Thursday, February 04, 2016

Vanguard of the Revolution--The Black Panthers

I took some of my students last night to see a special screening of "Vanguard of the Revolution--The Black Panthers." It was a good documentary, and given the questions and responses from my students it was a part of America's Civil Rights movement that they knew nothing about.

It is due to be presented on PBS on February 16 I believe.

That being said....

It clearly was meant for a "mainstream" audience....

The moderators at last night's event underscored that we only saw a 70-minute highlight of the total 2-hour documentary. OK--I can accept that. But what I saw really "sugar-coated" the history of the Panthers. 

The foundation of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, CA was Maoist Communism. Pure and simple.

I fully support that foundation.

Now, Huey and Bobby "knew" that the image of black berets, leather jackets and open-carry firearms would "attract" members to the Party. What they did with these new members, both males and females, was incredible. The programs initiated at the community level have been implemented in our society in a variety of ways (Free Breakfast and Lunch programs for the poor, free groceries, legal counseling, etc.). But the essence of the 10-Point Plan and the Party was Maoist Communism.

This philosophy began to be marginalized when Eldridge Cleaver joined the party....

There are a number of choice video snippets in the documentary. I am not going to give any away, other than to say the words of Governor Reagan and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover "floored" my students. Be on the watch for those great public statements.

For me, the key is that in the late-60s/early 70s we, as a society, had the greatest potential in our history to radically reshape our society. The previous opportunity happened after the Great Depression. Just as with that time, the Federal Government did its damned-est to physically eradicate elements of dissension and change within society. What emerged after the Great Depression were the social programs initiated by the Roosevelt Administration. What emerged after the 70s, though, was a movement to reverse the FDR policies. A total shift--a reaction to the growing fear in our society of strong social movements led by minorities and young people.

The documentary is important because it exposes an important part of our social history that many in today's generation know little, if anything, about. 

It is also important for cynics like myself to see how little we have progressed as a society since that time....

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Trump’s Loss

It was wonderful seeing Trump lose in the Iowa caucuses, but it is only a momentary glitch in his accelerating momentum.

If you look at the polls, he has a commanding lead in New Hampshire and South Carolina. He has the momentum to take many (if not all) of the states in the Super Tuesday primaries.

It was certainly great to see him “concede” last night’s election. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing many more of those concession speeches.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Feast of Snow Days!

Well, not exactly, but....

I've been out of school for two days--Friday and Monday. Devin has been out of school one week (5 school days). During that time we've stayed close to home (actually, limited to staying in the house for two days because of the snow), cooking some pretty good meals and drinking quite a bit on the weekend.

We also played "Cards Against Humanity" with Devin!

And he loved it.

Twisted little fellow that he is!

As I get closer to my birthday, I always think about how important family is. I love my family, and I'm glad we do many things together. If we weren't close, I'm sure we would kill each other during times when we are snowed in.

Now, as I get ready for school today, I know that I've had more than enough time to grade all 155 papers that were due this weekend while also reviewing my lectures.  I'm thankful for taking the time during Winter Break to get as many preps completed as I could so that I wouldn't fall behind like I did last semester.

It is still a good New Year! I'm gonna try to keep it that way!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Welcome to the First Day of Spring Semester

Another Spring Semester begins.

I honestly haven't felt this prepared to start a semester in a long time.

I've spend the last two weeks working very hard preparing for all my courses. I have been on this campus for three semesters so far and am thoroughly enjoying my time here. The students are great, colleagues are collegial, and the campus is beautiful.

This is going to be a great semester--I know it!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Boozefighting Again!

Susan and I had a great time out last night. Karaoke and drinking! But--we are paying the price for it today! It's ALL Good!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Economies of Everyday Life

I had planned on going on the motorcycle to New Orleans for the first week of Mardi Gras, but even with cheap gas and a place to stay, I am having difficulty justifying spending the money for this three day trip. I have mentally developed a budget, but I know I always go over it once I get down there and I don't really need to spend that much money with Susan's layoff just weeks away.

I probably will do the "adult" thing and stay home.

Hey, I'll spend half the money on my birthday ;)

It's All Good!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Last State of the Union

Overall, I was pretty impressed with President Obama's speech. I thought it highlighted the successes of this Presidency, and he shared his "hope" for the future.

I have not been happy with his Presidency. I honestly thought he could have done so much more. He came to office with the best of intentions, but neither he nor I were prepared for the racist onslaught that would dog his administration. That and a weak-back thin-skinned Democrat Congress--HIS Congress did him no favors by watering down and stalling the Affordable Health Care Act. What we have today pales in comparison to what it could be for the American people. Once Congress turned Republican, any initiative he would propose would be lost in the quagmire of partisanship. The Democratic Congress should have had the balls to work for the people--not their feared reelections.

The President truly became himself once he realized that he could act through Executive Action. With Executive Orders, he has been able to assert his progressive agenda with more vigor. True, he cannot run everything through that he wants. But he has definitely laid the foundation for the next Democrat coming to the Presidency.

Again, all-in-all a very good speech, highlighting a very successful Presidency. Thank you for your service Mr. President.