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2003 Blog Entries
November ~ Entries #211 - #238

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Blog #238.  November 2003: Connecting the dots regarding beliefs and visions: peacefully or violently? for the people or against them?

We are reminded of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s July statement that the U.S. Pentagon “has been more effective at killing and disrupting the terrorists than [the] State Department has been at promoting an alternative vision to the Mideast status quo.”

The greatest force for “unrest and disturbance” (see my Chapter 16) is what Jerry Brown calls the “hegemony of the status quo.” Will our Minneapolis inner city neighborhoods be freed to be peaceful or forced by city regulations and containment policies to have to be dealt with by using the vision of police and clubs rather than the beliefs and law followingn of of civil rights?

In London November 19, President Bush said “”We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East.” So too must we shake off decades of failed policy in inner city Minneapolis. President Bush told the Britons “Your nation and mine in the past have been willing to make a bargain: to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability.” He added “it is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty; it is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it.” The same should be made to be true in inner city Minneapolis: to no longer tolerate the oppressive status quo to keep the status quo. See my Chapter 16.

The political parties have both been willing, especially the DFL that politically controls Minneapolis, to tolerate our misery for the sake of its stability. It is not realistic to expect Blacks to accept the conclusions of Whites in the Kerner Commission Report and the book The Bell Curve that we are unsuited to self-reliance, that we forever will need their support and direction. The fastest growing group entering the the middle class in the United States is Blacks. It is time to include Minnesota. It is pessimistic, condescending and false to say we can’t make it on our own.

Look what Blacks have achieved in this country, despite the shackles. Now is time to release the rest of the shackles creating the tremendous gaps between Blacks and Whites, especially in Minneapolis, in education (Chapter 7), Housing (Chapter 8), and Jobs (Chapter 9). To do so, use the Minneapolis Table Building Blocks to engage in the Seven Solutions.

Blog #237. November 23, 2003: Cora McCorvey problems with the lawful in-laws

Hey, what’s up with the story that Corey McCorvey, the Executive Director of the MPHA (Minneapolis Public Housing Authority) had some problems with her in-laws such that they had to call the police and ask her to leave their home? We all have problems. But she is the head of an agency. In trying to cover this up what else, we ask, has she covered up at MPHA?

For November 23, 2003, posted 11/22/03, 9:21 a.m.

Blog #236. November 23, 2003: NAACP Wears No Clothes Regarding Mr. Porter, Standing as a mute, granite statue, unmoving.

Most in our community are aware of the fact that the local NAACP branch has not taken a position on the accusation of Mr. Porter regarding the alleged use of a plunger on him in that area of his anatomy where the sun don’t shine. It continues to play it safe by saying nothing. This is another outrage. They are as lazy as the Star Tribune, doing no investigative work to establish a position, one way or the other. Their silence on the alleged sexual attacks on Mr. Porter and on Mr. Jenkins in the county jail are noted. I am not calling for a rush to judgment. They will each get their day in court. The issue is the accusation itself. I am calling for the NAACP to immediately take a stand on police conduct, to make it clear that plungering and other acts are unacceptable. The NAACP should be calling on the police to immediately and publicly say so, even while the investigation continues as to the veracity of the charge. And how long does it take to investigate such charges? Let us hope the answer is not as long as it takes for the matter to be forgotten. We will not, however, forget. But maybe the NAACP’s silence is not a mystery after all, as the community is as aware of how the NAACP participated in the Flowers beating just as they helped in the cover up of the death of Christopher Verns on November 1, 2002.

For November 23, 2003, posted 11/22/03, 9:20 a.m.

Blog 235. November 21, 2003: The race card is played on the offensive line. Wrong game. This is football, not a presidential election

Change is hard, isn’t it? Now, as a coach, who do you play in a game? The best? Or just the best Whites? Martin Luther King would say the best, White or Black. Before Coach Tice, the defensive unit was all Black. Because they were Black? No. Because they were the best on defense. But Coach Tice is reputed as saying he didn’t want all eleven players on defense to be Black. So they play these White guys, Russell and Becket. Now the White guys aren’t bad. They could make any college team. But this isn’t college. They are making errors that are costing the team dearly. The other teams are eating them up. The Giants first discovered this weakness and exploited it. And so Green Bay and San Diego picked up on what the Giants did. So the old Revolutionary slogan “don’t fire until you see the Whites of their eyes” has been changed to “don’t hire until you see the White of their skin. They can be picked apart by good quarterbacks, and that is what is happening. How long before the developing friction between players who want to win and players who can’t win causes a melt down? Perhaps we get a hint about what is going from the comment made by Tom Benarde of KQRS regarding his asking why the Vikings would draft a Daunte Culpepper who had been born in a penitentiary and must, therefore, be at the lower end of the gene pool? Is pro-bowl playing and record speaks for itself. But for Benarde, it isn’t qualifications that speak, its color. Needless to say, people of color are just enraged that the White media has closed down on it, giving Benarde a free pass: not a peep from them. Sports writer Tom Sansavere was with Bernard when he made the statement and Sansavere hasn’t said a word. Daunte, a pro-bowler with his own radio show and serious community work with adopted kids is a young man any would be proud to call son or friend. I can’t say the same about guys like Benarde or Sansavere. And what’s with Tice grabbing Black players by their face masks or condescendingly hitting them on their helmets, but not doing so with White players, such as Hovan, Beckett or Russell?

Saturday, November 21, 2003, 12:49 a.m.

