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Friday, September 30, 2011

Google+ Is Open To The Public. Who Cares?

Google+ are you ready to take the plunge?
Could the next big thing on the Internet finally have come? In the land of G, they sure think so. After all the hype, all the wait, all the anticipation, Google+ is open to the public. Who cares?

During the "Invitation Only" phase of Google+ it had peaked at about 5,300,000 users. When it opened to the public, over 15,000,000 people signed up and started looking around. But like those of us that have been around since the early test phase, they didn't see too much.

Unlike Facebook, where you can open an account, get a friend or two, sit there and things are there to look at; Google+ is a screen with basically nothing. With both social networks, you really have to start accumulating friends before the screen gets interesting.

In Google+ they have a thing called Circles - another term for Groups. You put people in circles. Then you can choose what information you share with which circle. You can share content with a single circle or with all of your circles. So far, I have two circle - Family and Acquaintances - the latter could really be called Strangers. Only a couple of my friends on Facebook have added the + to their screen time.

Like any new network, it will take time to build. However, Google+ just seems so stark that I wonder if anyone will really want to take the time to return and build up their followings and share content, especially if they are active on another network like Facebook or MySpace. There are only so many hours in a day.

In the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout, a marketing classic, they explain that the way to win is to be the "firstest with the mostest." Whoever is first and puts the most out there, they usually take slot number one in consumer's minds and hold it for a long, long time.

MySpace was the first widely used social network, however, Facebook came along with a better mousetrap. It was easier to interact with people you didn't know on Facebook, network, make new friends and see a lot of interesting content. MySpace is just a glorified chat room. If you had a slew of friends you actually knew, you could chat and share pictures and videos with each other. But if you didn't really know anyone, you spent a lot of time customizing your profile page and doing nothing else.

Google+ lacks a lot of the interactivity that Facebook has. LinkedIN, while lacking the social element of Facebook, allows for interaction through groups and their stream. Google+ has the stream of content shared by those that you have on your acquaintance list, but if they don't put you in one of their circles, then you might be sharing your content with yourself.

Time will tell how Google+ can fit into the average person's daily online activity. The problem they face now is that a lot of people might come, look, wonder what to do and leave - never to return. When you do that by the millions, that is not a great launch.

What Google+ might have going for them is a potential implosion by Facebook. FB developers surprised their 800 million users with an unannounced change to the News Feed a week ago, which no one was happy about. There are a number of changes coming in November or December that will radically change the profile and how your content is organized. If the changes are not user friendly or provide a real benefit to Facebook users, there could be an exodus for someplace less complicated or confusing and Google+ could be the port of refuge.

Right now, Google+ is open to the public and a lot of us are asking, "Who Cares?"

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gay Is The New Black In Hollywood

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet of Modern Family.
Prior to 1998, there were very few, if any, openly gay characters on television. Since Will & Grace became a rating smash, times have changed. More and more openly gay characters are appearing on shows, getting their own shows and becoming sensational stars. However, there seems to be a bit of a fallout from all of this sexual diversity since gay became the new black in Hollywood.

Yes, gay is the new black in Hollywood. As gay characters have moved into the neighborhoods of our favorite sitcoms and reality shows, more and more black actors and actresses have moved out. Most black actors find themselves in dramatic shows, like the crime/hospital/legal dramas that fill up the 10 o'clock hour during the week.

When it comes to comedic entertainment, it's a white/gay/Latino world. And ratings show that America has no problem with that.

Gay men steal the show. Hollywood has yet to produce a really funny lesbian - not counting Ellen Degeneres, who is absolutely hysterical. But she's on a top talk show during the day.

There are some new prime time shows with black leads slated for the upcoming winter season or as possible mid-season replacements. But black faces are less visible in prime time.

Even daytime TV is more out. Nate Berkus, most of the participants of The Chew, and other openly gay hosts and performers are showing up as we flip through the channels.

Gay performers have always been around, they've just never been so openly out. And I think it's great. Gay men are hilarious.

Even conservative Dancing With The Stars took a bit of a risk by having flamboyant Carson Kressley and transgender Chaz Bono as contestants for their 13th season. A lot of articles were written about Bono, but they all proved to be rather pointless. Bono's scores have been poor, but fan voting has kept him on the show. There is an audience for diversity and it is vocal.

