Sunday, July 30, 2006

more from the middle east...

A photostory and article from, a website for "Information from Occupied Iraq," calls to question the weapons used by Israel's military forces and also a first-person narrative from a Lebanese journalist coping with the casualities and life in these war-torn times.

I'd post more of the photos but they're too gruesome. The picture of the three-year-old boy above was one of the few where a victim's face was actually viewable. If you think you can handle viewing these atrocities, then click here.

Friday, July 28, 2006

the children are the future...

OK, so these images have been running rampant on the web and in the blogosphere for the last few days but in case you missed it...

Aww, isn't that sweet? Cute little Israeli girls writing "From Israel, with love" on tank shells...

I wonder, at what age do they get to fire rounds into Lebanese buildings?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This Show is the News!

Stephen Colbert's brilliant way with politicians has attracted mainstream media attention again. This time it's because Colbert got Congressman Robert Wexler to say, among other foolish things, "I enjoy cocaine because it's a fun thing to do," during his appearance on The Colbert Report last week. In response to Good Morning America and Today Show pieces on the appearance, The Colbert Report put together a hilarious segment that begs the serious question--What is more fake, the news or the funnies? You can watch it here.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

like oil and water

In his MySpace blog (reprinted on Davey D's forum), Phonte of Little Brother details his experience performing at a southern hip hop festival alongside pop-rap stars Three Six Mafia, Rick Ross, Dem Franchize Boyz, and others. Now for those not familiar with Little Brother, they're, well, in Phonte's words: "three college educated niggas who ain't trappin and/or reppin one particular hood or housing project = The Cosby Show in the eyes of most niggas....real talk."

While most of the other artists at this event make repetitive, catchy, pop-rap that follows the current standard of crunk, Little Brother make conscious hip hop. In fact, their concept album "The Minstrel Show" was a spoof on black artists being forced to put on a show. Their music surely clashed with the collar-poppin, white-tee wearing fans. But did they get booed off stage? Nope, not even that. What Phonte feels was much worse...complete silence.

"I really wonder sometimes if my music is that 'intelligent' or are niggas just that dumb?"

Read more as he analyzes and breaks down today's rap fan.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

life in wartime

Laila El-Haddad calls her blog "Raising Yousuf: a diary of a mother under occupation." She's Palestinian and lives in Gaza. She's lately been to the US and has appeared on NPR. Her blog puts a face on the events we've grown used to reading about and watching on TV, including the events unfolding in Lebanon right now. It also shows in the everyday details of family life, the impossible reality of the politics of the Middle East, the pure whackness of basing anything on the unapologetic desire to see whole other nations, cultures, people simply go away and never come back. That's the path that always ends in border security walls, ethnic cleansing and final solutions, and that makes routine family life-- ie, life-- impossible.

Here's an excerpt:

Things are bad in Gaza. Very bad. Not to mention of course in Lebanon, where Yassine's family lives, in the Wavel refugee camp in Baalbeck, a Hezbollah stronghold.

They, of course, along with all of Lebanon, are blockaded by an air and sea, so Yassine has sort of become a double-refugee now: he can go back neither to Palestine, nor Lebanon. It brings back very bad memories for him, having grown up during the civil war there, and narrowly escaping mass slaughter at the hands of Syrian-backed, Israeli-advised, Phalangists in the Tel Zaatar camp, where his family originally lived, and where his uncle went missing.

Of course, what's happening in Lebanon provides some uncertain relief for Gaza residents, where 82 Palestinians have been killed in the past 12 days, 22 of them children.

I was finally able to reach my Aunt who is doing an amazing job updating her blog under such duress, and who recently published an op-ed about the situation in the Boston Globe. She was dazed and anxious, but had her wits about her. They had not gotten electricity in 24 hours when I spoke to her; people have been standing in long lines to purchase candles.

And of course, Rafh is still closed; 8 people have died waiting to get home. Egypt, following Israeli orders, is refusing to open the gates.

The nights are turning into days, and days into nights, as the sonic booming shocks them awake, shattering windows and terrorizing the population. The stress is taking its toll, but to quote my Aunt, though they are not living with ease, they are living with resolve.

Medicines are also running dangerously low. And to add to the misery, Israeli tanks have blockaded northern Gaza-- where my Aunt lives, and where our house is-- from southern Gaza-- where my 84 year old grandmother lives on her own.

