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(Wo)MAN vs. Mouse: Let the Best Beast Win!

Posted by JD on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 , under | comments (4)

So yesterday evening as I was diligently packing a 400 calorie lunch (it takes about 45 seconds), I almost caught a heart attack and an animal cruelty case! A mouse scurried from behind my dog's bed and ran into my coat closet--a closet I refuse to ever open again.

I'm not afraid of mice. However, they are filthy and I don't want it touching me or anything that belongs to my child!! They are creepy with all their scurrying around and dipping and dodging. I'm sayin doe, why you runnin fa?

I can't deal! This is why I need a husband. I have a whole long list of things I need my not-yet-met mate to do. Number 3 on the list is kill shit. Numbers 1 and 2 are too explicit to discuss. You can see killing shit is top priority for me.

I ran out today after work and got glue traps. Glue traps are better than regular mouse traps because this way, when you catch the mouse he's still alive to kill. When I catch him and beat him I might even let him live so he can run back and tell all the homies that I DON'T PLAY THAT SHIT MY HOUSE.

Anyhoo, I am also calling an exterminator because judging by the scratching and bumping noises I hear there must be some sort of hole in my raggedy attic (it's not my house so I don't mind calling it as it is). In the meantime, I keep having random daymares of a mouse trying to tickle my feet in my sleep. I'm in my bedroom right now with my door shut like somebody lives downstairs. ugh

Simply put, there's only room for 2 beasts in this house in southeast. Me and my dog. This random squatter is not welcome.

Impressionable and On a Damn Jury!

Posted by JD on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 , under , | comments (3)

<======has been chosen for jury duty.


No, seriously, why me?

There is no way on God's green earth I will make a good juror.

Like lots of Pisces I'm a very impressionable as well as indecisive and likely to drift off into a daydream at any moment. None of those qualities bode well for jury duty.

I've been impressionable ever since I was little. If two people are disagreeing I believe whomever is speaking at the moment.

Here's an example of a conversation between me, A, and B.

Person A: "B" is a liar!
Me: "B" Why do you lie so much?
Person B: I don't lie, "A" is the liar.
Me: "A" I can't believe you lie like that!!
Person A: I told you "B" is the liar.
Me: Oh that's right...wait...I'm so confused.

When I was in middle school I broke up with my boyfriend *David because *Richard said he liked me more. When Richard asked me why I stopped talking to him, I explained that David liked me more than he did. When he asked me how I knew I realized that I didn't know.

In a courtroom this would translate to me believing both the defense and the prosecution and the defendent and the victim depending on who is talking at the time. If the decision came to a juror vote, I would just raise my hand last and vote with the majority.

Hell if I know if someone's guilty or not. And I don't need that hanging over my head!

I got ADD anyway. Before I sit through a trial I will have to think of things to think about while I'm supposed to be listening to both sides. I don't think they could have picked a worse person to serve such an important civil duty.

I will do my best to be fair (given the bits and pieces I will probably hear) but I'm not too happy about missing the ProBowl in MIA (which is where I originally planned to be). I better meet a hot lawyer or something.

*names changed to protect the persuasive

Down for the Cause: Why Black Interests Are Not Being Met

Right this moment a black person is somewhere lamenting some political, social, or economic need that black people, as a community, are not having met by government. Regardless of socio-economic status or geographical location, black people are not just concerned with the overarching business of the “people” of the United States but are also worried about their own community and where they believe they are being overlooked.

Unfortunately, most strategies used by individuals and also black or urban-targeted organizations are outdated, reactive, and lack particular direction or expertise. From the “nappy-headed ho” Don Imus incident to the most recent flap about Harry Reid’s comments regarding Obama’s complexion and speech patterns, blacks are discussing what’s being said rather than what is or what could be done. Furthermore, black people do not seem to be pursuing positions or entrepreneurial efforts that would assist black people in gaining advantages in the long-run.

For example, there is a detrimental deficiency of lobbyists, lobbying firms, trade associations, think tanks and researchers to staff them in the black community. Over the years these institutions have become the premiere places from which information is collected for inclusion in Federal and State legislation, Federal Rules, and even articles published via media outlets large and small. These institutions typically serve predominantly white constituencies (though they may have black members), and largely employ them as well.

To bring this to a ground level, say you are reading an article about the statistics regarding a successful black woman’s likelihood of getting married. You notice that there is a statistical breakdown of the location and marriagibility of black men but none for black women. You also note that though the numbers show what percentage of black women are single but fail to show how many of the successful black women even want to get married or have been married previously but now are widowed, divorced etc.

