Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Tribute to Excellence


A Tribute to Excellence

I received such a huge response from people across the country regarding my article on Dr. Richard Allen Williams that I've decided to add a permanent feature to my column. I've decided to call it "A Tribute to Excellence" and use it as a platform to highlight both the character and accomplishments of those who bring excellence to our community.

While reading the responses to the article on Dr. Williams, it occurred to me that when we look at the myriad of problems that we have in the Black community, we generally attribute them to joblessness, crime, and a poor educational system. While all of those issues undoubtedly contribute to the dysfunction within the community, they are merely symptoms. The actual source of these and many other problems go directly to the image that we've allowed our young people to embrace regarding what we represent as a people.

An excellent example of that is Tyler Perry's "Madea." While all of us in the community know, love, and appreciate characters like Madea, our community has much more to offer the world than what's reflected in Madea's character - in fact, Tyler Perry himself is representative of the wealth of creative excellence that resides within our community. But unfortunately, that's rarely reflected in the media.

If extraterrestrials are monitoring our media transmissions from outer space, they probably think that all Black people are either athletes, criminals, or clowns. We've got to change that image, because unfortunately, extraterrestrials are not the only ones monitoring those transmissions, so are our children, and in many cases they don't have positive examples of Black manhood, or accomplished Black females to offset those negative images in their home. Their mothers are often good people, but they're generally struggling just to make ends meet.

Many of these young people who come from single-parent homes have no idea what it really means to be a man, or, how a man should relate to a woman and a family. They get their definition of manhood from either the street, or the media - BET, and the like. For many, their idea of manhood is the willingness to blow a person's brains out for the most inadvertent slight, or treat their woman with disrespect and disdain. They know absolutely nothing of the nurturing side of manhood that's necessary to raise and comfort a little girl, or the tough-minded character and determination necessary to overcome life's adversities with dignity, perseverance, and resolve.

So once a month I intend to feature a man or woman who has demonstrated excellence in achievement, character, or selflessness within the community, and I hope other Black writers, producers, and people in the media will follow suit, because the time has long since past when we should have been flooding our community with these images of Black excellence.

Please feel free to suggest people who you think should be featured in this series to the email address below.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Economy is Just a symptom - it's Hypocrisy, Stupid!


The Economy is Just a Symptom - it's Hypocrisy, Stupid!

Every Sunday preachers across this country are preaching about Hell and damnation. They claim that if we don't repent and change our ways we're going to die and suffer Hell's fury throughout eternity. While that's a powerful pitch, that's not actually how things work. It is true that bad behavior will cause us to suffer, but our suffering isn't limited to the hereafter; ignorance and bad behavior creates our Hell right here on Earth. Clear evidence of that is that we're currently living in the pits of Hell as we speak.

When God created man, he created him to be complete and self-sufficient. God deals in perfection, thus, man requires neither a user's guide nor technical support to guide his spirituality. God gave man all the necessary tools that he needed to survive in his environment, just like he provided birds with the sense to fly South in the Winter, and the instinct to know exactly which direction to fly in order to reach their destination. Similarly, God provided man with a mind that allows him to create his own destiny, and a conscience that constantly reminds him of right from wrong. In short, God incorporated his word, and his will, within us. It's called "common sense." It is only when we ignore that common sense and allow the corruption of man into the mix that we are led astray.

But man has allowed other men to circumvent God's gift to humanity. We've allowed Godless, greedy, and self-serving men to gain control over our minds by convincing us that we can only know God through them, and that God has made them the gatekeepers of his kingdom. Then, in order to circumvent our God-given common sense, they've convinced many of us that to even question their word on this matter is to smite God's will, and will result in the most severe punishment - again, "throughout eternity."

