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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

 

Quote Of The Day

"$1,000,000 advertisements have effect and so do songs that tell girls to drop it like it’s hot and songs that tell boys that masculinity equals sexuality and exploitation of their female peers. It is obvious. But like I said in the beginning, 'It is amazing how some individuals look at the obvious and instead of accepting the reality of the obvious question the obvious because they don’t like the results of the obvious'. So I expect the music industry and the artists who make millions upon millions with these songs to pooh pooh the report and disregard what common sense tells us - that sexually explicit lyrics influence sexual behavior amongst teens. But for those of us who advocate on behalf of our teens and the respectful practice of sex (note I didn’t say safe sex, which is fools gold) preferably within marriage or long term monogamy but most assuredly without being pressured into it consciously or subconsciously this report provides a new arrow for our quiver." — Dell Gines, moderate blogger, on a recent study in Pediatrics that showed how song lyrics are linked to increased teen sex

 

BOOKER RISING COMMENTARY: P. Diddy & Osama: Difference Of Degree Or Kind?

So P. Diddy and his longtime girlfriend Kim Porter are expecting their second child. This is in addition to a third child that P. Diddy has from a previous baby mama. So three kids by 2 different women, neither of whom he has had enough respect to even marry. This is another high-profile example of the bastardization of Black America, which is being led by the 40-and-under set. While I don't believe that everyone must marry, I do believe that people with children should be married. The overwhelming stats about how marriage status affects black children's life chances backs me up. Even when I was a socialist feminist back in my college days - I am now a libertarian feminist - I held to this view.

I am only 35 years old and yet I can remember when (1) black men overwhelmingly married black women before they produced children. And in the minority instance that he impregnated her before marriage, they at least cleaned up the situation. What I perhaps dislike most about my generation is that most younger black American men are now content to turning black women into baby mamas through irresponsible actions, and most younger black American women are now content to being some dude's baby mama. The situation has gotten so bad that I've had black men try to step to me with the weak line, "you'd make a good baby mama", as if that is supposed to impress me. No wonder we've got black children and teens increasingly spouting off nonsense like "marriage is for white people" or expressing doubts about marriage...but not the backward idea of having kids out of wedlock. You read right: backward, as it is illogical. Let's use P. Diddy as an example. P. Diddy obviously doesn't believe his longtime girlfriend is good enough for him to marry (does anyone believe that he is aching to get married, but she is holding up the deal?) but yet Baby Mama #2 is good enough to bear his children and thus remain tied to her for decades anyway? Equally bad is that Porter thinks little of herself and allows herself to be a de facto concubine, probably in no small part due to P. Diddy's multimillion dollar wealth. As a feminist, I will state such: this is no better than in the 1950s, when women were expected to be mere appendages of men. The pendulum needs to shift more back to the center.

If folks are good enough to procreate with here, then they are good enough to marry. The underlying idea is that one shouldn't have children with someone whom one doesn't view as marriage material in the first place. P. Diddy is sending a message to his children that Daddy doesn't think highly enough of Mommy to marry her, and his baby mamas are sending a message to their children that they don't think highly enough of themselves to not whore themselves. And why should P. Diddy have married either baby mama, when they give him the benefits of marriage - easy access to sex, shacking up, holding down the home fort while he conducts business, bearing his children - without commitment?

Now, how does this related to Osama bin Laden? Not long after I read about the P. Diddy news, I read that while obsessed with Whitney Houston and once even contemplated killing her husband Bobby Brown, bin Laden reportedly told his black Sudanese sex slave: “African women are only good for a man's lower pleasures. What need do you have for a womb?" While P. Diddy (and guys like him) are not holding women against their will as did/does bin Laden - and many aren't saying one thing but doing another like bin Laden - the attitude and actions towards black women is not much better. While P. Diddy & co. probably see why women of African descent have a womb, they treat it with not much less disdain than does Osama bin Laden in producing baby mamas. It is merely a difference of degree, not kind. Equally bad, black American women of my generation allow them to do so.

 

Martin Kimani: "Less Kids In Africa Equals Better National Security for America"

The Kenyan-born libertarian blogger slams an argument by liberal economist Jeffrey Sachs, who recently argued in Scientific American that plans that encourage voluntary, steep reductions in the fertility rates of poor nations pay dividends in environmental sustainability for everyone. Mr. Sachs also argues that the Bush Administration has turned its back on fertility control in poor countries, to the detriment of America's own national security and economic wellbeing in the decades ahead. Mr. Kimani smells a eugenics proposal at work: "Get this: Sachs is worried not about the suffering of the unborn poor should they live like their parents in scarcity and ill health, but rather that they may fulfill their economic aspirations. If poor countries continue breeding like the proverbial rabbits by 2050 according to UN forecasts (not usually worth the paper they are printed on by the way) world population will be 9 billion with 2.5 billion of this number born in the poor countries. If this 'surplus' somehow finds a way to earn and consume today's $10,000 average, it would by Sachs' calculations cause untold environmental stresses especially due to the fact that cruel fate has chosen to locate 'biodiversity hotspots' among the unwashed masses. He worries of the unhappy fate of these hotspots especially since they are a critical part of the 'Global biological heritage' a phrase that I think is better read as 'we in the west destroyed our biodiversity in our pursuit of wealth and now we want access to yours even if that requires that we get rid of the hungry, ambitious, dare-to-want-to-survive poor.'"

He adds: "As usual Sachs is never one to pursue his arguments to their logical ends and couched in his kindness is a kind of neo-eugenics idea: rid the world of the poor by ensuring that they do not give birth to more like themselves; the world is running out of room of, especially for you if you are from the poor nations (read brown nations if I must go there.) If it is really a matter of national security then under the present American administration's pre-emptive doctrine against emerging threats, there is a need to limit the number of children that the poor have. Yes, this might be achieved by voluntary measures. But foremost will not be the issue of helping the volunteers improve their lives, it will be as was true in all eugenics programs, an attempt to protect 'society' from the undesirables."

There's more: "Sachs too acts to promote the interests of the rich nations but, with a perpetual nod to political correctness and disingenuousness, he would rather he appeared to be seen as promoting the interests of the poor themselves. He therefore urges the rich to give even more, despite much of this money coming to no good whatsoever and even being harmful in a lot of cases. The animating spirit of his ideas is a restless ambition to be counted first among the rich and great by opining as an expert on regions and matters where his knowledge is thin and mostly involves advocating policies that have been tried for decades and found wanting. Joined by the other hapless musketeers, Bono and Geldof, his is a media game joining concern for poverty with the celebrity bandwagon for the selfish pursuit of personal plaudits and the conscience cooling balm of the 'feel good factor'."

 

Gatlin Receives 8-Year Doping Ban

Justin Gatlin chose to cooperate with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a move that could help the sprinter's reputation but still imperils his eligibility for the Beijing Olympics. The World Anti-Doping Agency code calls for second-time offenders to receive a lifetime ban. The eight-year penalty was handed down because Gatlin's first positive drug test five years ago was deemed an honest mistake and because he promised to cooperate with other investigations being conducted by doping authorities. However, the Olympic and world champion will also lose the world record he tied in May when he ran the 100 meters in 9.77 seconds. And when he appeals for a lesser penalty - some time in the next six months - he cannot argue the test was faulty. Even if his suspension for positive tests for testosterone or other steroids were reduced to two years - a possibility if arbitrators agree with his arguments - it wouldn't be in time for the 2008 Olympic Trials. Although USADA doesn't name names, Gatlin could possibly help USADA by providing information on infamous coach Trevor Graham, who has denied any direct involvement with performance-enhancing drugs."

