My personal essay, "Noted From An American Prisoner," which was awarded a prize in the category of creative non-fiction (personal essays & memoirs) by Writer's Digest can now be read and shared in PDF form at the following link.
Click below to view the current 2015 list of cities and stores across California that carry my column on hip hop and government, which appear quarterly in the Los Angeles-based hip hop magazine, "Street Motivation."
In Billy Wilder’s 1950 film classic Sunset Boulevard, Norma Desmond is a silent film star who stubbornly refuses to adapt to an evolving industry that suddenly includes sound, ultimately inducing her own irrelevance and destruction. The Republican Party is Norma Desmond’s modern political incarnation. Read Brandon's full op-ed at Townhall.com.
I've had the wonderful opportunity to write for one of California's largest hip hop magazines for almost four years. During that time my columns on music and politics have found their way into the hands of a lot of artists. The following picture of hip hop mogul and billionaire record producer Russell Simmons is one of my favorites. View picture.
For almost a decade the Democratic Party has vanquished Republicans in the world of internet fundraising and branding, a trend spearheaded by former Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean. During the fourth quarter of 2003, Dean raised more than $15 million, setting a DNC record and singlehandedly revitalizing the progressive base. Read the full column at PoliticIt.
In the book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, American economists Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson contend stable institutions and political centralization are necessary conditions for economic prosperity and long term social stability. Differentiating between “inclusive” and “extractive” philosophies, Acemoglu and Robinson maintain encompassing institutions stem educational and technological advancements, while extractive institutions stifle and impede wealth and growth. In addition, stable and centralized political institutions not only safeguard vital elements such as intellectual property rights, but provide a reliable legal foundation from which to peacefully arbitrate and mediate disputes between citizens and firms.
The Founding Fathers set forth a vision for freedom and prosperity, but the materialization of that vision would not have been possible without immigrants. Indeed, if one were to travel back through American history, one would discover immigrants not only helped lay America's railroads and erect America's skylines, but continue to play an indispensable role in America's housing and agricultural sectors. Undoubtedly, immigrants haven't just complimented what John Winthrop and Ronald Reagan once famously called a "shining city upon a hill"—they've sustained it.
Hip hop is not just music. It’s a culture. It includes dance, apparel, perfumes, jewelry, cinema, radio, television, books, magazines, and even beverages. That is, there are very few trades that hip hop hasn’t touched. And while hip hop’s lifeblood may be the complex grouping of rhythms, beats, vocals, tones, and lyrics, it was abetted at every stage by the free market. Read Brandon’s full essay at The Foundation For Economic Education.
Heroes aren’t molded they are etched -- fashioned by endeavor -- born of resolution’s unholy dalliance with circumstance. They are mortals who, in the foreboding face of destitution, unearth the valor to rise to the unforgiving moment. They are angels whose optimism illuminates the forgotten aspirations of desperate men and waning servants.
For six months now, Republican voters, like an ensemble of bemused Barbie dolls, have hopscotched from one candidate to the next in search of conservative Ken. From Bachman, to Trump, to Perry, to Cain, to Newt -- they have, in a curious and fickle display of fidelity, indeed navigated the contender gamut. That is, unless the contender is Ron Paul. Read the rest of my op-ed at The Hill (note: this op-ed has since been edited/shortened by The Hill).
For centuries, civilizations have risen and fallen, some by the despotic winds of external forces, others by the internal cancer of their own apparatus. But of the civilizations that have resonated longest and strongest, Professor Amy Chua asserts in her book, Day of Empire, one single trait spans them all: tolerance.
Contrary to left-wing embellishment, Occupy is neither avant-garde, nor debonair -- but rather, an intellectually dejected and insolvent cultural miscarriage; a systematized parade of profound ignorance and unenlightened rebellion. It is, to say the least, a civic mortification.