The Minneapolis Story Home Page

The Experience of Ron Edwards

A Renaissance Black Man in a White Man's World

A Beacon for Freedom in the City

2004 Blog Entries
December ~ Entries #9 - #16

Home | 2004 Columns » | All Columns » | 2004 Blogs »

A time for celebration and a time for resolve to perpetuate what is celebrated into the new year.

[posted 12-27-04]

We wish all people of all faiths a joyous Christmas. To non-Christians, be they of other faiths or no faith, know that you are remembered and included because that is the Christmas message, one we can all celebrate: the message of peace and brotherhood. The message of peace and brotherhood was taught by Jesus of Nazareth (let his message be the beacon of light used to evaluate how his followers use it, be they politically left, center, or right). Would that all would cultivate love, peace and brotherhood and both demontrate it to others and stand up for it to others, rather than either claiming it as their own, excluding others, or disowning it because it is “Christian”. A friend of mine points out that the Jewish scholar Hannah Arendt, in her book The Human Condition, calls for our keeping promises (as that keeps chaos at bay) and forgiving others (to keep violence and revenge at bay, as once people say or do something to us it can’t be reversed - OK there are limits here, but you get the idea). She said these are not Christian-only characteristics but the need of everyone’s human condition. It is just, she said, that Jesus said it better than anyone else. Others have described this book as “life changing.” Certainly it is a book all interested in changing the inner city dynamics should read.

There are two type of promises that we follow and report on in our columns and web page: those of governmental institutions (especially about education results, its hiring and contracting compliance, housing and public safety) and the social contract we have with each other when we step out of our private spheres into the public spheres (maintaining a civil environment and celebrating with others the displays of what is important to each other rather than excluding the traditions of some because they would offend another: liberty and freedom are about including all, even if that means being offended by your own intolerance as you seek to reverse or nullify the traditions of those you oppose).

In our 2004#14, we congratulated Minneapolis’ own Powerline as Time Magazine’s Blog of the year. For those wanting to learn more about “blogs” (web logs) and the blogosphere made up of 5 million blogs and growing (see the new book out this month by Hugh Hewitt entitled Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That’s Changing Your World Hugh has written a blog for two years.

Powerline and Hewitt both talk about the suppression as well as distortion regarding what is going on in our world, especially as being done by the Star Tribune. We share their concern as we have written numerous times. As we note on the back cover of The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes: This is the story of the great experiment of the last outpost, Minneapolis, a city that has mastered the harmful political and economic machinery for keeping minorities “in their place” in terms of education, housing, jobs, and the war on young Black men.

We welcome new additions to the realm of information gathering and distribution and what Blogs, like

Powerline , and books, like Blog can do to get and reveal the truth, for it is only the truth that will set us free. We would like to hear what they have to say about such racist organzations as St. Paul’s Panzerfaust Records that seeks to entertain and create racists (see our commentary about them in BTL #6) about which we have yet to hear from the Governor, the mayors, mainstream editors and their columnists, nor the NAACP or Urban League). We would also like to hear what the DFL has to say about the poor education of minorities and the housing displacement of minorities, which its policies control in North Minneapolis, and we would like to hear from the two national visions of the Democratic party, the DNC (the Democratic National Committee) and the DLC (Democratic Leadership Council), as well as from the RNC (Republican National Committee). What is your stand on keeping Blacks “in their place” as opposed to their participating in the mainstream, including ownership and wealth building. Let us remember in this Christmas season and throughout the year that here is not only faith and reason, there is also hope. Our challenge to the world of blogs is to expose and comment on the promises not kept in education, jobs, housing, and public safety as well as society’s unforgiving approach to young Blacks (not to mention their own towards themselves) that together are contributing to the creation of today’s State of Emergency for Black Youth . We offer the Golden Rule (Chapter 5) as a yardstick and, as a framework for solutions, our book’s solutions gathered together in the concluding chapter, and our post-book solution papers, especially The Minneapolis Table Building Blocks to use to implement the The Seven Key Solutions. May all of resolve to all use them to foster peace on earth, good will toward all people and peoples. Will you? If not, why not?

