Thursday, July 20, 2006

(sometimes the wretched do get satisfaction)
I have always had soft spot in my heart for the little guy. It has always felt good to me when I believe that justice has been served. We as a race (human) and people (African Americans) know what its like to understand the good, bad and all things in between. So it is in this spirit that I document a few instances of such occurrences.Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Maryland in the early part of the 19th century. As a young teen she was struck in the head by her overseer for refusing to help him tie and beat a slave who'd tried to escape. For the rest of her life she would suffer dizzy spells and memory lost. Mrs. Tubman would later escape north but would make 19 trips down south and eventually lead 300 slaves to freedom. But I would imagine the especially sweet moments had to be freeing her family including her 70 year old parents shed left in bondage . That had to be a really special feeling to actually have successfully led her mother and father to the promise land and after a particularly difficult trip. The Little people striking back indeed!
In Virginia during the civil war an ex-slave turned Union soldier saw his master a confederate POW being lead away in chains and remarked “bottom Rail on top now Massa, bottom rail on top", in april of 1880’s, a black Cadet named Johnson Whittaker enrolled at the United States Military Academy (West Point), was attacked early one morning, beaten unconscious and tied to the his bed then left their bound and gagged, when he was discovered the next morning he , he was questioned by a doctor, who assumed he had tied himself up and bruised his body. Johnson Whittaker was then detained, charged and convicted for tying himself up, and injuring himself to get out of having to take a test (from a class he was passing at that). Of course the military commission that tried him was nothing more than a Kangaroo court designed to swiftly convict and get rid of the “Nigger” Cadet. After being convicted and sentenced to a military prison, West point was purged of that years only black cadet. Because of his bogus conviction his prison sentenced would later be commuted and he was dishonorably discharged. Whittaker would go on to a glorious career educating the freed peoples and their children. He would live to see his son’s and grandson serve as officers in the United States army, I can imagine that looking back on all of his life he must have felt great pride in his accomplishments (and his sons accomplishments). I imagine Mr. Whittaker as an old man sitting around the house with his grand kids and great grand kids and feeling great pride at having overcome racism of the most virulent form to extract some well earned satisfaction at the progress of his family. I can also imagine the pleasure that slave in Virginia, got when seeing his master and informing him of switch in circumstances. Just another glorious example of little people striking back.
Now for my last example of the little people receiving their due and attaining satisfaction. Somewhere in Atchison Kansas where the winters are very cold and the summers are very hot a woman named Ruth Ann Jackson and a man Joseph H Williams would come together in marriage to produce 10 kids. After 6 or so kids Joseph and Ruth split, only getting together to produce a kid every couple of years or so. Why they chose to continue having kids while not together I have no idea but anyway, it was during this period when Joseph began to claim that youngest of Ruth’s kids were not his.Everyone knew this was foolishness but that didn’t stop Joseph from telling any friend or family member those kids weren’t his. Anyway after one particular offensive instance of Joseph claiming not to be the father of Ruth's youngest kids. Their 12 year old daughter (Carmelia) brought one of the babies (Bess Jackson) that ole Joey claimed wasn’t his, home for his entire homestead and extended family to see. Lo and behold wouldn’t you know it the baby as well as all of the other kids (ole joey claimed wasn’t his) looked just like Joseph. In fact one of those kids would have a son (Joseph’s grandson) who would look just like Joseph. Legend has it that ole joey was cured of saying those kids weren’t his for all times after that. Major kudos to young Carmelia Jackson for her bold and daring move. I can imagine that Carmelia had had enough of ole Joey's Bull Shit and had decided to re-educate him as to the error of his (lying) ways. And what better way to do so other than using his own (child) handy work. So in solidarity with the eternal and universal struggle of all little people who have ever lived Carmelia struck a mighty blow and manage to change ole Joey's tune. By the way Carmelia just happens to be my aunt and Ole Joey my grandfather who I just happen to resemble more than I resemble my sister. Pretty strange for a grandkid not related to old Joey. Hmmmm.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


On the night of July 12, somewhere in N.E Washington DC, shortly pass 2am the power went out for the second time in 8 days. As I and others peacefully slept, bothering no one and quite contented the entire block on 16th street lost power.

I was not happy, In fact I think its safe to say that no one my street was in good spirits. This time there was no cold beer, in fact I had no cold anything everthing in my home quickly became hot. So, having to go work the next day I closed my eyes and tried to go back to swelter.........Oh Im sorry I meant to say sleep. Once again I tried to pretend that it wasnt that bad, but to be honest I wasnt fooling anybody it was hot.