Blog 234. November 21, 2003: Vikings Queens Have Dethroned the Kings

Given our discussion on the importance of leaders showing high expectations to get high performance (Blog #216), Vikings owner Red McCombs continues his one man wrecking crew job on a team that for nearly a decade was King of the Hill. As players and coach stood quiet while being berated by Red, they lost their crowns. Coach didn’t stand up for his players. The players didn’t stand up for themselves. And so once again an owner, with only a fan base of one to please, himself, has shown how an owner can sabotage his own team while his Coach shows him players that when the chips are down he’ll let them down, making the sabotage complete. So we have a White Coach standing by playing the role of the passive whipping boss while the White owners flails his team. So now they have adopted the Steppin Fetchit approach to survive as the Coach now has shown that he serves not the team but the plantation paymaster. That might have worked in the fields but we no longer work that way. Men must standup for each other, regardless of color. For the coach to say the owner can say what he wants is very old Texas slave South. Its not 21st century. Now before people begin to scream that I am playing the race card, think again. I am not playing the race card. Red McCombs already played it, as did Coach Tice. I’m merely reporting on their play. I am merely calling the miserable scene the miserable scene that it is. There is no excuse for treating the players in this fashion, Black or White.

Saturday, November 21, 2003, 12:48 a.m.

Blog #233. November 21,2003: Hollman/Heritage. What a name. Neither a home nor a job for intended African Americans as promised.

The city has not addressed it one iota. Read the story in Chapter 8 of “The Minneapolis Story.” Contracts were to be awarded to African American firms. That has not been done. It is more than ironic that the oversight department is the Civil Rights Department, which is doing absolutely nothing other than provide false documents, false information, etc. Is it any wonder that at the public meeting a couple of Thursdays ago that key players, who had said they would be there decided not to show up?

Friday, November 21,2003, 1:47 a.m.

Blog #232. November 21,2003: Development for the corner of Plymouth and Penn: Good news and bad news.

The Urban League has put forth a good plan for a joint county - city credit union. The plan is being blocked by the 5th Ward council member in order to pave the way for a proposal by Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC) that would really result in little more than a parking lot. Why this endless game? NRRC picked up $668,000 a few months ago to begin land preparation on the South Side of Olson Highway. Now it also wants to be the developer of the property at Plymouth and Penn. How? NIRC doesn’t have those kinds of assets to be double tracked like this. Unless it has a partner, which it does, Time Warner. TW is serving as the underwriter for the development. TW holds the cable franchise for Minneapolis. This is just another example of what I described in my book of the importance of following and doing things that were campaigned on. And in this instance, we have competing plans between the current and former council person for the 5th ward. Small world. Doesn’t matter. They have to resolve this and move forward, one way or the other.

Friday, November 21,2003, 1:46 a.m.

Blog #231. Thursday, November 20, 2003

NAACP past treasurer freed NAACP funds to free his investment debt. Gives new meaning to the term “going to the market for some bread.” Yeah, baby, and lettuce too. The demise of the Houston Supermarket Chain, like the demise of any business that was the life blood of any hardworking entrepreneur, was sad to see. Silas Houston was the energetic entrepreneur. We salute his for his effort. Silas was also the NAACP Minneapolis branch treasurer from October 2001 to February 2003. According to sources, it has been confirmed that some investments placed in his stores came from the Minneapolis NAACP branch investment accounts. Is this why the branch cannot account for $96,000 in the investment account with Pipher Japhry, as noted in the NAACP financial statements for July and August 2003?

Thursday, November 20, 2003, 12:41 a.m.

Blog #230. Thursday, November 20, 2003

School Board tries to pin the tail on the community donkey and instead sticks it in their own eye. Without commenting on the qualifications of Mr. Jennings, as this is not about him, it is about the School Board, the community wonders why the School Board, seeking credibility, would put Mr. Jenkins in such an awkward position when they are trying to develop credibility. Isn’t the only crucial point the gap in scores, the gap in the kids’ education, not the gap in Mr. Jennings? One could say that with nearly 300 doctorates in the Minneapolis School System, maybe its time for a non-doctorate to lead. In other words, as they review candidates for Superintendent, what the new Superintendent can do for the kids is more important than what he or she has done for themselves. Credentialism is as bad as sexism or racism. Unless we break with the old ideas that continue to not work, test scores will keep falling for African American kids. Unless we break with what has been proven not to work, our kids will continue to fail. Let’s not hear about process and “we haven’t done it that way before” or “we’ve always done it this way.” Get our input in the community. Hear what the community has to say. Then lets see some leadership, not dictatorship. Decide. Act. Pin the tail on success for our kids.

Thursday, November 20, 2003, 12:40 a.m.

Blog #229. November 18, 2003: To Obey or Not to Obey, That is the Question. NAACP Answer: not if it means we have to be accountable.

I have heard that at the same October 18, 2003 national NAACP board meeting that the national NAACP Oked the Minneapolis NAACP branch’s recommendation to suspend me for speaking truth and blowing the whistle on their frauds and misappropriation of funds also made the decision NOT to order the Minneapolis branch to conduct an audit because of the existence of a classified report that confirms that over $240,000 can’t be accounted for by the local Minneapolis branch. Is it true? Just wondering. As a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, the NAACP by constitutional structure forbids its local branches from being independent 501(c)(3) entities. You realize, dear reader, that this means that extra cash has to go to the national. What a penny ante two way gravy train. At least Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, etc., make it worth their while when they risk the perp walk. They betray us for the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver.

For Tuesday, November 18, 2003 (posted 11-17-03,11:9 p.m.)

Blog #228. November 18, 2003: St. Paul Plays the Mirror Image Twin, Faking, As Minneapolis, That They Don’t Understand What Is Going On In Terms of Race.

St Paul Police Chief Finney’s Q&A in the November 9 Strib fully exposes the friction between he and the Mayor (Kelly) and Vice Mayor (Flaherty). There is an obvious level of racism being played out that the collective act of amnesia by the Whites can’t hide. I discussed on my TV show a year ago the role these guys played in knocking Finney out of the position of United States Marshall for the Federal district of Minnesota two years ago. I understand playing politics with a lot of positions, but doing so with Public Safety is no more desirable than with brain surgery. I understand it when all things are equal but in this case they decidedly were not. Too many cooks didn’t help this public safety stew, especially when Jim Ramstedt and Rick Stannick the Public Safety Director, along with others, stirred the pot with the race card, sinking Finney and opening the door for the position for a buddy of Stannick. The good news is that Finney became St. Paul Police Chief. The bad news is that the response of the good ole boys was to talk of consolidating the police and sheriffs department in order to block Finney from becoming the first man of color to be chief, because they couldn’t get Mayor Shibel, a decent guy, to go along with their goal. It is chilling to think of the extent some Whites will go to cut off their own noses to spite their faces.

