Recently in Politics Category

Value of a Legacy

What is your legacy worth? As I sit down an sift through the minutia of mass media in the aftermath of the great Nelson Mandela's passing. I have come to realize that there really is a price for service and it generally is not what you would imagine. While I know and understand that Mandela was servant of justice and proprietor of equality, I wonder if he would be surprised by the outpouring of recognition in his death. Perhaps it would have been far better to recognize and applaud Mandela during his years fighting apartheid.  Much of the mainstream media was largely absent during his imprisonment and subsequent ridicule at the hands of the Boers.

English: Young Nelson Mandela. This photo date...

English: Young Nelson Mandela. This photo dates from 1937. South Africa protect the copyright of photographs for 50 years from their first publication. See . Since this image would have been PD in South Africa in 1996, when the URAA took effect, this image is PD in the U.S. Image source: http://www.anc.org.za/people/mandela/index.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On occasion I am forced to watch Oprah( I admit that I peeped it previously to see my homeboy Spike). Apparently she too was running a special show to publicize the latest Mandela film. Oprah went a step further in her broadcast to highlight that this particular interview segment was taped prior to announcement of Mandela's passing.  Methinks Winfrey insults our common sense by suggesting the show had nothing to do with ratings. While the intent might have been genuine, timing is everything. I suppose that is show business. 

I have no idea why people are more likely to recognize the achievement of others in death than when they are alive and actually engaged in their life changing work. Mandela and Steven Biko both suffered from the atrocities of Apartheid. For whatever reason, most would never have known of their incredible sacrifice had it not been for their deaths.

Despots, Civil Unrest and New Media

Ethnic groups in Libya, 1974.

Image via Wikipedia

Ghaddafi is now dead. Regardless of what you thought about his rule in Libya, you cannot mistake his ability to leverage regional natural resources to combat Western powers. Revolution is typically bloody and remarkable, but watching it unfold in the information age is rather unique.

Though I was younger and perhaps less globally aware, I am old enough to remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. I could imagine that an event so significant (ie unifying Germany) and so consequential surely there must have been tremendous bloodshed. One can only imagine what the people of East Germany had to endure in an effort to dismantle that political and Socialist cultural regime. Ironically, the Western media never captured any of their leaders being dragged through the streets covered with blood or filmed the hiding places of their generals. One might attribute this fact to a fledgling world wide web, perhaps, but it does seem that African or developing nations which are undergoing political change seem to get far more coverage.

Clearly 1989 media was hindered by the available technology, largely everything was captured by tel-lie-vision and radio. There was no flickr or other Internet based social media channels. The United States was largely controlled by just a few major news outlets, and the huge growth of cable networks had not yet begun to take root.

Still it is rather curious that events in Libya, Egypt, etc garnered so much coverage in the US.  Could it be that there was such a human interest story and the enduring embrace of personal freedom and democracy for all?  Hogwash.. Methinks it has more to do with the financial leverage and controlling natural resources.  Going back to the Berlin Wall example. I'm clear that East German leadership was under tremendous attack from the resurrection of its citizens as well as outside forces that had a vested interest in seeing Socialism crushed in the Eastern Bloc. However, I never saw pics or video footage of Honecker or Krenz getting beaten or bloodied for their part in maintaining the Berlin Wall.

The other aspect of the Libyan story is economics. Obviously the US has a vested interest in controlling the price of a barrel of oil. In fact, Ghaddafi took great pride in organizing the OPEC to help dictate the flow of oil thereby manipulating demand. Simple Economics 101 and the Western nations despised him for it. Again, the Berlin story had few if any money underpinnings, so it would be logical that US interests would be pale in comparison to Libya.

Not sure what the new media focus will be now, the destabilization efforts have succeeded in Libya, Iraq, and Egypt.  I suppose that a greater focus on Africa would not be out of the question. Curiously, China and Afghanistan are on the back burner.  Time will tell.

Mama Egypt

Great Sphinx of Giza

Image by Jorge-11 via Flickr

It's surreal to see the unrest in Egypt. Actually, I visited the country almost 20yrs ago as military serviceman. In fact, I have fond memories of the coastal city Hurghada, as I spent most of my time there while in Egypt. The red snapper was excellent and the people were extremely friendly. One particular episode, weighs heavy on my mind. I recall having dinner in a local cafe with some fellow shipmates. For whatever reason, I had run out of Egyptian pounds. The meal was actually 20 pounds and I only had something like 15 pounds. Ordinarily, not having enough money to settle the bill is a recipe for disaster. Get out the latex gloves and bust some suds or run for the nearest ATM. Quite the contrary, the restaurant host simply paid the difference and was gracious in doing so. Obviously, I will never forget this generosity. Very refreshing and quite rare indeed. 

I also had the opportunity to visit Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza. A site to behold, and one that is truly a world wonder. If you find true engineering to be godly work, then you will appreciate these pyramids. I traveled to the bottom and one of our tour guides presented me with a Quran for safekeeping.  A very humbling experience.  While I know that the present day inhabitants of Egypt are not the indigenous people, I felt very at home in Egypt. Regardless, whether they knew I was a US serviceman or tourist I could see they generally wanted me to enjoy my stay in their country. While in Cairo, I got a chance to walk the streets and experience urban North African style.  I even talked to people about the Six-Day War, a great education for me to put it mildly. The Cairo Museum had a treasure trove of artifacts that I really wished I had been able to photograph.

Fast forward to the unrest you see on the major and minor media outlets, very sad. It is amazing that a people who have been forced to sacrifice, will eventually be forced to unite and prepare for a bloody revolution to gain freedom.  I sure hope the Americans let the Egyptian people decide the outcome. If you're unaware of the how all this occurred check out Wikileaks and an assortment of other documents in the wilds of the InterWeb.


How can we help our gov't?

Selling Obamacare - July 22, 2009

Image by Mark Sardella via Flickr

I was inspired by a recent post by my pseudo buddy Anil. He's right Apple doesn't give a shit about poor people. Moreover, its latest product (which is the 100lb gorilla) has seem to have zealots frothing at the mouth. That's all I will say about that Cupertino company in this entry.

What I found most interesting about the aforementioned post, is the cajoling or exhorting that Dash delivered. Yes, our gov't really needs the energy and passion of its citizens to help deliver solutions. This is particularly true since there are so many problems. Health Care(I have provided very precise solutions for the health care problem in previous entries), Wall Street, Home Land Security, Education. The list seems endless. Yet some are mesmerized by the most insignificant dust under our feet. Very sad indeed.

Sure, we can't boil the ocean. You can argue that our gov't is too big to get out of its own way. However, it would seem that most people do not realize that massive trade deficit and an inept domestic policy has forced the hand of the POTUS. While I do not agree with the method by which the banking industry has raped the American public, I can unequivocally state that Obama has not been asleep at the switch. You can berate the administration for being to ambitious, but the alternative of doing nothing would be far worse.

Now, I do recall the urging of the administration to help raise the level of innovation and creativity amongst its people. Because I am an engineer with a keen interest in computing, I would propose organizing guilds or training programs which seek to increase the number technically competent youth and young adults. Although, I do understand the America is rapidly becoming a service economy due to the dearth of engineers and scientists, I cannot lose hope that our children can help the greater collective return to prominence.