So thier I lay fully understanding what the poor crab who has been placed in water to boiled for human consumption goes thru. Just my luck after 2 years of not loosing power I loose it twice it twice in 8 days. But fortunately for me and everyone else on 16th st the power only stayed off for about an hour. When I heard the radio click back on and the Air Conditioner cough then sputter back to life I knew thier was a god. I knew someone or something was looking out for a brother. Peace. Mark Bey

Monday, July 10, 2006


One of my favorite shows over the last 2 years is a show called The History Detectives which is a show produced by PBS. I have a deep and fundemental love for history (especially black history). I am very happy there is an African American male on the show, his name is Tukufu Zuberi. This brother is a very smooth , intelligent and articulate dude who represents himself well and deffinately adds to the show. The fact that he works in a scholastic field is something that black folks (youth) can be proud of because there are not enough black men or women who get such oppurtunities. Whenever I see a black man doing his thing in academia it makes me happy because thier are not enough. Keep representive for the rest of us Tukufu.

Now what makes the show good is that its supensful and informative all at the same time . Each show is split up into 3 or 4 segments, each segment starts with a guest who wants to know the story behind an artifact they collected, bought or inherited. One of the History Detectives meets with the guest, gets some initial info on the artifact and thus begans each episode. Sometimes stories have been passed down to the guest thru family members and others. The artifacts could be anything
from very old books- 18th century dolls, ect. In an effort to identity the items the detectives will search, through archives, libraries, newspapers, talk to historians as well as visit different places all over the country. They could be researching a doll allegedly given to a slave by Confederate General Robert E. Lee, or whether or not a famous Indian chief gave a former Union Army General a Tomahaw. It could be anything old artific one could think of.

This show is one that I always try to watch and Tukufu is my favorite history dectective In fact it was from Tukufu that I learned that Robert E Lee once ordered a slave who had run away to be whipped. I have used this juicy little tibit of information in my quest to re-educate lost cost Civil War bloggers who try to pretend that the Confederacy was not fighting for thier slave property. Also the children of the Confederate Clowns of America........oh Im sorry I meant to say Confederate States of America are going around trying to say that thier Wascaly little rebellion was about honor and principle. They even have the nerve to call it the war of Northern Agreession even though they fired the first shot. These Clowns seemed not to ever have come across the South Carolina Articles of Session where it clearly states the Confederate Clowns Of America were fighting because they feared loss of thier slaves. Now in Oxon Hill we have always refered to this behavior as white "Cooning". Anyway I have digressed let us return to the history detectives. After thorough research the detectives return to the guest house or sometimes they bring the guest to the field of study, sometimes they tell the guest things such as We cant confirm that the Lee family gave the doll to the slave, but thier are accounts of the Lees giving dolls as gifts much like the doll the guest owns. Sometimes it is discovered that the person the guest thought was associated with the with the artifact actually was. All in all I consider the History Detectives a very good show. I recomend it for anyone with a love of American history. Mark Bey

Plan for getting kids reading and writing on their correct grade level
I believe that if a woman signs up for Welfare, her kids should have to pass a reading, writing , ect test. If the mother cant read well enough to assist her children, there should be tutoring lessons available. These lessons would be given by tutors , volunteers, interns and staff. I would love to make this a military run or assisted group of programs. This is how it could work, when a woman signs up for welfare, she signs a contract stating that she will keep her children’s grades on average grade level for their age. This means she will enforce their homework policy, make sure they study, find and create study groups for her kids . They will be regularly tested to ensure that they are functioning on grade level. There are already programs of this sort being run by the government, schools, churches, recreation centers. Ect. So some of these programs could be melded, recreated, expanded ect. A woman who signs up for welfare would have a bonus taxed on her check that is collected into a bonus to equal $ 1000 dollars.

Job Training/Entrepreneurial program
Once youth are in high school maybe we could set up youth core programs that would train youth on the skills and acceptable ways to conduct oneself at work. We could also teach them Entrepreneurial skills. For example DC has a large tourism population. Why not set up youth run jobs such as tours of dc historic neighborhoods, youth ran lawn care services and clean services for the city. Especially the rivers and wild areas. We could also set up arts programs for musically and dance talented youth , the youth could stage shows and performances , sell tickets and learn business skills.