For Tuesday, November 18, 2003 (posted 11-17-03,11:08 p.m.)

Blog #227. November 17, 2003: Funds of the Freedom Fund Dinner Have a History of Being Freed

Parts are parts. Facts are facts. Evidence is evidence. But you can’t tell if you can’t see, and so the local branch of the NAACP keeps the lights out to keep everyone in the dark. Hey, look here, a flashlight. Let me turn it on. Looky here: the financial records of the local NAACP. And what do they show? That there is a history of laundering money using the Freedom Funds Dinner. Hey, we get another chance to scrub clean this week. Is this why there hasn’t been a financial report of the Freedom Fund Dinner since 2000? What a dinner that was: $75,000 of that money is still unaccounted for. We suspect that the St. Paul Companies and Wells Fargo, sponsor of that dinner, will eventually be concerned regarding the lack of financial accounting. How can companies be expected to sponsor and donate in the future when the past is still unknown?

Monday, November 17, 2003, 2:42 a.m.

Blog #226. November 17, 2003: NAACP Steppin Fetchits us as they play pedestaled lady to our black boy hat in hand gutter stand

During the days of Jim Crow in the south, the Black man would step into the gutter, off the sidewalk, when a White woman passed by, grasp his hat with both hands and bow a little saying “afternoon, ma’m.” This was for protection, for if his sleeve should graze her sleave, the resentful White hen fuming about her White rooster visiting the Black hen house, could impose her revenge fantasy on the Black man. Whites mistook this Steppin Fetchit behavior as proof of our inferiority and their superiority. Instead, it was a clever ruse on our part to not allow these dysfunctional White folks for taking out on us their own problems. Those days are gone. We no longer have to act, hat in hand in the gutter, to make it in the world today. So why did the local NAACP offer a press release a couple weeks ago talking about their getting money to educate the community on how to talk and respond to the police when stopped? That is one of the most outrageous positions heard in a while (other than suspending those speaking out against the abuses of the branch). That lead balloon won’t fly. What they should be doing is seeking training not for us in how to be victims but for the police on how to not victimize us and to be able to tell the difference between which of us are the bad guys and which the good guys (they don’t seem to have trouble distinguishing among Whites but they do with us; but of course, its because we all look alike, don’t you know). Have they gone Nixonian on us? Richard Nixon referred to himself as the grandfather for the nation. The NAACP seems to think we are children, that the victims are the problem. The NAACP is now indicating that it is the victims who are creating the problems of police misconduct and police brutality, etc.

Monday, November 17, 2003, 2:40 a.m.

Blog #225. November 16, 2003: Where have all the flowers gone, where have all the ideals gone, long time passing: the NAACP

Well, its now official: I have been suspended for 5 years (earlier language used was “expelled” but in the formal letter, it is “suspended”). Amazing, isn’t it? A person with a high regard for the organization calls into questions directions and actions that can lead to big trouble, and the NAACP buries its head in the sand hoping everything will blow over. The continuing change in leadership (or, better phrased, slot fillers for their is no leadership in the traditional sense of that term) is creating a tremendous undercurrent of hostility that is emerging. And now they are moving toward not having a general membership meeting in three consecutive months, which is a gross violation of their own constitution and by-laws. There have ben no financial reports either. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect these dots. Something is rotten and its not in Denmark. So why is it that the local NAACP office can get away without filing financial statements as ordered by the national office (reporting conditions were outlined for the local branch on June 30, 2003, by Dirk Lawson), and yet suspend a guy who accurately and appropriately points out that the local branch is leading the membership as well as the organization’s good name out on a limb while reaching back with a saw to cut it off.

Posted Saturday, November 16, 2003, 9:15 p.m.

Blog #224. November 15, 2003: Self Protection by the NAACP has replaced protecting the ideals and the focus on the prize of freedom

The national office is now calling into question the conduct of local members in meetings, which overshadows their own misconduct, to legally protect itself in its coordination of the attack on Alfred Flowers by the Minneapolis Police. This is a whole new wrinkle on the blame the victim parry.

Posted Saturday, November 15, 2003, 9:15 pm.

Blog #223. November 14, 2003: Where have all the flowers gone, where have all the ideals gone, long time passing: the NAACP

Well, its now official: I have been suspended for 5 years (earlier language used was “expelled” but in the formal letter, it is “suspended”). Amazing, isn’t it? A person with a high regard for the organization calls into questions directions and actions that can lead to big trouble, and the NAACP buries its head in the sand hoping everything will blow over. The continuing change in leadership (or, better phrased, slot fillers for their is no leadership in the traditional sense of that term) is creating a tremendous undercurrent of hostility that is emerging. And now they are moving toward not having a general membership meeting in three consecutive months, which is a gross violation of their own constitution and by-laws. There have ben no financial reports either. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect these dots. Something is rotten and its not in Denmark. So why is it that the local NAACP office can get away without filing financial statements as ordered by the national office (reporting conditions were outlined for the local branch on June 30, 2003, by Dirk Lawson), and yet suspend a guy who accurately and appropriately points out that the local branch is leading the membership as well as the organization’s good name out on a limb while reaching back with a saw to cut it off.

Friday, November 14, 2003, 9:26 am.

Blog #222. Self Protection by the NAACP has replaced protecting the ideals and the focus on the prize of freedom.


Blog #221. November 14, 2003: Self Protection by the NAACP has replaced protecting the ideals and the focus on the prize of freedom.

The national office is now calling into question the conduct of local members in meetings, which overshadows their own misconduct, to legally protect itself in its coordination of the attack on Alfred Flowers by the Minneapolis Police. This is a whole new wrinkle on the blame the victim parry.

November 14, 2003, 9:25 a.m.