I say "collective" because while people can point to the GOOG, Social Network software, and cloud computing as shining examples of American innovation... These are still small victories in the huge landscape that is the fabric of the American people. What about the under represented people? If the forthcoming new majority will make a mark the technical acumen will certainly have to be increased two-fold. Graduation from consumers to producers and keen interest in innovation. I have spoken about this in this space many times previously. Yes, I truly believe embracing "knowledge worker" activities will help turn the tide in this country. If not us, then whom? If not now, when?

Free Publicity Who Do We Help?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The New Middle - Gov'ts Guiding Hands

| 1 Comment

*Disclaimer - The thoughts expressed here do not represent those of my employer*
I have been watching the Wall Street and Auto industry bailout proceedings with keen interest. Obviously, I have witnessed many friends suffer as their jobs vanished and I have personally been pre-occupied with what amounts to nearly quarterly head count reductions.
It does seem that everyone has opinions about the mess that is the North American auto industry.

Heated debates have sprung up in a few social networks that I frequent. With the ouster of GM CEO Waggoner, some folks have used this as fodder for the cries of dictatorship, socialism, communism. It all seems pretty ludicrous to me.
People must realize that inaction is not going to solve any of the current problems. Yes, it is true that Japan and Europe suffered through disastrous economic downturns and their governments also infused cash with very little positive effect. However, the US is dealing with effects of a constant erosion of its manufacturing base. As I have stated numerous times previously, America is in the midst of transforming itself into a service based economy. I don't believe the current leadership is willing to allow this transformation to occur.

Returning to the auto-industry.. Much of what I have heard is that the auto industry is largely responsible for creating the middle-class in this country. While this is a fact, we must also consider that those jobs were likely first generation middle-class and largely located in middle-America. I'm certain that my pops did not benefit from those jobs. Unfortunately, most of those beneficiaries are nearing retirement. Moreover, the jobs which were created by a healthy auto industry are now being replaced as the manufacturing base shrinks in this country.

So the gov't has two choices: (a) Stand-By and follow the same laissez-faire practices as the previous administration or (b) Infuse capital and help guide the economy in a proper direction.

If this involvement means firing warning shots at CEOs whose companies are squandering taxpayer dollars so be it. Waggoner took a spear for his peers on Wall Street too. Methinks it was more a show of force than anything else. Wall Street does seem to be handling business with an air of impunity.

Eradication of Poverty

During the Abe Lincoln love fest that was broadcasted on C-span. I was captivated with the conversation of Jesse Jackson Jr. The concept of Public Private Partnerships was quite interesting to me. Jackson kept stressing that he was not requesting any money from taxpayers. In fact, he would be helping the local and state governments raise capital and also spark entrepreneurship. Essentially PPP is sometimes called PPA. The example he used was the construction of an airport, and the ability for municipal projects of this sort to create jobs and provide an avenue for people to begin to escape the shackles of poverty. As I began studying this business model I immediately began to see value in this approach.

When you begin to realize that one strategy for stimulating the economy is through creating short-term infrastructure revitalization projects, PPA makes a great deal of sense. No building an airport is probably not the best example of a short term stimulus project; however, you could utilize this approach for building a learning academy or media centers in urban and rural areas.

Obviously, another means of stimulating the economy is be certain that _everyone_ is employed and nobody is impoverished. How do you accomplish this daunting task?
Well the concept of microloans have been discussed in some detail. Perhaps I may have heard smatterings of it here, but I have never heard about someone creating a social business around micro loans. Muhammad Yunus, Economist, Nobel Laureate and largely responsible for making the term microloan mainstream. Although some would argue that micro payments to the poor do little to solve the macro problem of poverty, I would assert that it certainly is better than ignoring impoverished. Moreover, I believe Yunus is more interested in helping the poor understand how to leverage their innate talents and ultimately break the cycle of generational poverty.

Hmmm. What if we could deploy Public Private Partnerships and link them to a social business concept. In my mind, this is exactly what Yunus has done with companies like Dannon, Nike, and others. I would think that if this approach can scale well in Bangladesh and other developing nations, we could do something similar here stateside.

Lastly, we have a struggling economy and many people are witnessing an increasing growing gap amongst the working poor and the 'so-called' middle-class. I would hope that new ideas are being considered in earnest.

Regression to the Mean

*Disclaimer* - The thoughts expressed here are not those of my employer, but my own -

I have discussed these matters previously in earlier posts. Nonetheless, I thought it necessary to emphasize a point. Sometimes when talking about social-political problems, I often utilize mathematics to help provide clarity in an unbiased fashion. When we talk about labor compensation and the so-called "race to the bottom" it is important to understand an objective viewpoint.

Developing nations, which historically have trailed the U.S are closing the technology and manufacturing gap in a very methodical way. Obviously this phenomenon did not occur overnight. Essentially, these developing nations, particularly China and India, understood that they would have to begin to provide goods and services if they were to improve their quality of life. They seized an opportunity to get a leg up as it were due largely to America's huge shift to being a consumer nation. Some might ask, "Wasn't the US always a consumer nation?" Well not always, I would venture to guess that since Industrial Revolution, the US shifted from producing to consuming. If my historical reference is incorrect, someone please educate me.

A New Dawn

As I write this entry I realize that I could not be more proud to be an American. We have witnessed history of epic proportions. In truth, I have been waiting four decades for people in this country to understand that people of color can lead at the highest levels of government. Yes, Black Men have been ready to provide direction for quite sometime. Actually, I did not need an election to validate this fact. However, it does feel good to see this play out on a national stage.

Apparently the status-quo is no longer good enough for government work. Whether your name is Bush, Dole or Sunnuni your time is up. The GOP will need to regroup and reinvent. Unfortunately, Obama will inherit a mess. The economy is in awful condition and there is a huge mistrust in Washington and Wall Street. Nonetheless, I strongly believe that Obama's fresh eyes approach that will certainly be very different than business as usual.

Here are some specifics

  • Focus on Educating its People
  • Renewable / Sustainable Energy
  • Repairing Broken Health Care System

Of course I am not naive to believe that Obama is the messiah, but I do believe that he ready to lead. The change that we have been waiting for is finally here.

Refreshing Economic Plans

Now that the conventions are over, it is time to address the issues. I thought it was particularly refreshing to see Obama talking about the dearth of classical engineers and scientists. He also emphasized concrete strategies to repair our broken economy and help sponsor renewable energy. Very different than the rhetoric spewed by his detractors.
If you wish to see the talk in its entirety, check out C-Span

There are instances where politics actually intrigues me. In most cases I take umbrage to the corruption and generally have much disdain for the process. However, I was somehow drawn to the recent struggles to reseat Democratic delegates for both MI. and FL. I suppose this is likely due to the fact that the race for the Democratic Party was so close that clear decisions needed to made about the FL and MI primaries. Additionally, as I stated in an earlier entry, I was one of the reported 30K (roughly 5% of the total votes casted) voters who decided to write-in the name of their candidate. There was talk of nullifying the MI. Primary, as it was a "flawed" process. That is candidates names were not listed on the ballot. Not everyone received word that "undecided uncommitted" was the proper and legitimate description of their chosen candidate. Very strange indeed.