The (sub)standard reaction to this has been to blame the media for shallow reporting. Some may even accuse the media of undertaking a widespread effort to cause panic in the black community (cause they have time and resources and interest in that *scoff*). But others, like myself, would say that if there were black think tanks dedicated to the issues of marriage and family in the black community (a good example of this would be something akin to the Heritage Foundation, an organization that has been wildly successful in advancing its agenda) those numbers could have been readily provided to the media with proper context and messaging.

But alas, such a Foundation does not exist.

Another good example is the conversations surrounding the healthcare debate. I have heard numerous black people complain that the bill lacks the sort of provisions that would assist the black community in overcoming some of the gaps between the care they receive versus what whites receive. Many have blamed this on the “healthcare lobby” which, admittedly like all other ‘lobbies’ is lacking in color. Would black people have supported President Obama’s stance on lobbying if blacks had their own firms and were actively involved in decisionmaking? Moreover, would President Obama have worked so hard to reduce the influence of special interest groups if those special interests were more diverse?

I can’t help but wonder how the black community, with such a high number of purported “thinkers” and politically conscious members can suffer from a dearth of people participating DIRECTLY in advancing the type of research and governmental influence (lobbying) efforts necessary to help black people enter the coming age and serve both their foreign and domestic interests. And I still struggle to understand why long-supported and, in many cases, government subsidized, organizations such as the NAACP and others have failed to make related transitions.

As I write this article encouraging black folks to become BETTER political participators, President Obama is simultaneously attempting to both reduce the influence of lobbying firms (full-disclosure, I don’t agree with his position) and extending the government’s collaborative efforts with stakeholders to build policies that advance America as a whole.

However, because of the lack of black-focused groups, his administration will be hard-pressed to implement the types of policies most black people would support because there are very few to provide the information (i.e. make it easier and thus more feasible) for the administration to do so.

There are already many people who believe that President Obama has done “nothing” for black people thus far in his presidential term and that he should “already know” what types of legislation and regulatory action would be beneficial to the black community. I can also assume that these same people believe President Obama could undertake these efforts alone, that members of Congress alone write legislation, and that a fat man wearing a red outfit delivers gifts on December 25 of every year using a wooden sleigh pulled through the brisk night-air by cervids he calls by name.

Sadly, this is not the case. For every rulemaking effort, every legislative turn, and more, the public via established groups and organizations provide comment, research, and feedback. Government employees, executives, program managers, and legislators are all a part of the process, but are not, and could never be the process in its entirety. The feedback and information provided by think tanks and the like can not only steer policies but also help avoid unintended consequences.
A good example of an unintended consequence that could have been avoided with proper research would be the legal sentences for cocaine vs. crack possession and distribution. Black people, including the Congressional Black Caucus supported harsher sentences for crack offenders because they thought locking up violators would assist in diminishing the crack epidemic by taking those most likely to support it off the streets.

Today, we know that those rules have resulted in a conviction rate of black men disproportionate to the amount of black men who actually use or distribute drugs. Additionally, there have been issues with the execution of justice as well as arrests and other parts of the adjudication process.

I’m 100% positive a black think tank dedicated to judicial issues could have predicted that such legislation would have resulted in racial misapplication by looking at the history of black people’s involvement in the criminal justice system and the subsequent impact (recidivism, legal representation etc) on the community. They probably could have even suggested alternative legislation that would have helped end the crack epidemic that depleted so many black neighborhoods and families.

I have spent my career in Federal and State government, lobbying, and on the campaign trail. Over the years, I have watched black people show great passion for diversity and equal opportunity programs. As a result, many pursue jobs with limited advancement where the impact of their work is nearly singular and certainly more personal rather than broad-based. Examples of these positions would be human resources, teaching, civil rights, counseling, and other people-oriented jobs. Nothing is wrong with pursuing these careers or spear-heading your own efforts to own related-firms. However, until black people become key players in the political parts of the process, your value to it is the equivalent of watching Keith Olbermann and tweeting and emailing links to articles you agree or disagree with. In other words, you’re not very useful in the long run.

This shallow participation in and knowledge of our system of government and where, of course black folks fit into it, is part of the reason that black people are struggling to determine where they fit into President Obama’s priorities, and, arguably more important, the priorities at their local level of government (affordable housing anyone?).

