Friday, September 30, 2005

Abort Bill Bennett

The former United States Secretary of Education, Bill Bennett, has exposed the evidence of a still prevalent racism against African Americans in a nation that has a long way to go in race relations. On his daily, nationally-syndicated radio talk show on September 28th, he responded to a caller's comment by saying that if "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."
"I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down." -- ex-U.S. Education Secretary Bill Bennett

He attempted to cover his racist back by iterating the obvious -- that such a notion is "morally reprehensible" but to even conceive of this type of analysis substantiates the roots of this man's mentality. It is beyond reprehensible that this man allowed himself to say this publicly. It is a disturbing fact of American society that he was fully aware that he had little to lose by doing it.

Obviously, Bennett does not include crimes against humanity, such as wars,conflicts, sanctions and unmediated international violence as real crimes -- otherwise, he would have recognized another group of people who have proven far more dangerous than the African Americans he seems so very concerned about.

The White House -- notably comprised of many of Bennett's former colleagues and friends -- has attempted, pathetically, to distance itself from the statement which comes at a particularly uncomfortable moment in its race relations continuum (but, then again, when isn't?) by merely releasing a statement saying that "The president believes the comments were not appropriate." Not appropriate?! How outrageous is this paltry retort?

Appropriate is hardly the realm we are dealing with here. One would hope that this and other major revelations by the Bush Administration and its cohorts over the last few weeks will make all African Americans think twice about ever again throwing their votes away to this group of politicians. This is why it is so dangerous that the U.S. media has cultivated a short-term-memory complex in that society.

Now, more so than in a long time, thanks to the horrible undercurrents of Hurricane Katrina and internationally echoed statements such as Bennett's, African Americans have a distinct point of unification -- they have an opportunity to come together and rise against the residues of slavery which have far from evaporated in American society.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bendy Bus Hero

A lot of Londoners don't like the new "bendy" buses, as they call them, which are gradually replacing a lot of the old double-deckers. They are one floor, instead of two, but really long and divided into 3 parts which are connected with rubbery bendable sections that help the bus manouevre corners and such. You can board the buses from any of 3 entrances, only one requiring you to pass (and thus, pay!) the bus driver. The other ones operate on an honor system, basically. Unless... the London Transport officials randomly happen to board the bus you're on, to check for violators. A one-way bus pass is 1 pound twenty pence. If you're fined for not having a ticket, the cost is 20 pounds -- that's nearly 40 US dollars.

Tonight, I was on a bendy bus that had been overtaken by the officials (and fortunately, I happened to have a ticket, though, they didn't check me, for whatever reason.) They were doing one last check when an old drunk piped up from the middle section of the bus:

"Ey! Ya don't haf te call meh 'Ser'!"

The main official replied back: "I wouldn't worry about it, Sir."

"Ya don't need te cuz am yor hero! Thas right -- am yor hero!"

...and then, out of nowhere, the old drunk broke out with --

"Ah can bee yor heeeroo bay-beh!"

-- the Enrique Iglesias song. The entire bus cracked up! I couldn't stop laughing for the next few blocks! What a character -- he certainly cut some of the tension on that was actually a welcome release. It's still so amazing to me how far reaching popular American culture can be.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

George Bush Don't Like Black People

Click here to watch the video for the "George Bush Don't Like Black People" song that was created after the Katrina disaster.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Champion, Not Hero

Just watched the Will Smith film ALI for the second time. Same reactions as before, really... Muhammad Ali was an arrogant man whose loyalties lay only with his needs -- those things that satisfied him. For example, his typically cold break from Malcolm X (respectably portrayed by none other than Mario Van Peebles who has, amazingly, come a long way from his young Sweetback days) had nothing to do with religion, but with his inability to accept that the Nation of Islam had questionable practices -- his mentality based on never doubting his own choice to be a member of that group. He later experienced, first-hand, that he was very wrong, but by then Malcolm had long passed. His misogynistic attitudes toward women were successfully portrayed in this film, as well. Nona Gaye (Marvin's wonderfully talented and classically beautiful daughter) truly brought to life Ali's weakest character traits in this respect.

Ali was certainly a man of great contradictions, some of which, like his stance against the U.S. Army draft and his great ability to believe in himself, are worthy of respect. There is no doubt that he was able to stand up for himself. Sadly for him, however, heroes are people who stand up for others.