It will be interesting to see as demographics change in the United States over the next ten years what Hollywood will be serving up for our entertainment. For now, ladies/gentleman, it's time to GBLT dance. Put on some Barbara Streisand and let's get at it; because gay is the new black in Hollywood.

Related articles:
Gay Man Comes Out Of Closet As A Heterosexual
Two PBS Programs Are A Must See To Understand Gay Experience In America
Study Shows Unplanned Pregnancy Rate In Gay Community Is Zero

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What The Hell Did You Just Write On Your Blog?

How NOT to blog, if you want an audience.
There is a good friend of mine on Twitter and other social networks and she told me that she only writes on her blog when she's inspired. Then, she hammers out a post in one shot - no proofing, correction, alterations, spell-checking, editing, etc. Presses PUBLISH, and he's done. I've read her posts and every now and then I have to ask, "What the hell did you just write on your blog?"

Let's call my friend Egg. She is bipolar like me. So, we both have a tendency to get a little manic and start typing and typing - but we have broadly different outcomes.

When I go into manic mode, I produce nine blog posts in one night, publish them all and find out the next day that half my email subscribers quit because I flooded their inbox. I have since changed to publishing only twice a day - AM and PM and throwing in time sensitive pieces when needed - like a TV show review or news flash. People like routines. I'm trying to get into a routine, so you will know what to expect from RogerBlazic.com.

Egg on the other hand gets a little scrambled. She writes about her experiences with her bipolar condition, which is fine. Lots of people write from a personal perspective. One of the funniest I know is Maniacal Mom. Her blog, Maniacal Mom's Moments is hilarious. It's all about her as a single parent, with a few other goodies thrown in. It's worth reading. It's worth bookmarking. It's worth sharing.

Egg's blog posts are more on the line of rants done on a street corner. By that I mean, what comes out of your mouth, you can't take back, correct or edit. It is what it is. Egg takes the same approach to her writing - whatever channels from her through a keyboard and onto her screen goes out - no corrections, edits, revisions, etc. That may sound like a neat idea, if you're a free-form poet and you're in a coffee shop full of potheads and people wearing sunglasses in the dark. But on the Internet, you're out there for the masses. And there are several billion places they can spend their time. Will they want to come back to your site? That is the only question you have to ask.

In general, Egg's content is fine. It's the "ramble on motherf**cker" style that needs some tweaking.

In my How To Start A Blog series, under the course on Best Practices, I wrote about a couple no-no's with blogs. Misspelled words and grammatical mistakes make you look, how can I say this gently, unenlightened - or really freakin' stupid.

When I used to teach branding to corporate clients of my advertising agency in Las Vegas, I would tell them, "If you have a small group of customers, they don't care if you have a hole in your shirt or mustard on your pants. They know you personally and only care that whatever you do works for them. But when you start reaching out to a bigger audience, you have to dress and act in a more professional manner." And that holds even more true on the Internet.

Here on the net all you have is a 2-D world. Unless you make YouTube videos, no one knows what you sound like or how you act. And if you don't have a picture on your blog, then your mental picture is completely up to the person staring at your site. "I bet she looks crazy or has a damn tattoo on her forehead." or "That sumbitch must not have no teeth. I bet he chews." You don't want that.

If all you want is a place to blow off some pent up energy and forget about it, then use Egg's style. However, if you want an audience that grows and keeps coming back: edit, proofread, spell-check, fix tenses, don't forget punctuation, and use paragraphs. (Nothing will get me to click to another site faster than seeing 900 words in one block. "Idiot." Next.)

Egg, I'm not beating you. I want you to be the best egg on the net. I prefer mine sunny side up, not scrambled.

The choice is yours - rant or write. Ranting only requires emotion. Writing takes some effort. Unless your rants are really hilarious, most people prefer writing, good writing, insightful writing, funny writing, emotional writing, honest writing, provocative writing, educational writing - but they won't read any of it if it's sloppy. Follow the rules of writing, then, write whatever you want. And you'll have fewer people asking, "What the hell did you just write on your blog?" Can I have toast with my egg?