I wish I had the answer for how to make widespread change of this nature, and also how to do it given the fairly small population of black people in the United States. I have seen firsthand the overlapping historical circumstances that make it difficult for black people to enter and be promoted within the types of institutions on which this article is focused. Further, some of the greatest black political minds with whom I’ve come into contact in my career (including me!) are working diligently toward national interests—not national black interests.

So, no, I don’t have the answer. However, I figured it was worth pointing out that while most black people wonder why they aren’t winning, I wonder when we’ll get into the game.

Why You So Fat? BIG Changes in 2010.

Posted by JD on Monday, January 11, 2010 , under | comments (6)

As I said in a previous post, HAPPYaboutTHIS would become a personal blog. I'm still planning to have the site redesigned so it looks prettier (i.e. has more pictures of me) and archived articles are easier to find. But right now this ain't so bad!

Beyond alterations to HaT, 2010 is bringing lots of big changes for me. I'm now employed at a different Agency and have transitioned from spokesperson to full-time speechwriter. I'm making more money and can do more to dig myself out of the financial hole I've dug myself while partying too hard (and looking good doing it) over the past few years. I'll blog about those efforts too.

I don't really have a New Year's Resolution (besides finding a muscular someone with whom to rumble vertically at least 3 times a week without requiring me to talk to them), but I have set two goals for 2010.

The first one is to tackle my ADD cause umm, it's bad and getting worse. If you continue to read HaT you will definitely be hearing all about my ADD symptoms--you may even begin to notice them. The 2nd goal is to finally get down to a weight at which I am comfortable and to STAY THERE for good.

Since I've recently tried to make healthful eating and routine exercise a habit again, today's post is weight-related. The last time I got down to a size that I was totally happy with was my junior year in college...I maintained that weight up until I entered the real world where I worked for a lobbying firm. The hours were long, the commute was longer, and the breaks were short to non-existent. I was also living out in an exurb of Washington DC where I knew no one and felt isolated and tired all the time. I gained a bunch of weight. When I ate I either consumed too much or not enough and never the right thing. Despite knowing better, I did worse.

I've since lost the weight I gained that year but have not gotten back down to my previous size. Last year I had a metabolism test that indicated that my metabolism was near death and that in order for me to lose weight I would need to keep my caloric intake down to around 1100 calories. It was hard, but I stuck to it and lost a bunch of weight...but then February of 2009 I was diagnosed with a 5 inch fibroid tumor requiring a myomectomy. I had the surgery in July and had to take it easy for almost 4 months with only a little non-strenuous exercise here and there.

Now I'm feeling better and am ready to get back in to the game. I restarted my 1100 calorie diet last week and I am STRUGGLING to adjust. I'm not gonna lie. I have an attitude! I feel faint. *dramatic wave* However, since I've done it before I know I can do it again. Your body gets used to it. Once I increase my workouts I can SLOWLY increase my caloric intake to 1500.

All this talk about how fat I am has got me thinking about fat people, fat acceptance, and just being fat period. I had no idea that there were controversies between fat people about being fat! Some say accept your fat ass the way your fat ass is (esp. if your ass is actually fat!). Others say sure, you can accept your fat ass but you're gonna die! If you're looking for that debate here, you're in the wrong place. It's my personal belief that the only thing two fat people should ever argue about is who is gonna eat the last Popeye's biscuit. I'm totally down for that fight. I recuse myself of any other arguments. But I do wonder how much better I really look thin vs. fat and if it's worth all the effort I put in.

Please don't bore me talking about health. I'm not trying to lose weight for health reasons--kudos to those who are. I want to lose weight for purely cosmetic reasons and to increase the odds of getting pregnant some day.

But mostly cosmetic I can go from:


(oo la la! I love Kim K!)

I even bought a Kim K poster to put up on my wall since she is my body inspiration (she and Selma Hayek). Unfortunately, my poster got ripped and I think I may have thrown it away. Kim are you reading? Send me another?

Anyhow, if I had Kim's about H to the Izzo (do you catch my drift?). Actually, no, I take that back...I wouldn't be a ho, I wouldn't let anyone touch me. In fact, I'd think I was better than everyone else and would only stop to scowl at people who dared to look me in the eye. By the way, this could really happen...yall know there's no bitchier person than a fat person who gets thin.

And I WILL be that person. As I'm blogging, I will share my exercise routine and food journal for your viewing pleasure.

But yall better leave comments now before I get skinny and stop reading them.