Monday, April 16, 2007


Who had the audacity to call Jessee Jakson and Al Sharpton terrorists? Don Imus? No. Rush Limbaugh? No. The Grand Lizard of the Kook Klucks Klown? No. The Duke lacrosse players who were terrorized by these two charlatans? No. It was Jason Whitlock, a columnist for the KANSAS CITY STAR. Appearing on MSNBC's TUCKER television program during its coverage of the Imus flap, Whitlock had some harsh things to say about these two "leaders" of the black community. According to the April 12 program transcript, Whitlock made the following remarks.

"But these guys have driven the issue and -- and I would say to CBS, don't negotiate with terroriists, because that's what Jessee Jackson and Al Sharpton are. They go around the country lighting fires and dividing people, and then start picking everyone's pocket."

"You never see them go back and apologize for the messes they make. Jessee Jackson todaly, right now, should be down at Duke, apologizing to those soccer (sic) players, rather than trying to turn these basketball players at Rutgers into the ultimate victims."

"He owes the people down at Duke an apology for going and stirring in that mess, and dividing people and dividing this nation. They're terrorists. They go around this country starting fires, and they need to be stopped."

Is Whitlock some kind of honky (white) bigot? No. He is a respected black journalist - or at least up to now he was. Whitlock was immediately attacked by black commentators for the remarks he made on TUCKER and for similar things he wrote in a column on the Imus flap.

When Tucker Carlson asked Whitlock why Jackson and Sharpton "have so much power?," Whitlock replied, "Now, this one here, I will put on the media." He went on to say, "other than Jessee and Al lining their pockets, they have done nothing."

OK, so Whitlock misidentified the sport of the falsely accused lacrosse players, but that should not detract from his factual description of Jackson and Sharpton as terrorists. It has long been charged that, given the opportunity, these shake-down artists will confront corporations, threatening to hold demonstrations in front of their offices and threatening them with boycuts of their products if they did not make substantial contributions to Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Sharpton's National Action Network. If you and I made such threats, we would be facing criminal charges for extortion.

Although I have been criticizing Jackson and Sharpton for many years in much the same way as Whitlock, I have never thought of them as terrorists. They pretend to be civil rights advocates when in fact they are practitioners of perpetual victimhood. That is the only way they can get the photo-ops and media spotlight they need to keep the money rolling in, so they don't have to get a job and work for a living like the rest of us. It takes a lot of courage for a black man to take them on. Jason Whitlock is a very brave man.

Kathleen Parker, a WASHINGTON POST columnist, describes Jackson and Sharpton as "those two rogue race-baiting reverends." She's sure got that right. Come to think of it, by combining Whitlock's and Parker's description of these phony preachers, we end up identifying Jackson and Sharpton as rogue race-baiting terrorists. African-Americans would have a better chance at a piece of the American pie if they would only give the boot to those charlatans, stop wallowing in victimhood, and quit blaming every misfortune on racism.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


This time, Don Imus, the radio shock-jock, has really let his mouth overload his ass. By now, unless you live under a rock, you have heard that he denigrated the Rutgers women's basketball team, which reached the finals of the NCAA tournament, by referring to the players as "nappy-headed hos." His racially charged remarks constituted a hurtful insult to the eight black team members.

Imus, who I do not believe is a racist, was trying to be funny. Like his good buddy Kinky Friedman, he has told racial and ethnic jokes on many past occasions. Imus should have taken a page out of Kinky's book. At the start of the last Texas gubernatorial race, Kinky's polling nmbers were amazingly high (just below those of the incumbent governor), but his candidacy quickly flamed out when his past jokes came back to bite him in the ass. His long ago nightclub comedy routine came to light and did not sit well with the Texas electorate.

Imus' problem was that he sees himself as both comedian and political commentator. Politicial notables and media personalities have been frequent guests on his radio program. Had Imus stuck strictly to his role as a shock-jock, as has his arch enemy Howard Stern, his reprehensible remarks about the Rutgers players would not have created the same degree of outrage that is now swirling about him.

Imus, reduced to the pathetic image of a groveling tortured soul, has apologized daily to no avail. Leading the charge in demanding that he be fired are those paragons of hypocricy, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who make their living by fanning the flames of racial hatred whenever and wherever the opportunity arises, only to depart without extinguishing the fires they lit. No one demanded that Jackson be fired as head of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition when, in 1984, he made his infamous anti-Semitic "Hymietown" crack about New York City, and when he called Jews "hymies" - and he was not trying to be funny at the time.