That threat is a powerful deterrent for the less thoughtful among us to pursue man's natural inclination to embrace logic and reason. So it is through this device that greedy, Godless, and powerful men have convinced the gullible to worship man over God, and to have more "faith" in the words of man than in the deeds of God, and God's clear intent for man to be a logical being. It's the perfect scam. The gullible have been persuaded that they must pay homage to the powerful in order to please God, and they've been convinced to sacrifice themselves and their families on the promise that they'll be rewarded when they die. What makes this scam so perfect is that it's open-ended, and the scam artists never have to worry about anyone ever coming back to say they were lying.

The above scam is totally responsible for why the poor, middle class, and undereducated are experiencing pure hell right here on Earth.  The gullible have been convinced by their man-God to embrace hypocrisy, and ironically, it's that very hypocrisy that's causing them to cut their own throats. While these so-called emissaries from God claim that God wants us to love our neighbor, it is the hatred of our neighbor that's driving both our foreign and domestic policy. This nation has been convinced that God frowns upon our failure to protect the rich, and our urge to protect our own families represents "the evils of socialism." As a result , in 2008 $711 billion - 18% of our entire budget - went towards this "Christian" nation's capacity to kill others, while middle-class families have lost their jobs, their homes, and poor people are starving. Where were the Tea Baggers then, or when the Bush administration literally "lost" $8 billion in Iraq, then built an embassy in Iraq that's rivalled only by the Vatican in size and opulence - and on a credit card?

This, they tell us was God's will. They also tell us that it was God's will to send poor and middle-class kids to war - against a country that did absolutely nothing to us - without the necessary equipment to protect their lives. And it was also God's will to make these kids pay for the equipment that had to be cut from their wounded bodies as they lie on the battlefield, and later, forced these young troops to pay for their own meals while they laid in the hospital recuperating from their wounds.

While it is merely curious how the powers that be could get poor and middle-class White people to buy into this scam, it's absolutely astonishing how they got Black people to believe that a White man with creamy white skin, blue eyes, and flowing blond hair was born in the desert to a woman who never had sex - especially since Black people were taught this while they were tied up next to the mules.

What it goes to show is, if you can get people to fear the Bogeyman (Devil) as children, then continue that lie long enough, passionately enough, and often enough, you can get people to believe in anything - and it doesn't hurt at all if you have opportunists in their own community getting rich by propagating the lie.

The Christian Bible says, "Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." That's good advice. The people of this nation need to understand that the Bogeyman is not going to get them for questioning a lie. That's not the Devil causing them to question their "faith, " that's God trying to tell them to stop being idiots and use their common sense. The only Bogeyman is man himself, so they should not be afraid to use the common sense that God gave them. God doesn't need an intermediary. He's not saying anything to any other man that he's not saying to all of us.  If he did, I'm sure he would have informed Popes of the past that it was inappropriate to torture human beings during the Inquisitions, and certainly he would have pointed out to  the current Pope that it was inappropriate to put the reputation of the church before the welfare of children who were being molested by his priests - don't you think?

Now, I'm not saying that all religious people are liars, thieves, or stupid, because that's certainly not the case. Some of the most honorable and well-meaning people in this country are devout Christians, Muslims, and followers of various other faiths, but what I am saying is that they should all take a moment to ask themselves one question:  When they embrace the dogma related to them by man, are they truly worshiping God, or are they actually worshiping man himself? After all, if man truly believes in what he's been selling us, then America was founded in direct violation of several of the Commandments - that we shouldn't steal or kill, that we should love our neighbor, and that we should treat others as we want to be treated. In addition, we are currently guilty of colluding with Israel to commit the very same sins against the Palestinian people as we speak. So are we really being led by God?

While I'm not religious, meaning that I make it a point to keep man out of my relationship with God, I am very spiritual. But the God that I believe in would never say that it's alright to go to another country and kill a million people just because they're sitting on oil and don't believe what I believe; neither would he say that it's alright to torture other men as long as we call it an "enhanced interrogation technique." And he certainly wouldn't say that we should condemn an entire religious group based on the actions of a few criminals that just happened to be of that faith.