#220. Extend reading of new essays in #219, Thursday, November 13, 2003


Blog #219. November 12, 2003: New Papers posted in the “Solution Papers” section of this web site.

They address the violence in the “containment” neighborhoods, answer the question of what I have to say about bigotry, call for reconciliation within and between the White community and the communities of color, and remember that we, in the world, are in this thing called life together (see also my Veterans Day statement of yesterday).

Higher Hopes Than Hip Hop | A Question of Bigotry in Mineapolis | ”Ubuntu” Reconciliation | Remembering 9-11

November 12, 2003

Blog #218. November 12, 2003: Will Minneapolis become a Mirror Image of New York? Who runs New York? According to this article, its not city bosses but City Unions and Non-Profits that run New York. This also relates to the Minneapolis discussion of those seeking nonpartisan elections for Minneapolis.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been pushing for nonpartisan elections in New York, according to this fascinating City Journal article titled “Who Runs New York?” We are indebted to another blogger for identifying this article: Regions of Mind, Friday, Nov 7, 2003)]. The article reports that the Mayor thinks political bosses run New York and so he wants nonpartisan elections to curb their power.

Then the article reports that otherwise is the case, and says the answer to who runs New York is: “No, Mayor Mike, it’s not political bosses. It’s city unions and nonprofits.” In my book, I show that more and more, Minneapolis is heading in that direction, especially in terms of education (huge gaps not closed, my Chapter 7), housing (think Hollman, my Chapter 8), jobs (non-compliance by city with its own hiring regulations, my Chapter 9), and public safety (unrest as the price Minneapolis is willing to pay to keep the status quo, my Chapter 16). You decide. Key exerpts from the article follow:

But the mayor is trying to solve the problems of 50 years ago. Stuck in a time warp, he seems to think that we are still living in the days when Tammany bigwigs like Carmine DeSapio or Boss Tweed chose candidates based on party loyalty, without regard to merit or local support.

In fact, New York City’s political system has been utterly transformed since those days. Now, instead of party bosses running city hall, it is powerful public-employee unions and community nonprofit groups living off government money that control the city’s political process and political agenda. Yes, these groups are aligned with the Democratic Party, but they are not subservient to the party; the party is their instrument, a tool of their convenience. Nonpartisan voting will do nothing to wrest control from these groups but may instead help them solidify their political dominance at the expense of the city’s taxpayers and businesses. By weakening political parties still further, Mayor Bloomberg and the supporters of nonpartisan elections may inadvertently destroy the only potential vehicle for true reform in a New York City whose politics are increasingly under the thumb of public servants…

Not long after public-sector unions became a force, another new political power arose in neighborhoods: government-funded, community-based social-services organizations. Spurred by Mayor John Lindsay’s efforts to decentralize government, and lavishly funded with government dollars by President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, activists formed organizations that built subsidized housing, ran day-care centers, operated health clinics. From practically nothing in the early 1960s, by 1967 there were more than 400 federal grant programs providing $15 billion to these local groups around the country, with a heavy concentration in New York because of the influence of Mayor Lindsay, whom Washington policymakers touted as one of urban America’s new leaders. Spurred by this government largesse, social-services organizations grew in New York City from a few hundred, employing fewer than 50,000 people in the mid-1960s, to more than 4,000 today, employing 185,000 people.

Over time, these groups have become a new kind of neighborhood political clubhouse, running and successfully electing their own members to political office. Activists like Ramon Velez, who ran a network of social-services agencies out of his base in Hunts Point in the Bronx, or Pedro Espada Jr., who built a single health clinic in the Soundview section of the South Bronx into a sweeping public-services empire, used the influence they gained in neighborhoods as a launching pad for political careers…

The Democratic Party, as these recent elections make clear, is hardly the all-powerful force that the mayor and other nonpartisan-election fans believe it is. In fact, if there is a significant overarching force behind the city’s public-sector politics today, it is the Working Families Party—which, with fewer than 7,000 registered voters, is not at all a political party in the conventional sense. Rather, it is a union instrument of electoral politics, mobilizing the membership of its affiliated public-sector unions and union-boosting activist groups like ACORN to support its preferred candidates, as in the Palma-Espada race. Using New York State’s unusual election law, which allows minor parties to endorse candidates from other parties, the WFP has been able to work both with the Democratic leadership and at times against it to elect candidates hewing to its agenda of bigger government and higher taxes.

[What will happen to] the proven Giuliani urban agenda—fiscal restraint, effective policing, and school choice…an alternative to the public-sector domination of the city…[if the] mayor who seems to have little clue about the true nature of the city’s contemporary political culture or even the forces that elected him, would bury any prospects, however slim today, for such crucial reform [?]

November 12, 2003, 2:20 am

Blog #217. November 11, 2003: VETERANS DAY 2003

Today, November 11, 2003, is Veterans Day. We don’t know yet whether the current hostilities in Iraq qill be remembered positively as most of our past engagement or negatively, as Vietnam. But we do know that for better or ill (that is the current debate) a tyrant has been brought down and an enslaved people freed. And although few Americans are dying compared to past engagements (Vietnam and before), each lost life is still a tragedy for their family and friends and for the community, where they live and for the nation as a whole. The sacrifices of our soldiers and sailors, airmen and marines, coast guard and regular/reserves, ensures our liberty.

Why November 11th? Because on November 11th, 1921, an unknown American soldier from World War I was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in recognition of WWI veterans and in conjunction with the timing of cessation of hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). President Warren Harding requested that: “All…citizens…indulge in a period of silent thanks to God for these…valorous lives and of supplication for His Divine mercy…on our beloved country.” Inscribed on the Tomb are the words: “Here lies in honored glory an American soldier know but to God.” The day became known as “Armistice Day.” In 1954, Congress, wanting to recognize the sacrifice of veterans since WWI, proposed to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day in their honor. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Commander in WWII, signed the legislation.

To honor those veterans who sacrificed all, an Army honor guard from the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) keeps day and night vigil at Arlington. At 11 a.m. today, a combined color guard representing all military service branches executes “Present Arms” at the tomb for the laying of a wreath by the president. This is followed by “Taps.”