[Written 12-24-04, Posted 12-27-04, 10:00 p.m.]

2004/#15. 12-22-04: Mixing Red and Blue to Get Purple: Cosby and Obama.
[posted 12-27-04]

This week’s Newsweek magazine provides articles on the two names today making the biggest splash in the news and in the Black Community: Bill Cosby and Barack Obama

Barack Obama, newly elected Black senator from Illinois, first democratic male senator in history. Cosby calls for the poor Blacks to hold u their end of the civil rights bargain and pursue the American dream, generating success through education, a love of hard work and self-reliance (something we sorely need in Minneapolis). Obama wants to Get Beyond Blue vs. Red by mixing them to get purple (something we surely need in Minneapolis). Both would seek public “assistance” in its original sense: public education assisting learning so students can graduate to good jobs with living wages that allow affordable housing. Cosby wants the audacity of success for our young. Obama brings “the audacity of hope.”

We particularly like the fact that he has spent 20 years as a “community activist exploring the viability of politics to make change.” We hope that his ability to “set aside partisan differences and look for consensus” rubs off on the DFL and GOP in Minneapolis. This fits in well with Bill Cosby’s speechspeech before he NAACP this year, when he asked “What the hell good is Brown V. Board of Education if nobody wants it?” Cosby “railed at black kids for choosing bling over books.” What was startling about the Cosby speech was not what he said but that he said it instead of the NAACP. Had the NAACP been doing its job, and the Urban League its job, instead of figuring out how to get more money from the government to support their plushy jobs and get to work in the community the way Obama has, Obama’s “audacity of hope’ would have visited our communities long ago. Cosby correctly emphasizes "decent" values over "street" values. We are not talking rocket science. What both want can be done if we ourselves in the community want it and can overcome the roadblocks and sabotage by the education bureaucracy in education, that of the city’s failure to enforce its own compliance rules re jobs, and the planning bureaucracies regarding housing. How to solve this? We recommend serious consideration be given to what we have outlined on our web site, where we talk about closing the gaps in education, jobs, housing, and the State of Emergency for Black Youth byfollowing The Golden Rule (Chapter 5), using The Minneapolis Table Building Blocks to implement The Seven Key Solutions

[Written 12-22-04, posted 12-27-04, 10:00 p.m.]

2004/#14. 12-21-04: BLOG OF THE YEAR: Powerline . Congratulations to Twin Cities Blog Powerline being named yesterday by Time Magazine as the “Blog of the Year.” Weblogs are hard to maintain. We tried on this site for 9 months. We have a “modified blog” in that we try to provide an entry on the average of at least once in the week between our weekly column. We must admit that we had not heard of this blog until we saw the news of the award. For those who want to read more about blogs, read Time’s article on them. And, Time says, most blogs are written by women . Because we are experienced in dueling with the Star Tribune, we are intriqued by this quote on their web site from the Chicago columnist Mark Steyn:

"Everything that’s wrong with American newspapers is summed up by the fact that these guys do it for free and their disparager, the pompous windbag editor at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, gets paid for it."

The three who write Powerline, make a distinction between Star Tribune news reporters, columnists, and editorial board/writers. We believe this is awfully generous of them. Our concern about the Strib refusing to review our book or even give it a news story is not a concern that is "about us," but rather a concern for our city and its various communities and neighborhoods: what other news needed by citizens of our community are being purposefully filtered out by the Strib? It is significant that in the Star Tribune’s news story about the award to Powerline is the fact that in their list of other web logs, they ignore and leave out this one.

