Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Stop! Negro time!

Slavery was abolished on January 31, 1865.
That was about, oh, 141 years ago to the day.

Coretta King died today.

And Black History Month starts tomorrow.

What does it all mean?
Something symbolic?
Random coincidence?

Perfect time for the PBS Black History Special?
Or the Slavery in New York exhibit?

Who knows? But try to do something black this month.
At the very least you can watch UPN.
"Girlfriends" is new this week.
UM HM!!!

Snitch of the Week: 1/22 - 1/28

(I got some dirt on you doggy!)

Oprah is what she is. A supreme god-like being who racially confuses millions of women each day across America.
She's got black women thinking they're white and white women thinking they're black. It's great.
Who else has white folk learning about Zora Neale Hurston and "Down Low brothers" and black folk watching Tom Cruise and John Travolta act like they like black people?

No one. Oprah's got the game on lock.

So when it was revealed that author James Frey, whose book was made famous by Oprah's Book Club, fabricated events in his life for his memoir, "A Million Little Pieces" everyone wondered what Oprah would do.

She made the initial bitch move of defending Frey by saying, "the underlying message of redemption still resonates with her." The world sighed.

Then something happened. Oprah flipped and dragged Frey back on her show to brand him with the Scarlet L.
Watch clips of it in all is ooey-gooey goodness here and here. Or download it here.

Watching this was particularly gratifying for me because I hate the modern memoir so very much.
Too often, they are whiny and self-pitying treacle with the sole purpose of out-sorrowing the last week's memoir.
Even Elie Weisel, who survived the Holocaust, yes the capital H Holocaust, had the modesty to publish his life story as a novel instead of a memoir.
Also, its fun to watch him squirm and be embarassed.

Although The Smoking Gun did the dirty work, Oprah Winfrey did the public soul-searching, as she realized she didn't like being lied to, and the eventual national shaming.

Oprah Winfrey, for your cathartic and public repudiation of lies and liars in this age of truthiness, subjective reality and penalty-free dishonesty, you are the Snitch of the Week.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Nelly for President?

Sometimes it's easy to see the appeal of Communism, until you remember the fates of the governments who actually tried it.

The appeal in NY.
  • In Manhattan, real wages - earnings adjusted for inflation - rose 5.4 percent between the first quarters of 2002 and 2005.
  • But in the rest of the city, those wages fell at least 2.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • In terms of wages, Manhattan families are doing better on average than those in the rest of the nation, while families in the four other boroughs are doing worse.
  • From 1996 to 2005, the real wages of Manhattan workers grew almost 40 percent, and grew 2.5 percent in Queens and Staten Island. They were flat in the Bronx and fell 1 percent in Brooklyn.
  • The number of families in Manhattan earning more than $200,000 a year rose almost 20 percent from 2002 to 2004 alone, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And nationally

  • In 2003 the top 1 percent of households owned 57.5 percent of corporate wealth, up from 53.4 percent the year before, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the latest income tax data.
To quote the modern urban philosopher Nelly,

"Now I'm knockin like Jehovah - let me in now, let me in now.
Bill Gates, Donald Trump let me in now."

And now he owns an NBA team.

Can we cut another brother in?

Osama's Tape: Part II

(Oprah's book club ain't got shit on Bin Laden)

It seems Osama's mixtape has had a bit more success than another mixtape released around the same time.

Cam's attack on Jay-Z, a pre-emptive strike apparently inspired by Bush's wildly successful shock-and-awe campaign in Iraq, has sent mild ripples throughout the rap world and Jay-Z recognized it as the sad call for attention that it is.
When you talk about someone's girlfriend and they don't even respond, you know your song is garbage.

Instead Jay is focused on getting vanquished foe (when you sign your old opponent to a record deal, it's clear that you won,) Nas' career back on track now that he signed him to Def Jam.
Nas, please stop the pseudo-intellectual Islamo-Christian prophet shit / Kelis love raps of "Street's Disciple" and spit that grimy Queensbridge shit again. Thank you.

Maybe it's because I'm becoming an old man but I never had an interest in seeing this Jay/Cam "battle" take place.