The Defense Department has totaled one measure of the price of liberty—almost 1.2 million members of our fighting forces have died while in service to our country since the American Revolution; 1.4 million have been wounded. The numbers, of course, offer no reckoning of the inestimable value of these individual citizens’ lives, and the sacrifices borne by their families. But we do know their sacrifices defended a precious gift handed down to us—the liberties we cherish. Every day—but today especially—let us always hold our veterans and their families in our hearts.

On this 50th anniversary of our commemoration of Veterans Day, we encourage everyone to visit the official Veterans Affairs website for instruction and learning aids on the history and significance of Veterans Day. Link to— Additional information is at

President John F. Kennedy, opened his innaugural address saying:

We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end as well as a beginning—signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

He then closed his innaugural saying:

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

That is our debate today. How it plays out we will know soon enough. But as a descend of slaves, don’t ask me to be sad that the Iraqi people have been freed. As a descendent of Native Americans, don’t ask me to be sad that the Kurds have been free. From bloggers in Iraq we read the equivalent of Brother Kings’ “Free at last, free at last” (although they invoke God as Allah), and bloggers in Iran are saying come free us too. So lets remember our Kennedy Democrat defense of freedom for all people. But lets not forget our own people. $87 billion for Iraq ($22 for rebuilding and the rest for the military) is one thing. Not a cent for our inner cities is another. Let us not be standing at the plate swinging from the left side or the right side. Let us stand at the plate as switch hitters, as ambidexterous, as brining freedom to Iraq and our inner cities. We still have troops in Germany and Japan. The cold war is over. Lets spend that money on our inner cities. I wait for a national party in this country to lead the way to end the corruption in our cities and to set our inner city ghettos free

That will be part of the prize we seek. We won’t let the deferment of our dream stop us for honoring those who have given their lives for our right to have our debates. Where else in the world could we have such hatred on both sides and not get clamped down on by the government. Only in America. But the hatred must stop, from both sides. We still need to come together, to reconcile enough to find our common ground (see my ”Ubuntu” Reconciliation piece) and work on the Seven Solutions areas together.

In my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” I acknowledge the proud history of Blacks serving in the armed forces and the manner in which they stood up to protect their communities in this country against Jim Crow, the KKK, and the terrible manner of second class citizens, barred from both education and voting. We have come a long way (see Interludes 5 and 7 of my book) but a glass half full is still half empty. We have a long way to go (see Interludes 2 & 10). Many don’t realize that many of the soldiers during the post Civil War era in the West were African Americans (Buffalo Soldiers), contrary to the Hollywood version of all White (for all their posturing about their liberal sensibilities, Hollywood still does not accord African Americans their proper due in their positive roles in the defining events of the history of this country. The Tuskegee Airman were one of the most elite group of fliers in World II. We earned more than our fair share of citations for bravery in World War II, Korean, Vietnam, the Gulf War, etc. They said Blacks couldn’t be quarterbacks because they were too dumb. Indeed, in World War II they didn’t let many be front line soldiers for that reason too. Then those that were allowed acquitted themselves with such distinction, that we were allowed to lead in the fighting as well

Hollywood movies may call it Technicolor, and their stars may stand at the microphones and shout their support for people of color, but when it comes to their movies and TV shows, we are relegated to sports and music. For them, we are neither in Technicolor or black and white. Their color, regardless of whether you are talking behind the camera or in front of it, is White wash (of course when our people made “Barber Shop” our professional movement entertainers, our rush to the cameral to complainers, would have shut us down there too, and it was almost all Black before and behind the camera). They could influence the business. They refuse. Just as much of the building of this nation was done by slaves and their descendents to this day, so too has this nation been defended by the descendents of slaves, from the Civil War on down to Iraq today. Let’s keep arguing on how best to achieve peace and freedom around the globe, but let us never forget the contributions of our Black soldiers or any other, and lets not let their sacrifice be in vain.

Let us continue to live our lives such that the sacrifices made my our men and women in uniform continues to give us freedom and liberty so we can continue to debate whether we want our freedom and liberty. Now that’s a free country.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003, 11:32 am.

Blog #216. November 10, 2003: Expectations determine much, from losers in educational results to losers in football games

Both the 1968 Kerner Commission Report and the 1998 Bell Curve state Blacks can’t make it like others. The most recent local NAACP President to resign said the problems in the Black community would take generations to fix. These are LOW expectations. Martin Luther King, Jr., in “Why We Can’t Wait” and in his we may be unqualified today but we are qualifyable, spoke the language of HIGH expectations.

In our schools, I call it (Chapter 7 of my book: Stop the clubbing and teach skills, optimism and hope) clubbing the kids, which is another way of saying LOW expectations. Sharon Begley, in her recent “Science Journal” column, says that “Seventy-six years on, scientists have documented the power of expectations, not only of lab researchers but also of teachers, athletic coaches, judges and work supervisors.” Here are the money quotes (emphasis added):

Expectation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” says Robert Rosenthal, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside (See his Covert communication in laboratories, classrooms and the truly real world in “Current Directions in Psychological Science,” Oct. 2003, p. 151. His “Covert Communication in Classrooms, Clinics, Courtrooms, and Cubicles” from American Psychologist, Nov. 2002, p. 839, has many references). “When teachers have been led to expect better intellectual performance from their students, they tend to get it. When coaches are led to expect better athletic performance from their athletes, they tend to get it. When behavioral researchers are led to expect a certain response from their research subjects, they tend to get it.

Expectation effects, also known as the Pygmalion effect, have been documented time and again (479 studies have found that teachers’ expectations affect how students do, for instance). But nailing down exactly how expectations are conveyed to students, athletes or research volunteers through the nonverbal, subtle and usually unintentional messages that Prof. Rosenthal calls “covert communication” has been much tougher.

More alarming is how little-known the expectation effect is. And that means there is a good possibility that some of the effects we attribute to a particular cause—from the benefits of smaller class sizes to the health-improving effects of wealth—actually reflect the power of expectations.