Powerline is written by three guys, John H. Hinderaker, a lawyer with the Minneapolis law firm Faegre & Benson (lives in Apple Valley), Scott W. Johnson, an attorney and senior vice president of TCF National Bank in Minneapolis (lives in St. Paul), and Paul Mirengoff, who is an attorney in Washington, D.C. (lives in Bethesda, Md). They are obviously writing from a “center right” perspective (they are former liberals, one having worked in the office of then Senator Mondale). We write from a community perspective regarding the progress being made or not made and promises fulfilled or not kept in terms of civil rights and race relations as they relate to equal access and equal opportunity in The Seven Key Areas of education, jobs, housing, public safety, safe environment, governing and ethics. We propose our solutions in our book (listed in the Conclusion chapter) and on this web site’s two dozen "Solution Papers," especially in our advocacy of our city using The Minneapolis Table Building Blocks to address these 7 areas, especially as they impact on State of Emergency for Black Youth by and the faulty policies and obviously poor outcomes of these faulty policies in education, jobs and wages that have contributed to this emergency. I see overlap and common ground that we share with Powerline. We will engage Powerline in dialogue as we continue to cover the political and civic affairs in Minneapolis from the perspective of The Seven Key Solutions, in order to enable all to learn and be assisted (including the public assistance of education, living wage jobs, and affordable housing) so they can exercise the hard work and self-reliance that are key to enabling people to strive for the American Dream and generate their own family wealth.

12-21-04, 4:00 p.m.

2004/#13 12-2-04: On December 1st, The Drudge Report carried the story about “Netherlands hospital goes ahead with euthanasia for babies…”

This euthanasia is allowed by of their “Groningen Protocol,” (which reminds me of “The Wannsee Protocol” movie of Kenneth Brannaugh about the German’s meeting that determined “The Final solution,” including who, babies to grownups, could be terminated for being defective (physically, Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, coloreds, etc.). The Groningen Protocol in Holland allows for euthanizing (killing) babies up to 12 years old for birth defects or later discovered defects. This suggests three questions to us: (1) why aren’t liberals outraged by this post-birth abortion (or is this an extension of partial-birth abortion)? (2) Why isn’t it covered as news in the mainstream press, or is it the desire to get this “medical procedure” approved in the U.S. too? And (3) Given Blacks are held as inferior by both liberals (The 1968 Kerner Commission Report) and conservatives (the 1998 book “The Bell Curve”), could, in the future, “colored” be considered a birth defect by both liberals and conservatives? We’d like them to know. It is important. We discuss Kerner and Bell in chapters 1, 11, 14, 16, and 17, and in Interludes 2, 4, and 10. They are that important. What say you, liberals and conservatives?

12-2-04, 10:15 p.m.

2004/#12. 12-2-04: Notre Dame: More Tarnish for the Golden Dome: Winning Willingham Ousted

In Chapter 10 of The Minneapolis Story: Through My Eyes, is the story of our own tarnished race relations story at the University Minnesota. In that chapter we discuss another allegedly great university, Notre Dame. The connection is athletics, especially football. We quoted from Don Yaeger’s book Under the Tarnished Dome: How Notre Dame Betrayed Ideals for Football Glory.” How does the old story go? The more things change the more they stay the same? Well, South Bend has gone south again. This week, for the first time, despite a winning record, Notre Dame has fired a coach before the end of his contract. Coincidence that this only happened to a Black Head Coach? I don’t think so. College and universities are supposed to be the heart of liberal, non-racist, clear-eyed thinking. Are they? Read my chapter 10. They are not. Most coaches played college ball. Yet, out of 117 Division 1A schools, only 2 Black Coaches remain. Statistically, given most coaches played, you’d expect the percentage of Black coaches to approximate the percentage of Black players (52%). The fact is that Black Head Coaches now comprise only 1.7% of Division 1A college Head Football coaches (and don’t get me started on the NFL). There are also few Black professors in the elite schools. Blacks can play ball and pay tuition. When will they equally Coach on the field and teach in the classroom? Only two conclusions are possible. Either Blacks are purposefully discriminated against or the myth that they aren’t as bright and thus aren’t considered still holds, with those holding this view seeing it as rational, not discriminatory because, going around in circles, Blacks aren’t smart enough to coach (the same way they used to say Blacks were not smart enough to be quarterbacks). But as there is no difference in intelligence, it means that the alumni who control are bigots and the so-called liberal Presidents and faculty are closet bigots, posing as liberals. To solve this the liberals must first confront and admit to their racism. After all, its their Kerner commission Report of 1968 that says Blacks can’t make it on their own that continues this nonsense. The Republicans just sit back and let the Democrats do their down field blocking for them as both run over access and opportunity for inner city Blacks (see my Chapters 5-13. In today’s Spokesman-Recorder, another writer, Lucky Rosenbloom, headed his column, “Will the DFL block Black progress?” The answer, given the record of the past 40 years, appears to be “yes, of course, just like always.”