My response: 8 years might as well be a lifetime ban. Gatlin will be 32 before he can compete again, and the absence will hurt him. However, it does allow a future coaching opportunity.

 

THOMAS SOWELL COMMENTARY: The Left And Crime

The conservative economist and commentator argues that the general mindset of the political left regarding softness toward dangerous criminals is similar from country to country and even from century to century: "The United States has always been more resistant to the left than most European countries have been. Often we can see where the American left is headed by seeing where the European left has arrived. A new book on crime in Britain shows what happens when the mindset of the left prevails throughout the criminal justice system. That book is titled 'A Land Fit for Criminals' by David Fraser. Within living memory, Britain was one of the most law-abiding nations on the face of the earth. When Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew visited London right after World War II, he was so impressed with the honesty of the British and their respect for law and order that he returned home determined to make Singapore the same way. Today it is Singapore that is one of the most law-abiding nations in the world while Britain's crime rate has risen to the point where, for the first time, it now exceeds the crime rate in the United States. What happened in the intervening years was the rise of the British left's dogmas about crime to complete domination of the country's legal system and its political and media elites. Today, a burglar caught in the act by the police in Britain is almost certain to get a warning. If he has previous burglary convictions, he may get a sterner warning. But he is unlikely to face anything so draconian as being put behind bars. Burglary has been described as a 'minor' offense by leaders of both the Conservative and Labor parties in Britain. Rare cases where burglars are put in prison are criticized by the media. The left's ideology on crime, including their disdain for property crimes, has spread across the political spectrum to all who wish to be considered up to date. That ideology is essentially the same on both sides of the Atlantic but in Britain it has achieved far greater unchallenged dominance. Among the dogmas of the left is that putting people in prison fails to reduce crime and that the social 'root causes' of crime must be dealt with to prevent it beforehand and that 'rehabilitation' through various programs 'in the community' are more effective than locking up criminals. None of this is new and the rationales for it go back at least two centuries. What is remarkable is how mountains of hard evidence to the contrary have been ignored, evaded, or simply lied about, on both sides of the Atlantic..... Those weighing costs and benefits define 'costs' as government expenditures. But the costs paid by the public, just in economic terms, vastly exceed the cost of more prisons. But that does not count for either the ideologues or the 'practical' politicians and criminal justice bureaucrats."

My response: Except for all that British dishonesty and disrespect for other countries' territory during their imperialist era, Brits may have been a law & order bunch within their country back in the day. And if the Conservative Party in Britain also considers burglary to be minor, then Mr. Sowell cannot put all the blame on the political left. And mind you, I agree with his claim that the political left tends to be too soft on criminals, who wreak havoc on the rest of us.

 

Thoughts On/Against Reparations

Robert Lashley discusses Charles Ogletree, a Harvard University law professor who seeks $150-750 trillion dollars from lawsuits against groups and the federal government, to give to the black poor. The black moderate blogger asks questions, including the following: (1) how is the money going to be spent; (2) who gets the money; (3) how can you guarantee that people who don't deserve the money - like gangbangers who create destruction in black communities - don't get it; (4) what else gets cut from the federal budget; and (5) what are the business plans.

Mr. Lashley ends his commentary piece with this statement: "It is my opinion that the greatest failure of the post civil rights movement lies in how the black elite of America looked at the all too real agony of black people and black history and saw dollar signs for themselves. I can never think of a time when we have needed so much from our leaders and gotten so little. I know that a great deal of conservatives look at the sad statistics that we have with glee, and their inability to engage Black America in any substantial way speaks volumes about that failure. That is no excuse, however, for the wretched hustle that is the reparations movement. If Ogletree, the Larry Parker of the ivy league set, ever has his big ship come in, it will be a glorious day for him, Sharpton, Jackson and an assortment of members of the talented tenth who have staked their careers on this single issue. But in an era where black people are besieged with tortured and torturing statistics, Ogletree’s dream money grab will be one of if not the greatest sin that a black man has ever committed against his own community."

 

FRANKLIN CUDJOE COMMENTARY: Barriers To Agricultural Trade

The Ghanaian libertarian discusses how big government undermines Ghanaian farmers. He writes about a way forward: "Ordinary Africans need the assurance of their leaders to enhance agricultural trade within, through a number of holistic multi-tier approaches that include comprehensive land reforms, provision of efficient and competitive services in roads, railways, ports, communication, information and technology; the removal of illegal roadblocks; the simplification and harmonization of customs and border procedures and stringent international trade standards. At the same time, Africa ought to revitalize farmer-based organizations that have died out due to excessive government control and political interference since the 1960s. Co-operatives could help service and finance the needs of farmers and help them channel agricultural produce into sizeable commodity chains."

 

Africa By Way Of Illinois

Angela Winters, a black moderate blogger, writes: "If you don't know it yet (even though the news is everywhere), Senator Obama of IL is going to Africa, including stops in Kenya where he went to find his roots. Senator Obama In Africa. I enjoyed reading about that experience in his book. It was very personal and the conflicting emotions he had about what he was experiencing and discovering gave me insight into how his mind and heart works which is why I still like him even though I think he's a little too liberal politically. I have a feeling with a staff and cameras, this experience will not be the same, but hey, things change and what's important is that attention is being given to the Motherland by somebody who is not a Hollywood actor or rock star."

My response: dang, a special portion of his website dedicated to "Where Is Obama?" for his trip? Cool. The Kenyan press reports that his father's home village of Nyang'oma is abuzz with activity, with roads even repaved for his visit. The Luo (his late father Hussein Obama's tribe) are extremely excited about his trip, and his paternal grandmother says Sen. Barack Obama will get a plot to construct a hut on his father's land, which is considered to be a cultural requirement for the Luo people. However, I have read in the local Chicago press that Sen. Obama plans to respectfully decline the offer to build the home. Should make for an interesting exchange tomorrow.

 

WALTER E. WILLIAMS COMMENTARY: Will The West Defend Itself?

Asks the libertarian commentator, about eliminating terrorists and the states that support them: "Today's Americans are vastly different from those of my generation who fought the life-and-death struggle of World War II. Any attempt to annihilate our Middle East enemies would create all sorts of handwringing about the innocent lives lost, so-called collateral damage. Such an argument would have fallen on deaf ears during World War II when we firebombed cities in Germany and Japan. The loss of lives through saturation bombing far exceeded those lost through the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.....We might also note that the occupation of Germany and Japan didn't pose the occupation problems we face in Iraq. The reason is we completely demoralized our enemies, leaving them with neither the will nor the means to resist. Our adversaries in the Middle East have advantages that the axis powers didn't have -- the Western press and public opinion. We've seen widespread condemnation of alleged atrocities and prisoner mistreatment by the U.S., but how much media condemnation have you seen of beheadings and other gross atrocities by Islamists?"