The power of expectations in the classroom is downright scary. “The only difference was in the mind, and expectations, of the teacher,” says Prof. Rosenthal. Yet those expectations produced clear academic differences.

All sorts of things are reported to boost student achievement, from using a varied vocabulary with little kids to keeping class size small. But if teachers or parents expect these things to make kids smarter, might the improvement actually reflect those expectations?

This is huge in terms of education and what is written in the book and should be very helpful in the inner city working with kids as it bolsters our argument in the book and the Seven Solutions piece.

So if the Gallmans/NAACP of the world say it will take generations, and that expectation is conveyed from the pulpits and in the homes and in the schools and in the neighborhoods, is it any wonder why it is so easy to club the cubs in school. We need the pulpits and homes and schools and neighborhoods to trumpet HIGH expectations, not low.

This also helps to explain expectation in both the classroom and on the sports field. White coaches with tinges of either racism or “bell curve liberalism/conservatism” won’t have the expectations and thus low results are produced by students and players.

It makes you wonder how much Red’s harangue expressing low expectations effected the play of Vikings turning that into two more losses. They just gave you what you expect. Expect less, get less. Expect more, get more.

Monday, November 10, 2003, 12:10 am.

Blog #215. November 6-8, 2003: Education is still the key, the foundation, the base.

It starts in elementary school, not HS or college. We need to ponder education long and hard for jobs, housing, public safety, safe environment, governing, and a sense of ethics all begin with education, with the most important years being the pre-school through elementary school years, the base for middle school high school, trade schools and colleges, and life beyond. It all begins with education.

Regardless of what your read, my book or my Seven Solutions piece or my Restorative Affirmative Action piece or my Unfinished Dream piece, the solution still goes to, begins and ends with education. Education is also the solution to what I write about in my State of Emergency for Black Youth And by education I don’t mean “re-education” or sensitivity training or any other feel good or “re-orientation” curriculum.

As Nellie Johnson so profoundly repeated, No education, no jobs, no housing. In oher words, without a good education preparing one for a good job there would not be the income to afford good housing. She also phrase it No education, no jobs, no hope,” meaning that without a good education to enable a good job, there would be no hope. We have delivered no hope to our cubs in our schools, and instead have clubbed them, and then forced them into containment neighborhoods. This is the recipe for a forced false class-based society and a very real class-based social struggle. We can stop that with equal access and equal opportunity for equal education for all.

I maintain that it is our community’s (i.e., city’s) responsibility to guarantee that financial barriers do not prevent any able, qualified young person from receiving higher education. But that lofty sentiment starts at the wrong end: money for college. President Truman’s Commission on Higher Education stated in 1947 stated that a failure to meet this obligation threatens “the creation and perpetuation of a class society which has no place in the American way of life.” We immigrate many college educated people from other countries because we purposefully kill the process preventing our own from getting to college. Doing the math is easy: diminishing affordability imperils access to higher education for children of low-income families AND all income families whose kids receive a poor education. Again, it ALL starts with elementary education and too many still assume we have a great K-12 system, which we don’t.

College is unattainable if elementary school was made unattainable even while sitting in class, etc., and then continuing that through middle school and high school (where at the extreme end kids get high school diplomas they can’t read). Poor schools = poor outcomes due to poor teachers, poor methodology, poor resources and poor support. As Sandra Scarr says: “Opportunity breeds predestination,” and opportunity starts with education, and education starts with “Head Start” and elementary education. This is why, in Chapter 7 of my book, I say we must stop clubbing our cubs into inferiority and helplessness and teach them skills, optimism, and hope. And the learning they must do to gain and use skills, sustain optimism, and have hope, is to be solid in their grounding of reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. Only a school system and a superintendent committed to this will give us schools that don’t leave our kids behind. My suggestions in Chapter 7 and in my Seven Solutions piece still hold. The school system and any superintendent owes us a response to what I have just written in this paragraph, as do any who claim to offer either leadership or spokemanship for the community, Black or White.

We need to be clear that it’s all about schoolchildren who need their elders to upgrade their early education, reduce their class sizes, better train their teachers, and facilitate higher education. That’s easily as good as mother, country, and apple pie.

Thursday, November 6, 2003, 9:45 a.m. thru Saturday, November 8, 2003, 3:22 a.m.

Blog #214. November 5, 2003: Has the Mayor and the Minneapolis Police Department Transformed Minneapolis into Los Angeles and Rodney King?

On the 10 o’clock news of October 29, 2003, KSTP showed the video tape of the police beating of Alfred Flowers. But unlike Rodney King, who was guilty and who was resisting arrest, our Alfred Flowers was not guilty and was not resisting arrest. Indeed he was struck from behind while talking on his cell phone. Were the police angry that they were found to have falsely arrested Alfred Flowers several weeks earlier for obstructing justice with force and because they were found to have falsely charged his sister with obstructing justice without force at the NAACP meeting? Normally, when there is a video tape, the police use it in writing their reports and if there is conduct on it they don’t want known, they drop the charges regarding whatever it is that the tape was about. Not this time.

This beating of Alfred Flowers, for me, Ron Edwards, is chilling for three reasons. First, for seeing the ease with which, given the background of recent events and the on-going federal mediation, the police still felt comfortable beating up one of our people who was a member of the mediation team. Secondly, they anticipated that I would be with Flowers and thus had hoped to beat me up as well. And thirdly, it was chilling because it was plain to see that the age old game is alive and well in Minneapolis: the game that it doesn’t make any difference what the Black folks say, even if two of the witnesses include a State Representative and a City Council Member, we’re still going to beat the crap out of them and, despite the tape or its possibility, web will still charge the Black man. This is Minneapolis’ Plantation style White jury mentality: it doesn’t make any difference what the White man does, the Black man is guilty.