Check out:
Maniacal Mom's Moments

Related articles:
Ten Lesson Blog Course - How To Start A Blog
How To Start A Blog | Best Practices 


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dancing With The Stars - Week 2 Results - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DWTS says goodbye to Val and Elisabetta.
What seemed almost obvious, based on performance and score, as to who would be eliminated in Dancing With The Stars Week 2 Results on Tuesday, September 27, 2011, turned out to be a surprise. Chaz Bono will take his creaky knees and ankles for at least one more spin on the DWTS dance floor next week, while Elisabetta Canalis and Val Chmerkovskiy will be watching the dancing from the audience or at home on television.

Chaz Bono was at the bottom of the leader board on Monday, with a score of 17. Elisabetta Canalis was in a four way tie in third place with a score of 21.

What I call "Fan Effect" kicked in to override the judge's scores. We saw this last season with Bristol Palin. Bono has his famous mother, Cher, a true Diva with a huge worldwide fan base that must have carried him along. He also is the poster boy/girl for the transgender crowd. Canalis is famous in Italy and as a fashion model. Print models don't talk, so unless they've worked the talk show circuit extensively in the U.S., you really don't know them. When she first appeared on the show and her name was announced, I said, "Who is Elisabetta Canalis?" and I'm sure I wasn't alone.

Second lowest for combined scores and voting were David Arquette and Kym Johnson. Along with Arquette and Johnson, Bono was in that nervous final three in jeopardy.

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough who topped the leader board with a 23 performed an encore of their DWTS leading dance from Monday.

Musical entertainment was provided by The Script and Demi Lovato.

A highlight of the show was a dance number done in the Busby Berkeley style. It's worth checking the tape of the show on the ABC/DWTS website.

Next week, the dancers will perform a dance that tells a story from their lives. This is always one of the most emotional shows of the season.

A low score, combined with bad knees and ankles could not keep Chaz Bono fans from voting and he lives to dance again after the Dancing With The Stars Week 2 Results on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. Dance on Chaz, dance on.

Photo by ABC/DWTS

Related Links:
ABC/Dancing With The Stars Website
DWTS on Twitter

Previous episodes:
Dancing With The Stars - Week 2 Recap - Monday, September 26, 2011
Dancing With The Stars Results - Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Dancing With The Stars Launches Season 13, Monday, September 19, 2011

Related article:
Dancing With The Stars Karina Smirnoff Pictures A Blessing And A Curse

Judges and Hosts on Twitter:
Carrie Ann Inaba
Brooke Burke
Tom Bergeron

Follow Your Favorites on Twitter:
Carson Kressley & Anna Trebunskaya + Team account - TeamCarsonAnna
Chaz Bono & Lacey Schwimmer
Chynna Phillips & Tony Dovolani
David Arquette & Kym Johnson
Elisabetta Canalis & Val Chmerkovskiy
Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff
Kristin Cavallari & Mark Ballas
Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus + Team account - NancyandTristan
Ricki Lake & Derek Hough
Cheryl Burke & Rob Kardashian
Ron Artest & Peta Murgatroyd

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Are You Making An Impact On The Internet? Do You Have Klout?

What is Klout? Do you have Klout?
There are times I akin what we do on the Internet to doing standup comedy in a closet. "Am I funny?" "Does anyone care what I spit out?" "IS THIS THING ON?" Two questions arise, "Are you making an impact on the Internet?" and "Do you have Klout?"

No, the last word of the preceding paragraph is not a typo. Do you have Klout? If you don't, you'll never know if you really have clout on the net.

Klout is relatively new and offers users of the most popular Internet social sites and Google+ a way to judge how much impact they are having when they repeatedly press TWEET, SEND or SHARE on their computer.

Klout will provide you with some interesting metrics as to what you are doing on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN and other sites. You get a graphical representation of four key areas of influence - your Overall Score, your Network Influence, an Amplification Probability and your True Reach. Numbers are generated over the past 30 days and are updated daily.

Are you trending up or down? You won't know unless you sign up for Klout. It's FREE, that's always good; and it only takes a minute. No profile to mess with, which is great. It takes your Twitter info and imports it - picture, profile description, the people you follow on Twitter and your Twitter lists.

Klout computes what you are Influential About, and shows the top three areas of influence you have on your profile.

You can compare yourself to other people by using their Twitter screen name. I love this feature.

Since I'm very active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN, I get in "discussions" with people. Sometimes, the "discussions" turn into a barrage of personal insults coming back at me or a steady stream of pure BS that I don't want to deal with. I'll take the annoying tick and put their Twitter name in Klout. Invariably, I'm not the only one that doesn't care for them. Ninety-nine percent of the time, their Klout scores are taking a nose-dive over the last 30 days and I can easily make the decision to block them.

