Tuesday, August 05, 2008

France accused in Rwanda genocide

From http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7542418.stm

Some 800,000 people died in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda

Rwanda has accused France of playing an active role in the genocide of 1994, in which about 800,000 people were killed.

A justice ministry report said France was aware of preparations for the genocide and helped train the ethnic Hutu militia perpetrators.

The report also accused French troops of direct involvement in the killings.

It named 33 senior French military and political figures that it said should be prosecuted. France has previously denied any such responsibility.

Among those named in the report were the late former president, Francois Mitterrand, and two former prime ministers, Dominique de Villepin and Edouard Balladur.

Also named was former Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

The French foreign ministry told the BBC it would only respond to the fresh allegations after reading the report, which was released on Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier this year France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner denied French responsibility in connection with the genocide, but said political errors had been made.

The Rwandan government has urged the relevant authorities to bring the accused French politicians and military officials to justice
Rwandan justice ministry

Some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by Hutu militias in just 100 days in 1994.

The report says France backed Rwanda’s Hutu government with political, military, diplomatic and logistical support.

It accuses France of training Hutu militias responsible for the slaughter, helping plan the genocide, and participating in the killings.

“French forces directly assassinated Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis… French forces committed several rapes on Tutsi survivors,” said a statement from the justice ministry cited by AFP news agency.

“Considering the seriousness of the alleged crimes, the Rwandan government has urged the relevant authorities to bring the accused French politicians and military officials to justice,” the statement said.

It further alleged that French forces did nothing to challenge checkpoints used by Hutu forces in the genocide.

“They clearly requested that the Interahamwes contine to man those checkpoints and kill Tutsis attempting to flee,” it said.

The BBC’s Geoffrey Mutagoma in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, says the commission spent nearly two years investigating France’s alleged role in the genocide.

It heard testimonies from genocide survivors, researchers, writers and reporters.

The 500-page document was presented to the Rwanda’s government last November, but was not made public until now.

Rwanda has repeatedly accused France of arming and training the Hutu militias that perpetrated the genocide, and of dragging its feet in co-operating with the investigations that followed.

France has maintained that its forces helped protect civilians during a UN-sanctioned mission in Rwanda at the time.

The two countries have had a frosty relationship since 2006 when a French judge implicated Rwandan President Paul Kagame in the downing in 1994 of then-President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane - an event widely seen as triggering the killings.

President Kagame has always denied the charge.

He says Mr Habyarimana, a Hutu, was killed by Hutu extremists who then blamed the incident on Tutsi rebels to provide the pretext for the genocide. 

Someone to be proud of.

I love this girl.

Posted by SPN on 08/05 at 01:53 PM
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Monday, August 04, 2008

I apologize if you’ve already seen this, but…

I felt that you needed to see it again.  If for no other reason, the reasons outlined in the video should be enough to bring our troops home where they belong.

Posted by SPN on 08/04 at 08:19 AM
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

I’m ashamed to say that this isn’t alarming anymore.


Posted by SPN on 07/27 at 12:20 PM
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is this 16 year old awesome or what?

American Story: From bad hair day to pay day
Bob Dotson introduces an ingenious teenage entrepreneur
By Bob Dotson
TODAYShow.com contributor
updated 10:29 a.m. MT, Mon., May. 26, 2008

Today’s American Story with Bob Dotson comes from Williamstown, N.J., where a teenager thinks she’s found the key to success. It’s not a question of being dealt a good hand, she says. It’s playing a bad hand well, over and over again.

I found Jasmine Lawrence watching her mom struggle to learn how to load a high speed-labeling machine. Shampoo bottles were spinning and sticking, their labels crooked. April Lawrence hung her head in frustration

“There’s a label stuck here.”

“Oh, Lord,” mutters Jasmine. 

She is living every kid’s dream. She gets to boss her mom.

“Hold the bottle up to here.” April works for her 16-year-old daughter.

“How’s that working out?” I smile. Jasmine’s mom laughs.

“A couple of times I thought she wanted to fire me!”

It began with a bad hair day. The chemicals Jasmine used to relax her curls left her practically bald. She decided to create her own recipe, and tested it out on herself, her friends and family.

“Until I developed a hair oil that actually made my hair grow back!”

Using all natural ingredients.

“You get to lick the bowl,” she giggles.

Jasmine was just 11 years old when she began experimenting. At 13 she went off to summer camp to learn how to start a business. When it got bigger, she turned to her mom for some bucks.

“She actually had money saved up from her allowance, so it was easy to trust her,” April contends.

“I promised I’d pay her back,” says Jasmine, “and I’d do my chores. Whatever it takes.”

So, Eden Body Works was born with a $2,000 loan, using her allowance as collateral. Her little sister, Crystal, became her first employee. 

“How do you wrap this?” the 12-year-old asks, putting bottles in a box. 

“Like a gift,” says Jasmine.

At first big sister had trouble with Crystal.

“She was making too much money,” chuckles Jasmine, “and I just didn’t like it.”

Crystal quit. Started a line of organic candles. Now, Jasmine’s company markets them.

“I’m making a lot of good money,” Crystal grins, and then whispers conspiratorially. “Not as much as Jasmine, though.”

At an age when most kids are lucky getting summer jobs stacking shelves, Jasmine already has 30 products on the shelves. She’s signed a distribution agreement with Wal-Mart and plans to take her brand worldwide. She projects profits of $1 million.