The Chief would not go along with it after seeing the tape and the report by the Internal Affairs Division, which had subpoenaed the tape a month ago. The Chief advised the City Attorney it would be a bad move to go after Alfred Flowers. The charge was then dismissed. The Head of the Police Federation and Mayor Rybak, along with the inspector or commander at the 4th precinct, fooled around and got a policeman who had had a conversation with Alfred’s sister on the Monday they came to pick up the tape, took her words and twisted them, and made it appear that she confirmed that she and her brother were out of control, and used that to recharge the case, tocharge her, and to move his case to the County Attorney’s office.

When the Chief and the Internal Affairs Department got the tape under subpoena, they didn’t show it to the other police who wrote their reports of the incident. The tape clearly shows the lies those cops told. When they recharged Flowers they opened themselves up to exposing the reality of the lies of the police report compared to the actual events as caught on video tape.

All of this took place while Al Gallman was still President of the NAACP and the Mayor’s boy. They had anticipated that yours truly, Ron Edwards, was going to be with Flowers, and by beating us both up we’d end mediation. They mayor is obsessed with ending the mediation. Last week at the meeting of the near North Side the Mayor took a “whipping” from over 300 people. They haven’t been right since. In the meantime, the head of the Federation, John D’Monico is upset and told the KSTP reporter two weeks ago that Flowers would be charged, not knowing that the charge had been dismissed. When the reporter told him the charge had been dismissed D’Monico went berserk. Detective Ryan developed a nonsense, fallacious twisting of the facts and presented them to Amy Klobachar in the County Attorney’s office. But the County Attorney’s office didn’t know the history of the tape. They assumed that the cops had seen the tape and had done their reports accordingly. They didn’t realize until the KSTP report on TV that the cops had not seen the tape.

The tape shows how Abercrombie, who works for the Urban League (which was in on this), made two telephone calls to the police on 911 at 9:29 am and 9:46 am, saying Flowers was violent. KSTP-TV shows Flowers in the interior of the Urban League building doing nothing of any violent nature. The cops indicated that when they confronted Flowers on the street corner that Flowers took a fighting stance and began to flail at the officers. But the film shown on KSTP shows this: Flowers standing on the corner talking on his cell phone when the squad car pulls us. Flowers walks over to the car, bends down, nods in obvious conversation, and then turns and walks away. The cop exists the car and puts a leg whip to Flowers from behind and a blow to the head, knocking him to the ground. Four other officers who had also arrived at the same time jumped on Flowers too and they just stomped on him and beat the crap out of him.

When it was made known that Flowers was going to be charged, the Mayor and his group were hoping that would break up the mediation group and we would break off negotiations. Nope. Not going to do it.

Besides the obvious unanswered questions, here is another: where is Abercrombie, the Urban League property manager for the Urban League? All of a sudden, he is not in town.

Note the arrogance and confidence of these particular police officers that they can act this way, knowing there was evidence out there such as the tapes 911 keeps of all calls and the video. Another question: how deep does the personal role of the Mayor go? The Chief told the KSTP reporter that he held the Mayor responsible for the attack on Flowers as an attempt to get us to end mediation. Another question is how many time the local TV stations and Star Tribune have let episodes of this go unreported in the general atmosphere of “containment” that only a video tape enabled the right thing to be done? Another question: how often do the cops manhandle unnecessarily that fear prevents reporting by the victims? The tape shows the cops choking and strangling Alfred Flowers as they are putting him in the car as tried to pretend that he was resisting when you can see that, from the strangling and choke holds, he was almost unconscious. And yet in their reports they write that he tried to fight them and continued to resist as they put him in their squad car. There are ways to deal with situations like this. I have presented themm in my Seven Solutions paper. This incident is just another example of our Unfinished Dream, and why we call for Restorative Affirmative Action.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003, 6:25 a.m.

Blog #213. November 3, 2003: Doug Grow covers half the stomping, missing the more interesting half: that just as some of the stomping of citizens by police is illegal, some of the stomping done by City Hall is illegal yet intentional, lawless yet purposeful, against its own laws that are ignored and against Federal laws which the feds won’t long ignore.

Doug Grow’s recent column City Hall Stomps on Man’s Dream , should have been entitled “City Hall Screws Lawful Citizen Due to Unlawful Acts of City Council.” This story illustrates several points we keep trying to make that Grow and the Strib continue to ignore. But first, let’s recap the story: the man involved, Iraqi by birth, an American citizen as of 2000, had the rug pulled out from under him by City Hall. As Grow reports, “He went to the zoning office and got clearance to operate a store at 3453 Penn Avenue, North. He signed a lease with the owner of the building. He hired an architect accustomed to working with city officials, to develop a plan on how the building and land around it should be designed. He received a building permit from the city in May 2002, to do substantial remodeling of the property. He began work immediately, investing thousands of dollars in the building.”

Then he was told, after being granted the permit, after expending the money, that the City Council had voted on a moratorium on convenience stores because they were magnets for bad elements. As Grow continues, “These moratoriums can be a damning mystery. They are to be enforced at the moment they are passed by the council, meaning they’re enforceable before anyone else in the public or government knows they exist.” The Ward involved in this story was “that of [CM Barb] Johnson [who] refused to bend…” and plead his case before the City Council, even though the neighborhood association backed the request for a waiver for the store. Then Johnson says, “I don’t know how that administrative process works.” This is reminiscent of the crime lord who tells his henchmen “to take care of it” but don’t tell me how you did it. The lesson, she said, was not to invest in someone else’s building.

How is this attitude going to attract investors and create jobs in Minneapolis? You would think fairness would allow for grandfathering starts but apparently fairness is not an issues. No is there recourse to get his money back. No matter how the city spins it, this was a taking of the man’s wealth (see my Interlude 8, “Torn from the land,” about how governments, federal/state/local (but mostly local) have legally taken the wealth of minorities (especially from the descendents of America’s slaves).

The moratorium is because of the city’s claim that it blames convenience stores for being magnets of the “bad” elements. But the villain isn’t the convenience store. The villain is the city, because the city has purposefully created neighborhoods impacted as concentrations of poverty and crime as part of the city’s intentional pattern of segregation and discrimination by creating “containment zones” to “contain” poverty and crime so they will not go to the suburban White neighborhoods. Doug should be writing about that.