Muhammad Ali was no hero.

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First-Hand Account of Katrina

This is Charmaine Neville. Click here to watch her fascinating first-hand account of what really happened down in Louisiana. Read below for my transcript of the interview. (Source: WABF local television from Louisiana.)

Transcript of the interview with Charmaine Neville, a hurricane Katrina survivor from New Orleans. In the video, a small white priest has his hands, at arm-length, on her shoulders as she tells her story. He asks her a few brief questions in the middle of the interview and at the end consoles her, but it’s mostly unintelligible what he says.

“I was in my house when everything first started. I was in the house. Yes, I live by the [unintelligible] in the 9th ward of New Orleans. When…when…when…when the…when the hurricane came, it blew all the left side of my house [unintelligible] and the water was coming in my house in torrents. I had my neighbor – an elderly man who’s my neighbor – and myself in the house and with our dogs and cats and we were trying to stay out of the water. But the water was coming in too fast. So we ended up having to leave the house.

"We left the house and we went up on a roof of a school. I took a crowbar and I burst the door open on a roof of the school to help people, to get them up onto the roof of the school. Later on we found a flatboat and we went around in the neighborhood in a flatboat, getting people out of their houses and bringing them to the school. We found all the food that we could and we cooked and we fed people. But then, things started getting really bad. By the second day, the people that were there, that we were feeding and everything, we had no more food, no water – we had nothing. And other people were coming into our neighborhood.

"We were watching the helicopters go across the bridge and airlift other people out but they would hover over us and tell us “hi” [she makes a smirk] and that would be all. They wouldn’t drop us any food, any water, nothing. Alligators were eating people. They had all kinds of stuff in the water. They had babies floating in the water. We had to walk over hundreds of bodies of dead people – people that we tried to save from the hospices, from the hospitals and from the old folks’ homes. I tried to get the police to help us but I realized we rescued a lot of police officers from the flatboat in the 5th district police station. The boat – the guy who was driving the boat, he rescued a lot of them and brought them places where they would be safe.

"We understood that the police couldn’t help us but we couldn’t understand why the National Guard and them wouldn’t help us because we kept seeing them but they never would stop and help us. Finally, it got to be too much. I just took all of the people that I could. I had two old women in wheelchairs but no legs that I rolled them from down there at the 9th ward to the French Quarter and I went back and I got more people. There were groups of us you know. There was about 24 of us and we kept going back and forth and rescuing whoever we could get and bringing them to the French quarter since we heard there was phones in the French quarters and that there wasn’t any water. And they were right, there was phones, but we couldn’t get through.

"I found some police officers. I told them that a lot of us women had been raped down there by guys who had come [unintelligible] from the neighborhood where we were, that were helping us to save people [starts crying]. But other men, they came and they started raping women. And they started killing. And I don’t know who these people were. I’m not going to tell you I know who they were because I don’t.

"But what I want people to understand is that if we had not been left down there like the animals that they were treating us like, all of those things wouldn’t have happened. People are trying to say that we stayed in that city because we wanted to be rioted and we wanted to be this and what – we didn’t have the resources to get out. We had no way to leave. When they gave their evacuation notices order, if we coulda left, we woulda left.

"There are still thousands and thousands of people trapped in their homes down in the…down in the downtown area. When we finally did get to [priest asks: “downtown or in the 9th ward?”] – in the 9th ward…in the 9th ward – and not just in my neighborhood but in other neighborhoods in the 9th ward, there are a lot of people who are still trapped down there. Old people, young people, babies, pregnant women. I mean, nobody’s helping them.

"And I want people to realize that we did not stay in the city so we could steal and loot and…and commit crimes. A lot of those young men lost their minds because the helicopters would fly over us and they wouldn’t stop. We’d do S.O.S. on the flashlights, we’d do everything. And it came to a point, it really did come to a point where these young men were so frustrated that they did start shooting. They weren’t trying to hit the helicopters. They figured, maybe they weren’t seeing, maybe if they hear this gunfire they will stop then. But that didn’t help us. Nothing helped us.