After years of hate, Jay-Z won me over quite thoroughly with his post-career freestyles, remixes and "The Black Album."
Despite jacking lots of peoples verses, Jay-Z has arguably had the best career of any rapper and no one other than 14-year olds Harlem-shaking on 125th would think for a second that Cam'ron has shit to say to Jay.

Meanwhile the book Osama mentioned on his latest tape, Rogue State, 3rd Edition : A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, moved from its 209,000th position to #18 on Amazon.com as of my last check-in.

The dude's got the Internet going nuts

And as always Memphis Bleek is still a bitch.

Friday, January 27, 2006

High-Tech Racism

= ?

Now software hates black people

I meant to put this up when it came out about three weeks ago, but I forgot.

Then I was reminded of it when I read an article about customer recommendations and took the opportunity to pass on the knowledge since I hate Wal-Mart so dearly.

It turns out that Wal-Mart's customer recommendation program suggested the "Planet of the Apes" to those who looked at DVD's of African-American icons such as MLK, Jack Johnson and Tina Turner.

And people wonder why Wal-Mart has an image problem.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Snitch of the Week: 1/15 - 1/21 (This one's bad)

Despite all the paranoia about the scope and amount of information Google collects about its users, it turns out they were the only search engine that didn't rat out their users to the Bush administration's vague request for porn search records.

The government recently subpoenaed Yahoo!, (who has a long record of selling out to governments) AOL, MSN and Google for its porn related search records in order to see what access children have to pornography in accordance with the Child Online Protection Act.

Too many people assume that the Internet is anonymous and have no idea how traceable they are and what an IP address is. Any site you visit is recorded by your Internet service Provider and anything you search is recorded by whatever search engine you use.

If you're not convinced, go ahead and freak yourself out by clicking on this.

This isn't really about children looking at pornography. It's an attempt to garner support around seemingly noble causes.
Today Johnny Q. Redstate says, "Yes. Why shouldn't we help the government stop my little Timmy from looking at porn on ye old interwebs?" and tomorrow it's "Well I guess anyone who does a web search on terrorism should be tortured..."

Maybe I skipped a few steps of logic in between, but you get the general idea.
Between the NSA email taps and phone surveillance, it's clear that the government wants to know what you're doing.

The search records battle isn't over yet and it's possible that Google could lose in court but at least it was nice knowing that in principle Google tried to delay 1984 just a little bit.

Maybe more people will think twice before they hit enter on that "midget monkey bondage porn" search they were curious about.

MSN, Yahoo! and AOL, for your bitch-ass collapsing in the face of some government pressure, you are the Snitch of the Week.

Snitch of the Week: 1/8 - 1/14

(My kinda bird...)

Damn homie... The streets are watching for real.

There are lot of ways shitty ways to find out about affairs and unfaithful lovers, but having your parrot squawk out the name of your girlfriend's side piece must be rough.

A British computer programmer in London found out "the one he trusted was spread like mustard" when his parrot kept saying "I love you Gary" until the girl confessed the truth. Her boyfriend's name sure as hell wasn't Gary.

However the parrot wouldn't stop declaring his love for Gary even after he broke up with her and eventually the owner had to give the parrot away.

Making sure he confirmed all stereotypes about computer programmers, he was more broken up about losing the bird than the girl.

"I still can't believe he's gone. I know I'll get over Suzy, but I don't think I'll ever get over Ziggy."

Ah, computer nerds.

African grey parrot, for your unique brand of interspecies snitching, you are the Snitch of the Week.
If you need a home, holla at me.

Snitch of the Week: 1/1 - 1/7

Where would "Snitch of the Week" be without crooked ass white men?

Richard Causey
, the former Enron accountant and Jack Abramoff, slimeball lobbyist extraordinaire, both turned state's witness after the realizing they would rather rat out their friends than do their maximum bid.

Causey's sentence gets dropped from 7 years to 5, if he helps send Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling away on that long-term executive vacation the government wants.

Jack Abramoff (who really wore a goddamn trenchcoat and fedora to court) has a more complicated case, as prosecutors decide how far his tentacles stretch across Washington and how much they want to prosecute. Besides, he a lobbyist, he's supposed to be shady.

And despite all of the inherent shadiness between these two, they are going to end up netting a lot more people that are even shadier than them. That's a lot of shady.