Manhattan Project type effort to find a cure for aids.
Their have been several times when the nation has pulled together in a group effort for the common good and interest of the nation. The nation should do this and find a cure for aids. In the early 1940’s the US government created the Manhattan project to develop a nuclear bomb for the nation. It had been widely understood that Nuclear Energy could be used to create the most power weapon in the history of the world. So with that in mind the US government brought together the best scientific minds in the field, in and effort to beat the Germans. After bombing Germany’s heavy water and Nuclear bomb plant the Americans finally succeeded in creating the bomb, in time enough to use . After dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Japanese surrendered thus ending WW2. Also in the early 1960’s President Kennedy proclaimed that America should make it a priority to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade and the American space program made it happen. I say we can same do the thing, when it comes to finding a cure for aids. We get together the best thinkers and scientist in the Field. Have them meditate (think tank) on it, create a program and then get to work finding a cure. We set up massive concerts such as freedom fest and Live Aid (especially featuring the black celebrities we have) to raise money for a Manhattan type of program to discover a cure for aids. Also people with aids should be able to have up to $500.00 dollars of their taxes differed to this effort. This project should make it a goal to find a cure within the next 10 years. We could try to get Bill Gates to add his muscle to this program.

I look forward to any comments or ideas anyone may have. Mark Bey

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I’ve got some thoughts , I’m thinking that if a women has kids and she signs up for welfare. She should also sign something saying her kids will be reading and writing on their correct grade level. Look I’m not knocking welfare or people who need help. But their are a whole lot of people getting over on the welfare system. Not everyone but too many people for my taste and working people who pay taxes have a right that those dollars be used efficiently.

Anyway this is what I think we should do and some ideas on how to implement it. If a woman signs up for welfare shouldn’t her kids be at least functioning at the normal grade school level. If the mother cant read we can get her tutoring lessons. I believe that this can be done relatively cheap as both college and high school students need volunteer hours to graduate. The students could tutor the parents in reading first. Then they could move on to basic math science whatever basic courses elementary school kids have. After passing these classes , the parents would get a financial bonus.

When the kids become old enough to began the process of learning to read. We could have free tutoring daycare for the kids ages 3 - 18. All of these services would be performed by volunteers, interns and students. Every year you have basic skills and function test. The purpose of these test would be to make sure that every child is reading and writing at the proper grade level. Students could train the parents to began to teach their kids how to read and write at grade level. We could have public after school programs ran by the parents, students, and professionals (some volunteers). We should also create after games and other interactive activities using rap to teach, reading writing and arithmetic. These programs could be conducted well by the mothers (primarily ones who are smart and have their shit somewhat together), College students in school for education, as well as high school students who need volunteer hours to graduate.

Along the way (from ages 14 -21) you could have the mothers in this program retrained as mothers, leaders and educators to their children. We could set up test for parents and their kids that make sure that they functioning on their correct educational level. . If anyone has any objections to test we can try to do something else that tells how well mothers and kids are doing. I figure it this way, if were going to foot the bill in order to provide welfare to needy women. I got no problem with that , but at least the parents could put in a serious effort to make sure their kids are getting education, reading and writing skills they will need to survive. This also goes for men with kids who sign up for welfare. Mark Bye
Happy 500th hit to Progress
Hey folks I just reached my 500th hit here at Progress. I have only been in the blogging game since April, and already Ive joined the 500 club. Anyway I would like to thank all my fellow bloggers for their love and support. Thanks for rolling with a brother. Peace. Mark Bey

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July Power Outage
Hello fellow bloggers. I was on the Net blogging early Fourth of July morning when I decided to make a pilgrimage to 7/11 to cop goodies. So after accomplishing my mission (unlike G Bush), I hopped back on my bike and I’m back on my street in about 10 minutes. When I pulled up to my house I noticed that the street lights were out on my block. Also there are people outside sitting on the porch. At that point I’m thinking man, this aint looking good. But I’m hopping against hope because it is hot even at 2:00 in the morning and the weather man has already said that it would be a scorcher on the fourth.

You see it is 4th of July 2006 in Washington DC. Folks are already lighting fireworks (as they have been for the last ten days). As one can imagine it is pretty hot in DC right now, so when I saw those people on the porch at 2:00 in the morning that was not a good sign. I was beginning to realize I was in for some serious sweltering/sweating. I open the front door, and don’t here my TV, this is not good because I know I left the TV on before I left. I get upstairs and everything soon became official the power was indeed off, and it was roasting. Their was no was air condition, no radio or TV, personally I can deal with the TV and Radio being out of action, but not having the Air conditioner and the computer will be tough deal with. I grab the OJ and a chair then go outside and sit on my front porch to cool off. I grab my headphones set the dial to NPR and listen to the radio while drinking OJ. By this time a few kids along with their parents have come outside to escape the heat. I’m sitting on the porch trying to avoid the miniature vampires (mosquitoes) and watching a few kids run around playing. After about 15 minutes I head upstairs to try in get some swelter..... Oh I’m sorry I mean sleep. Already I have decided that if the power is not back on in the morning that Ill go to Borders book store as soon as it opens in order to find relief/refuge from the heat.