"Finally, I got to Canal Street with all of my people that I had saved from back there – it was a whole group of us. I – I don’t want them arresting nobody else – I broke the window in an RTA bus, I never learned how to drive a bus in my life. I got in that bus. I loaded all those people in their wheelchairs and then everything else into that bus [cries again] and we drove, and we drove, and we drove and millions of people were trying to get me to help them to get on the bus [unintelligible] [starts crying]…willpower to do…[crying]."

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Katrina's Dirty Laundry

Is it wrong to forget the past? Are we doomed to repeat history if we do forget? No, we repeat history because human events inevitably operate in cycles: from extreme to extreme, all based on the never-changing nature of the human being. First you are a slave, then you rebel, obtain power and enslave others. They rebel, obtain power and enslave yet others. It is a fact of human nature that those who are inclined toward power for the sake of power are inherently incapable of having compassion for the people they leave behind -- even if those people are their very own selves. And history, as we know, is written by the very powerful winners.

What are the current African-American leaders doing? Nothing of any substantial impact -- that's for sure -- this rut has been dried and cracking for a generation now. And a lot of it has to do with a lack of real leadership. Jesse Jackson -- I'm sorry to say -- simply doesn't project the appearance of power, and his adventures in adultery (especially considering that he is a man of the cloth, so to speak) were the nail in the coffin of his well-established political impotence. Similarly with Al Sharpton, (another man of the cloth, notably) there are fundamental problems with his ability to appear serious and capable. His ridiculous coif alone is a mockery of African-American dignity. Louis Farrakhan (yet another man of the cloth -- is this a requirement for African American leadership?) is another faulty figurehead. His historical association with the Black Muslims at the peak of their corruption (including his probable role in the assassination of Malcolm X) is a major dent to his credibility. As are his racially-insensitive statements about other minorities.

It is the leaders' job to lead their people toward claiming back everything the institution of slavery and its aftermath took away from them. Every-day-people have basic needs they must address -- their larger battle against racism in the United States perpetually plagues them, but they are not in a position to alter centuries of racist culture on a large scale. They can fight their small, but significant daily battles, but substantial and lasting change is only ever achieved through revolution. Malcolm X knew that. And Martin Luther King, Jr. eventually realized it, when he stood against Viet Nam -- his first break from the security of his clergy. Who will the next leaders be? Perhaps we must seek the unconventional -- people like Kanye West who have the financial and public clout to speak out and rile the masses toward change. It is only a matter of time before the next major civil rights movement for African Americans takes shape.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005


Seems the higher ups in the EU are reading my blog... The European Union has decided (not for the first time) that it'll take a lot more than rampant human rights abuses, or even the good ol' U.S. of A. to dampen its significant business relations with Iran. Germany, France and the UK are not going to side with the U.S.'s demand that the IAEA report Iran to the Security Council. Instead, they're going to use diplomacy, that steely-eyed weapon of mass deception, to appease all their interests at once. Which means, of course, that they will eventually, but not immediately, stick it to Iran. It's just a matter of how and when...

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Moss Grows Fat on a Rolling Stoner

Looks like H&M got the ball rolling... Kate Moss has lost two more lucrative deals as a result of recently being outed as a Class A druggie. Chanel and Burberry are not renewing their contracts with her. And it looks like cosmetics firm Rimmel are also reconsidering things. The only hope for her now is to do the what she did the last time she was scared into stopping drugs (after a couple of her friends, including David Sorrenti -- ironically, the "heroin-chic" fashion photographer who died of a heroin overdose-- lost their lives to drugs): go back to rehab. And I think Courtney Love has proven exactly how l-a-r-g-e this challenge can be...


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

U SUK Really Bad

World map with nuclear weapon status represented by color. (Source: Wikipedia)

Who is the United States? Why must there always be an inbalance of power? True, it is ever susceptible to the nation it divorced in 1776 -- the British cleverly persist in letting the Americans take the spotlight of blame for so many of the tragic foreign policies they engage in together. But it works out because the Americans don't care -- and it's not cowboy ethics at play here, it's that simple but perilous combination of ignorance and arrogance that has fared badly for far greater empires than the Anglo-American one, or U SUK, as I like to call them.