So Richard Causey and Jack Abramoff, for your fear of prison and high supply of prosecutable friends, you are the Snitch(es) of the Week.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Damn Kristof! Be easy!

Nicholas Kristof is the gulliest as well as the most depressing columnist the NY Times has.
The man travels to places that make your neighborhood meth lab look like a Pixar movie.

If you think you had a decent day or are a good person, read one of his tales of third world anomie and then realize what a shitty person you are for buying anything other than bushels of wheat for starving African villages.


Op-Ed Columnist

TimesSelect In India, One Woman's Stand Says 'Enough'

Published: January 15, 2006


Skip to next paragraph
Naka Nathaniel/NYTimes.com

Usha Narayane is a reminder of the difference that education makes.

The central moral challenge we will face in this century will be to address gender inequality in the developing world. Here in India, for example, among children ages 1 to 5, girls are 50 percent more likely to die than boys. That means that every four minutes, a little girl here is discriminated against to death.

One reason for such injustice is that many women docilely accept it - even enforce it. But that may be changing, as I found in a slum here in the central Indian city of Nagpur.

For more than 15 years, the mud alleys of the slum were ruled by a local thug named Akku Yadav. A higher-caste man, he killed, raped and robbed in this community of Dalits - those at the bottom of the caste ladder - and the police paid no attention. One woman, according to people here, went to the police station to report that she had been gang-raped by Akku Yadav and his goons, and the police raped her.

Neighbors tell how Akku Yadav forced a man to dance naked in front of his teenage daughter. They say that he chopped one woman into pieces in front of her daughter, and that another woman burned herself to death after he and his men gang-raped her.

There was only one family that Akku Yadav's gang didn't torment - that of Madhukar and Alka Narayane - because from this squalor they sent all five of their children through college. In a neighborhood where many are illiterate and no one had ever gone to college, that was a heroic achievement, and it made gangsters wary about preying on them.

A daughter, Usha Narayane, now 27, studied hotel management and seemed destined to become a hotel manager. But one day in 2004 while she was on vacation back in the slum, Akku Yadav attacked the next-door neighbors. The gang warned Usha not to go to the police - and that's when she went to the police.

Akku Yadav returned with 40 men and surrounded the Narayane shack. He waved a bottle of acid and threatened to disfigure Usha's face, and to rape and kill her. She barricaded the door, shouted insults at him and telephoned the police, who didn't immediately come.

Finally, Usha turned on the gas, grabbed a match and threatened to blow up everyone if the gang broke into the house. The gangsters backed off.

The neighbors, seeing somebody finally stand up to Akku Yadav, gathered in the street. Soon a mob burned down Akku Yadav's house, and he turned himself over to the police for protection.

A bail hearing for him was set for Aug. 13, 2004, and word spread through the slum that he would be released. Hundreds of women marched from the slum to the courthouse. When Akku Yadav showed up, he spotted a woman he had raped and shouted that he would rape her again. She began beating him with her slipper.

Other women pulled out chili powder from their clothes and threw it in the faces of Akku Yadav and the police. As the police fled, scores of women pulled out knives and apparently took turns stabbing Akku Yadav and cutting off his penis. He ended up as mincemeat, and the courtroom walls are still spattered with blood.

The police arrested a handful of women, including Usha, for the murder, but she conveniently could prove that she was not at the courtroom that day. And then the hundreds of women in the slum jointly declared that they had all joined in the killing, on the theory that if they all claimed responsibility, no single person could be punished.

"We all did it," affirms Rajashri Rangdale, a young mother. "We all take responsibility for what happened."

"I'm proud of what we did," agrees Jija More, a housewife. "We were all involved."

As for Usha, she is out on bail, but the police harass her and her career as a hotel manager seems over. She is sure that other members of Akku Yadav's gang will try to seek revenge by raping and killing her. But, undaunted, she is beginning a new life as a social activist, and she is now helping the slum dwellers make foods and clothing that they can sell together to raise their incomes.

I don't want to condone a lynching. But in a land where police are utterly corrupt, and where so much misery arises from people passively accepting their lot, I'm proud to know Usha Narayane. She is a reminder of the difference that education makes, and I hope that she is a vision of the new Indian woman.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Would you move your house for Verizon?

