In 2009, Brad Paisley released the song "Welcome to the Future" from his album "American Saturday Night."
In it, he sings about all the cultural changes he's witnessed in his life, including the evolving demographics of the country. He includes glowing references to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. The election of Barack Obama inspired him to write it.
It's important to keep all of that in mind because for some, Paisley's latest song, "Accidental Racist," is making him look like an intentional one. I am reminded of an adage (but with a twist): No good ditty goes unpunished.
Two weeks ago, President Obama met with three African presidents – Koroma (Sierra Leone), Sall (Senegal), Banda (Malawi), and Prime Minister of Cape Verde Jose Maria Pereira Neves. This was the White House's way of rewarding these leaders for their examples of good governance. Receiving an invitation to the White House is one of the most sought after invitations in the world, especially for foreign leaders.
African leaders constantly complain about how they are negatively portrayed in the U.S. media, about how African Americans don't invest in Africa, and about how there seems to be a disconnect between Africans and African Americans.
My response has always been quite simple – It's your fault!
CHEF TIMOTHY We can put a man on the moon, elect an African American as president, legalize same-sex marriage and smoke pot in some states without breaking the law. But we have not reined in the high cost of healthcare, even though President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.
Tens of millions of Americans have some type of medical ailment – such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer. We continue to get sicker and fatter as a nation because of unhealthy diets, dehydration and a lack of physical exercise.
The skyrocketing healthcare prices we are paying each year are mind-boggling. We're spending over $2.6 trillion annually on healthcare, and that amount is increasing daily.
Coming the day after the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the new unemployment numbers show that unemployment is still high – and remains much higher for African Americans.
One thing hasn't changed in the last half century: if you're a person of color, you're more likely to be unemployed. Even though the black unemployment rate fell by .05 percent this month, it still sits at nearly 13.3 percent, nearly double the overall rate.
This gap in employment has led to an economic divide between the richest and the poorest in America that is about as bad as in the divide in Rwanda and Serbia. The top 20 percent of Americans earn 50.2 percent of income, while the bottom 20 percent earns just 3.3 percent. Yet Congress continues to do nothing to directly address unemployment.
William Leonard Roberts II is a clown.
He's a clown who has made a very good living pretending to be a notorious international drug dealer surrounded by guns, henchmen, champagne and women. He is the prime example of just how unreal hip hop has become.
The stories Roberts tells under his rap moniker Rick Ross are likely true stories about Rick Ross. They are not, however, stories about William Leonard Roberts. Roberts is a fake, a phony, an imposter. He began his career rapping in the first person about hustling, murder and a multi-million dollar, crime-fueled lifestyle that he saw on television.
If you have never had the pleasure of working in a restaurant, you may not be familiar with the term, "in the weeds." First off, allow me to congratulate you on never having worked in a restaurant.
"In the weeds" is what we restaurant folk (we're similar to "circus folk" except we smell like fajitas and honey mustard instead of cotton candy and clown tears) say when we are very behind in getting everything done that needs to be done.
One is thrown "in the weeds" for a variety of reasons: the dish guy hasn't run the silverware through the machine when tables need to be reset, the hostess is extremely adept at seating multiple parties at once, or maybe the restaurant is short-staffed because two servers called out sick to go to an audition.
You can call it the "bandwagon effect," or "political opportunism," or, the "wake-up-call effect," or, less cynically, an old American tradition. Whatever you call it, in the last month it seems everybody and their momma in the political arena has been expressing support for gay rights and same-sex marriage.
The support has come from opposite ends of the political spectrum: from Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, who also revealed that his son is gay, to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said she was free to speak her mind now that she has left office. Even the Republican National Committee seemed in its white paper exploring the causes and implications of the Party's decisive defeat last November to call for a softening of the GOP's hard line on gay rights and same-sex marriage lest it find itself in "an ideological cul-de-sac."
Martin Luther King, Jr., whose commitment to justice for all got him killed 45 years ago this month, would be pleased. We do know which side this man, who was becoming ever more "militant" in his willingness to challenge the country's fierce dynamic of exclusion, would be on today.