Professor Williams continues his commentary: "I'm not suggesting that we rush to use our nuclear capacity to crush states that support terrorism. I'm sure there are other less drastic military options. What I am suggesting is that I know of no instances where appeasement, such as the current Western modus operandi, has borne fruit. What Europeans say about what should be done about terrorist states should fall on deaf ears. Their history of weakness and cowardice during the 1930s goes a long way toward accounting for the 60 million lives lost during World War II. During the mid-'30s, when Hitler started violating the arms limitations of the Versailles Treaty, France and Britain alone could have handily defeated him, but they pursued the appeasement route. Anyone who thinks current Western appeasement efforts will get Iran to end its nuclear weapons program and end its desire to eliminate Israel is dumber than dumb. Appeasement will strengthen Iran's hand, and it looks as if the West, including the United States, is willing to be complicit in that strengthening."

 

Kane: "This Comedian's Message Is No Laughing Matter"

Gregory Kane, a conservative Republican columnist, discusses a talk by comedian Bill Cosby yesterday at a school in the Mr. Kane's hometown of Baltimore: "...in May 2004, The Cos did the unthinkable: He told a group of black folks - mainly middle class - that some poor blacks weren't 'holding up their end of the bargain' in terms of reaping the benefits of the Brown v. Board of Education decision 50 years earlier. He has been excoriated by a horde of black college professors and columnists since then for 'attacking' poor black people. Cosby, who helped more black folks in one day than his critics will in their entire lifetimes, went on a counteroffensive. Kind of. What Cosby did was hold forums with those poor black folks in several cities, to see what they were thinking. I found out what they were thinking soon after I arrived at Rosemont. Cosby, who was in town for a 'back-to-school celebration,' got a thunderous standing ovation when he was introduced. This confirmed what Juan Williams said in his new book, Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America - and What We Can Do About It. One of Williams' observations is that it's those poor black folks who 'are feeling' what Cosby is saying. They aren't feeling the gaggle of black, middle-class excuse-makers who want to portray them as perpetual victims. That's because The Cos talks straight from the shoulder and doesn't care about airing black folks' dirty linen."

He adds: "Westside Elementary School in the 2200 block of Fulton Ave. was Cosby's last stop. Sitting on a stage in the auditorium, he gathered the children around him and told those assembled, 'These are God's children.' I'm glad I caught The Cos when I did. By mentioning the "G"-word in a Baltimore public school, he pretty much guaranteed that yesterday was his last appearance in this town."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

 

Quote Of The Day

"I didn't believe Paris Hilton could be any more loathsome. Her exotic pets. Her speedy engagement to another Paris (Latsis). The ridiculous rift with her equally vapid 'The Simple Life' co-star, Nicole Richie. The neck-bending pose she affects on red carpets. But with Hilton's outrageous claim that she can empathize with rappers who came from nothing because she, too, has struggled, she has sunk to a new low. Surely, she must realize that her famous last name - not myriad talents - has gotten her to where she is today. Without that pedigree, she would likely be nothing more than an ex-'Real World' cast member or 'Girls Gone Wild' video veteran. By making the claim that she pulled herself up by her bootsraps, the hotel-chain heirerss shows that the cluelessness she claims is some kind of ruse is indeed real. My only hope is that true hip-hop hustlers Jay-Z, 50 Cent, The Game, Lil Wayne and even Lil Kim give this pop culture pariah the verbal smackdown she deserves." — Kyra Kyles, RedEye columnist

 

RAFIQUE TUCKER COMMENTARY: Spike Lee On Katrina

The moderate-liberal Democratic blogger writes: "I saw the first part of Spike Lee's [Hurricane] Katrina documentary, When the Levees Broke, last night. I was thoroughlly impressed. I thought it captured all that should be captured, and gave a serious, emotional, and pretty unbiased account of the events. I'd have to say my only real complaint was the intellectually lazy idea once again put forth that somehow having troops in Iraq slowed the National Guard response and cleanup efforts. It was bogus then, and it's bogus now. It doesn't hurt the movie that much, but it was an annoyance."

 

MYCHAL MASSIE COMMENTARY: It Isn't Fanaticism, It's Evil

The conservative Republican notes that Islamists are behind 90%+ of the world's fighting: "There are about 400 recognized terrorist groups in the world. Over 90 percent of these are Islamist groups. Over 90 percent of the current world fighting involves Islamist terror movements. The vast majority of world terrorism is religiously motivated by Islam. This involves terrorist acts in 26 countries worldwide. These people cannot be reasoned with. Their hatred is an anathema to all rational consideration. They have but one goal: to subdue the world under the rule of Islam....In fairness, I must respect that not every Muslim is a maniacal killer. However, that same respect demands I point out they follow a religion founded on the perverse dictates of one who exhorted the committing of such atrocities."

 

2006: Year Of The Third Parties?

Asks Logan Ferree over at Freedom Democrats, a blog for libertarian Democrats: "At first I was doubtful, but some polling from the MyDD/Courage Campaign may indicate that third parties are in for a good year.....Instead of angry partisans producing a high total for third parties, could 2006 see angry independents turning to third parties out of frustration? Without a doubt, voters are fed up with President Bush and the Republican Congress. And while Democrats are benefiting from this environment, the drop in support for the GOP has not produced a similar surge in support for the Democrats. Democrats may win 51 or 52 percent of the vote in the Congressional races, but the low level of support for the Republican Party could put them dangerously in the low forties. The rest, which will amost certainly be over 5%, may go to various third party candidates around the country. In 2004 the numbers for combined support of third parties in the House races hit 4.2% and it was 5.3% in 2002. Of course, some factors will limit the success of third parties. Not every race has a third party candidate. And even if third parties do well in the combined vote, I don't expect many victories. Candidates like Joe Lieberman or Bernie Sanders have such a high profile they are not normal third party/independent candidates."

 

BOOKER RISING COMMENTARY: Sanctuary Vs. Special Treatment

For folks who don't know, Elvira Arellano (pictured) is an illegal immigrant who has been holed up in Adalberto United Methodist Church here in Chicago for a week, as she continues to defy a government order of deportation by the Department of Homeland Security. She was caught in a workplace raid at O'Hare Airport in 2001. While most articles either ignore it or bury it deep into the article, Arellano is not only an illegal immigrant but used a fake Social Security card to further her criminal activity. Ain't that a felony? At least it is when black folks do it. And I doubt the church in question would provide sanctuary to a sista who used a fraudulent Social Security card to, say, skirt a credit check to get a job to improve her life. So why should Arellano get special treatment?

Politicians have already intervened to help Arellano get three stays. Supporters argue that she should not be deported because her son is a U.S. citizen. Well, he is a citizen only because of her criminal activity and leeching onto a law intended for the descendants of U.S. black slaves in the late 1800s. However, media reports say that her son's health problems - which influenced politicians to help her on previous occasions - have improved and politicians are shying away this time.

I am glad that Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times slams Arellano's ridiculous claim that she is a modern-day Rosa Parks, when instead she should have to play by the rules like legal immigrants.

What is the holdup in arresting this woman? They should have arrested her from day one, instead of dragging it out and creating a potential public relations nightmare in running her out of the church. Authorities have no problem (and rightly so) tracking down black lawbreakers, so no special treatment should be given to her because she is Hispanic and an illegal immigrant. This situation is Exhibit A on how illegal Latino immigrants get treatment that U.S. black citizens nor black immigrants get. It is an outrage, and more black folks ought to be crying foul about it.