The irony is that Obama's recent victory and subsequent nominee appointment makes this issue moot. Nonetheless, it begs the question of what to do with the new effort to radically change the current primary hierarchy? For those who are unaware, the MI. delegation decided to hold its primary in January, well before the traditional primary cadence of IA and NH. As I understand it, this change was fueled by the unwarranted privilege which has historically been granted to IA and NH. One might ask what privilege do these states get? Before I provide the details, let us take a second to survey the ethnic make-up of IA and NH. A quick Wikipedia search reveals that the total non-white representation is roughly 3% of the population in IA and NH combined (based upon 2005 Census Report).

Why are demographics important? One could argue that the issues that matter most to the majority group are quite different than that of the minority. Besides,the common rhetoric is that everyone should have equal representation in the voting process. Does the current process provide this opportunity?
Moreover, these states do not have a larger industrial base than MI. IA is more agrarian and NH has a growing technology foundation. Arguably, NH technology foundation is aided in large part by MA. That is a topic for another discussion. So it would stand to reason that people would eventually question the "order" by which these primaries were slated. Why should these states go first year after year? If the answer is, "We've always done it that way, get over it." You are likely to annoy some people and that is what happened in the case of MI.

I'm not as familiar with the underpinnings of the FL. delegates situation, I'll leave those details as an exercise for the reader. Both Mark Brewer and David Bonoir gave compelling testimony to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. Brewer and Bonoir proposed a total recount; however, the Bylaws committee was unwilling to grant total recount as it would have been unfair to the other candidates. There were some interesting subplots, as some Clinton supporters who were seated on the Rules Committee suggested that Obama was trying to befriend IA delegates by not putting his name on the MI ballot.

When all was said and done, the agreement was to seat 50% of the delegates. As stated earlier, it turned out to be moot.. Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. Now that he is the nominee.. Who will be his running mate? Harold Ford or Al Gore? Maybe someone else.

My bet is on Al Gore, I'll expound on possible VP in a later entry.

Why Stroke everyone with same brush?

| 2 Comments

Recently triumphed over a nasty virus. Had me laid out for a couple of days. So last week I paid a visit to my primary physician. This dude is very opinionated, but I tolerate him because he is competent and convenient. Anyway, he begins to talk about Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick and his transgressions. Doc began to spew all kinds of negativity. Thug was mentioned and the common, "every black man should be ashamed." What is odd about all of this is that Doc is from the Middle East. So, the criticism is a bit hard to swallow. Basically, I resort to nodding and half-patronizing. Finally, I uttered, "You know I voted for the guy." The diatribe continued.
He then said, even the guy running for President is going to have a hard time. I'm thinking damn. Kwame fucked it up for everybody. Hell, I can't even walked the streets anymore without someone, saying another Kwame. Is it really that bad? Are black men truly a monolithic culture? I think not, but it is sad to see people trying to cram us into one bag like shake-n-bake.

Participatory Government

Now that people have begun to understand that Barack Obama is a very serious candidate for President, I thought it would be good to take share some thoughts I have been struggling with lately.

In truth, I had become very disenchanted with the politics, particularly since the debacle that was the last presidential election. I'm still smarting from that nonsense. However, I have decided to become part of the solution and bellyache about a broken electorate process. In reality, I still am somewhat disconnected.. Case in point, for whatever reason MI. delegates decided to hold their primaries earlier than prescribed by both parties; hence several of the candidates were missing from the ballots. Being the rebellious warrior that I am, I decided to write in my candidate.

To my chagrin, I discovered later that I was _not_ supposed to do this. Instead, I was supposed to select "uncommitted" on the ballot. Oh well, go figure.. I'll have another shot at getting it right come November. So I have decided to 'educate' myself by watching the primaries on YouTube.

There are plenty of interesting angles which for the coverage that you cannot find using traditional media outlets.

Profiting on misfortune

| 1 Comment

As I watch the economy in S.E Mich. bottom out, the running joke is the only businesses which patronize the area are the banking institutions. It was a bit curious that Quicken Loans decided to expand its operations in Detroit-Metro area. Can you say sub-prime haven? Anyway, the politicians are also taking the opportunity to cash in the economic plight of the area.

The blitzkrieg of political sound bites and campaign advertisments are quite amusing. For instance, Mitt Romney whose family has a dubious history in this region, uttered some rheotoric about 'leveling the economic playing field' in the state of Michigan. I thought this was a bit odd, as he suggested that the developing nations have some unfair advantage over American manufacturing efforts. For the life of me, I do not understand why this sort of conversation is so popular in this region.

Perhaps it is because I am a native New Yorker, and growing up in a factory is so very foreign to me? Nonetheless, all of the major rust belt cities have been forced to develop another value proposition. For instance, Indianapolis has two diverse industries in their city. Pharmaceuticals and Aerospace. Of course, Rolls Royce (formerly Allison Engine) is largely a manufacturing operation, but it is not the primary employer for the city. Eli-Lilly is the 2nd largest employer in the city. Indy also has the distinction of being the amateur sports capital of the world.

What will be Detroit's new value proposition? For that matter what will be Michigan's legacy going forward? Your guess is as good as mine. Clearly, radical change is necessary and I disagree that developing nations are to blame for the demise of this region.

An Inconvenient Truth

| 2 Comments

Had the pleasure of viewing the Al Gore documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" and after having spent the 1.5hrs of my time... I have no regrets. Although I happen to earn a living in an industry that has struggled to advance the technology of renewable energy/fuels, I am not conflicted. The film is a stark reminder of the impact humans are having on the environment. I do not remember hearing much about this work. Perhaps this is due to the region which I live.

Some have mocked Gore and his role in the tobacco industry and his inability to win a rigged election (lost home state of Tennessee). Nonetheless, the research he has collected is quite compelling and very reasonable. I had no idea that this campaign has consumed much of his life. If you have not viewed this project, I encourage you to do so. Especially, if you are a member of the scientific or technical community. There is much work to do.

Protect internet radio

I am a huge fan of internet radio, as I have tuned out Clear Channel crap years ago. When I go home, I occasionally check out Chuck Chillout, Red Alert, Kid Kapri or another notable DJ set on the local NYC station. Otherwise, I'm checking out my own netcasts ;) The vast majority of mix-tapes (CD's) are gone. My beloved Beat Street shutdown last year, so Fat Beats and Rock and Soul are the few vinyl hold overs that still carry underground shyt.

Anyway, these days I spend time listening to
We Funk Radio (WKUT) Montreal, Underground Radio (WBAI) NYC, SomaFM(Groove Salad-San Francisco), BigUp Radio(Oakland) and Last.fm(UK).

It seems that RIAA and others have decided to increase the tax levy on internet radio. The argument is that internet radio does not provide the expected revenue stream per the content it delivers to the community. The issue was addressed by the founder of Pandora project, Tim Westergren.

You can read about his plea . It appears that internet radio spots that are housed in the U.S are the most vulnerable to this legislation. I have already written my representative. If you enjoy enjoy internet radio, I strongly encourage you to do the same.

Below is the response I received from my senator:

Thank you . . .

. . for contacting me about the copyright royalties that Internet radio stations must pay in order to broadcast music online. I understand your concern that a recent court ruling to raise these royalty fees will force many Internet radio stations to shut down.