What Klout gives you is a quick and easy way of gauging the impact of what you dooin the Internet and if people are responding to it. Your Klout numbers gauge how much people share and respond to your content. For anyone that is an Internet marketer, a blogger, trying to build web traffic, a news provider, a writer or a Twitter-holic, you need Klout. With Klout, you get a fast, easily digestible snapshot of your influence. You'll be able to figure out if you are telling jokes in the closet or if someone can hear you.

Another thing I really like about Klout is that it keeps you logged in. I have it bookmarked and I can click on it and within a second I know what my clout is.

The platform is simple and will only take you a minute or two to figure out, another plus.

So, if you're tweeting, sharing and sending on a regular basis you can find out an answer to the first big question if you can answer YES to the second question: "Are you making an impact on the Internet?" and "Do you have Klout?" I am and I do. Compare scores.

Related link:
Get Klout

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Twitter Tools Review: TweetDeck vs. HootSuite
How Twitter Could Stop Spam Tomorrow. But Will They?
Why #Twitter Rules Prevent Me From Following You - Temporarily

Twitter Blames Service Interruptions On Too Many Morons With Smartphones
I'm Bad And I NEED Two TWITTER Accounts And Two FACEBOOK Accounts
Stupid Things People Do On Facebook And Twitter

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Dancing With The Stars - Week 2 Recap - Monday, September 26, 2011

Derek Hough and Ricki Lake jump to lead on DWTS.
With eleven couples dancing for the Mirror Ball Trophy, a new leader emerged and one of the stars had a flash of embarrassment on Dancing With The Stars. Here is the Week 2 Recap for Monday, September 26, 2011.

This week, the feet were moving fast on Dancing With The Stars, as the couples performed either the Quick Step or the Jive. While they all had three weeks to practice for the opening week, most of the couples had as little as four days to learn how to speed up their steps.

Jumping to the top of the leader board with a score of 23 were Ricki Lake and Derek Hough with their Jive.

Two couples tied for second place with a combined score of 22: Kristin Cavallari & Mark Ballas - dancing the Quick Step; and J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff - dancing a Jive.

Four couples clustered at third place with a score of 21.

Dropping to the bottom of the leader board were Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer with a Quick Step that was not very quick - scoring 17. Len Goodman commented, "I've moved faster through the car wash."

Bono has been struggling with severe arthritis in his knees and you could tell he did not have the same spring as in the opening week.

Depending on your perspective, it was either a high or a low of the show - Nancy Grace had a wardrobe malfunction and one of her breasts popped out of her low cut dress. It was not seen on TV and/or edited from the DWTS rebroadcast on their website, but the look on Bruno's face was priceless, as Nancy and Tristan approached the judge's table. His mouth was so wide open you could have stuffed a softball in it.

Chaz Bono will have to rely on heavy fan voting to keep him in the competition on Dancing With The Stars after his weak, Week 2 performance on Monday, September 26, 2011.

Photo by ABC/DWTS

Related Links:
ABC/Dancing With The Stars Website
DWTS on Twitter

Previous episodes:
Dancing With The Stars Results - Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Dancing With The Stars Launches Season 13, Monday, September 19, 2011

Related article:
Dancing With The Stars Karina Smirnoff Pictures A Blessing And A Curse

Judges and Hosts on Twitter:
Carrie Ann Inaba
Brooke Burke
Tom Bergeron

Follow Your Favorites on Twitter:
Carson Kressley & Anna Trebunskaya + Team account - TeamCarsonAnna
Chaz Bono & Lacey Schwimmer
Chynna Phillips & Tony Dovolani
David Arquette & Kym Johnson
Elisabetta Canalis & Val Chmerkovskiy
Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff
Kristin Cavallari & Mark Ballas
Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus + Team account - NancyandTristan
Ricki Lake & Derek Hough
Cheryl Burke & Rob Kardashian
Ron Artest & Peta Murgatroyd

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Table For One - Tips For Dining Alone

You're not a party of one. You're a party for one.
It's past 6 pm, you're hungry. Nothing is in the house. You still have your work clothes on and you don't dare look in the freezer. Fast food, no. Fruit, not substantial enough. I guess it's time to go out. But there is no one to go out with. So you grab your keys and head to a nearby restaurant and ask for the dreaded "Table for one" - Here are some tips for dining alone.