12-2-04, 10:45 p.m.

2004/#11. 12-2-04: Minneapolis announced Tuesday that it is closing 17 of our public schools. Only the Spokesman-Recorder notes the stark reality that "the Predominantly White neighborhoods keep all their schools."

So the “clubbing of our cubs” (Chapter 7 of The Minneapolis Story) continues. The DFL theory has been that if they can keep the Twin Cities they can keep the state. No more. Closing 17 public schools, many of minorities, reflects a dying city and expanding suburb. The suburbs are Republican country. Here is my new thesis: As the suburbs and exurbs grow and the cities continue to decline, the fallacy is exposed in the reasoning that if the major cities in the U.S. are kept in Democratic Party hands, the suburbs and rural can be ignored and democrats will win state and national elections. The election of 2004 really exposed the weakness of the city strategy. How do we “fix” the cities in this country, reversing their decline, creating growth and development? Let me answer again by again sounding our trumpet call: provide equal access and equal opportunity for all by closing the gaps in education, jobs, housing, and public safety, and end the State of Emergency for Black Youth, by following The Golden Rule (Chapter 5) in using The Minneapolis Table Building Blocks to implement The Seven Key Solutions. Next week we’ll deliver our promised piece on economic development for the people of the cities.

12-2-04, 10:15 p.m

2004/#10. 12-2-04: The Strib reports today that “Some see red over kettle ban. Et tu Target and Macy’s?

When Caesar was stabbed by his best friend, he said "Et tu, Brute?", meaning, "You too, Brutus.?" That is how I feel about Target and the Macy group. In BTL #3 of November 23rd, we discussed Target kicking out the Salvation Army Kettles. The Strib writes of it today. But we also learn that Macy’s has kicked out the word Christmas, meaning “Christ,” because they don’t want to offend anyone. Let’s see. The spirit of Christmas is to give. The kettles collect money to give to the poor as Christ commanded. And even though there are those who have gone to war over how to interpret what Christ said, he never went to war nor urged anyone to do so. He urged, nay commanded us to “love your neighbor,” “turn the other cheek.” His is the inspiration for “peace and good will toward men.” Now they want to scrub the name of the one guy who above all others stands for peace. How is that offensive? Now we don’t buy presents in the name of Macy’s bottom line but in the name of Christ’s bottom line: to love, to serve, and to give. Christmas is a legal, national holiday (since President Grant) in which all pause to give to others and, to demonstrate their desire to give, spend their money in stores to do so. I find Macys finding “Christ” and “Christmas” offensive, so offensive, iin fact, that I won’t shop there. Macys and Target are essentially spitting into the voices of Negro Spirituals that are our heritage. This is another form of nascent racism. They spit on our heritage in order to not offend those whose cultural backgrounds having nothing to do with us or the founding of this country. What is the sense in obliterating the name of the guy who inspires us to heed our better angels? Well, for turning away the kettle people helping the poor I wont’ shop at Target. For turning out the guys name that stands for peace I won’t shop any of Macys group. As they are embarrassed to mention the name of the one guy who has been consistent in urging that we take care of the needy and the poor, the widows and the orphans, who wanted all to be treated equally, I won’t mention their names except to encourage others not to shop there. When companies are ashamed to mention the name of those who would inspire the good in us I am ashamed that they are in business in my community. And when they are ashamed of the name of the guy who inspires people to provide them 40% of their annual sales at Christmas I can only wonder at how loving and hateful they have become during this this season of loving and giving.

12-2-04, 10:15 p.m.