So I lay down and after about 40 minutes of boiling, I eventually fall asleep, it was a decent sleep I mean I didn’t wake up and I don’t remember what I dreamed about so it must have been a decent sleep. When I finally wake up the sun is shining brightly, which is a good. It is also roasting which is not a good thing. What I’m hoping for is that it is 10:00 am for that is the time that Borders opens up. I slip on the headphones and wait for NPR to announce the time because I don’t have a watch. I listen to NPR and after about ten minutes NPR graciously announces it is ten O’Clock. Good, so I take a shower then head out to Borders which is about 20 minutes away by bike (13 minutes by car). Ill admit it was a nice hot bike ride, but it was a lot better than roasting in my apartment, finally I reach the promise land (borders).
After locking up my bike I walk into the coolness and tranquility of the book store. First thing I do is go to the Cafe and order a small Latte with a double shot of expresso. Having secured the Latte I walk over to the section where they display the new Biographies, and to my pleasant surprise their is a new book about U.S Grant, the Union civil war General that is largely credited with winning the civil war. This is a good thing as I am a huge Grant fan and ravid civil war enthusiast (ever since I saw Glory). So I grab the book about Grant find one of the nice comfortable black leather chairs and spend the next 4 hours in the pleasant environment of Borders. So after 4 hours of reading I leave Borders and head home, I’m hoping that the power will be back on when I arrive.When I arrive in my neighborhood I’m seeing signs that the power is still on. Mainly several people with several bags of Ice are coming out of the corner (Mom and Pop) store. I’m hopping against hope that the Ice is for coolers to chill drinks at barbeques as people are celebrating Independence day and not because the power is still off. I go into the store buy some more juice, ice for my cooler just in case and a 24 once MGD (Miller Genuine Draft). After paying for my juice and beer I hop on my bike and head home, about a minute later I arrive at my front door.

Down the street I see a power company truck and a work crew, this brings me some hope that the power may be back on yet. As I’m locking my bike up on my front porch I see the power truck coming up the street, hopefully this means the power's back on, I’m still hoping when I see one of my neighbors motion to the power truck and raise his arms and yell, "Yall aint got the power on yet’. Hearing this dashes all of my hopes for a comfortable rest of the day. Anyway I walk up stairs and it is hot so I put the drinks in the cooler, after I sit down I pour myself a cup of cold beer, grab a book, put on my headphones and try to pretend that it is not that hot. One problem though, it is too hot to even pretend that its not that hot, unfortunately their is nothing I can do except drink cold beer (which I’m thankful for) and wait out the heat (which Im not thankful for).
As the hours go by It finally dawns on me what a poor crab must go through, when the water theyve been placed in (for cooking), is just beginning to get really, really warm, those poor crabs must be in agony feeling the temperature get warmer and warmer with no way of cooling off. I unlike those crabs I had the option of opening the cooler and splashing my face arms and legs with ice cold water, their is no such reprieve for the crab ( or Lobster for that matter), but I digress, let me get on with the story. As the day goes (broils on) I’m drinking cold beer and listening to an Npr story featuring Helen Thomas about checks and balances set up by the founding fathers to minimize corruption and other abuses of power by government. After a few hours of broiling, drinking beer and listening to Npr I noticed that clouds began to form in the sky.

Finally it rained (thunder stormed) briefly, which lowered the Temperature from 93 down to a comfortable 70 degrees. Two hours after the Storm the power came back on and I imagine their were a lot of happy people on my street including yours truly. So in conclusion I would like to say to all of my fellow bloggers whether or not you ever get caught without power if you insist on eating Crab or Lobster please make sure the water or stove is boiling hot before you put em in. It is this bloggers opinion that there is no need to make the poor crab (soon to be dinner) suffer any more than needs be. Also there is a part of me that wants to believe the storm ( and the cooler temperatures that came with it) was The big G (god) having mercy on my poor (overly heated ) soul. Although I can’t prove it was The big G (god), the lower temperatures were right on time, so that’s the story I’ll stick to. Mark Bey