On March 2, a panel of copyright judges changed how the amount of these fees is calculated. Previously, small broadcasters could pay royalties as a percentage-usually about 12 percent-of the money they collected. The new calculation requires all online music broadcasters to pay royalties on a per-listener, per-hour basis and increases royalty rates.

A coalition of online broadcasters is currently in the process of appealing this ruling. I will monitor the situation as this appeal moves forward. Should legislation come before me in the Senate, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to do so again if I can be of assistance to you in the future.

Sincerely,

Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator

So activism does work.. Not clear whether it will make a difference the bill is being debated on the floor of the Congress as I write this entry. The decision will be made May 15th July 15th, so let your voice be heard now.

Violence in Zimbabwe

Admittedly, I have not been acutely aware of the uprising that is unfolding in Zimbabwe. What is most intriguing in this store is the MDC( Movement for Democratic Change) is responsible for the pressure that incumbent leader Mugabe is experiencing. Mugabe has ruled that region for 27years.

Perhaps the most shocking news is that one of my former undergrad professors (Controls/Robotics Researcher) Arthur Mutambara is a chief organizer of the rebellion. It seems that MDC and his key aids (ie Mutambara) were beaten and detained by the Mugabe's ruling authority. My strength goes out to him while he seeks Democratic reforms.

Mugabe's mainrivalhospitalized - CNN.com

No OLPC in NOLA?

| 2 Comments

I have been singing the praises of the OLPC for quite awhile. After learning of the opinions of some close to the project, I'm not so sure anymore. Have I been hoodwinked?

AFAIK, there is an effort in MA, to leverage OLPC for its _deserving_ population. If you are looking for a more deserving group, what better place than NOLA? It seems like a no brainer to me?

Could it be that the underlying goal is to line the pockets of Negroponte and other privileged intellectuals? I really hope that I'm mistaken here. Well, if Ashley Morris can gain support of a united front ( ie educators and policy makers), he might have a shot at getting some sort of grant for the most hard hit areas. If not OLPC, perhaps the LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) could help support some of these depleted school districts.

I will personally make contact and offer my support.

OLPC News: What About One Laptop Per New Orleans Child?

Tides of Change

| No TrackBacks

Although the Democrats have reclaimed Congress, there were some significant happenings relative to Affirmative Action. Apparently the infamous Ward Connerly is being heard louder than anyone imagined. Let's hope other states aren't as easily fooled.

Forthetimes :: Election Night: What A Night!

Unlikely partners ?

| No TrackBacks

It seems that Africa's oil has has again drawn another foreign country to its shores. Perhaps it's not just the oil? Perhaps the interest is genuine partnership. Call me a cynic, but history would suggest that very few countries actually wish to help Africa. If there is any exploitation to be done, it would be great if African nations would collectively garnish some of China's technological advances.
I suppose only time will tell.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Trade to top China-Africa summit

Sign-of-the-Times

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks

Dunno know about you but I'm really getting tired of all of the illegal aliens rhetoric. I suppose I'm a bit biased, as I come from a city that made a living off people who weren't naturalized citizens. Additionally, I now live in a region which has a dearth of jobs, so nobody would risk life and limb to come here.

Nonetheless, it seems that this sort of conversation intensifies as the US economy takes a dive. I suppose that if the economy was thriving and unemployment rates were manageable, there really wouldn't be very much discussion. Moreover, I believe it really is a diversionary tactic, as the country has far more pressing problems (ie rising fuel costs, conservation plans, technology shortage, etc).

I don't buy the argument that illegal aliens will drive this country to ruins. Simply apocolypse rhetoric.
Heck wasn't there a song glorifying illegal aliens in the 80's?

Ills of Colonialism

| No TrackBacks

I spent part of the day watching a PBS conversation on Ralph Bunche, last week I also got a chance to watch a similar discussion on Malcolm X(whose birthday was May 19th). Probably no chance that Google would commemorate his birthday with a flattering caricature.. I digress.

Regarding Bunche, I really did not know much about his work with the continent of Africa. Particularly, his earlier writing about issues of class and race. The written work "A World View of Race", was indeed controversial for its time, and certainly one of Bunche's most critically acclaimed essays. It is worth noting that much of the language in the text is very apropos for our so-called modern world. The more interesting backdrop to this story is the fact that Bunche elected to work for the State Department. I couldn't help think about the irony in his predicament, as he was truly militant for his era. Moreover, it was extremely rare for black folks to work in any government capacity during this particular period. The entire story reminded me of the story, the "Spook Who Sat by the Door?"

Do Less Evil

| No TrackBacks

While I do believe Google is largely benevolent, with one huge exception. I'm not at all sure that it should be setting some sort of moral precedent when it comes to doing business in China. While it is clear, that censorship should be rejected by a company who carries the mantra, "Do no evil", I don't fault them at all.

It is very likely that the Chinese students will find a way to mitigate the restrictions, so the point will moot. Moreover, I do not believe it is possible for a company to be a champion at all levels. Does such a firm even exist? I cannot name any. Everyone has skeletons.


David Farrar: Google doing evil

Human experiments

| No TrackBacks

Recently there has been a huge effort to expose some of the dirty dealings of the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. I have discussed some of this in an earlier post.

It would make sense that these clandestine efforts are especially designed to curb the population boom in India and Africa. However, what is particularly despicable, are the numerous attempts of supressing the news. These companies would have you believe that people are willing participants in this sort of laboratory exercise.

Wired News: Testing Drugs on India's Poor

Cable network gestapos

| No TrackBacks

Monday I went to Giants Stadium and witnessed the last Monday Night Football affair on ABC.
The pathetic and injury riddled Jets suffered yet another defeat at the hands of the Pats. I like Herm Edwards, but he's certainly had the buzzards luck of late.

Anyway, the amazing build-up of the _last_ NFL Monday night ABC game was quite remarkable. What I found most interesting was the fact that local broadcasting of sporting events will be a thing of the past in most if not all major markets. I suppose if you live in obscure places like Provo, UT or French Lick, IN you could possible catch your local sports team on a local network affiliate.

Transit Strike 2005 - Over

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks

trip_route.jpg

jersey_bklyn_route.jpg


I survived the transit strike of 2005. Well sorta.. Actually, what better way to finish a 10hr drive from the midwest ;) In fact, I was oblivious to the forthcoming surprise. Typically, I'm very much connected to the happenings in my beloved city; however, I had not peeped the Gothamist, prior to my departure. Serves me right I suppose..

Bonus Coverage:

TWU Support - Local 100 Chairman Roger Touissaint

Outsourcing to Americans

| No TrackBacks

All of the conversation of sending jobs overseas, I thought this one should probably get more play.
Actually, there are areas within the US where inexpensive unskillled labor could be utilized.

Not sure why more worked isn't farmed out to these areas. Well, I suppose one reason is that we have a burgeoning and profitable prison labor system.

Wired News: Outsourcing to the Heartland

Mass and Venezuela deal for oil

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

Gosh, the rising cost of heating oil has forced local politicians to broker deals on their own. Big slap at GW. He certainly deserves it.
However, I'm not sure that oil is destined for the poorest areas of Mass. I would imagine that some people in Roxbury could use it too.

The report also mentions that a section in the Bronx will also get lower sweet deal on heating oil. I wonder who negotiated that deal?