 

ANGELA WINTERS COMMENTARY: Spike Lee's Vision Of Katrina

The moderate blogger writes: "Everyone saw Spike Lee's HBO special on [Hurricane] Katrina, right? If you didn't, you should see it. Even if you don't agree with the angle that he takes, Lee is showing his genius at film[m]aking. The man has skills. I was surprised that there was humor in it, but you know how we are. We find a way to laugh at things because that's what gets you by. Parts are painful to watch but it does remind you of a lot of things that are wrong with our country. Some things don't make sense to me, but no matter what it comes to, my biggest lesson is that you can't rely on the government whether you think you should or not. No matter how hard it may be, we have to build a life that allows us and our family unit to be our own saviors in a time of crisis. As far as the conspiracy theories, it isn't his job to promote or dispute them. The truth is the poor black community's belief in conspiracies against them are entrenched in their way thinking and says a lot about the hopelessness they feel. It is a part of the damaged psyche of living in poverty and violence that has to be addressed in order to be overcome."

 

On A Further Reading

Martin Kimani, a Kenyan-born libertarian blogger, highlights some books: "Parselelo Kantai on the contested territory in writing and acting on history in Kenya, and the recent spate of books by white, western intellectuals decrying the oppressions suffered by Kenyans of various stripes under British colonialism. One of them, Caroline Elkins (author of Britain's Gulag) reviews Adam Robert's The Wonga Coup, the story of a failed 2004 coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea led by British mercenary Simon Mann and part-financed by Mark Thatcher, former British PM Maggie Thatcher's son. Binyavanga Wainaina generously provides barbed pointers on How to Write About Africa - to hilarious effect. When African Americans visit Africa, why are they considered white by some Africans? James Campbell's Middle Passages is a historical narrative of two centuries of African American journeying to Africa. In Kenya and Africa, the Christian church has grown by leaps and bounds. What is behind this hunger for transcendental truth? Kenyan missionary Patrick Mukholi sets out to save heathen souls in Oxford, England. If you're a man, it turns out that the cut could save your life. And now there are queues outside the surgery room after studies suggest that a circumcised man is 60% less likely to contract HIV than his uncircumcised counterpart."

 

COMMENTARY: Report From The Lower Upper Middle Class

The moderate-conservative Republican blogger and Los Angeles area technology professional writes: "It has been about a year and a half since I've moved down a peg from the Middle Upper Middle to the Lower Upper Middle. This coincides roughly with the close of my business and the failure of my China Deal. When I was rising, I had a good deal of inspiration and was able to articulate it well. This past year what I have to report is that I'm getting a bit more comfy in the Lower spot. This has advantages and disadvantages. The two main disadvantages are time and money. I have less of both. But then again I knew that coming in. So I don't particularly miss either of them. Like all humiliations, this one can be turned into a different set of expectations."

He continues: "Today I recognize that this past semester I have purchased three crutches agains[t] the pain of working for The Man. They are my XBox 360, my mountain bike and most recently, my new Ibanez electric bass guitar. All gimmicks to allow me the illusion of distraction from mind-numbing duty of ex-entrepreneurship. Sure I can dump several hundred hours into those and blogging, but it always comes back to the same stumbling blocks that time and distance don't erase. I remain in debt. My future is a series of gambles that I'll get what I deserve. I'll keep working on what I know I can get paid for and subside on, hoping that what I can actually accomplish gets adopted as one of some wealthy person's numerous projects. I do it with a smile, and I stay away from Beverly Hills and out of the perimeter of folks I'm better than but have way way more money than me. It keeps me calm. It's the drug of activity, an American Middle Class disease".

 

Toni Braxton & Mary J. Blige Vs. Paris Hilton & Rihanna

What I am about to write may be almost profane to my blog's readers who are huge Toni Braxton fans: Toni Braxton never put out a song that I actually liked. Not one cut. However, even though I didn't like her music, I thought she had talent and could see why she had a record contract.

Mary J. Blige is in a not better position with me. I've only liked three of her cuts: "Reminisce", "Real Love" (which I hated when she released it in the early 1990s...only in the past couple of years has the song even captured me), and "One". "One" is her cover of the classic U2 cut, while the other two songs are from her early career. Yet I can see why Mary J. Blige has a record contract, as one can feel the pain in her soulful voice as she discusses dysfunctional love, perseverance, etc.

Now, why does Paris "I'm Really A Hustla" Hilton - whose CD drops today - have a record contract? Even though her reggaesque lead single, "Stars Are Blind" was better than I thought it would be - my expectations were quite low - it ain't great. I can't believe that it has been a Top 15 hit, even in today's era of lowered standards. And Ms. Hilton has 20 gazillion producers on this CD, in a clear studio-enhanced attempt to make her sound presentable. Has she even performed live?

And lil' Rihanna should get deported back to Barbados for sounding so gratingly nasal on her cuts, which have somehow become big hits. The nasal approach worked for Keith Sweat back in the day, because he was a crooner & women love to hear a man beg for their love. From this second-string Beyonce wannabe, it is annoying to my ears. "S.O.S. (Rescue Me)"? Rescue me from this teenybopper's nasal vocals! "Unfaithful" talks about her cheating on her boyfriend, but I think: "Unlistenable". Her boyfriend in the song should've left her for sounding do dang whiny.

 

THOMAS SOWELL COMMENTARY: Point Of No Return?

The conservative commentator argues that it is hard to think of a time when a nation -- and a whole civilization -- has drifted more futilely toward a bigger catastrophe than that looming today over the United States and Western civilization: "The endlessly futile efforts to bring peace to the Middle East with concessions fundamentally misconceive what forces are at work. Hate and humiliation are key forces that cannot be bought off by 'trading land for peace,' by a 'Palestinian homeland' or by other such concessions that might have worked in other times and places. Humiliation and hate go together. Why humiliation? Because a once-proud, dynamic culture in the forefront of world civilizations, and still carrying a message of their own superiority to 'infidels' today, is painfully visible to the whole world as a poverty-stricken and backward region, lagging far behind in virtually every field of human endeavor. There is no way that they can catch up in a hundred years, even if the rest of the world stands still. And they are not going to wait a hundred years to vent their resentments and frustrations at the humiliating position in which they find themselves. Israel's very existence as a modern, prosperous western nation in their midst is a daily slap across the face. Nothing is easier for demagogues than to blame Israel, the United States, or western civilization in general for their own lagging position."

Mr. Sowell continues his commentary: "Even ruthless conquerors of the past, from Genghis Khan to Adolf Hitler, wanted some tangible gains for themselves or their nations -- land, wealth, dominion. What Middle East fanatics want is the destruction and humiliation of the west. Their treatment of hostages, some of whom have been humanitarians serving the people of the Middle East, shows that what the terrorists want is to inflict the maximum pain and psychic anguish on their victims before killing them. Once these fanatics have nuclear weapons, those victims can include you, your children and your children's children.....After we, or our children and grandchildren, find ourselves living at the mercy of people with no mercy, what will future generations think of us, that we let this happen because we wanted to placate 'world opinion' by not acting 'unilaterally'?"