I've been getting shitty wireless signal lately so I call Verizon to let them know what's hood.

Yesterday, they finally admit to me that their router/modem is buttcheeks and is known for giving off poor wireless signal.

OK, so finally my Internet Service Provider admits that the hardware they use to provide service to the Internet doesn't provide service to the Internet.

What a business model.

So after some more craptacular problems last night, I call back to do the "I'm canceling service of you don't fix this" dance and I get Raghbib, who must have been the greatest tech support drone in existence.

He asked me if the person who told me the router wasn't good, "worked for Verizon" and if I would be willing to "move my microwave or my house" for better service as a real ass question.


The moral of this sad tale is to avoid Verizon if you're going to be wirelessly interwebbing more than 3 inches away from your router.

Verizon's download speeds currently max out at 3 Mbps, opposed to the 10/15 Mbps download speeds cable companies tend to offer.

That's a 45 minute movie download compared to a 10 minute one.

Or a shattered router compared to a working one.


New Bullshit Alert

I've been complaining about slow ass American Internet speeds and expensive prices for a while and now the NY Times is riding with me.
In the U.S. you basically have 6-15 Mbps speeds for about $50 a month.
In Japan and Europe you're getting 25 - 100 Mbps speeds for $25 a month over more reliable lines.

Rather than increasing the download speeds that are available to residential customers, Verizon and other ISP's want to charge major Internet companies such as EBay, Google and Microsoft for special bandwidth allocation for their video services.

Nothing like business stagnation and two-tiered systems.

As much as I hate dial-up, it did allow for a wide range of carriers.
Now you're lucky if you have two choices for broadband in your area.

True broadband speeds are good for more than porn and music pirating. America's slow move to broadband keeps them behind other industrial nations in almost every realm.

A lot of people think, "Why do I need the Internet to be that fast?"
But it isn't so much as what you can use the speed for, as much as it is about what other people can develop once the speed constraints are removed.

But circles seem to be the popular shape in America right now.

That's all the techno-bitching for now.

Unpredictable. Really?

(Take a guess what he sings about)

Considering the fact that the title of Jamie Foxx's superbly mediocre album is "Unpredictable," I won't make any snarky comments about the predictability or obviousness of the music, for the sake of criticism.

Although, this is a modern R & B album filled with piddling bullshit lyrics about sex, sex analogies and sex locations, so that makes it just about impossible to review the damn thing.

Instead, I will deny Mr. Foxx his 5th amendment rights and have him incriminate himself.

I present to you, actual lyrics!
  • Track 8) Three Letter Word
    As if chanting "Sex" every other beat wasn't enough, try this:

    "Sex can make you crazy, sex can make a baby
    Some call it bad, some call it good.
    Some do it boogee, some do it hood."

    Are you fucking serious? Hood sex?
There is more
  • Track 10) VIP
    "Everyone is my party is VIP
    Shot Patron for free
    Everyone in my party is VIP
    We gon' sip Champagne for free"
  • Track 13) U Still Got It

    Naturally, the soon to be Kenny G of rap, Common, has to be the guest rapper on a track about loving your girl after she is pregnant.

    "Beauty is a state of mind
    ... you're my queen and supreme love."
And finally
  • Track 16) Wish You Were Here

    Full of typewriter sounds to let us know he is writing a letter, we get lyrics like

    "The cars keep you moving, the plans keep you high."
    "Sometimes, I wonder why you couldn't be here"

    I had this talk with my little cousin when his goldfish died.
I'm sorry, but after 15 tracks of R&B parroting, I am indeed hating on a song about a deceased parent. Besides, his Oscar speech about his mother was about 43 times more emotional and real. Besides who really wants that as track 16 on their iPod?

Throw in a prerequisite sped-up Kanye chipmunk soul beat, a Ray Charles sample of "It gone do what it do" and some R.Kelly inspired shit about "my body calling" throughout the album (more on R.Kelly destroying R&B later) and you have the Jamie Foxx's second debut album (the first debut went so far under the radar, submarines missed it.)

At least Jamie is keeping things in perspective.