These neighborhoods become dumping grounds for the kids the city won’t educate (Chapter 7), a dead end for young men the city won’t facilitate jobs for, especially by purposely staying out of the compliance that would create them (Chapter 9), and a place where the poor are condemned to lousy housing (Chapter 8). Doug should be writing about that. These city crimes are committed in broad daylight: even though they are in violation not only of Federal law but the city’s own laws to not have such “supported housing” concentrations. Doug should be writing about that. So the magnet was created by and is sustained by the City. Doug should be writing about that.

This is not the blue collar crime of the street criminals (though it incubates it) nor the White color crime of the developers and the city agencies working in cahoots with developers (although it incubates it). It is more elevated. It is another “step up”: in abstraction. It is easier to get away with. It is “black collar” crime as in the black collars on the robes warn by judges in court: thus either making it legal (anything can be made legal: slavery and voting being but two examples) and acceptable (where everyone turns their head in a “this is the way we’ve always done business” look, as in all of the civil rights laws that are ignored that I document in my book), and thus we have a new “class” of offense to add to “blue” collar and “white” collar crimes of individuals: the “black” collar of the law. It is institutionalized crime by the city. Doug should be writing about that. These black collar crimes get largely ignored. Doug should be writing about that.

And who pays for the lawlessness of this? The taxpayer pays in money, the small entrepreneur or businessman pays with his or her business and the poor and uneducated pay with their present and future standard of living and quality of life. Doug should be writing about that. It is these establishment policies that stomp on citizens, regardless of whether the enabling policy is legal or illegal, that Doug needs to address. Unique and isolated incidents are the consequences of the larger institutionalized lawlessness of the city, especially when it comes to development. This is what Doug should be writing about.

Doug also misses how he is part of those described in my recent Solution Paper, Restorative Affirmative Action, as he often writes as a bell curve liberal (those folks who believe the descendants of the American slave are too dumb to make it on their own and therefore they dote on immigrants Blacks who are not descended from America’s slaves, on other immigrant groups, and on other real and self-described victim groups, etc.). This is part of the reason why the Strib ignores the communities of the descendents of America’s slaves.

Thus, we ask again: where are Doug’s stories of this kind of treatment of the Iraqi that has been meted out to the sons and daughters of the American slave, who have also attempted to be store owners? He once again celebrates those allowed to jump to the head of the line ahead of the sons and daughters of America’s slaves because the Middle Easterner is viewed as being more capable and more worthy. We are not encouraged and when we try we are expected to fail. Doug should be writing about that. But there is hope: my Seven Solutions paper. Doug and the Strib should be writing about that too.
Tuesday, November 4, 2003, 6:55 a.m.

Monday, November 3, 2003

Blog #212. November 3, 2003: Life and death games by the Strib: Stopping doesn’t mean a ticket to stomp

Some have asked what was meant in my column about the Strib issuing death warrants. Readers of this Blog know that I have taken on the Strib for lacking in journalistic integrity and for practicing selective and negative journalism. Now, please understand, no one defends criminals for doing criminal deeds nor does anyone like to be forced into a sitation where it looks like they are defending criminals. Criminal behavior is a menace to public safety, White or Black. On the other hand, how we handle criminals says a lot about our character as a city and how we treat different segments of citizens. In the most recent cases of young Blacks being, or allegedly being sodomized by the police, and then reporting that in the one case one is a police informant, without any proof, is to sign his death warrant when he goes back to his hood and fellow criminals not wanting him to snitch. Both, therefore, need to be in protective custody because of the collusion of the Strib and the police to try them and convict them in the court of public opinion (in the process the Strib breaks the cover of an informant, rendering him useless in the future). Protective custody would be consistent with procedures in such cases, as bad a taste as that leaves in all of our mouths. Do we say this to protect criminals? No, we say it to protect everyone. We need police. There are bad people out there. But too often Blacks are wrongfully stomped after being stopped, including innocent 14 year olds like Matt Little’s grandson. Stopping is one thing. Stomping is another. if they can flagrantly label those held innocent until proven guilty as guilty until proven innocent, and stomp on them as they please, it is a small step to do so to those they just don’t like for political reasons, as seems to be the case in the stomping of Alfred Flowers, resulting in his being hospitalized. There is no room in our society for lawbreakers nor for law enforcement personnel who would respond to lawbreakers with lawbreaking of their own. We all know where vigilantism leads. Certainly the anger of the Strib, especially over Jennings, is understandable. What is not understandable, nor excusable, is their stooping to journalistic terrorism in response.

Monday, November 3, 2003, 3:10 a.m.

Blog #211. November 2, 2003: Red Going Berserk in the Locker Room: Preparation for a New Stadium Fight or the Move Out of Town?

We wish our Minnesota Vikings well in their game today. But we are still wondering what was up with Red McCombs after last week’s game when he said to his team that had become one of the last unbeatens to lose a game, to go 6-1, that they “humiliated” him and the organization for losing their first game. What’s up with Red? And why did he say Monday he doesn’t remember saying it but that if he did he apologizes and then repeats he doesn’t remember saying it? Was this a public relations disasters or strategic act to build anger at him and the team to make it easer to skip out of town so that the reality won’t hit until after they are gone (see Chapter 15 of my book), or both. So how are to take his following day statement that it was a misunderstanding when he also says “if” he said it, saying he can’t remember having done so? It’s going to be hard to move a successful team. Is this part of a strategy to get into the heads of the team so they lose and prick the balloon of the fans and their love of their team so while they are disappointed they don’t raise a finger as the team is moved out of town, out of state? Red seems to be doing everything he can to agitate and provoke. Is that what asking South Dakota for $500,000 to have the training camp in that state is all about? Or is this the response of a bottle? Or dementia? Or old age?

Sunday, November 2, 2003, 12:50 a.m.

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and for the columns. Please cite for blog entries and solution papers.

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