Monday, August 21, 2006

 

Quote Of The Day

"I say this: The person who dwells on his failure can't see the lesson in it. You have to become greater. You have to get up and keep going if you do fail. I can't say that I've failed at anything because it has all been an experience, a journey. Entertainment is that." — Usher, who makes his Broadway debut tomorrow in "Chicago", in response to a question on whether he worries about failure on the Broadway stage

 

COMMENTARY: Greed, Not High Standards, Shuts Students Out

Argues the moderate-conservative columnist, as the number of black, Hispanic, and white students passing the entrance exams for New York's elite public high schools has declined: "Of course, there are those who scream that this means black students are being shut out of something, suggesting that they should be given special consideration, which always translates to mean that they should be expected to perform on a lower level and that level should be acceptable. I do not accept that and believe that it clearly avoids a much larger problem and one that any person who would look into things knows well, or has had to contemplate: There is something about the environment surrounding both black and Hispanic students that needs to be taken into consideration by those who hold positions of authority in public education. That environment is not going to change anywhere near as fast as public education can adapt to it. Public schools need to create the feeling in students that they can stand apart from the shortcomings of their environment without sacrificing their ethnic or religious identity. That is to say that doing well in school does not have an ethnic identity attached to it, which is clearly proven by the Asian students. They, for now, do not seem influenced by the anti-intellectual magnetism of the popular culture that makes so many American kids do almost anything not to appear as nerds.... We have seen the enemy and it is our popular culture far more often than any kind of attitude that supposedly 'shuts out' minority kids. That is something we cannot forget."

 

Language Of Hate

Staunch Moderate blog opines: "Somebody is going to have to explain to me this hatred of Sen. George Allen. I know the Virginia Republican is running for president, which makes him open to scrutiny, but rarely is anyone raked over the coals for such insignificant garbage. The latest drama is his use of some possibly obscure racial slur, 'macaca'. Hardly anyone has ever heard of this word. And when you see the junior senator from Virginia use it, it's obvious he had never heard of it as an epithet either. If you have to pull out a book on obscure African translations to be offended by an insult, then frankly it doesn't count. Senator Allen had the misfortune of making an entertaining gaffe during the month of August -- when absolutely nothing is going on. Sen. Biden said something much worse, politically at least, with his 7-Eleven comment, but nobody cared.....But the hatred of Senator Allen runs deeper than that. He is constantly being accused of racism, and for no good reason. He has actually pushed a number of bills through Congress to help minorities, including legislation to provide funding for historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions, and tribal colleges so those institutions can update their technology infrastructures. There's a digital divide between mainstream colleges and minority-serving institutions. He's been trying to help alleviate that. Regardless of his legislative record, though, the evidence Allen-haters use to prove he's racist is pathetically scant."

My response: Sen. Allen's actions was inexcusable, and I ain't buyin' that he didn't know.

 

On K-Fed

I just saw YouTube footage of Kevin Federline's performance of his single, "Lose Control", last night on the Teen Choice Awards. Oh, hell no. If I was a white rapper, I'd be embarrassed. Hell, if I was a rapper - regardless of race - I'd have been embarrassed for my profession. Eminem, he ain't. Hell, even Vanilla Ice was better on the mic. Sean Paul - a Jamaican who raps well - reportedly told the media backstage: "I was expecting more dancing from the dude, you know?" K-Fed should put the mic done, and stick to being a househusband to Britney Spears. Please, for all our sakes.

 

JUAN WILLIAMS COMMENTARY: Banish The Bling

The liberal commentator opines that a culture of failure taints Black America: "Have we taken our eyes off the prize? The civil rights movement continues, but the struggle today is not so much in the streets as in the home -- and with our children. If systemic racism remains a reality, there is also a far more sinister obstacle facing African American young people today: a culture steeped in bitterness and nihilism, a culture that is a virtual blueprint for failure.....With 50 percent of Hispanic children and nearly 70 percent of black children born to single women today these young people too often come from fractured families where there is little time for parenting. Their search for identity and a sense of direction is undermined by a twisted popular culture that focuses on the 'bling-bling' of fast money associated with famous basketball players, rap artists, drug dealers and the idea that women are at their best when flaunting their sexuality and having babies. In Washington, where a crime wave is tied to these troubled young souls, the city reacts with a curfew. It is a band-aid. The real question is how one does battle with the culture of failure that is poisoning young people -- and do so without incurring the wrath of critics who say we are closing our eyes to existing racial injustice and are 'blaming the victim."

Mr. Williams continues his commentary on the topic: "[Bill] Cosby asked the chilling question: 'What good is Brown' and all the victories of the civil rights era if nobody wants them? A generation after those major civil rights victories, black America is experiencing alarming dropout rates, shocking numbers of children born to single mothers and a frightening acceptance of criminal behavior that has too many black people filling up the jails. Where is the focus on taking advantage of new opportunities to advance and to close the racial gap in educational and economic achievement? Incredibly, Cosby's critics don't see the desperate need to pull a generational fire alarm to warn people about a culture of failure that is sabotaging any chance for black people in poverty to move up and help their children reach the security of economic and educational achievement."

There's more from the liberal commentator: "Where is the civil rights groundswell on behalf of stronger marriages that will allow more children to grow up in two-parent families and have a better chance of staying out of poverty? Where are the marches demanding good schools for those children -- and the strong cultural reinforcement for high academic achievement (instead of the charge that minority students who get good grades are 'acting white')? Where are the exhortations for children to reject the self-defeating stereotypes that reduce black people to violent, oversexed 'gangstas,' minstrel show comedians and mindless athletes?"

 

Racism In All Its Glorious Forms

Angela Winters, a black moderate blogger, comments on controversial remarks made by Andrew Young to a black newspaper. He has since resigned from his post as Wal-Mart Stores' envoy for arguing that Wal-Mart should have a higher presence in black communities to counteract overcharging by mom-and-pop stores, arguing: "You see those are the people who have been overcharging us, and they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs.": "I was disappointed to hear that former Atlanta mayor and civil rights leader Andrew Young made about Koreans, Arab and yes wait for it...Jews have been screwing us for the longest. Not entirely untrue, but not something you want to spit out without context. As a former politician and a current spokesperson for a company with the profile of Wal-Mart he should have known better. Well, he had to quit which doesn't happen too often to non-white people who make such comments. Usually when a black person says something like this no one has the balls to say anything; the same people who would lose it if a white former politician and spokesperson for Wal-Mart said something like, I don't know...'Blacks don't know how to swim. They've never been good swimmers.'"

My response: I don't see the controversy. While Mr. Young's comments were politically incorrect, they are historically correct and correct in today's era...even while such groups have also provided services (something black folks should be doing more) to underserved black communities. Why should Mr. Young apologize for stating fact? That ain't racism.

 

STAR PARKER COMMENTARY: Corporate Pandering To The Left

The conservative Republican commentator opines about the nature of corporate giving in the United States: "A report issued recently by the Capital Research Center in Washington punctures illusions that tend to associate big corporations with right-wing or conservative causes. The report depicts a reality that is exactly the opposite. CRC researchers examined contributions made in 2004 by the foundations of the nation's top 100 corporations to nonprofit organizations. The result: corporate contributions to left-leaning groups totaled $59 million and to right-leaning organizations $4 million. That's about 14.5 corporate dollars going to the left for each dollar going to the right."