Step one is to not turn the evening into a pity party. That can lead to excessive drinking and you'll be in more of a mess than when you left the house. Have a party attitude, without the party - if you know what I mean.

Sit at a table, not at the bar. You'll feel more dignified and you'll get better service and not have to deal with all of the chatter at the bar.

What I do is try to have fun. I make sure I know the names of everyone who is serving me - the maître d', the hostess, your server or servers, even the bus boy. I make casual conversation with them, focusing on asking them questions about the restaurant - how long have they been in business, is this a busy night, what is their specialty, can they recommend anything? If you're alone, you may as well make some new friends.

Take your phone, you can kill time texting or calling someone. If you have a smartphone, you can even look up how the restaurant is rated.

Order an appetizer and take your time with it. Let your server know that you are not in a hurry and you'll let him or her know when you're ready to order your entrée. Relax, that is probably the most important part. Be adventurous, try something you may have never tried before. The more you concentrate on trying to make a night alone an experience, the better off you'll be.

Savor your meal. Take small bites and don't be afraid to look around the room. You may make eye contact with someone interesting. But enjoy the meal. You're not feeding yourself, you are dining.

My former wife and I were good diners. We always took our time. Waiters and waitresses would often comment about how relaxed we were and how we "dined well". Too many people are in a rush, gulping down their food, waiving for the check and getting out within an hour. Learn to bask in the moment. It's you. You're the best person you know.

If you learn to "dine well" by yourself, wait until you get a partner. You can teach them by example what it is like to enjoy the moment.

It may be a party of one. But it is also a party of fun - only if you make it that way.

So, don't dread the, "Table for one." - Take these tips on dining alone and you will have a much more enjoyable experience. And tip well. If you come back, you'll get the best service you could imagine. And that in itself is half the fun.

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STATS MAN Does Toastmasters - an ALL MY DONUTS film

STATS MAN tries to improve his speech.
Improving one's ability to speak in public is important in business or if you are an educator. We decided to send our field reporter to a group well known for its program that helps people speak better in public. Yes, STATS MAN does Toastmasters - an ALL MY DONUTS film.

STATS MAN ran into one of his fans at the Toastmasters meeting and was pleased to be recognized. However, when asked at the end of the meeting what he thought of the program, he said, "It was completely incomprehensible." That's when I knew we needed a follow-up interview to find out exactly what went on at the meeting.

STATS MAN also gives us his economic plan to improve the economy. A can't miss STATS MAN video. Watch his wisdom in action. Learn. Absorb. Find truth and confusion, all in the same video.




As you can see, STATS MAN knows a bit about American and Spanish. It is obvious that he does not need Toastmasters. It would only screw him up. And that's what happened when STATS MAN does Toastmasters - an ALL MY DONUTS film.


Related articles:
The STATS MAN Cometh - an ALL MY DONUTS film
STATS MAN Learns PowerPoint - an ALL MY DONUTS film
Three Grand Slams - My 55th Birthday Adventure - an ALL MY DONUTS film
- STATS MAN makes a special appearance in this video

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Mystery Of My Floating Testicle

"Hey, one of you guys ain't been working all these years."
When we are born, the assumption is that most of our parts work. Over time, some of the parts break. A few can be replaced, but the rest you have to live with. Sometimes, you don't even know a part is broken. That's what happened to me. I was having a sexual problem, which I'll explain, but the visit to the urologist and the subsequent ultrasound produced The Mystery Of My Floating Testicle.

In the sexual department, I never had any trouble. Oh, there were the occasional misfires while walking through the mall past Victoria Secret, but those went away, the older I got. Or there were the, "Thank God you were wearing glasses," moments that I managed to clear up with a little Windex. But my last partner and I experienced a completely different malady - I could not fire.

I had no problem getting into the right position, strong and firm - for HOURS. And HOURS. And HOURS. But no bang.

Our love-making sessions became rather boring. Twelve hours of huffing and sweating, she'd have 37 orgasms and I'd have to call 9-1-1 to get some medications to get that grin off of her face. Still no bang.

For ten months prior, I had been taking an anti-depressant and the doctor said that it could be the cause or it was psychological. But he decided to have an ultrasound performed on my... ah... satchel.