"Man, right now we're trying to choose another single and we can't decide. We've been arguing about it," he laughed. "It's a great feeling to have that type of argument. We were in the hotel arguing about which song was the hottest. And that's a good feeling, knowing they're all hot. Usually when actors or actresses try to come into the music business, usually it's corny. I'm not like that."

Or not.

Special Market iPods

From DallasPenn's blog,

The Haitian iPod


The Haitian iPod video

Too damn funny.

Don't worry, it's OK, some of my best friends are Haitian, or at least everyone at my gym is.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Osama!!! New shit!!!

Back Like Cooked Anthrax: Volume 1!

Not to be outdone by Cam'ron's new diss track about Jay-Z currently floating around on the mixtape scene and the Interwebs, Osama Bin Laden recently dropped his newest tape although the focus was a little different from Killa Cam's. (Cam's pathetic attempt can be downloaded here.)

(Hot enough to stone?)

All of this fires up the old baseless conjecture machine, does this have anything to do with the reports of Osama's niece, Wafah Dafour trying to launch a pop music career in the U.S.?

Surely she realizes her uncle isn't helping her PR.

Once she grasps how this whole American music thing works expect a sextape with Paris Hilton and Lil Jon remix.

Regardless, the new Osama joint is killing it on Al-Jazeera right now.
Number 1 download I believe.
Should be on iTunes soon, so check back.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Top Ten Tech Thingies of 2005

In 2005 I became a full fledged tech-support center.

My tech dorkness supplanted the basic computer illiteracy that keeps AOL and Dell in business.
I was opening up desktops, speeding up computers, giving away free software and shilling for Firefox like it was Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

If you were my friend, and naked women selling penis pills kept popping up on your computer, then you have probably called me for help.
If you knew my father, then he probably brought me over your house to fix something.
If you were my cousin, you probably asked for my help, and then ignored it.

Here is what I thought deserved money or at least time in 2005.


10. Dell DJ Ditty / Mobi-Blu

I just think the MP3 player on the left is cool looking. Too bad it's sold at Wal-Mart.
The Dell Ditty is what the Apple Shuffle should have been. Only Apple can make people think that a screenless MP3 player is a new feature. The Dell player has FM radio, better battery life, built-in USB drive and a screen! Amazing.

9. Yahoo! Widget Engine

A free program from Yahoo! that provides will small applications that can perform various functions.
Many of the widgets are stupid and useless, but there are a handful of them that give you information more conveniently than Windows does.

8. uTorrent and Mininova

Who needs suprnova?
uTorrent and Mininova are respectively the best program and website for downloading, um, free open-source software?
Yea... that's what I use it to download.

Free software...

Please don't call the NSA.

7. Orb

After downloading and installing the program on your PC, you can stream music and video from your home computer to any computer (as long as both computers are connected to the high-speed Interwebs.) A great way or sharing shit on your computer with others, not to mention I got through many days of work by watching Six Feet Under episodes via Orb.

6. Motorola v3 - Razr

The features of the phone are shitty and the Motorola user interface is garbage, but I'll be damned if this phone isn't pretty.

Ending the trend of increasingly bricklike and ugly phones, the RAZR let people know it was OK to have a phone in your pocket and not look like you just took your extra-strength Viagra.

Motorola realized their faults and already have new models planned with improved features and a new user interface. As well as plently of other phones with dumb four letters abbreviations such as the PEBL, SLVR and the ROKR. Those are all real phones.

5. Apple Mac Mini

It still hasn't gotten an Intel chip in it yet, but regardless Apple's Mac Mini is one of the hottest little things from Apple in 2005.

By fitting a full computer in a package only a tad larger than the 24 Season 1 DVD, it makes your Dell desktop look like a Hummer.
Too sexy.

4. AJAX Web software.

More and more companies are creating products that are fully accessible from the website. With Internet connections getting faster and more common, these technologies will only increase in quality and frequency. Of course Google's GMail was of the first programs to use this technology and soon Yahoo! and Hotmail will copy the strategy for their email programs.

That means no software to download, and no computer to slow down with loads of unused programs and that's all that really matters.

The best I've seen are
  • Meebo (IM software replacement)
  • Yahoo! Launchcast (Internet radio, with personalized stations)
  • Rhapsody (Online music store, with 25 free song plays per month)
  • Pandora (Another personalized online radio thingy that needs improvement but is still interesting)
  • Google Reader (RSS reader, extra tech nerdy, but it's good if know what it is)

And there are plenty more.