Case in point: this rot over whether Iran creates nuclear weapon technology. It's not enough that U SUK overthrew Iran's nationalist democratically-elected Prime Minister in 1953 and replaced him with the willy-wagger Mohammad Reza Shah(for the second time, no less). It's not enough that they negotiated with Khomeini at the beginning of his reign, conveniently facilitating the end of the hostage-takeover on the exact day of Reagan's first-but-not-last inauguration. It's not enough that they secretly negotiate with a government that has demonstrated about as much concern for human rights as the overlords of Guantanamo Bay. No, it's simply not enough to have defaced the culture of Iran and warped it into this present spectacle of human depravity which we witness today (which, by the way, will take generations to resolve, only just starting at the point when this regime is no longer in power). U SUK must also malign and harangue a nation for allegedly doing what U SUK and others have already done: develop nuclear weapons.

Certainly, the Iranian government is committing far greater crimes against humanity. Besides, if anyone were concerned about the effect of nuclear weaponry, then it wouldn't have been developed in the first place, it wouldn't have been used already and nations (including U SUK) wouldn't continue advanced research into developing even more destructive weapons. Shouldn't someone be stopping the only known nation to have actually used the full force of these weapons (remember Hiroshima? How about Nagasaki?)? No, this is not about any value for human life, it's about exerting power -- at a time, notably, when U SUK is quite emasculated thanks to Miss Katrina and that ol' battleaxe Iraq.



This is impressively creative design -- why hadn't anyone already thought of this? To place the male peacock's wondrous display of feathers onto the body of a woman? It's the cover of the new Goldfrapp album "Supernature." Goldfrapp is an interestingly British music phenomenon -- they've got this type of sound that's great ambience for a large hall or a small gathering on a moody London night. It's sophisticated in an escapist, but kinetic way -- not exactly everyday music, though.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

High & Mighty

In these days of rampant American-style profiteering it is refreshing to see that capitalism can have values. Today we observe as much in fashion mega-firm H&M's (Swedish company Hennes & Mauritz which is the largest fashion retailer in all of Europe) decision to drop Kate Moss from a major campaign because of her recent admission (as if she had a choice -- see the London Daily Mirror's photographic evidence) that she is a cocaine user. Ah, if only the American people had such gumption, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Bush Need to Pee Now

Why shouldn't anyone take the blissful chance to mock Der Bushmeister's most recent known foray into public ridicule? You see here the evidence taken by a conscientious (and most likely somewhat bored) Reuters photojournalist as Da Prez hisself handwrites a note during last week's 60th UN General Assembly meeting -- a message, I might add, of great urgency. "I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?" he begs of his boss, a.k.a. Da Leezza. I wonder what The Con replied to his request: "Hold it. And that's an order." Or something of that nature. What's the deal with these two anyway? Does the rabid Republican Texan via Connecticut actually harbor some feelings -- human feelings -- of affection toward this woman (if we may call her such things)? No doubt. Is he administered regular Estrogen treatments to avoid any uncontrollable urges as he works alongside his Bachelorette Boss? Almost certainly. Yes, go pee Mr Bush -- surely you have license to spill.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Gmail Word Verifications

This is the beginning. I even sent myself a Gmail invite to create a whole new email address for this blog: . I've done this before, and, since in these far-reaching and highly imaginative Internet days most email addresses require more than one try to affix, I've come to notice a peculiar and creatively amusing facet of Gmail: the word verification test words are above and beyond anything Hotmail's ever come up with. You know that weird jumble of letters (and sometimes letters and numbers) which you are faced with when, as a non-spammer, you sign up for a new email account? It's usually something random like qx4fye presented in uneven, multi-sized fonts, usually a bit blurry to the eye. Well, Gmail and its greater cohort, Google, have outdone the competition again. No, jumbled words will not suffice -- Gmail is actually providing a secondary service to those who sign up for its emails: naming their children, pets, loved ones and things. Or perhaps even inventing new words, the meanings of which you and I can eventually ordain over time and thought. No more yv7si, how about Aniall -- a lovely sister to your Irish son Niall, perhaps? Or Fuquia, that striking orange color between bright red and bright yellow? I find myself making errors in the form or choosing obvious email addresses repeatedly simply to see how far Google will go -- whether the riddle will miss its punchline -- but over and over, Gmail never fails to impress. This is what makes life worth living: passion, creativity, surprises. Pardon me while I sign up for another Gmail account...