The first think I thought was, "Hey, I'm having twins." But he assured me that was an impossibility. As he hummed around the boys, he started to hum himself. My girlfriend was there, grinning - the meds hadn't taken hold yet - and she started humming. I felt like I was in the midst of a kazoo choir as the doctor probed beneath my wazoo.

Something you don't want to hear during any medical exam is, "Boy, this is strange." All kinds of thoughts were going through my head. Cancer? Bruises? Square?

Then, I finally got the news, "Mr. Blazic, one of your testicles is not connected to anything. How long has it been this way?"

"I have no idea. I just assumed they worked and that was all I cared about. I don't check them very often. I have someone else do that."

"Well, sir, one of your testicles is not connected to anything and it it basically floating around freely within your scrotum."

"Maybe the doctor pulled me out of my mom by my nuts?"

"That is possible, but unlikely."

"Kicked in gym class during dodge ball?"

"Another possibility, but unlikely."

"Faulty manufacturing?"

"We might have to go with that. You've just had a free spirit down there all these years."

"Will it effect me?"

"Doesn't seem to have all these years. I suggest you calm down, not try to force the issue and you should be able to perform just fine. There is nothing we can do for you."

"What if I call a plumber?"

"Ha, ha... that won't help."

As I left the doctor's office, I kept thinking that I'd been guilty of a dead ball foul all these years. I was half nuts. And what was that other guy down there doing if he had no pipes? Just swelling out of control?

Within a week, I had returned to my usual six second bang and a nap routine, followed by a sandwich and Sportscenter.

Then, my girlfriend went insane and I sent her away. It's been over half a decade since I've attempted any firing. I keep my weapon, locked and loaded. But it has a lot of dust on it.

I still have the creeps and weird dreams that my untethered testicle is sneaking out at night and going places I don't even want to imagine. Or that he's roaming around the inside of my body, looking for trouble. "Is that a lump in your throat?" No, I have a runaway nut.

To this day, I'm still not sure what to think of the mystery of my floating testicle. I guess I am half nuts.

Related articles:
I Set My Balls On Fire - A True Story
NO RAPTURE. Now I Have Post-No Rapture Depression

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Is The United States Criminal Justice System Racist?

Is the U.S. criminal justice system racist?
On Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 11:08 pm, Troy Anthony Davis was pronounced dead from a lethal injection, completing his sentence of death for the murder of an off-duty police officer in 1989. Ironically, Davis' death certificate will read, Cause of Death: HOMICIDE. The state and medical examiner admit they committed murder. But was there too much doubt to send Davis to his death? As Amnesty International, religious and political leaders took their turn at the microphones held firmly by the media, the question kept coming up, "Is the United States Criminal Justice System Racist?"

Determining the answer to that question is much more complex than the simple answer Reverend Al Sharpton offered, "In Georgia, over 50% of the inmates on death row are black, when we only make up 15% of the population." He stated two facts, but do they tell a story?

By using those facts alone, the NFL, NBA and NHL are all racist because they do no have a proportional number of white players to Latino players to black players. We've never had a black member on the U.S. Olympic swim team. (We'll take a break while all the black people laugh about that one, cuz bothers and sisters don't float.)

Comments were made regarding the Davis execution that, "This is a holdover from the old Jim Crow laws."

If we take a look at death row inmates in the 34 states that have the death penalty, Pennsylvania has the highest racial disparity of its death row inmates. Out of the 219 inmates on death row, as of September 23, 2011, 133 (60.7%) are black, 67 (30.5%) are white, 17 (7.7%) are Latino and 2 (0.9%) are Asian. Pennsylvania is a long way from Dixie.

Five other states have more blacks than whites on death row: Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Ohio. Alabama had nearly triple the amount of whites on death row as blacks. So, 29 states have more whites on death row than blacks.

Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, 255 black people have been executed for killing whites, while only 17 white people have been executed for killing blacks. I could not come up with a total number of murders to draw a conclusion.

Even though support for the death penalty has slowly declined since 1976, we are still a death penalty county, with 64% of adults supporting capital punishment. 

Currently, we have 1.6 million people incarcerated in the United States - 1% of all adults are behind bars. Blacks make up 34.5% of our prison population. That represents 4% of all blacks, while only 1.7% of Latinos and 0.7% of whites are behind bars. On the surface, that may look like the system is unfairly skewed.