3. Firefox 1.5

Web browsing wars are back like cooked crack, as Juelz Santana would say.
Since seemingly coming out of nowhere in 2004, Firefox has taken nearly 15% of the market away from the Internet Explorer monopoly that was pulling down 98% easy and forced Microsoft to sort of improve IE.

Besides allowing people to feel tech-savvy, it's safer, faster and easier to use. I've cleaned enough IE destroyed computers to know.

But its real claim to fame are its extensions that add on extra features to Firefox. Many are inane and useful and others are hard to surf the web without.

2. iPod Video
Creative Zen Vision:M

A good example of "If you build it, they will come."

People kept saying, no one wants portable video players (PVP) because there is no content and there is no content because don't want PVP's.
Well Apple laid down first, and now everyday a new company announces some new video download program. Portable Video will dominate 2006 as people figure out how to shrink video and carry it everywhere. We have Apple to thank.

Creative jumped on board with their Creative Zen Vision: M player, which improved video playtime and format support, added some FM and audio recording. We've yet to see what "legal" ways they have for getting video on this thing.

1. Google Earth

Google Earth is a free software program that provides a virtual globe with detailed images of most of the world. Continuing Google's trend of aggregating what is already available, (satellite imagery) wrapping it in a pretty package and making it free, Google Earth is as powerful of a tool as it is frightening. And the community around it is impressive.
As with any good product, controversies have arose, mainly about the security issues of Google Earth. Alarms of detailed imagery helping terrorists and warring nations have popped up from a different country each month. Google says the imagery is years old and was already available.
Google Earth, like file sharing and online privacy before it, calls attention to the fact that the Internet makes previously available information easier to collect and faster to find. Is that good or bad? Besides, anything that gets banned by a Korean government is probably a good thing.

New Tech Predictions for 2006.

5. High Definition Stuff

Things look better in HD and HD TV's will become cheaper and DVD's with HD will start being sold and will confuse the hell out of everyone.
Because there are two formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. I'm riding with Blu-Ray for now (imagine 100 GB on one disc.)
But while the companies behind these formats fight it out, people will be confused with incompatible discs and other nonsense.

HD will tread a lot of water this year and that's bad for everyone.

4. Microsoft Windows Vista

Always two years behind Apple, I think Microsoft will finally release Vista this year and sort of catch up to Mac OS X Tiger.

Although a lot of the features are eye candy and OS X copies, they will bring a level security and attractiveness to Windows machines that has been lacking.
Too bad you may need a new computer to run it.

3. Toshiba Gigabeat S Series.

This is number three because it will actually come out.
Portable video players will pick up in 2006.
I am not going to watch Lawrence of Arabia on a 2.4" screen but The Daily Show might do.
The iPod video is popular enough that video content will be easy to get, so now it's up to other companies to make players with better features.
Toshiba's entry (same size as the iPod Video) comes in the same sizes (30 and 60 GB) and is identically priced ($300 and $400) comes with a built-in FM Tuner (iPod's don't have this) works with Tivo (or this either) and has 6 hours of video battery life (iPods have 2.)
What more do you need?

Sony claims they are coming back this year, along with iRiver. It's getting interesting.

2. More discardable cellphone technologies.

In 2004, it was the cameraphone. They still suck
In 2005, it was the music phone. They still suck.
In 2006, it will be the videophone. They will suck.

Instead of jumping on a new trend each year, cell phone companies need to focus on creating phones that actually do what they need to. Phones don't need cameras unless they are 2 megapixels; super MP3 powers unless they are building in 4 GB microdrives, or shitty V-Cast ESPN clips until cellphone broadband works properly.

1. The $100 Laptop

Although this project is incredibly ambitiously and worthy of success and a few Noble prizes, I think it will encounter the sad realities of the third-world and the governments that serve as gateways to those countries.
$100 is still a lot and who says these will get to the people. What about Internet access?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Some ole MLK Jr. bullshit

(How you git dat watermelon so sweet? Mmm mmm!!!)