She continues: "I wonder how many corporate CEOs, in private conversation over a cup of coffee, would say that they honestly believe in the causes that their corporate foundations are funding. And if they personally don't, can they really honestly say they are being responsible with their shareholders' dollars? A representative of a corporate foundation told me that they wouldn't touch an organization that appeared to be religious. Try and find a corporate foundation that funds efforts to promote traditional values in inner-city families, to fight black abortion or to promote school choice. Yet, tens of millions of corporate dollars flow to the NAACP, which you will find as a plaintiff on every lawsuit challenging school-voucher programs or promoting gay marriage. The great economist Milton Friedman argued that corporations should get rid of their foundations and tend to what they really are responsible for and know something about - delivering outstanding products at the lowest possible prices. If they want to support causes, let managers do it out of their operating budgets so it is clear how the funds tie to the profitability and efficiency of the company, he said. I think Friedman was on to something."

 

An Open Letter To The American Enterprise Institute, Regarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Trouble is brewing regarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali's (pictured) fellowship with the American Enterprise Institute, which is slated to start on Spetember 1. Social conservatives like PipeLineNews.org have now issued a public letter calling for the conservative think-tank to withdraw its job offer to the Dutch moderate-conservative feminist. Why? Ms. Hirsi Ali ain't dancing to their tune. "It should not require a think tank to deduce from her remarks that Ali regards the AEI as nothing more then the Ali Enterprise Institute who will provide her with funding and the prestige required to pursue her pseudo-intellectual and gratuitously provocative film. Who will be the designated Theo Van Gogh in this act of Ali's pageant? What will such a project hope to contribute to the serious debate underway in the West regarding radical Islam, aside from controversy? Such a project will serve only to divert attention from the threat. In large part Ali's film will be nothing but a promotional tool used to feed her apparently insatiable ego, as such it's simply a way of attracting attention. If the AEI is really so keen on courting controversy, as Ali alleged in her JPost interview, is your organization prepared to underwrite the massive security measures that will be essential to the protection of your staff, grounds and buildings?"

My response: I have stated several times that I believe that Ms. Hirsi Ali would have been a much better fit at the libertarian Cato Institute. While neo-conservative on foreign policy, she is certainly not so on social or economic matters. That these white conservatives can be alright with AEI keeping Charles Murray - who co-wrote a book charging that blacks were inferior - on its payroll but cry foul about Ms. Hirsi Ali is quite telling. Regular readers know that her sequel to "Submission" (which focused on how Islam sanctions violence against women) will be about Islam and homosexuality. This is about conservatives getting upset about Ms. Hirsi Ali's atheist views and non-conservatism on social issues - which are hardly no secret - which she showed in the Jerusalem Post interview, even while discussing her support for Israel on the foreign policy front. Exhibit A is PipelineNews.org's original letter, which focused on her views about religion. I give this union with AEI a year tops.

 

Tiger Woods Nabs 12th Major Championship

Tiger Woods has done it again – this time, firing a 68 on Sunday to win the 88th PGA Championship in Medinah, Illinois, by five strokes and clinching his 12th major championship. His prize: $1.22 million and the Wanamaker Trophy. One month after his victory at the British Open, where he sobbed on his caddie's shoulder in memory of his late father, Woods became the first player in history to win at least two majors in consecutive years. Surpassed Walter Hagen's 11 victories to earn his place as second in the major championship list, Mr. Woods is now one step closer to Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 majors. "It took Jack 20 years to get his. It is not something I can do tomorrow," Mr. Woods told reporters. "It is going to take a career. I just got to keep plugging away."

My response: good to see him back on his game. Roll, Tiger, roll!

 

Arabs Ask U.N. To Give Sudan More Time On Darfur

Arab governments yesterday asked the U.N. Security Council to postpone a meeting on Darfur and give the Sudanese government more time to explain its plan to restore order in the troubled region. After a one-day meeting in Cairo, Arab foreign ministers also backed an extension of the mandate of the African Union peace force in Darfur until the end of the year. The U.S. and Britain have introduced a resolution that would deploy up to 17,000 troops and 3,000 police in the western Sudanese region, despite opposition from the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum. Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol told the meeting that the diplomatic activity at the United Nations was "tendentious" and Arab countries should support Sudan's plan instead. Under the Sudanese plan, the Khartoum government would send 10,500 new government troops to Darfur. The rights group Human Rights Watch says the plan would violate a peace deal and was just a way to avert the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers. The African Union has about 7,000 soldiers struggling to halt violence in Darfur but the trouble has worsened since the government and rebels signed a peace deal in May. The United States and its allies have argued that the African Union forces do not have the manpower, resources or financial means to keep the peace.

My response: Of course, the Arabs want the United Nations to give Sudan more time on the situation...more time for the country's Arabized Muslim government to kill off the black population in their racial jihad. I see that Ripclawe, a black conservative Republican blogger, concurs.

 

Joe: Don't Tar Me With Same Bush

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) said he's no President Bush yesterday as the worsening violence in Iraq continued to drive politics at home. The moderate Democrat, who has mounted an independent election bid after his loss, criticized President Bush, pushing to win over moderate Democrats and independents. "I feel that I allowed my opponent to distort my position on Iraq," Sen. Lieberman said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "He made me into a cheerleader for George Bush on everything that's happened." The U.S. Senator insisted "we did the right thing in overthrowing Saddam Hussein," but added that he has been critical "about the failure to send enough American troops to secure the country, about the absence of adequate plans and preparation to deal with post-Saddam Iraq." Sen. Lieberman stood by his belief that America shouldn't set a date to leave Iraq, saying that would lead to civil war.

 

LA SHAWN BARBER COMMENTARY: Muslims On A Plane

The conservative blogger writes: "When I read that passengers on a British flight refused to fly with two Middle Eastern men on board, I knew we’d finally reached the point of no return. I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen. Welcome to the age of terrorism.....I’m as 'tough on terrorism' as any red-blooded American, but I cringed when I read the story. It’s come to this. I want people to be free and happy and left alone to live their lives in peace, but that’s not the way the world works. The men likely were not terrorists, but people are fed up with this stuff. There is evil in the world, and that evil is intent on destroying as many people as it can. It is unfortunate that Muslims with no terrorist intentions get singled out, too, but the fact is that mostly young, Middle Eastern, Muslim men are responsible for worldwide terrorism.....That’s indisputable. So what are the rest of us supposed to do? Ignore it for the sake of political correctness? People just don’t trust the government."

My response: of course, it bears pointing out that (1) many Middle Easterners are not Muslim; and (2) many Muslims are not of Middle Eastern origin.

 

Another Blog Roundup

Johnny Triangles, a black conservative blogger, writes about fizzled hype that surrounded one movie: "Also, does the failure of Snakes On A Plane at the box office mean that we bloggers will no longer be held in such high esteem by the mainstream media? This movie was constantly hailed as a triumph in internet buzz marketing and we bloggers were held up as an important force in the media...tastemakers and mavens if you will. Of course, now that the movie has made a paltry $13 million in its opening weekend, it looks like the truth has come to light...people were more excited about making fun of the movie than, you know, actually seeing it. I personally lost interest in the phenomenon when it became obvious that it was meant to be cheesy and awful on purpose, which defeats the fun of watching 'so bad they're good' movies. 'So bad they're good' movies are enjoyable because the people involved are playing it straight and trying to do a good movie. When the movie is bad but the people involved know it's bad and are in on the joke, it's not quite the same."