Hell, maybe we should send Kwame to broker a deal for Detroit ?
BBC NEWS | Americas | Venezuela gives US cheap oil deal

Child protection or censorship

| No TrackBacks

To what extent would you go to protect your child? The internet is a wealth of information, and could be a great resource for anyone. I'm not sure that schools should determine what children have access to this information and who should not.

Blogging does not have to be an invitation to pediphiles and such. To the contrary, children can learn viable problem solving skills, provided that they have adequate supervision. Additionally, other avenues of opportunity could be explored by introducing these students to blogging (ie A+ Certification, Java, XHTML, PHP, etc).
The real issue is that the teachers are woefully unprepared and technically inadequate in these areas. So, it is far easier to simply restrict the students, instead of forcing these teachers to attain the necessary training.

Boing Boing: Principal says students can't keep blogs or MySpace profiles

Socialized medicine

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

A battle is raging and it appears that some of our larger corporations are losing big time. It appears the fight is to figure out a means to avoid the legacy costs associated with providing adequate healthcare to employees.

It is clear that insurance companies have reaked havoc on an already broken system. I have not been happy with fact that my pops has struggled to make ends meet, while he has spent thousands of dollars on anti-rejection medicine, to maintain the kidney he received roughly 5yrs ago. Is it a necessary evil? I'm not at all certain. What is clear, is that we have a system which is financed by the taxpayer and employer. The argument has always been, that the government should not finance healthcare.

Level playing field for success

| No TrackBacks

Finland is probably best known for Linus Torvalds, inventor of the Linux kernel. However, what is probably least known is its educational system. In fact, the majority of their students attend college because it cost virtually nothing.
In fact, Linus was able to incubate the idea of Linux due in large part to the length of time he was able to stay in school, while pursuing his undergraduate degree. I imagine that if he were paying an exorbitant amount for tuition, perhaps the level of creativity would have been far less substatial.

In contrast, if an American student spends more than five years pursuing an undergraduate degree, they are often ridiculed.

Where are the young US inventors? Are they progressing through the US education system?

According to the Finland Minister of Education, students are not separated based upon ability until age sixteen. Clearly, this type of strategy is a very different than how the US has manages education.

It appears that European countries have always taken a different approach to preparing its students for success. The concept of taking ownership in educational process is of paramount concern to Finland, I do hope we can learn a few lessons from our foreign neighbors.


BBC NEWS | Education | Education key to economic survival

Lean Manufacturing Musings

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

Lean Manufacturing principles are really the buzz amongst people who are employed in the auto industry. In fact, there are also interesting synergies relative to Information Technology, An excellent text,"The Cluetrain Manifesto", echoes the sentiment that our manufacturing base must radically change to compete on a global market. A common theme in the text is, "Adapt or Die." It has become apparent that the manufacturing base is leaving North America, particularly in the auto industry. So, I'm dumbfounded as to the reaction and the general paralysis of some of the major players in this space. Regarding the auto industry, it is clear that some will survive despite the tough landscape. The Asian auto industry seems to have some of the same challenges, but have emerged in better shape than their American counterparts. Although, the symptoms are well understood, methinks folks get caught up in a fervent debate over 'equivalent wages'.

Tales of the Darkside

| 1 TrackBack

I had stated that I was very disgusted with the main stream media coverage of the Katrina debacle in an earlier post. As I suspected, the bitter tales of misdeeds, as described by the media have been dispelled. It appears that some of the evacuees, and guardsmen unknowingly aided the media in perpetuating these unsubstantiated myths of raping and murder within the Superdome and Convention center.

Know the truth.
More Katrina follow up:Malik Rahim Part I || Malik Rahim Part II

For more info on grassroots NOLA rebuilding efforts see Common Ground


The Colorblind Society: Blame and Criminalize the Victims: A Katrina Retrospect

Rosa Parks remembered

| No TrackBacks

rosa_parks.jpg
We lost one of our great matriarchs of the Civil Rights era. I'm reminded of her contributions quite frequently, as she was a resident of Detroit. Rosa Parks also became a powderkeg for boycotts and other measures of economic pressure, which helped dismantle segregationist practices.

There were other Civil Rights matriarchs (ie. Shirley Chisholm, thanks Biz), but Parks was recognized as a leader of change for everyone.

Comic relief

| No TrackBacks

I always wondered how talented one must be to have been a leading politician and also an accomplished athlete. In fact, there have only been a handful (ie. Bill Bradley, Arnold Schwartzenagger, etc). Well, what if former president, Bill Clinton was an accomplished athelete? What would be his sport of choice? Funny stuff.

Blogcritics.org: If Sports Figures Were In Politics

Short films for the third eye

| 1 Comment | 1 TrackBack

I came across two short films which captured events that had a profound affect on me.
Just wanted to share them with you.

Some of you hip-hop headz will recognize Mos Def and Jadakiss vocals in Tell the Truth about the Towers. The extended track also includes KRS1 and Chuck D.
Of course, this particular Katrina segment should be familiar,Kanye.

Don't Drink the Water

| No TrackBacks

Harvard University has the dubious distinction of having lost its president due to some ill-advised remarks. In contrast it has also been recognized for socio-economic research.

The fear of the alleged health hazard of chromium 6 or hex chrome, has caused of panic within local government. In fact, many automotive companies have also been forced to remove the material from all subcomponents, to be totally compliant by 2007CY. The article raises the question that Harvard is mixing politics with science and the outcome is not favorable. Has anyone ever tested for traces of chromium 6 ? If so, what are the hazards to humans?

OpinionJournal - Don't Taste the Water

Lord of War

| No TrackBacks

I figured I would treat myself to rare mid-week flick. Took in Nicholas Cage, starring in Lord of War. A compelling tale that will certainly open your eyes to corruption and manipulation of so-called third world nations. Although, the film was morbid and surreal, it clearly painted of vivid picture of how private wars are fought and financed. Have you ever wondered how the 'war on drugs' was carried out? How about Afghanistan's defeat of the Soviet Union? Don't misunderstand me, the film was not a documentary, but it did reveal some of the aspects of how assault rifles and ammunition are used to encourage unrest and stifle advancement in developing countries.

I would also venture to guess, that these same tactics are used here on US soil. I believe the term is coined 'counterintelligence'. I believe the FBI used this same method to severely cripple the NOI. Lastly, the film reminds of a classic KRS1 joint. I believe the chorus was "I've got a hundred or two hundred clips, goin to NY, NY." Hmmm. I think that was off the "Blueprint" album. If I gave away anymore details, it would spoil the film. Suffice to say, it is well worth loot and time.

Disparity of wealth spells certain doom

| No TrackBacks

While there is probably enough blame to go around, and far too much finger pointing. The sad truth is that if we learn nothing else about the Katrina tradegy and subsequent Home Land Security debacle, America still has a very big socio-economic divide. I would argue that it is perhaps more evident in the South. Our economy is in dire straits and it seems that the gap between the 'haves and have-nots' is clearly widening. While our government officials enjoy a lavish vacations and shoppingsprees, I often wonder who will solve the problem. The working poor are in serious trouble.

On a brighter note, I just returned from a local evacuee center. Although my offerings of laundry detergent were quite meager, considering the hundreds of families which are being hosted in Detroit, I mention it here to perhaps make the point that any contribution is much needed.

