All rise...

Tomorrow morning I'll be a judge at the annual Frederick Douglass Oratorical contest held by the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association (I'm a member of the Board of Trustees).

By the way, I do have some experience being a judge. A few years ago I was a judge at a love poetry contest at a charter school in D.C.

Proof once again: Those who can, do. Those who can't, judge.



On NPR yesterday--Where Should Obama attend church?

I posted this on my Facebook yesterday.

I finished the NPR roundtable discussion almost three hours ago. I used to host my own weekly two hour radio show on XM so any radio interviews and discussions less than 30 minutes long makes me feel like I'm just clearing my throat.

I will listen to today's audio archive later. There have been some times after I've been on the radio that people will ask, "What did you talk about," and I'll answer..."I'm not sure...I need to listen to the archive. Based on my notes, I didn't take any."

But I actually took some notes today. The first topic we discussed was the controversy over where Obama will attend church.

My response then was probably what it is now. "I DON'T CARE!" He could set up his own cult or not go to church and I would not care in the least. I am amazed how interested people are in where he sends his kids to school, what kind of puppy he will get for his kids, whether or not his fist-bump is socialist, what kind of chores his kids will do in the White House.

Has Obama announced yet what will be the official White House toilet paper?

Because people will be watching closely after the controversy over his minister for the past two decades, he apparently has to make a choice that won't scare people but also won't indicate to black people that he is turning his back on the black church.

I recommended that he might want to say that as a multi-racial man that he will also attend multiple churches. I thought to mention (and may have, I don't recall now) that he should attend churches in all 50 states as part of his 2012 campaign strategy. I'm sure I did mention that Frederick Douglass went through a controversy back in his day when, after his first wife died, he married a white woman. As Douglass said in addressing his white AND black critics: The race of my first wife was that of my mother. The race of my second wife is that of my father.

So Obama could alternate churches based on race. (Yawn!)

* * *

I'm sure I did mention that I have two 1990 newspapers with Obama in them that I will be putting on eBay. Stay tuned!

* * *

The next topic was about McDonald's commercials that some consider to be demeaning to black people. I think the host asked me what is wrong with the commercials, and I'm pretty sure I said, "I. Don't. Know." I think the last three times I've been on NPR that there has been a controversy about a commercial.

I'm not sure why anyone thinks McDonald's would want to upset its audience. I do recall saying, "If you are offended by this commercial then you are not the target audience."

For some reason, there are some people who think that every commercial is intended to reach them. FYI: "You ain't all that."


* * *

The next topic was about presidential pardons. Because of time constraints I was the only one who got a chance to sound off on this topic. President Bush pardoned an inmate who was convicted on a drug crime. I mentioned first that our current president (Bush, not Obama) could have freed up a lot of bed space in prisons by pardoning more non-violent offenders. My next point was in response to the people who have gotten upset about the pardoned inmate having special access to the president.

Well, no kidding! That's how presidential pardons happen. The president doesn't just randomly choose an inmate's number and free her. It happens after a lot of lobbying by people who know a particular inmate.


* * *

Overall, I liked today's roundtable. It is easy because I don't have to get prepared for these. No real research or deep analysis is required.

The substitute host was concerned about mispronouncing my name. It happens so often on radio shows that I don't get upset about that, I'm just happy they don't cut off my microphone. A few years ago when Walter E. Williams interviewed me on the Rush Limbaugh Show, Professor Williams was getting so creative in the way he was pronouncing my name that during a break, one of the producers asked me, "How do you pronounce your last name?"

Unfortunately, I learned today that the show is not on in the DC-Maryland-Virginia market. A few local people were going to tune in but apparently a popular local host (Kojo) is on at that time. But I got a note from one of my elementary school teachers in Texas that she heard me. She may regret she didn't intervene with me when I was younger...

Or she may just be happy that I'm not in prison hoping for a presidential pardon...


NPR's Tony Cox talks with Jim Collier of Acting White ; Carmen Van Kerckhove of Racialicious; and Casey Lartigue of The Casey Lartigue Show!