So my God suggested that I close with the following question: He pointed out that it was "Christians" who enslaved and lynched Black people in the South, so does that mean that Black people should burn Bibles and prohibit Christian churches from being built in the 'hood?

Think about that. Then consider the depth of our hypocrisy.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dr. Richard Allen Williams: Miles Ahead


Dr. Richard Allen Williams: Miles Ahead

Anyone who's a regular reader of this column know that I'm an aggressive advocate of redefining the skewed cultural mores of the Black community. We've allowed ourselves to be inaccurately defined by the corporate media as a people who are shallow, frivolous, anti-intellectual, and whose only interest is in strutting around like peacocks as we denigrate the very womb of our culture.

This inaccurate cultural profile not only has a negative impact on every Black person under evaluation for any kind of upward mobility, but it also sends the message to Black youth that they have a cultural obligation to be idiots, and that the pursuit of knowledge is "un-Black," thus, not cool.

The media also sends the message to Black youth that their cultural niche in society is limited to becoming either an athlete or an entertainer. While it is true that Black people tend to excel in those areas, that's only because for much of our African American history those were the only areas in which we were allowed to participate. The fact is, however, and as any cognitive researcher can attest, creativity is one of the primary indicators of overall intelligence. Thus, the very same creativity that goes into the making of a Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, or an Aretha Franklin, can easily be transferred to medical research, physics, or cosmology.

In that regard, I'd like to introduce you to Dr. Richard Allen Williams. Dr. Williams was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. Upon graduating from Howard High School at the top of his class with a 4.0 grade-point average, he was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard University, from which he also graduated with honors, and as the first African American student at Harvard from the state of Delaware.

Dr. Williams received his M.D. degree from the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, and performed his internship at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. He did his residency in internal medicine at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, and his cardiology fellowship at UCLA Medical Center, and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Mass.

He was an instructor in Cardiology at Harvard Medical School, where he founded and directed the Central Recruitment Council of Boston Hospitals, which recruited significant numbers of Black medical trainees to Boston hospitals for the first time in their history. He then served for three years as the initial Assistant Medical Director at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital in Watts, California. In that capacity he was charged with the responsibility of opening the hospital. During his tenure he and Dr. David Satcher collaborated on writing a grant proposal which resulted in a $2.5 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to establish the King-Drew Sickle Cell Center, of which he became the Director.

Following that appointment, he accepted the position of Chief of the Heart Station and Coronary Care Unit at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital, eventually becoming head of Cardiology. He was also the first Black full Professor in the history of the Department of Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine - and his resume continues for an additional three pages of increasingly impressive accomplishments from there.

But we shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that Dr. Williams remains cocooned in an ivory tower. He's also a professional musician and leader of the jazz group Raw Sugar. Rich is a formidable trumpet player who can hang with the best in the business - and he has. He was not only Miles Davis' physician, but he was mentored on trumpet by the late, and illustrious, Clifford Brown. The doctor has played all over the world with jazz greats such as Billie Holiday, Ben Webster, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Lou Donaldson, Herman Riley, Hubert Laws, and many others. He has also appeared at the world renowned Birdland, New York City's cultural monument dedicated to the incomparable Charles "Yardbird" Parker.

So you see, President Obama is not the anomaly that many would have us believe. The Black community is literally brimming over with creative brilliance, and we're being unforgivably remiss in not making that fact clear to both, our young people, and the world.
Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

To All Postal Employees: It's Time to Start Sending Time Thieves to Jail - and Get the Unions Off their Butts


To All Postal Employees: It's Time to Start Sending Time Thieves to Jail - and Get the Unions Off their Butts

Don't laugh. Standing up for justice is no laughing matter. A federal statute regarding time fraud is on the books, and it's clear. It's a federal crime, and the time has come to see to it that adherence to that statute is not ignored. 18 U.S.C. § 1001 reads as follows:

"Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully - (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both."