Politicians and media personalities continue to suck up to Sharpton, despite his leading role in 1987 in the Tawana Brawley hoax which ruined a falsely accused prosecutor's career and led to the suicide of a falsely accused cop. (See my blog DEMOCRATS AND MEDIA PERSONALITIES SUCK UP TO A CHARLATAN, January 28, 2007.) Sharpton has never apologized for his reprehensible role in that hoax. To this day he continues to insist that Brawley's false accusations were true and that he became involved only because she came to him for help. That is a bald-faced lie. Sharpton and his two cohorts initiated their involvement with Brawley after the police investigation became public, and that involvement is what marked him a leader in the black community. Nor has Sharpton ever accepted responsibility for the eight deaths he caused in 1995 after he organized and led a protest against a Jewish landlord.

Since Sharpton and Jackson have loudly injected themselves into the Imus flap, it should be mentioned that they also led the black outrage in the Duke University "rape" case. The accusations by a paid black exotic (nude) dancer that she had been gang raped by white Duke lacrosse players at an off-campus team party also turned out to be a hoax. Just today, the North Carolina Attorney General droped all charges and announced that the accused players had been completely exonerated. Are Sharpton and Jackson going to apologize for their role in stirring up the black community against the falsely accused players? Don't hold your breath!

Imus is not a black hip-hop artist. Where is the black outrage against the hip-hop pop culture in which black rappers freely rap about "bitches," "hos" and "niggas?" Although Sharpton and Jackson have denounced "gangsta" rap, they have never organized any demonstrations of black outrage against the offending rappers or their record label companies. Nor have those two charlatans ever led any protests against black comedians like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock for the frequent use of the same vocabulary in their comedy routines.

Today, MSNBC announced it will no longer simulcast Imus' broadcasts. In the end, as with MSNBC, he may still get fired by CBS. Imus could also lose his radio show because some of his biggest sponsors are withdrawing their ads or because his audience might desert him. Thus far, Aetna, American Express, GEICO, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble and Staples, among others, have pulled their ads from his program. As always, money talks, bullshit walks.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Many years back, ex-felons, criminals who have served their time and are said to have paid their debt to society, were denied the right to vote and to hold public office, both recognized as basic civil rights. Back then, an ex-con could vote or hold public office only if he had been granted a rarely bestowed pardon by the governor of the state in which he had been convicted. Civil libitarians questioned the appropriateness of what they perceived as perpetual punishment.

Over the years, most states have come to restore these rights automatically once the felon has completed his sentence. Some have waiting periods before these rights are automatically restored. Florida, Kentucky and Virginia require ex-felons to apply for the restoration of their civil rights regardless of how long they have been out of prison. However, Florida is about to grant the automatic restoration of civil rights to ex-cons who have not been convicted of certain offenses, such as sex crimes, murder, and other crimes of major violence.

Ex-felons are generally barred from receiving the state licenses required of teachers, law enforcement related personnel, lawyers, doctors, realtors, barbers, beauticians, and others. Back in the '60s, California started hiring some ex-felons as correctional counselers if they met the educational requirements for these positions. Because they were less likely to be conned by the cons, those counselers were much more effective than the ones who had never been incarcerated. Ex-felons are also prohibited from possessing firearms, a reasonable denial of second amendment rights.

Ex-felons also have problems in obtaining ordinary employment. In most instances, bonding companies will refuse to bond them. Many businesses are reluctant, if not opposed, to hire ex-cons even though there is not a shred of evidence that their work performance and on-the-job behavior is any different from that of ordinary employees. This leads them to falsify employment applications, and when that is discovered, they are fired even if they have been performihng well on the job.

California and other states used to require drug offenders to register upon completion of their sentence. That is no longer the case. Now, all states require sex offenders to register with the police agency having jurisdiction over their place of residence. Whenever they move, they are required to notify that agency and to register with the appropriate police agency if they move to a different jurisdiction. In most places, sex offenders are prohibited from living within a specified distance of any school, day care center, park, or any other place where children might gather.

Miami has some of the toughest sex offender restrictions in the nation. Sex offenders in that city are prohibited from residing within 2,500 feet of any place where children might gather. That makes it impossible for them to reside anywhere within the City of Miami. Those restrictions have the effect of making sex offenders homeless. Miami has an ordinance prohibiting the homeless from taking up residence under bridges. Recently, however, the probation department placed six sex offenders underneath one of the bridges because there was no other place for them to live. They were ordered to register with the police as residing under the bridge and they are visited nightly by a probation officer.

During World War II, many ex-felons served with distinction and honor in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Indeed, a substantial number of prison inmates were granted early releases so that they could volunteer for service in the armed forces of our country. Since the end of the Viet Nam war, ex-cons have been barred from serving in the all-volunteer military services. Because our armed forces have been stretched to the limit by the war in Iraq, waivers have been granted to some ex-felons in an effort to overcome a serious decline in recruitment.