So besides the odd Hurricane Katrina and Rosa Park death, America has two times when they are supposed to vaguely acknowledge colored folk issues.

MLK Jr. Day and Black History Month.

Well today is MLK Jr. Day, so let's see what half-assed racial promises and observations have been made today.

First, we have a fun bit of revisionist history from Dubya, in which he passes on the nugget of knowledge that "Abraham Lincoln recognized that all men are created equal. Martin Luther King lived on that admonition to call our country to a higher calling, and today we celebrate the life of an American who called Americans to account when we didn't live up to our ideals."

But I remember something like...
"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

So they are kind of the same. Right?

Even public schools are teaching my brother about Abraham's political strategy in freeing the slaves.

But what can you expect from a man who only weeks ago said, ''As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself -- not here at the hospital, but in combat with a cedar. I eventually won. The cedar gave me a little scratch. As a matter of fact, the colonel asked if I needed first aid when she first saw me. I was able to avoid any major surgical operations here, but thanks for your compassion, colonel" to amputees from the Iraq and Afghan wars at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Secondly, we have Ray Nagin, who went from temporary hero to wacko nut job with his thesis-worthy observation that "God is mad at America" in light of the year-end hurricane bonanza.
According Ray Nagin, who recently received his doctorate in theology, God is mad about Iraq and Black America. So he drowned thousands of poor/black people and dispersed hundreds of thousands of people across the country, to end the war in Iraq? But apparently God likes Parliament because he wants New Orleans to be a chocolate city.

Why can't people just leave God alone or at least give him some credit.
Surely, he could concoct a stronger anti-war, pro-black plan than a hurricane and some flooding.
That is sooo Old Testament.

With his double degree in divination, Dr. Nagin (as he will be referred to from here forth) was able to have a posthumous convo with MLK in which MLK more or less told him "Niggas need to chill."

OK Dr. Nagin, please stop talking.

Look, all this is too damn divisive. If it's not too late, I think I found a way to celebrate MLK Day that we can all agree upon.

Hot Interracial Loving.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Congratulations, you voted for... what exactly?

It's time to stop showing pictures of happy people voting, with their newly colored thumbs in their respective third world countries.

Seriously, let's examine the practicality of the colored thumb voting strategy.

First of all, it's messy.
I get upset when a pen breaks in my pocket. It takes several minutes to reasonably clean things up and in the mean time it rubs off on everything.

Second of all, it's not safe.
In a country where voting may get you killed, do you want Purple Dye # 40 tattooed on your thumb?
I doubt really think so.

And third of all, it's pointless.
It's very symbolic and it makes for a nice story, but what has really been accomplished?
Voting is pretty much like getting a woman's phone number.
It gives you a boost for a little while, but you end up feeling stupid two months down the line when nothing happens.

As further evidence, I present this classless but true comic by ultra-liberal Ted Rall.

You can see why he was kicked off the NY Times cartoon page.

Future coups aside, congrats to Ellen Sirleaf and Michelle Bachelet on their victories in two of most male dominated continents in the world.

I gotcha back, but you best to watch your front.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Top Ten TV Shows of 2005

I no longer have shame in admitting that I watch a lot television.
I used to try to disguise it with caveats like, “Oh, it’s only the HBO shows.”
But there is no hiding it. I watch NBC shows, ABC shows, HBO shows, Showtime shows. Lots of shows.

Shit, the reason this list is so late is because I was watching television.

Unless it’s a CSI: Idaho, OC (or any of the rich white kids with problems shows) or Law and Order: Arson Clean-up Unit.

Plain and simple, TV is better than it has ever been. If you know where to look.
Without further ado, here is Start Snitching’s Top Ten TV shows of 2005.

10) Over There – Season 1 (FX)
Do Americans want to watch dramas about real problems?
Not when they are about Iraq. After a strong debut this show fizzled out in ratings and quality. A few episodes were incredible, some were good and others were just painfully average. Character development was uneven and the balance between the homefront and the battlefield was tilted a little too much toward the U.S. Nonetheless, flawed shows with solid characters and promise deserve a second season. Shit, even Joey got a second season. I guess we'll have to watch the news to see how this one ends.

