and is primarily the result of a mourning period, but the facts remain, and I don't like it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I read somewhere a blogger ranting over the banners congratulating high school grads. They went on to say that there is actually a smaller percentage of people eating breakfast every day than the percentage of students who get a high school diploma.
"Schools have been reduced to a lowest common denominator; the requirements to graduate are so basic that one has to make an effort not to graduate by (1) being absent from school excessively and failing to make up work, (2) refusing to do assigned work, or (3) being a constant disciplinary problem. Simply by attending school regularly and doing all assignments, a student is virtually guaranteed to graduate."
Parents act like the world should recognize their child's "achievement." They host big parties; they send out announcements in anticipation of gifts; they band together and print up those aforementioned neighborhood banners (on which they frequently misspell "congratulations"). But that diploma is not a measure of achievement--it's little more than a certificate of attendance.
The superlative student, the true scholar graduates right alongside the minimal achiever, the socially promoted, and the slacker who graduates only because his parents create so many problems for the school that it's easier to graduate the student than to fight the good battle to deny the student the diploma he didn't really earn.
High school's value comes not in graduating, but in realizing that the core skills and knowledge necessary for success can be gained there. Certainly, college and post-graduate studies can build on those skills. But all the basics are there already, if one simply chooses to take advantage of all that high school has to offer.
How many of those graduates actually do that? Not so many--certainly not the majority. Far too many students shoot for a minimal level of achievement, and society endorses that by acting like the minimal achievement of graduating is the only goal worth achieving.
This enabling of mediocrity and the rewarding of undeserved merit unfortunately follows the student throughout their lives; from the school system and into the business world. A business world which does not reward mediocrity, and does not offer social advancements for longevity for the most part (union shops being one of the lone exceptions). Clearly, the schools are not doing these students any favors by their acceptance of sub-par performances. In fact, the only thing they are preparing the students for is a continuum of sub-par, mediocre positions which will never reward the student/worker with anything but a sub-standard wage.
You want to reward your under achieving, unmotivated student with a realistic banner? Drive them around town looking for "Help Wanted" banners, then have them go in for an interview. You might just open their eyes for the first time in their coddled childhoods.


Since the recession began, private label food branding has become a major threat, biting into food earnings among companies like Kellogg's, Heinz Foods and Kraft. Now, with signs of an economic recovery on the horizon, price increases abating and consumer confidence on the rise, sales of store non-branded products—though still growing—are tapering off, analysts say.
While most of the nation’s largest food purveyors aren’t dropping their guard against private label anytime soon, market factors are lessening private labels menace—if only a bit. The Congressional Budget Office, for instance, now expects an official end to the recession by the second half of 2009—and that’s without the trillion-dollar stimulus.
The prevailing opinion is that private labels uptick had no direct correlation with the current economic slowdown, though consumers may be more prone to trade down in times of financial duress. Instead, much of private labels gains stem from the “sticker shock” experienced in realizing in the rapid and sudden food price increases we experienced the last quarter. With price growth slowing down, it seems that more economically stressed consumers are now returning to branded goods, once again preferring quality over price points, at least in the food sector.

Friday, June 5, 2009



The national average for public educators, grades K-12 hovers around $42,000.00, hardly the stuff that dreams are made of. Of all the reasons to be an educator, leaving a meaningful legacy, personal fulfillment, making a difference, etc., money is obviously well down on the list. So given the dismal U.S. testing and retention scores over the past decade, would elevating teacher salaries make a demonstrable difference? What if we raised teacher salaries, to say, $125,000.00 a year, with a potential for a yearly bonus of $25,000.00? How about if we kick in medical, dental, and vision coverage, a 403b retirement plan, short and long term disability insurance, and term life insurance?

This is the question raised....the real world question being tried by the Equity Project (link). Let's start with their mission statement...
The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School believes that teacher quality is the most important factor in achieving educational equity for low income students.
Spurred by this belief, TEP reallocates its public funds by making an unprecedented investment in attracting and retaining great teachers.
First, all TEP teachers earn a $125,000 salary, plus an annual bonus of up to $25,000.

A bold initiative, to be sure. But this is not theory. This is going to be tried and evaluated, poked and prodded in their first initiative, a 480 student middle school in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City that will open in September 2009.

Will they receive a line of applicants around the block? Of course they will. But not just any teacher will be eligible, they have set a rigorous set of qualifications necessary in order to be considered for hire; expert subject-area knowledge, teaching expertise and experience, strong curriculum development ability, and finally, outstanding verbal ability.

How will the applicants demonstrate their abilities in these areas? By submitting two of the following: (1) an unedited video clip of a lesson, accompanied by a written narrative that analyzes and reflects upon the teaching and learning that occurs in the lesson, (2) a portfolio of student work that demonstrates the progress of 2 specific students, accompanied by a written narrative that analyzes the progress that each student demonstrates, or (3) assessment data for at least one entire class of students accompanied by a written narrative that provides background on the assessments and analyzes the data.

Stringent requirements you say? There's more....the submission of one additional piece of evidence of any form demonstrating student learning, an essay describing personal pedagogical beliefs and approach, and a day-long teaching audition (either in the candidate’s classroom or in a TEP classroom).

As pictured above, the schedule for the students is demanding, focusing on core subjects, and Latin. For the teachers, they will focus their concentrations on teaching one subject only, and will work a typical day of 8am to 6pm, with ample time for prep work during the day.