My response: as much of a fan of Samuel L. Jackson as I am - he is one of my fave actors - no way was I gonna see this flick. It just sounds dumb as hell.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

 

Quote Of The Day

"Since 1954 Americans have pledged allegiance to our flag with a vow that ends 'One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' That one powerful sentence explains what it means to be an American, and to accept our culture cultivated over two hundred years. It means that citizenship must be earned, not given away. It means we worship the Judeo-Christian God and seek peace with each other, not death toward non-believers. It means we are a nation comprised of citizens with racial backgrounds and religious beliefs representative of every corner of the globe, but as U.S. citizens we are indivisible against envious nations who seek to divide us. Finally, it means that only as an indivisible melting pot whose citizens respect the rule of law, respect our national borders and political system, can liberty and justice be guaranteed for all. This melting pot known as the United States of America is the most prosperous nation on Earth. Our differences are respected, but patriotism is expected from those who claim America as their homeland. That is what has made us a great nation." — Herman Cain, conservative Republican businessman and millionaire

 

Anti-Abortion Activists Eye Inner Cities

There is increasingly a nationwide push by anti-abortion activists to expand their foothold in heavily black and Hispanic inner cities. The campaign involves crisis pregnancy centers, whose counselors seek to dissuade women with unplanned pregnancies from having abortions. There are more than 2,300 such centers across America, yet relatively few in inner cities where abortion rates are typically highest. Now the two largest networks - Care Net and Heartbeat International - have launched initiatives to change it.

Most of the pregnancy crisis centers are rural or suburban. The quest to open more in inner cities is fueled by statistics showing that nearly 90% of women who get abortions live in urban areas, and the majority are poor. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which compiles abortion data, black women are almost four times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2.5 times as likely. Care Net says it has opened 13 urban centers since 2003, with 15 more under development in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and elsewhere.

"This crusade has been very difficult - having to educate community leaders as to what's really going on without being offensive, without having a political agenda," said Lillie Epps, the only black member of Care Net's senior staff and director of its Urban Initiative. One reason for the growing harmony at the House DC in Washington, D.C.: The teen center's black leaders and the white workers running the pregnancy center share an evangelical Christian faith.

Critics contend that pregnancy centers routinely mislead women seeking neutral advice on their options. A report in July from congressional Democrats said center counselors often overstate the medical risks posed by abortion. Skeptics also argue that the same white conservatives supporting urban anti-abortion initiatives oppose other social policies that might help minority single mothers and their children. "These predatory fanatics don't lift a finger to help the children who are born unwanted and unplanned," said Jatrice Martel Gaiter, head of the Planned Parenthood chapter in the Washington, D.C. area.

However, rhough relatively few blacks play prominent roles in the anti-abortion movement, national polls indicate that qualms about abortion are as widespread among blacks as among whites. One outspoken black leader is the Rev. Clenard H. Childress Jr. of Montclair, N.J., who depicts the high abortion rate among blacks as a form of genocide. He applauds the inner-city goals of groups like Care Net, but questions whether they have the savvy to avoid looking like carpetbaggers. "Without a strong relationship with the local pastors, their efforts in the urban community will be in vain," he said. "It won't be effective if you don't resonate with the community as someone they can trust."

In inner-city Dallas, one black pastor, the Rev. Tony Evans, acted on his own to open a pregnancy center in his church, the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. He said it differs from the standard center by offering comprehensive prenatal and postnatal services for mothers, including help finding jobs.

 

Jones' Test Reported As Positive For EPO

The "A" sample from the 30-year-old sprinter - taken after she won the 100-meter title at the U.S. track and field championships in June, her first title since 2002 - showed the presence of the performance enhancer. If a second "B" test is positive, the five-time Olympic medalist could face a minimum two-year ban. Doping suspicions have dogged Jones for years, but she has always vehemently denied using any performance-enhancing substances. One of her loudest accusers is Victor Conte, the founder of the infamous BALCO. In a 2004 TV interview, he said he designed a doping regimen, which included EPO, for Jones and watched her inject herself with steroids before the 2000 Sydney Games. She responded by filing a $25 million defamation lawsuit that was settled out of court.

Once the charming, dominating face of track and field around the world, Jones must wait for the results of her backup sample to back up her denials that she doped to enhance her performance. EPO is an endurance booster usually associated with distance runners. Only recently have sprinters been subjected to tests for the drug. Charles Yesalis, a doping expert and recently retired Penn State professor, said sprinters use EPO to expand their endurance during training.

My response: No surprise here. We can all recall how her ex-husband C.J. Hunter got banned back in 2000 or so for steroids. Then her ex-boyfriend Tim Montgomery got banned a couple years ago. And her former coach has had a slew of athletes come up positive. Yet who wants to bet that she tries to enter the WNBA draft (don't forget that she was a star on University of North Carolina's championship team in the mid-1990s and the WNBA had been after her for years)?

 

U.S. Slavery Museum Takes Uncensored Look

As heritage tourism becomes a growing industry. With 290,000 square feet of space and a $200 million budget, the U.S. National Slavery Museum - which is scheduled to open in Fredericksburg, Va. in 2008 - is a high-end example of a growing market trend, as the tourism industry realizes the popularity and profitability of opening and re examining one of American history's ugliest scars. Slavery studies has been growing as a field of interest in the past few decades, as people have sought the uncensored, unsanitized story of the trans-Atlantic slave trade -- a topic that Vonita Foster, who will be the museum's executive director, says is glossed over in classrooms, textbooks, and movies. She said that what many don't know is the history of black Americans selling their own people, toddlers in shackles, and America - including the North - benefiting financially from slave labor.

Several smaller slavery museums and exhibits have opened across the South. "There's this demographic of baby boomer African-Americans with lots of leisure time and income returning to discover their roots," said Rich Harrill of the International Tourism Research Institute at the University of South Carolina. The segment of the travel business known as "heritage tourism" encompasses many ethnic groups and allows travelers to see how they fit into a broader cultural history. It is the second-fastest-growing segment of tourism, behind nature-based excursions, Mr. Harrill said.

According to census data, the number of black middle-class households shot up 62% between 1990 and 1999. Last year, the Virginia Tourism Corp. spent $450,000 -- 15% of its advertising budget -- to reach the African-American market. The Missouri Tourism Commission spent more than double that on programs to encourage black tourism. Those marketing efforts are working. Black Americans spent $30.5 billion on leisure travel in the United States in 2004, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. Travel volume among the same group increased by 4 percent between 2002 and 2004. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore had more than 200,000 visitors last year, up from 100,000 a decade ago. The National Slavery Museum, which has allotted about $100,000 yearly for marketing, expects at least half a million visitors a year.

So far, the U.S. National Slavery Museum has raised about $50 million from wealthy individuals, such as comedian Bill Cosby, and corporations including Wal-Mart and Wachovia Bank, but must raise another $50 million before construction can begin. The remaining $100 million in the budget is to furnish the building and establish an endowment. Plans call for 10 permanent exhibits, including a full-scale replica of a slave ship. About 6,000 artifacts have been collected, including deeds of sale, a 1840s census book with state-by-state slave listings, and torture devices, masks, and wooden instruments, used to force-feed captives who refused to eat on the long sea passage.