Even though I am a hard law and order advocate, I have always felt that ex-felons should have their civil rights restored. Since we want them to be good citizens, we should give them the right to vote and to hold public office if they have paid their debt to society. Because the recidivism rate is about 50%, a waiting period of no more than five years after discharge from a felon's sentence may be appropriate. Instead of a blanket prohibition against granting occupational licenses, applications by ex-cons should be considered on a case by case basis.

Sexual predators, especially child molesters, should be required to register, but restrictions on where they can reside, unlike those in Miami, should be reasonable. You can bet that those six sex offenders under that Miami bridge will soon dissapear to take up residence somwhere in the city and, because they will be living less than 2,000 feet from children, they will not register as required.

The denial of civil rights to ex-felons is a denial of justice. Once, they have served their time and paid their debt to society, ex-cons should not continue to be punished.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Lately, we have been bombarded with television commercials praising the Medicare Drug Prescription Program and asking us to oppose any changes thereto which may be proposed by Congress. Fred Thompson, former U.S. Senator from Tennessee and current District Attorney on television's LAW AND ORDER, editorialized the same message over the radio. Why the campaign to keep the drug prescription program in its present form?

The pharmaceutical industry is fighting a possible repeal of the provision which prohibits Medicare from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. This provision results in the price gouging of taxpayers and sick seniors. The Veterans Administration has the right to negotiate drug prices with the result that, in many cases, it gets drugs for less than half of what they cost Medicare.

Which members of Congress wrote the Medicare drug prescription bill? None of them. It was written by lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry. That industry spends over a 100 million dollars a year lobbying Congress. Those lobbyists sneaked in the provision which prohibits Medicare from negotiating the price of drugs. When presented to Congress, the bill was so voluminous that few members of Congress or their staffs were able to read it before it was voted on.

Whenever anyone suggests that the prohibition against price negotiations be repealed, they are told that the drug manufacturers have to charge the prices they do in order to have the millions and millions of dollars needed for research and development. The development of new life-saving drugs, they claim, would be impeded if the negotiating prohibition were to be removed from the Medicare drug prescription law.

The pharmaceutical industry has always claimed that it spends most of its income on research and development. That is not true, and never has been. They spend far more money on marketing and lobbying than they ever do on research and development. In addition to the cost of lobbing, the industry spends obscene amounts on television commercials, print media ads, and pitches for their drugs to physicians and hospitals.

For a couple of years back in the mid-'50s, I worked as a "drug detail man" - now known as a pharmaceutical sales representative - for a small pharmaceutical manufacturer. My job was to call on doctors and persuade them to prescribe my company's products in their medical practice. I was given plenty of samples to leave with them and I was able to take them out to lunch or dinner occasionally. Once, I was even able to take a doctor to the Patterson-Harris world heavyweight boxing championship fight. However, my company did not have the resources to compete with its larger competitors in enticing doctors to prescribe the drugs being pitched.

What were some of these enticements? Actually, bribes would be a more accurate description. Some pharmaceutical companies would provide interest free loans to furnish the offices of new doctors. Many of those loans would be forgiven if the doctor prescribed their drugs exclusively. Most companies provided gifts to doctors. One company gave doctors expensive pens. Once the word got around, dcctors would ask the detail man for one of the pens. Those doctors were told that they could have one only if they would use it to prescribe his company's products. For their favorite doctors, some companies covered the costs for office Christmas parties.

Las Vegas was in my territory. When I pitched my company's products to the chief physician of a large clinic, this is what he told me. "Look, I'll be frank with you. Every month, - - - - - - takes all of our people and our wives or husbands to a dinner show at one of the casinos. You do that, and I'll be glad to have us prescribe some of your products. Otherwise, you're wasting your time and ours by calling on us." One can only speculate on how much it cost to take six doctors, six nurses, three receptionists, three lab technicians, and four business office employees, together with all their wives, husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends out to a Las Vegas casino for dinner and drinks every month.

In those days, pharmaceutical advertisements were limited to multi-full-page color spreads in medical journals. Even then, marketing expenditures far exceeded the expenditures for research and development. Do the pharmaceutical companies end up paying for the obscene amount they spend on lobbying and marketing? No! They profit from it by charging consumers higher prices. The Veterans Administration gets its drugs for a lot less than Medicare. The Canadians get the same drugs for a lot less than Americans. The price gouging of taxpayers and sick seniors will continue as long as Medicare is prohibited from negotiating for the price of prescription drugs.