Bonus: If anyone is interested, take a look at the new NO satellite image. Pre and post Katrina. Quite sobering

Ejovi Nuwere » What we want to think

Actually, I had other material to share with you, but as I have been home enjoying myself. I have also taken a walk down memory lane too. More on this later. However, I am compelled to comment on the devastation, and what I classify as poor and despicable media coverage of the events in New Orleans. As most of you have already witnessed, there is a great deal of poverty in the rural sections of NO. What I find disturbing is the constant images of the looting and pillaging. Naturally, they paint the image of poor blacks on a rampage. What is NOT told is the story of destitude and hopelessness of a people with no way out. Personally, I would do whatever is necessary to feed my family. If I thought I could make money of a flat screen TV, it would be under my arm with a quickness. The reality here is that no calvary was on the way to help anyone in the rural communities or the inner-city.

Hip-Hop mayor

| No TrackBacks

Love him or hate him, Kwame Kilpatrick cannot be ignored. As the youngest person ever to become mayor, Kilpatrick has caused much controversy with what could be classified as youthful inexperience. Dismissing the fact that he is a fellow alum, I do believe his youthful vision is much needed in a city that is at least 10-15 yrs behind more successful cities( ie NYC, DC, and Atlanta).

He is allledged to roll with a large posse, (aka mayor security force), and well equipped tax payer financed Lincoln Navigator. Unfortunately, these negative items make for good TV and sells plenty of newspapers. However, not very much is said about Kwame's vision of a new Detroit. The problems are well chronicled, and tough choices must be made to stem the tides.

The mayor seems to have a clear vision on what it would take to reinvent Detroit. He also understands that the idea that old rust belt cities must establish new value propositions due to the ever changing global marketplace. As stated previously, the auto industry left Detroit long ago. Most of the industry is now overseas, are in remote suburban areas.
Kwame understands this dilemna all too well and has engaged some of the most brilliant minds to discuss and rectify the matter. However, that is rather boring and doesn't sell papers or really amount to great theatre.

For what it's worth, he placed second in the recent primaries, so he does have a shot for re-election in November. It seems that it will be two man race, Kwame vs. deputy mayor of David Archer's administration.
Although, I'm not a native of this area, I believe I have figured out the mindstate of the locals. Most of the residents here are unwilling to make tough choices. It's apparent that they enjoy living in yesteryear. The hope is that wishing away the problems of Detroit will be enough restore its luster. I'm clear that I won't be around to see the metamorphisis, that is if it does actually occur. One certainty, is that continuity is necessary, let Kwame finish what he started.


Are Things Happening in Detroit?

The Responsibility to Protect

| No TrackBacks

Last week marked eleven years since the ending of the Rwanda Genocide and end of the 100 day civil war between the Hutsu and Tutsi people. Embarrassingly, I really never knew very much about the conflict and bloodshed b/c I was living in a vacuum called undergraduate school, desparately trying to make the grade to gain my freedom. In fact, my mind was pre-occupied with visions of Million-Man March, OJ Simpson trial, and NY Knicks NBA title run. I don't believe mainstream US media spent very much time covering the attrocities that were underway in the central-African nation. Hence, one of the reasons I don't care for mainstream media. That's another story.

NYC2012 - tale of bid (Revisited)

| No TrackBacks

It's official, NYC lost the opporunity to host the 2012 Olympics and probably will not make an attempt to lobby for the 2016 games. London was awarded the 2012 Games, unfortunately, their glee has now changed to sorrow. It's unlikely that the IOC would reverse their decision, in the aftermath of the horror that took place in the London.

London team shocked as blasts rip city

Not sure why NY failed in its attempt to host the 2012 games; however, I still assert that it would have been great for the country and the city. Some people suggest that New Yorkers were rather subdued about the prospects of having the Olympics in their backyard. Others point the finger at the confusion surrounding the failed West Side Stadium.

I suppose that the truth will forever be hidden, but according to Rep. Anthony Weiner, ``We don't need the reassurance from the International Olympic Committee or anyone else that New York is a world-class city,'' said U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democratic mayoral candidate, after London was awarded the games. ``We don't need to put New York on the map. It's already the center of the universe.''

Well perhaps we don't need to be so arrogant, but it would be nice to take a crack at the 2016 games.

New York: Disappointed but not devastated

Grokster - Revisited

| No TrackBacks

Just when you thought the saga would finally end.. It's seems that some people really want to crush P2P networks, by any means necessary.

You may recall that I discussed this ongoing case in a previous essay. I was unsure whether RIAA lobbyist would appeal to Congress to have the Grokster vs. MGM ruling overturned. Well, luckily the recent ruling will not overturn the earlier precedent. However, it could potentially increase FUD among users/maintainers of other P2P networks.

The struggle continues.

Slashdot | Supreme Court Rules against Grokster

Long time coming

| No TrackBacks

Why does it seem to take an inordinant amount of time for crazed whites to get justice? I already know the answer, it was merely a rheotorical question. When was the last time a 41 years to convict a suspected black male? I know some will say justice is blind, and they will use examples like OJ and MJ. I argue that these cases are unique and very rare indeed.

I can offer you Mumia Abu-Jamal and a host of others, who were jailed almost immediately after they were suspected of wrong doing.

Very nasty world we live indeed.

BBC NEWS | Americas | KKK verdict sees 'justice arrive'

Juneteenth-Remembered

| No TrackBacks

It appears that the holocaust that was inflicted upon peoples of African ancestry has found its place in the mainstream media.

I'm not certain if it is combination of the past failed attempts to offer reparations to a sizeable percentage of disenfranchised African-Americans or is it a liberal media campaign aimed at correcting past wrongs.

One thing is certain. The lynchings were a very graphic representation of the importance of Juneteenth effort. The courageous work of Ida B. Wells and others helped put an end to this barbaric behavior. I missed an opportunity to see a local exhibit which provided a historical perspective on the lynching holocaust. Nonetheless, I am clear that none of the events of the black holocaust should ever be dismissed or forgotten.


Blogcritics.org: Lynching Apology - A Little Perspective

NYC2012 - tale of bid

| No TrackBacks

I've publicly stated that an Olympics in NYC would be great for the city and the country. In the aftermath of 9/11, what stronger statement could be made against terrorism. Speculation is that the new towers could be complete around the same time as the start of the Games. Political pressure would certainly make this become a reality. It could be a great "We're Back and even Better" statement to all the naysayers.

The revenue generated from such an event would also be significant. Obviously security would be ridiculous, but I suppose that comes with any event of this magnitude.


BBC SPORT | Other Sport | Olympics 2012 | NY Olympic bid strikes Mets deal

Wild Spectrum Wars

| No TrackBacks

Have you ever wondered why less than 3% of Americans own televisions that can receive high-definition broadcasts? The article below explains in painstaking details the corruption and fighting between broadcasters and cable networks. Ironically, it appears that the FCC was powerless against the bloodbath that victimized consumers.

The government is supposed to orchestrate an equitable method of ending the analog television signal without alienating
millions of consumers. I imagine that anyone who has witnessed a HDTV sports broadcast will recognized the difference between the analog and digital HDTV. The difficulty arises when implementation is dependent upon collaborative effort between government, broadcasters, and cable networks.

A very wild unpredictable outcome is to be expected.