The rise in slavery-themed attractions has met some resistance, particularly among blacks who are not eager to revisit the past. But, Ms. Foster said, "more people are embracing the project than are not." In fact, the pain associated with slavery is now a main draw of many sites, with images that are graphic and tours that re-create the slave experience.

 

Retracing Civil Rights' Early Path

As Hundreds gather in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia to celebrate the start of a movement that culminated in the creation of the NAACP. The 1906 meeting at what is now Harpers Ferry National Historical Park inspired those in attendance to aggressively fight for equality and led to the formation a few years later of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Hundreds gathered at the park on the Potomac River this weekend for a four-day commemoration, which ends today, of the Niagara Movement. "They got together, and they were willing to risk their homes and their money and their stature to lift up African-Americans," said William Hart, a Washington software company CEO whose great-grandfather, William Henry Harrison Hart, was one of the Niagara founders. He calls the work of his great-grandfather "one of the lost and hidden details of the civil rights movement." "We need to educate the community more on what these heroes did for us and for American liberty."

W.E.B. Du Bois - whose granddaughter was also in attendance at this weekend's event - planted the seed for the movement in 1905 when he asked a select group to meet him in Buffalo, N.Y., to brainstorm ways to seize civil rights for blacks. Denied a place to meet in Buffalo, the 29 men ended up in Ontario, Canada from which the Niagara Movement got its name. A year later, the group, more than doubled in size and with women this time, reconvened at Harpers Ferry, where in 1859 militant abolitionist John Brown raided a federal arsenal, hoping to arm slaves. His plan was thwarted, and he was convicted of treason and hanged. The 1906 meeting concluded Aug. 19 with Mr. Du Bois' fiery speech. The group broke up a few years later when many of its members began the NAACP.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

 

Quote Of The Day

"Intellectual property is the wrong battle: patented medicines affect a tiny number of diseases of the poor. The biggest killers such as diarrhoea and lung infections are a question of education and way of life: no drug can prevent infection if you drink downstream from a village that chucks its waste in the river; no drug prevents you inhaling smoke from the dung or wood that you have to use for cooking. When it is not your way of life killing you, it is your government: malaria is hard to fight in a country where the government (under the influence of the WHO) has refused to use DDT for decades; cures are complicated and, unbelievably, most governments tax those medicines. Tariffs and taxes on medicines in Congo-Kinshasa, Morocco and Zimbabwe, for instance, are 39.5%, 18.3% and 22.5% respectively, as listed in the American Enterprise Institute's recent 'Taxed To Death.' Brazil levies nearly 30% on imported medicines and South Africa slaps 14% sales tax even on AIDS drugs. These costs drive many to traditional quack cures or to cheap counterfeits. On top of that, inefficient and corrupt countries make registration of new drugs lengthy and expensive, so that some companies just do not bother trying. Another barrier is good intentions. Price controls on drugs are alleged to help the poor but in reality they restrict supply by making it uneconomical for pharmacies to stock them. Even in relatively well-off South Africa, price controls have closed scores of rural pharmacies, leaving thousands with no supply of medicines at all." — Franklin Cudjoe, director of Imani, a libertarian policy think-tank in Ghana

 

Sharpton: 'Gangsterism' Harming Blacks

Rev. Al Sharpton said many black youths fall under a spell of "gangster mentality," preventing them from becoming leaders and impacting politics. The liberal Democrat faulted Hollywood and the record industry for making "gangsterism" seem cool and acceptable ."We have got to get out of this gangster mentality, acting as if gangsterism and blackness are synonymous," Rev. Sharpton said on Thursday at the annual conference of the National Association of Black Journalists. "I think we've allowed a whole generation of young people to feel that if they're focused, they're not black enough. If they speak well and act well, they're acting white, and there's nothing more racist than that."

He asserted that the key to leadership is taking the initiative to change things. He said his National Action Network is just one group willing to help young black leaders get into politics. "Nobody broke in my house in Brooklyn and dragged me out the projects and made me a leader, I wanted to do that. Clearly, we would work with young people who want to do the work," he said.

My response: good response by Rev. However, he also needs to place a good deal of blame on parents and others in the community for making gangsterism seem cool.

 

Holyfield Begins Comeback With Victory

Evander Holyfield rocked Jeremy Bates into the ropes late in the first round, withstood a few hard shots - including one to his face - early in the second, then cornered and pummeled his insurance-salesman foe to earn a technical knockout with 4 seconds left in the round, capturing his first victory since June 2002. "I was able to do the things I haven't been doing in about five years," said Mr. Holyfield, crediting his 21-month layoff for renewed health. "I'm happy to be able to go out and fight the way I'm capable of fighting. I fought with a lot of confidence."

The fight began what's being hyped as "Holyfield V, The Final Chapter," which he fully expects to end with him becoming the heavyweight champion for the fifth time. He is already the only four-timer. The 43-year-old Holyfield ended a career-worst skid of three straight losses since his last victory, over Hasim Rahman. That doesn't even include getting KO'd last summer on the reality television show "Dancing With The Stars." Holyfield feels so good that he's already lined up a tough next fight - facing Sinan Samil Sam of Turkey, fifth in the latest WBC ratings.

 

I Say, Three Cheers For Ayaan

Taslima Nasrin argues over at Outlook India that even although Ayaan Hirsi Ali (pictured) unfairly blames Islam for all atrocities on its women, hers is a significant voice on their behalf. She reviews The Caged Virgin, by the Dutch black moderate-conservative feminist: "But Ayaan’s problem is that she puts the burden of all traditional and patriarchal repression of women squarely on Islam. For her, Islam is responsible for child marriage, incest, purdah, the insistence on chastity, female foeticide, genital mutilation, honour killing and everything else. This, even according to a rabid anti-Islamist like me, is too much. Ayaan believes these evils can be wiped out by getting rid of Islam. But what has religion got to do with it? All male-dominant societies, irrespective of their religion, torture women equally. Christian societies burned thousands of women alive before they built secular nations and introduced equal rights for men and women. Hindus have thrown young widows on their husbands’ pyres. Ayaan attacks Islamic societies for not being as liberal about pre-marital sex as Christian and Jewish ones. But surely conservative Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or Hindu societies are equally rigid on it."

Ms. Nasrin continues her view of Ms. Hirsi Ali's book: "The chapter ‘The need for reflection within Islam’ touched a chord in me and revived memories of being attacked by fundamentalists for having the same beliefs as Ayaan. The attacks continue. In any corner of the world, women who protest their oppression will always be torn to shreds by upholders of morals, traditions, patriarchy and religion. I say three cheers for Ayaan. For her courage to criticise Islam despite being born in a Muslim family. Women are so repressed and benumbed in an Islamic society that a fellow protester fills my heart with hope. Muslims must take the responsibility to enlighten the rest of their community and create a rational, scientific and secular society. The change has to come from within. Nobody can impose democracy from outside. Similarly, no one can impose women’s independence from outside. No nation can practice democracy without the right to free speech. Unless we get rid of the old, foul, wasted values and ignorance, we can’t move towards equality."

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