2004/#9. 12-1-04: As the NAACP President steps down, he says he “needs a break.” Well, so do we. We need a break from the scandals, ineptness, and the eyes wide shut in irrelevancy of our Black organizations (NAACP, SCLC, Urban League). We need a break from self righteous posturing about “speaking truth to power” while failing to speak truth to ourselves. To that I too say, “Give me a break.”

The NAACP saga continues. We read in the Star Tribune yesterday that, just as we wrote in this space this past weekend, Kweisi Mfume, self named “conquering son of kings,” has “stepped down” as President of the NAACP. As the Star Tribune reported, when Mfume became its President, the NAACP was tarnished by scandal and burdened by a $3.2 million debt. He added to the list of scandals as he reduced the debt. He says he “helped revive and restore” the NAACP but now needs a break. And yet he says, with a straight face, “`In my heart of hearts, I know the job has been done, and I step aside willingly…to find another challenge and another chance to make a real difference.” Really? The press conference didn’t mention the 32 page law suit filed in Federal Court that led to his stepping down.

Having been a congressman and head of the Congressional Black Caucus, Mfume seemed like a good choice. But where is the difference he has made other than perpetuating irrelevancy and keeping his back turned against our inner cities? What is in the 32 page law suit? Why does the NAACP continue to flack failing inner city schools and refuse to advocate accountability from them? Where is the NAACP when it comes to discrimination in jobs and housing, public safety in our inner cities? Why is the NAACP ignoring the State of Emergency for Black Youth?

Why is the NAACP (and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference) concentrating on Africa rather than our inner cities, on Africa’s economic development rather than that of our inner cities? From what are the NAACP and the SCLC running and hiding from as they run off to Africa? Why the diversion?

Yes, Mfume has brought some organizational stability and reduced the debt, but at the cost of laying off employees. How can the NAACP criticize corporations when it won’t seek a “3rd way” between status quo debt increasing and debt reducing through layoffs of its own people, refusing to be the example it calls others to follow? He wanted to increase the 500,000 membership. He didn’t. He wanted to end scandal. Instead he and his son contributed their own. Why must terms like “sexual and financial improprieties” dog the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Urban League?

How is it that out of 30,000,000 Blacks in America, only 500,000 are on the membership rolls of the NAACP? That is 1.6%. How can an organization with 1.6% of the American Black population claim to be representative of Blacks? How can our local branch, with 267 members out of 80,000 Blacks in Minneapolis, which is .3%, which means one-third of 1%, be considered representative of Minneapolis Blacks? This is the sham played by both White DFL politicians and their Black DFL flacks. The NAACP gives cover to the DFL lie that they are concerned and doing something about civil rights for the poor and minorities of the inner city, and in return for the cover the NAACP doesn’t rattle the cage of our city governments, all run by the DFL, for not offering programs, legislation, or critiques to provide quality education, jobs, housing, public safety, and something about the State of Emergency for Black Youth besides jail. These “Black representative” organizations seem to exist only to collect monies for Black staffers in return for cover to White politicians, just as the city’s White staffers collect moneys for themselves for “doing good” (recall the McKinsey Report in 2002 that $1 billion was spent by Minneapolis planning agencies to yield 52 housing units (story appears in the June 21, 2002 issue of Skyway News). So lets stop fooling ourselves that organizations like the City’s bureaus or organizations like the NAACP/Urban League/SCLC are anything more, now, than special interest job pools for DFL cheerleaders. This sounds harsh. So be it. We need to speak truth to both power and to ourselves. We need to stop the slide of the NAACP, Urban League, and Southern Christian Leadership Conference into continued national and local irrelevance. All three are both badly in need of reform. There is a “3rd way” for both Black organizations (national and local) and government agencies (national, state, city). It is an easy way to find. It sits atop this column: to close the gaps in education, jobs, housing, and public safety, and address the State of Emergency for Black Youth, follow The Golden Rule (Chapter 5), using The Minneapolis Table Building Blocks to implement The Seven Key Solutions areas of education, jobs, housing, public safety, safe environment, governing, and ethics.

12-1-04, 1:25 p.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.

Home | 2004 Columns » | All Columns » | 2004 Blogs »