Census data shows that the average annual household income is roughly $56,000 per year. If you break it down by race, whites have a household income of $113,000 per year, Latinos $5,600 and blacks $5,300. There is something to chew on.

Crime is much more prevalent in lower income neighborhoods. It's how many people survive their lot in life. Low income areas have higher incidences of drug usage, which also sends more people to prison than ever before. If you make a conclusion that low income leads to crime, there should be 20 times the number of black people in prison and on death row as white people, based on the income differential.

In 1986 Ronald Reagan launched the war on drugs. More than 50% of our prisoner population is there for drug charges.

In fact, the United States locks up more people than any country in the world. We incarcerate 1,000 people out of every 100,000. Russia, which is the closest country to us only locks up 629 people per 1,000.

Part of the reason our incarceration rates are so high is that drug sentences are much longer here than in most countries of the world. In the U.S., sentences of 5 or 10 years for drug offenses are handed out routinely, while in other parts of the world a similar crime may only get a six month sentence.

If you draw a correlation between poverty and crime and who pays the price, you would assume there would be a much larger black population or Latino population in our prisons. But there isn't

The biggest problem with Troy Anthony Davis' execution was that there was too much doubt. Hopefully, he will become the poster boy for abolition of the death penalty. We know innocent people have been forced to die in our prison death houses more than just a few times. And what does death serve? Revenge? Closure? In many studies the victim's families still did not feel closure after the killer was pronounced dead.

In a day and age where everyone is trying to cut costs, the death penalty is a massive drain on our state budgets. A California study said that their death penalty system costs the state $137 million per year. If they switched to a life without parole option, the cost would drop to $11.5 million per year.

Housing drug offenders for long periods is also putting a strain on the system. Michigan projects their total prison costs to exceed $2 Billion in 2011.

In total, there are 7.3 million people who are "in the system" in the United States - either in prison, in jail, on parole or on probation. By reducing the number of harsh drug sentences and eliminating the death penalty, the nationwide savings would put a huge dent in the $60 billion it costs the U.S. to run it's criminal justice system.

But we really need to attack the causes - poverty and poor education.

A misnomer at that there are high high school dropout rates. Students dropping out of school has steadily declined since 1980. Where the black dropout rate was 19.6% it has fallen to 9.2%, which still leads all races - the average including all races is 8.1%.

The big problem with our inner cities is lack of economic opportunity. Teen and young black unemployment is over 50%. To survive, the street games of drugs, prostitution, theft, larceny and assault flourish.

No government program can fix this. What it will take, in my opinion, is for black entrepreneurs to become more involved in the black communities. Start mentorship programs for high school and college student. Have all-black businesses. Minorities can get away with that, so do it.

Several years ago, I was fired by a client because I was not Chinese. I asked the woman, "I'm the wrong color, right?"

"Yes, so sorry."

There wouldn't be an ACLU lawyer in the world that would take that case on. So, for blacks, Latinos, Asians, take care of your own. The Jews did it when they were outcasts, the Italians did it when people didn't trust them, the Irish did it when they were hated by other immigrants. People of influence in the black community and other minority communities need to step up and start building pathways to a better black community.

If we've been able to cut the rate of drop outs and cut the murder rate - which peaked in 1990 - then we are headed in the right direction. The skies are not cloudy all day.

If a kid will stay in school, we as a society owe them a pathway to a better life. In a recession, when even highly qualified workers are struggling to find work, that is a lot to ask. However, we need to build toward the future. Take our youth and prepare them for the job market. Prepare them and teach them entrepreneurship. Create black kids with opportunities that are more than movie stars, athletes or rap moguls.

To change the numbers in prison and on death row, you have to attack the cause.

Yes, I'm sure there are juries who put away black men and women because they are black. When you are from a low income family and you have to rely on the public defenders office, you might as well get fitted for your prison uniform and pick out a cell. The system is skewed heavily against the accused - poor - black, white or whatever.

The days are gone of all white juries deciding the fate of a hapless black man. So, to call the system racist is basing it on statistics that do not tell the whole story.

Is the criminal justice system in the United States racist? In some cases absolutely, but overall, no. Tory Davis was a man, who happened to be black, who happened to be Muslim, who happened to be a good role model for his nephew and was a good brother to his sister. Now all of that ended because the system would not stop. The system needed revenge. There was too much doubt. If there was no death penalty, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

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