I've quoted that law so many times in this series that you should know it by heart, but the reason that no one has been sent to jail, or at the very least, fired, under that statute is because the unions have been twiddling their thumbs in the administrative process instead of using the clout of the membership's numbers to flex their political muscle. TIME FRAUD IS NOT A GRIEVANCE. IT'S A FEDERAL CRIME.

Filing grievances and EEOs play right into the PO's hands. The administrative process takes forever, and justice delayed is justice denied. The system is stacked against the grievant and/or complainant. It's designed to make you think you have rights, while its actual function is to maintain the status quo - that's why you're paying thousands of dollars in union dues and you're still suffering. Have you ever wondered why an employee can pick up a Walmart coupon out of the trash and be summarily fired, while your manager can be caught falsifying thousands of dollars of employee clock rings then be promoted?  It's time for employees to wake up and use their political clout to hold everybody's feet to the fire.

If you want justice, and for your job to be secure, you're going to have to make sure that the jobs of your boss, your union officers, and your politicians are insecure. You're going to have to shine a bright enough light on laziness, complacence, and corruption to place THEIR jobs in jeopardy.

Again, time fraud and falsifying government documents is a federal crime punishable by five years in federal prison. Yet, in spite of that fact, and the fact that the United States Postal Service is stealing millions of dollars PER DAY from its employees, you're not seeing anyone go to jail, or even fired, for that matter. In fact, one acting CSO in the Los Angeles District was even promoted while an allegation of time fraud is pending against him. The reason for that is your unions have been less than aggressive in pursuing your rights. They've been satisfied to get one or two people paid a year (just enough to look good on their resume), then letting the PO sweep the matter under the rug. One officer even told the grievant that she'd have to pursue the matter through the EEOC and refused to return her calls.

As egregious as that sounds, all of you know it's not an unsubstantiated claim - you're living the consequences of that kind of reckless complacence on the part of SOME union officials on a daily basis.  It is this kind of complacence that has made time fraud and many other abuses such a severe problem within the agency.  The postal service knows that the unions are ineffective, so they feel free to rob, abuse, and intimidate you with impunity. I know I'm being kind of hard on the unions, but before a problem can be corrected it must be faced in an honest and forthright manner.

What's particularly unconscionable about this particular situation, however, is it can be so easily addressed. A thief needs the cover of darkness to commit his crimes, so all the unions have to do is shine a light on what's going on within the shadows of the postal service. Why haven't they done that?  I won't speculate on that issue.  I'll leave that for the membership to decide - but decide you must - and in a hurry, because not only is your hard earned money disappearing, so are your jobs.

The OIG has been ignoring the issue of time fraud for years now, but after the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Black Star News, Veterans Today, and the Postal Employee Network started shining a light on this criminal conduct back in March (, then continued hammering away at it and demanding that the OIG and PMG be fired, all of a sudden the OIG recognizes the need for a national audit.

But back in February, in the Los Angeles district, when JoAnn Snow's time was stolen, OIG Special Agent Reid Robbins said "the OIG's office generally doesn't investigate time issues." Well, now they've reconsidered that position.  But the question is, why ddn't the unions do years ago what these publications have managed to do in six months?  That's something that the membership also needs to consider. At this point, however, it's going to be very interesting to see just how much effort the unions put into organizing their membership to take advantage of this opportunity to correct this criminal conduct. If the unions fail to get behind this effort, that should tell the membership all they need to know.


Recent news stories have identified a few instances where Postal Service employees have had time deleted from electronic time card records. There have also been other time and attendance instances where managers inaccurately calculated employee work hours for out–of-schedule work.

If you are a Postal Service employee and are experiencing similar problems or any other time and attendance issues at your work place, we would like to hear from you. Please take our brief survey or provide comments below.

This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Human Resources and Security audit team.


Don't be intimidated. Take advantage of this opportunity.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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