Spectrum Wars (02/18/2005)

You can look, then touch

| No TrackBacks

Interesting ruling from Criminal Court Judge Judge Richard M. Weinber, which in essence made it legal to pat someone on the rump without their consent. I know what you're thinking, but before you call me a pervert, here me out.

According to the judge 'patting' is ok. He used the literal meaning as contained in the New Oxford English Dictionary.

Whether or not it's sensible, I'll let you be the judge of that.

Gothamist: Judge Says You Can Touch This!

Not clear what Mexican prez, Vincent Fox had in mind when he uttered, "Mexicans will do the job that not even blacks wanted to do." Fox was called to task by Jesse Jackson.

The reality is that I too have heard this point of view uttered by other people. Although, I must admit I have never heard it mentioned by another Mexican.
Obviously, it lumps African-Americans and Mexicans to the bottom of the food chain. So, it definitely wasn't very flattering to say the least.

What I have observed is that many Mexicans will undertake jobs that are usually considered blue-collar. For instance, carpentry, carpet laying, etc. Most are very skillful and especially keen on finishing the job quickly.

In general most immigrants take advantage of so-called labor intensive jobs that most people would rather avoid. I suppose that would make most Americans lazy? Clearly I do not have all the answers.


BBC NEWS | Fox meets US civil rights leader

Eerie parallel

| No TrackBacks

Economic downturn coupled with the dotcom bubble burst, have ushered in a new frontier within Silicon Valley. Below is an article which makes an interesting parallel between the once great 'iron-belt' city Detroit and Silicon Valley.

The New York Times | New Economy: Is Silicon Valley Similar to Detroit?

AIDS genocide debate

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks

The AIDS conspiracy debate will forever be a much contested topic. I still remember the Strecker Memorandum, published by Dr. Robert B. Strecker. Strecker's thesis was predicated on the idea that AIDS was engineered to reduce the world population. Arguably, it has become painfully clear that government is very capable of such a diabolical caper. You need not look any further than the Tuskegee Experiment for the sobering truth and support for the conspiracy theorist.

Nonetheless, I'm not totally convinced that AIDS can be cured with multi-vitamins as suggested by the advert.


BBC NEWS- Aids 'genocide' advert condemned

Evolution vs. Creationism

| No TrackBacks

The never ending debate has taken on epic proportions in the state of Kansas, as its school board struggles to change the definition of science in Kansas..

Because I consider myself to be a technologist, I have strong opinions on this topic. Feelings aside, I believe students should be permitted to use reasoning an critical thought to surmise a hypothesis. It is inappropriate for a school board to enforce their opionions on impressionable students. Who elected these people judge and jury? Please help me understand the morality behind this hard-line stance.

Morever, I always thought church and state were to forever remain separate for the good of humankind. Actually this story could set an ugly precedent, if the school board is permitted to go forward without being checked.

No this isn't Alice in Wonderland, and it certainly isn't the type of fairytale that I wish to see played out in my lifetime.

Blogcritics.org: Kansas school board endlessly debates evolution.

Grokster vs. MGM

| No TrackBacks

Although this news is a bit dated, I'm sure that it's no less important.
If you're not already aware, the Supreme Court passed down a landmark decision that drastically alters the DRM discussion.
MGM and other members of the MPAA took a mighty blow as a result of the high court decision.

Save the Betamax.

As I discussed in the Free Culture essay, the fight against DRM legislation is much bigger than music downloads.
For instance, what if each time you loaded a CD-R into your Hewlett-Packard CD-Writer, that the hardware had the intelligence to discern whether or not the media violated copyright? If it was discovered that your media violated copyright, the writer would not only fail to duplicate the CD, but it would also phone the legal authorities.

Just imagine the chaos this would create for end consumers and the HP engineers. No longer would these engineers be able to use their human capital to develop innovative technologies. Instead, they would be forced to worry about policing customers who could potentially infringe upon copyrighted material. I'm clear that it's better to let the customers dictate which direction technology will grow, rather than allowing litigation to make this determination.

I'm glad the Supreme Court made the right decision. There is a chance that the MPAA could petition Congress to challenge the ruling; however, this would seem unlikely.

Stay tuned..

Social Security myth

| No TrackBacks

Actually, I had not spent too much time thinking about our struggling federal program, Social Security. Sadly, I really do not believe it will be available to help me, once I reach eligibility. There are very aggressive investment programs that are available for my generation, that would protect me from the pending collapse of this federal program.

Recently President Bush passed a bill that supposedly helps African-Americans. Our president claims that as a group African-Americans typically do not live as long as their Caucasion counterparts. While his point is debateable, we do know that regardless of ethnic origin, Americans are generally living much longer than forty years ago. So, if this federal program is to really help anyone, creative financing of Social Security may not be the answer.

William E. Spriggs, a senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute wrote a very interesting article.

Busting the Social Security Myths

Economic Policy

| No TrackBacks

I watched a very intriguing telecast yesterday, which addressed the dire financial straits of the city of Detroit.
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick assembled a team of policy makers and economicists to put a strategy in place that would halt the city decay. Although, I was too young to remember the details behind NYC, and its bankruptcy filing, I do know that Albany bailed out the city. I imagine that the aftermath was not very pretty at all. Well, Detroit is speeding down the same path. At last report there is a shortfall of $75M in state funding, as the state of MI. is forced to deal with its own problems. I believe the city has budget deficit of $225M. Much of the conversation has been structured around lowering the property taxes, but this is only the tip of the iceburg. There are more people leaving the city than those moving to the city. Detroit has a difficult time retaining its human capital. I discussed this phenomenom in an earlier posting.

There wll be some tough choices made in the next few weeks. Certainly, there will be many casualties.
Economist David Osborne gave some very compelling arguments in favor of 're-inventing' local government, and other very interesting solutions. He also stated that Detroit must discover its value proposition. Specifically, the very dated notion that Detroit can survive on its yesteryear automotive industry. All of that industry moved out of the downtown area long ago.

Most of the other 'rust-belt' cities have figured out how to 're-invent' themselves. A prime example is Indianapolis, it too predicated its livelihood on a manufacturing economy. When it became apparent that the manufacturing market was moving offshore, Indy decided to become the amateur sports capital of the world. It seems to be working for them. What will become of Detroit?

It will definitely be rough seas for the forseable future, and the ship is already taking on water. I've got my life raft and vest stowed and within arms reach.

Some people take great pride in the belief that our country has made substantial improvements, in granting access to women and minorities, in the fields of science and engineering. We usually get a stark reminder in the form of an inappropriate comment or some weird revelation from an educational institution.

Recently, the former occured on the campus of Harvard University. Unfortunately, it serves as a clear reminder that we still have a long way to go. Achieving true equity for women and minorities in technical fields will take many generations. Today I had the occasion to read another indictment on the often under-represented group. The culprit was none other than Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard U. president.

The author of the article,
Larry's Taste complained about some the statements that Larry made during an equity symposium. After reading the aforementioned article, I believe the author focused on the wrong aspects of the talk. No doubt, there is much to dispute in Summers's talk, but instead it would have been better to challenge Summers to go out and hire the appropriate research team to validate his claims. Essentially, bring in the research team to find answers to his own questions. The transcript is rife with supposition and incongruent analogies. For instance, Summers wishes to have someone 'marshal' evidence to refute the idea that women generally opt to raise families and would rather not labor through an eighty-hour work week. He also challenged the audience to go out and measure the long-term success of marginal the candidates who were admitted under a quota preference. Although the talk is quite lengthy, it's really a worthwhile read.

