Monday, January 29, 2007

The "Grillz" Bill

State Rep. John J. DeBerry Jr. has decided to tackle some of the more important issues facing Tennessee right now. He is currently introducing a law that would prevent anyone but a dentist from taking impressions in order to make "grillz." The statute targets mall kiosks and jewelry stores that take the dental impressions and has the effect of denying the youth and the poor of Tennessee equal access to this essential hip hop accessory. Under the proposed law, only dentists could take impressions for "the fabrication of a cosmetic metal apparatus to be worn in the human mouth, whether or not such apparatus features silver, gold, or platinum caps, jeweled inlays, or any other cosmetic features." DeBerry says of his bill "I guess we can't outlaw the jewelry for your mouth, but we can make sure that it if your children go in there, they are not getting an impression of their teeth with a mold and material that someone else has just used." I say the hip-hop generation should rise up and protest this reprehensible intrusion on the group's urgent claim over its own destiny and body, claims implicit in the very meaning of liberty.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

What Will Happen To Them?

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here's a stirring excerpt from the last speech Reverend King ever gave, I've Been to the Mountain Top. If you're interested, you can read or listen to the address in its entirety here.

[In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus Christ] talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side. They didn't stop to help him. And finally a man of another race came by. He got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But with him, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, because he had the capacity to project the "I" into the "thou," and to be concerned about his brother.

Now you know, we use our imagination a great deal to try to determine why the priest and the Levite didn't stop.

At times we say they were busy going to church meetings--an ecclesiastical gathering--and they had to get on down to Jerusalem so they wouldn't be late for their meeting. At other times we would speculate that there was a religious law that "One who was engaged in religious ceremonials was not to touch a human body twenty-four hours before the ceremony." And every now and then we begin to wonder whether maybe they were not going down to Jerusalem, or down to Jericho, rather to organize a "Jericho Road Improvement Association." That's a possibility. Maybe they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the casual root, rather than to get bogged down with an individual effort.

But I'm going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It's possible that these men were afraid. You see, the Jericho road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road, I said to my wife, "I can see why Jesus used this as a setting for his parable." It's a winding, meandering road. It's really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1200 miles, or rather 1200 feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho, fifteen or twenty minutes later, you're about 2200 feet below sea level. That's a dangerous road. In the day of Jesus it came to be known as the "Bloody Pass."

And you know, it's possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it's possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?".

That's the question before you tonight. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?" The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" "If I do no stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?" That's the question.

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

He's Coming to America...

Behold the mighty Beck'. Sure he's aging former superstar who's years past his prime... but he still BECKHAM. And, as of today, he's also America's. Goodbye Real Madrid, Hello L.A. Galaxy.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Best Resume Line Ever?

A line from the resume that a friend recently submitted with his law school applications