9) Daily Show – Season 235 (Comedy Central)
Still relevant, still witty, and still funny. Jon Stewart remains a bad interviewer but that won't stop the Oscars from being interesting.
Not to mention, "This Week in God" cannot be beaten.

8) Extras – Season 1 (HBO)
Ricky Gervais knows sad-sack losers. Whether working class drones or pseudo-industry types he gets the noble path of failure like no other. And watching Hollywood folk skewer their public personas is always enjoyable. Especially while laugh/crying at Gervais’ delusional losers. Season 2 seems to be a go.

7) The Office (U.S.) – Season 2 (NBC)

The original U.K. “Office” is a classic amongst those who know. When I heard of a planned U.S. version I screamed from the roof.

“How can they capture that suicidal British humor, the depressing locale and the quirky characters? Why can’t stupid Americans just watch the British show?”
Season 1 came and I was underwhelmed. It was amusing, sure, but something was off. The boss wasn’t as tragicomic, and characters were miming the original plots and Scranton, PA was nowhere as sad as industrial England. Then something happened.
Maybe it was the $170 million total gross of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” but Carell came back for Season 2 refreshed and the show finally set out on its own path. Deadend jobs never seemed so fun.

6) Nip/Tuck – Season 3 (FX)

Make me beautiful.
After the poorly written, badly characterized nonsense that mostly was Season 2, Nip/Tuck embraced its soap opera roots, didn’t overuse the Carver plotline, made some characters less hateable and some others more so.
I don’t know if they created enough momentum for Season 4, but they got through Season 3 with only a few of their typical plot holes and plenty of great moments.

5) Everybody Hates Chris - Season 1 (UPN)
This show is the movie Spike Lee wished he could have made. Taking the tapestry of 1980’s Brooklyn, with all its racism, crime and poverty and filtering it through the comedic lens of Chris Rock’s struggling family, we may have the realest black show since, um, ever?
Having grown up in 1980’s and 90’s Brooklyn, I repeatedly remarked, “That's so true.” And this was during a UPN show folks.
Any show with Pam from “Martin” selling food stamps, 50 cents on the dollar, outside of a train station that gets higher ratings than “Friends” spin-off “Joey” is OK with me.

4) Rome – Season 1 (HBO)
More sandals and togas? Didn’t "Alexander" fail badly enough?
After a slow start HBO’s $100 million gamble paid off. With its intricate set, epic scope, great acting and intriguing characters Rome got the ancient political soap opera vibe it was going for. Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus buddy flick was the heart of the show and because of them Caesar’s stabbing on the Senate floor had more emotional heft than it ever did in history class. Thirteenth!!!

3) Sleeper Cell – Minseries, (Showtime)
Showtime is stepping up to the plate. Relevant edgy social drama? Check.
Minority lead character? Who is Muslim? Double check. I may still write a review of this show, but all you need to know about this show is Donnie Brasco on TV, except about terrorist groups and undercover agents in America. An unflinching look at “modern” Islam, its perpetual collision course with America and how both sides keep getting it wrong.

2) Six Feet Under – Season 5 (HBO)
This was the most difficult season of television I have ever watched. Alan Ball tortured his audience with the devolution of his entire cast. Whatever they worked for in seasons 1-4 was torn apart with glee. Coming off of an aimless fourth season, I couldn’t find much to be excited for, but it was clear early on, that they knew exactly where it was going as it broke each character down and eventually set them free.
I only hope I can watch dysfunctional white California liberals destroy their lives and redeem them with such beauty again in the near future. “Narm!”

1) The Shield – Season 4 (FX)
Glenn Close came, she saw and she conquered. I couldn’t understand what the unattractive woman from Fatal Attraction was doing on The Shield. But it worked. Following the Armenian money train disaster of Season 3, Vic Mackey and his fractured strike team faced their first season-long villain in Anthony Anderson as well as their first captain with a backbone. Some characters got lost in the shuffle and some plot threads disappeared, but no show was kinetic, engaging and raw as The Shield.


1) Boondocks
2) Curb Your Enthusiasm
3) My Name Is Earl
4) American Dad
5) The Colbert Report

Shows that will make this list soon, or so I hear…

1) Arrested Development
2) The Wire
3) Deadwood
4) Weeds
5) Lost

Here's to another year of wasted hours!