See Harvard President's speech

Unfortunately, the talk smells very much like the infamous
Bell Curve text, co-authored by Charles Murray. Ironically, he too was a Harvard graduate. I only read half of this book, which was written nearly a decade ago. I was nauseated half-way through the text, hopefully you can stomach Summers dialogue.

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy Musings

| No TrackBacks

In case some of you were unaware, a new bill has passed to supposedly assist the struggling middle-class citizen. More often than not these 'help' programs are really clandestine efforts to enforce financial servitude.

This article describes some of the prospects of the new bill. Interersting read.
Help Tech – Jail the Poor

Condi Rice in 2008 ?

| No TrackBacks

Far fetched maybe not. It seems that after Rice was selected to replace Powell as Secretary of State, the Republicans could possibly select her run for Prez or VP.
If they pull it off, it could spell trouble for the Democratic Party.

The Democrats have come to expect votes from the black community, but recently have suffered demoralizing defeats in national elections. This occured despite record numbers of black voters going to polls to vote in major urban centers. So, what is the last stronghold which will sustain the Democrats ? Your guess is as good as mine.

So, one might ask. What would occur if the right-wingers offered up Condi for a bid to the Presidential seat? Understand, that there will be some who will vote for her simply because we have never witnessed a black female running for president or VP. Perhaps the Democrats could counter with Carol Moseley Brown and Barack Obama? I'd love to see that ticket.

Anyway, The article below offers one possible outcome.
Demise of Democratic Party


Publius

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks

Yeah, I know its late, but I'm sure of you may find this useful. Better late than never.
Someone shared this information and I figured that I would do the same.
Here is a good non-partisan voter information assistant. Good luck today.

African Town

| 6 Comments | No TrackBacks

There has been much talk of late regarding a proposal that would empower the racial majority of Detroit.
For those that are not familiar with the Southeast Michigan city, among its many problems, it is perhaps the most racially polarized metropolitan area in the country.

The African-Town proposal offers a means to further develop black-owned businesses and promote a creative entrepreneural zeal equivalent to that of other ethnic groups (ie Arabic, Mexican, and Greek) in downtown Detroit area. At issue, is that funding would be garnered from publicly available funds. Very controversial indeed.

Many groups are outraged, and have sought to block the legislation. The article below expounds on the case.

Afro-Netizenâ„¢. Substance.â„¢: Detroit council drops blacks-only loans in African Town plan

Prez Debate

| 7 Comments | No TrackBacks

You can probably imagine that I've been pre-occupied with Yankee baseball, but I have done my civic duty and reviewed the debates. Actually, I watched the first debate (Miami) in its entirety. You can grab the audio torrents here.

The underlying theme of the first Kerry vs. Bush confrontation was the war on Iraq. Bush repeatedly accused Kerry of waffling on the issues. He accused Kerry of changing his position in support of the war effort. Bush claims that Iraq crisis called for swift and concise action, not unilateral allied support.

Kerry argued that the real enemy was not Iraq, but Osama Bin Laden. The film Fahrenheit 911, explains why Bin Laden is still at large.

Prison Labor

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks

There has been much talk about jobs leaving US shores for cheap labor overseas. It appears that corporations are outsourcing business to the incarcerated. Prisoners are now being given the opportunity to run Call Centers. So instead of the help desk being run by someone in Bangledesh, you'll have someone at LA County picking up the call.

This articlediscusses many advantages (ie English Speaking, Job Stability, etc.).

Be aware that very rural towns use the inmate population as a means to boost their census reports. Hence, a town the size of Fishkill, NY would be able to appropriate enough funding to rebuild it roads or something similar.
When I get my hands on the WSJ article that I read that discusses this issue, I'll share it with you.

Save Betamax

| No TrackBacks

Yes, I know that the Sony Betamax died a long terrible death back in 1983. However, it appears that some of our more popular electronic nuances (ie VCR, CD & DVD Burners, iPOD and TiVo) are being threatened by a sneaky bill, the INDUCE act, which is on the Senate floor.

PlasticBoy » Save Betamax - National Call-In Day September 14

Cosby's Musings on Black Folks

| 7 Comments | No TrackBacks

Yeah, I know I'm a couple of months late, but I really hadn't thought much about this issue. You may recall that I made a pact to stay away from political issues. Especially those that seem to strike a nerve in our community. Cosby has been a public icon for many years. Even his bizarre Fat Albert characters made a resurgence in the Hip-Hop culture, as they were found on more than a few t-shirts in the hood. Perhaps he his best known for his work on the 'Cosby Show' and 'Different World'.


Skillful Manipulation

| 10 Comments | No TrackBacks

I typically tread lightly on political subjects, as I know that many people are very emotional about such subjects. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to drop a few bytes on the subject.

By now, most everyone has heard about the beheading of the American. I didn't watch it on TV, nor did I google for the info online. Curiously, the video footage leaked only days after the Iraqui POW debacle was fed to the masses.

Several questions come to mind regarding the beheading incident. Please be advised that I don't know the story in its entirety, so some of my questions may seem abit odd.

1) Why was he there ?
2) Who authorized his presence in an unstable region ?
3) What was he hoping to accomplish ?

I have found 'tell-lie-vision' to be a powerful tool during times of war and economic strife. Yes, the beheading was a barbaric act. However, in my humble opinion, there are probably many more troublesome matters ailing this nation.

For instance:
1) Gas prices are $2.00 /gal. Yeah, even in places like rural places like Thomasville, GA. Heck, you could always count on cheap gas in GA.
2) Will the war on terror ever end ?
3) Where are those weapons of mass destruction ?
4) Will the Nets ever win an NBA title ?

Disclaimer - #4 was a joke


Free Money

| 2 Comments

Some of you may have been able to take advantage of the music settlement lawsuit. It was determined that the major record labels were in collusion to price fix retail music CDs. So, on the strength of many fileswapping services, Napster, Gnutella, Morpheus, Kazaa, etc, and many annoyed consumers, a class action lawsuit was filed. If you're intersted, read the article.

Got my check for $13.86, I look at it as a moral victory. I will continue to grab and share Ogg and MP3 files. The RIAA should be more interested in reducing the cost of shrink wrapped music, lest they will continue to hear the bellyaching of major music labels.

A typical 80min CDR cost roughly 0.25, but if you buy shrink wrapped music CDs, you'll pay anywhere from 13-19 bucks. Talk about high margins. This is explains why Internet fileswapping services are so popular. The reality is that the music artist makes little if any money from the CDs that are sold in stores. Most artist make cash by doing tours. The record labels stand to profit the most by selling music CDs at a premium.

Hell, I only purchase underground mixed-tapes and CDs. In general, I have found that I may only like two or three cuts on an album anyway. Most record stores that I frequent, will allow you to listen to selections before you purchase.

Why did it take the music industry so long to figure out how make loot from the Internet music model ?

Mad props to founders of Napster for giving back the power to the consumers and developing a Killer App.

Monthly Archives

Pages

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 4.25

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Politics category.

Podcasting is the previous category.

Rants is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.