Whether or not it fully succeeds, the Equity Project school is a truly groundbreaking experiment that will help children nationally as school systems struggle for ways to draw the best teachers to the toughest teaching environments. The Equity Project's basic paradigm is that excellent teachers are more valuable to society than smaller classes or new classroom technologies and therefore should be highly compensated. Implementation of that concept is long overdue.

Innovative? Try this on for size. The principal will actually make less money than the teachers, with a principal position making $90,000.00 per year. Do I think it will succeed? I hope so. With a little innovation, a little public support and the best educators money can buy, I think this idea has the potential to take the educational system by storm. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


President Obama, the candidate who ran screaming into the night when Clinton and others pushed the Muslim card during the primaries, the same candidate who shouted to the mountains of his belief in God and Christianity, will set forth a speech in Cairo tomorrow predicated on one unmistakable fact...."Hey guys, I'm one of you, help me get the U.S. out of Iraq." Ironic to say the very least.
Don't get me wrong, I wish him great success (I am not Rush Limbaugh). If he can get the Saudis to help us get the hell out of Iraq, I wouldn't care if he stayed for the month of Ramadan. One thing for sure, Obama goes for it. He has addressed a huge amount of issues despite being in only his forth month of office. Tomorrow, he will have a huge amount of pressure on him to achieve what this country desperately cut our Iraqi purse strings. Everything else he intends on accomplishing in his first term will require vast sums of money. And without cutting off Iraq's allowance, nothing else will be possible.


Most people today live their working lives to the 'what can I get away with' standard. It's pathetic, lazy and spectacularly self-defeating. They have accepted mediocrity, defined as moderate or low quality, in value, in ability, and/or in performance. As destructive as this is, it works in today's society, and in today's business world as well. We have all heard tales recently of failing CEO's being rewarded with million dollar incentive plans solely for their showing up, rather than being a reward for performance.
But that isn't the issue today. The issue is the devastating effect this paradigm is having on the generations to follow. Over 40 years ago it was estimated that we used 50 per cent of the brain's potential, twenty years ago it was estimated that we used 30 per cent of our brain's potential, ten years ago it was still thought that we used between 5 and 20 per cent of the brain's potential. Today, we know that we are consciously using less than one per cent of our brain's capabilities. How much lower can we set the bar?
Face it: we are amazing creations, filled with incredible potential. To settle for mediocrity simply means you are willing to live beneath your abilities, capabilities, giftings and talents. It is of little wonder that as we use less and less of our facilitys and as we demonstrate less and less drive and motivation in our own lives, we pass on these wonderful perspectives onto our siblings.
Statistics show that of all students enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District, a whopping 35% will drop out before graduating with a diploma. Lowered expectations....lowered results. We are drowning in a morass of mediocrity, and we are leaving our future generation in a quagmire they may never overcome.
As politicians seek desperately to explain our nations failing (and falling) academic test scores, it has become commonplace for them to promise the magic elixir to improve our schools, higher teacher salaries. The hypothesis being that additional compensation will somehow motivate failing teachers into motivate the failing student body. This is a unique twist, let's lower expectations AND give them a raise.
The fact is that each year, some children won’t pick up the concepts before the end of the year. They’ll flunk the tests, they won’t complete their schoolwork, maybe they won’t learn how to multiply or divide – whatever it is – they won’t be ready for the next grade. The sad fact is that they’re probably going there anyway.
Many school districts have policies that students can’t be held back. In the Spokane Public School system, they have a policy that states.... “No student shall be retained more than once during K-8 grades except in special cases”. The procedure says it’s because “research demonstrates that retention does not help students who do not succeed because they have low potential; have social, emotional, or behavioral problems; or lack motivation.” Lowered expectations...lowered performance levels.
Pick up any newspaper, or turn on any television and you will hear about the plight of General Motors. GM is a failure by any standard, however low. Despite a shifting marketplace towards fuel efficiency, despite the most blatant of indicators, despite enjoying record sales and profits a scant decade ago, GM is now readying themselves to cozy up to the governmental tit and get a bailout.....a billion dollar bailout no less. No upholding of expectations, no personal accountability, no penalty for failure. We have set the bar so low I want to vomit. We used to say what is good for GM is good for the country. I no longer accept that premise. Enough is enough.
And that is the world....the "World According to Kimba." Thanks for reading. Agree / disagree? Click on the word "comment" below and express your views. Anonymous comments accepted.


As reported by the New York Times....
The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked “highly confidential,” that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons.
The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an online newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy. That set off a debate among nuclear experts about what dangers, if any, the disclosures posed. It also prompted a flurry of investigations in Washington into why the document had been made public. On Tuesday evening, after inquiries from The New York Times, the document was withdrawn from a Government Printing Office Web site.
Several nuclear experts argued that any dangers from the disclosure were minimal, given that the general outlines of the most sensitive information were already known publicly.
The document contains no military information about the nation’s stockpile of nuclear arms, or about the facilities and programs that guard such weapons. Rather, it presents what appears to be an exhaustive listing of the sites that make up the nation’s civilian nuclear complex, which stretches coast to coast and includes nuclear reactors and highly confidential sites at weapon laboratories.
Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a private group in Washington that tracks atomic arsenals, called the document harmless. “It’s a better listing than anything I’ve seen” of the nation’s civilian nuclear complex, Mr. Cochran said. “But it’s no national-security breach. It confirms what’s already out there and adds a bit more information.”