I think of them every day. I still cringe when I see news helicopters; or fireworks; or thunder; Today we had a thunderstorm, and the thunder was so loud it scared Yousuf, who thought it was gunfire and shelling, as I tried to assure him he was safe. But I wondered, inside of myself, does safe have an address?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush the Groper

President Bush's trip to Europe to attend the G8 Summit has done nothing to improve the cowboy's image internationally. And thanks to the Internet (and Jon Stewart last night) we can all watch! During downtime at a G8 meeting he strolls over to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and gives her a neck massage. For anyone who has taken sexual harrassment training her reaction is an unqualified "I'm not comfortable with this." In non-PC speak her body language says "Get your fucking hands off me creep." You can watch the video and more at Crooks and Liars and Alternet.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Live from Iraq

While many rappers talk big about toting guns and shooting people in the streets, they'd probably piss themselves if they had to go to war. Not these guys, they've already lived it. Here's a video clip about a group of marines who wrote and recorded "Live from Iraq" in their barracks in the midst of battle in Iraq.

Also, check for "Voices from the Frontline", another collection of material from artists stationed in Iraq.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

LIFEbeat update

The partly homophobe reggae AIDS-awareness concert to be held in New York next week and blogged about here (below) and elsewhere has been canceled. LIFEbeat, the concert sponsor, has conceded to criticism that anti-gay Beenie Man and TOK were perhaps inappropriate messengers for the cause but does so in an embittered, accusatory statement, harshing the bloggers who opposed the homophobe performers by painting the international group of writers and activists as a select group of potentially violent freaks. Nice.

To its credit, LIFEbeat included in its statement this olive branch: "Dialogue is important and LIFEbeat’s staff and board respect the opinions of those who came forward to make their feelings known. We have always and will continue to support the GLBT community." Okay. Alright. Maybe we've all learned something.

beenie boy!

This here Beenie Man reggae artist is part of the noble crowd of singers dedicating their time and talents to the LIFEbeat concert against AIDS in New York on July 18. Problem is he writes the occasional confusing lyric, like the one where he suggests lynching lesbians. In "Han Up Deh" he sings: "Hang chi chi gal wid a long piece of rope," the term "chi chi" being jamaican slang for gay folk. Another artist on the LIFEbeat bill TOK has the same sort of problem. In "Chi Chi Man" the group encourages burning gay men, which beside being grotesque and medieval is not so good if the point of the benefit concert is to raise awareness about AIDS!

LIFEbeat executive director John Canelli told BET's Keith Boykin Monday morning that his organization knew that Beenie Man and TOK were homophobic artists but decided to do the concert anyway. "We didn't make the decision blindly and we knew there would be controversy."

A coalition of Black lesbian and gay bloggers have launched a worldwide online campaign to cancel performances at the benefit by Beenie and TOK. Jasmyne Cannick is one of them, as are Donald Agarrat, Clay Cane, Terrance Heath, Frank Roberts, Pam Spaulding and Bernard Tarver.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

you can't walk into a 7/11 unless you have a slight indian accent

I heard about this last week but couldn't find much. Thanks YouTube for this incredible display of racism from ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Joe Biden...

"In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7/11 [a chain store] or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking".

HAHA! Whew, that's good racism. I would keep slapping my knees but the vomit from my disgust interrupted my laughter. Oh, what's that Joe? We took you out of context?

Witness his lame attempt to offer his interpretation of his statement, sans stupid grin...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I'm Dave Chappelle, B*tch!

The lost episodes of Chappelle's Show premieres tomorrow on Comedy Central, but should fans support it? Chappelle himself calls it a "bully move" by Comedy Central to run episodes not intended for public consumption. And yes, they even rub it in:

"An announcer at the beginning introduces the hosts, cast members Donnell Rawlings and Charlie Murphy, before a live studio audience -- but not before intoning: "Dave Chappelle going once, Dave Chappelle going twice. ... (Bleep) it."

It's mean-spirited and, like the patter between Rawlings and Murphy that follows, not at all funny."

Click here to read the complete article.

As much as I'd like to support Dave, I don't think I can resist not watching the lost episodes.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Patriotism at its Best

In honor of Independence Day, this remix called “The Abuse of Power,” brilliantly mocks the Motion Picture Association of America's "You wouldn't steal a handbag..." anti-piracy campaign. If you have not seen the original MPAA campaign, check it out here.
Happy 4th!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

static bling

Leonardo Dicaprio just finished up his latest movie, The Blood Diamond, about a smuggler who gets caught up with a diamond syndicate in Africa. The movie aims to shed light on the way the diamond industry funds civil wars in Africa and leads to the slaughter of thousands of men, women, and children.

But wait! The movie could hurt diamond sales! What will the poor diamond industry ever do if people stop buying diamonds?

Yeah, right. Like that will ever happen. If Kanye's "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" didn't have an impact on his millions of fans or any of his celebrity friends, you think a movie starring Luke from Growing Pains is gonna have an affect?

you loot, we prosecute

The U.S. justice system is hard at work again, putting real criminals behind bars. Three people convicted of looting during Hurricane Katrina were sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Fifteen years? That's it? I can see if they were taking candy bars, but they were taking liquor, beer, and wine! According to our court system, that's a severe criminal offense like killing an 8-year-old, since that's what the father who burned his kid with scalding hot water got sentenced.