Jasmine spends little. Plows most of her profits back into the business.  Eden Works World Headquarters is still in her basement.

“Why is Jasmine so successful?” I ask her mom. ‘We’ve all had lemonade stands that didn’t make a nickel.”

“She’s up at 5 in the morning. I’m literally still asleep!”

“I have about 9 or 10 alarms on my phone that go off periodically,” Jasmine points out. One to tell me to wake up. One to tell me to really wake up!”

For her 18-hour day. Of course she makes straight A’s. Shines in engineering and math.

“How do you do you explain all this to your boyfriends?”

Jasmine ducks her head. “No, no boyfriends. They really can’t handle that I don’t have a lot of time for them.”

Too busy tutoring kids in spare moments. She teaches science. 

“As a boss,” I ask mom, “how generous is she?”

“I left a six-figure job to work for her.”

April negotiates contracts, but in all things business, her daughter is in charge.

“I definitely know where the line is between mom and employee,” Jasmine says.

“Just because she’s my boss, I still have to be a parent,” April points out. “When we’re working, we’re working, and when we’re off, it’s do your chores!”

After all, Jasmine is part of a big family, with a single mom.

April says, “A lot of people say, ‘You’re a great mom and you did something really special to raise a child like that.’ But I’ve raised all my kids the same.”

Jasmine just seems born to make a buck. By fourth grade she was actually taking her Christmas toys and leasing them to other kids in school!

Batteries not included.

Want to contact the subjects in this morning’s American Story with Bob Dotson? Here’s their contact information:

Jasmine Lawrence, President and CEO
Eden Body Works
P.O. Box 876
Williamstown, NJ 08094
(856) 513-0726

For more information on starting a business:

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)
120 Wall Street, 29th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 232-3333 or 1-800-FOR-NFTE

© 2008 MSNBC Interactive
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24794995/

Posted by Nuttshell on 07/23 at 05:06 PM
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Monday, July 07, 2008

If you’re a vegetarian, you won’t find this funny but the rest of us might

Bacon mania
Why are Americans so batty for bacon? It’s delicious, it’s decadent—and it’s also a fashion statement.
By Sarah Hepola

Jul. 07, 2008 | I stumbled across an Internet link several months ago that made me gasp. At a time when Amy Winehouse implodes via RSS feed and Mini Me has a sex tape, genuine surprise is as hard to come by as affordable gas. But this link was fascinating and repellent at once. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce: the bacon bra.
The bacon bra did its little cha-cha around the interweb for a good week last April, sparking debate about everything from the offensiveness of a naked woman covered in raw meat to the bra’s functionality—which, let’s face it, exists in that vast flyover between a Maidenform underwire and, umm, whipped cream. But what struck me most about the reactions, whether from online commenters or my own friends, was how they were shot through with a childlike giddiness that sounded something like this: “Ohmygod, baaaaacon.”

Anthony Bourdain has called bacon the “gateway protein” for its astounding ability to lure vegetarians back to the carnivorous fold, and for me, the bacon bra proved something of a gateway as well. It was through links to the bacon bra that I stumbled into a zany online world of bacon-related wackiness. Bacon clothing, bacon accessories, bacon jewelry, bacon toilet paper. The vegans may get their own bestselling cookbook, the yuppies may get their raw organic walnut oil at Whole Foods, but carnivores have turned bacon into something more than mere food; it has become a fashion statement. Leapfrogging from link to link—bacon gift wrap, bacon tote bags—I felt like a weary traveler standing on the jagged edge of the Grand Canyon for the first time, staring into its vast, unfathomable abyss; I mean, I knew this existed, but I didn’t know it was soooo huge.
Part of this enthusiasm comes from the fact that, as one hit man told another in “Pulp Fiction,” “bacon tastes gooood.” Or, to put a finer point on it: “Bacon has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, smoky flavor, and the perfect balance of meaty and crispy texture,” says James Villa, the author of “The Bacon Cookbook.” “It’s the most perfect food ever created by the gods.”
But triple crème brie is pretty tasty too, and I don’t remember seeing that on any Chuck Taylors.
I spoke with several experts about this bacon fixation and cooked up a few explanations for our exuberance. After all, how do we come to exalt a food so much that it is not enough to merely eat it—but we also feel an urge to wrap ourselves in its likeness and scream our adoration from our Facebook profile? The following bacon theories should be taken with a grain of salt. (Better yet, a nice, crisp rasher.)
1. Bacon is rebellion
Americans have a guilty relationship with food, and perhaps no food is more guilt-inducing than bacon—forbidden by religions, disdained by dietitians and doctors. Loving bacon is like shoving a middle finger in the face of all that is healthy and holy while an unfiltered cigarette smolders between your lips.
We live in a time when even a casual trip to the market is fraught with anxiety. Is it OK to buy the salmon? What are the food miles on this red delicious apple? And there is something comfortingly unambiguous about a thick slab of bacon. It’s bad for you. It tastes fantastic. Any questions?
As Dan Philips says, “Death to all food and wine rules. Down with the health establishment. Bacon is the ultimate expression of freedom.” Philips—aka Captain Bacon—is the founder of Grateful Palate, a company whose popular Bacon of the Month Club and cheeky assorted gift items—from T-shirts to bacon air freshener to bacon candles—has probably done more for the bacon chic movement than anything else.
John T. Edge, author and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, says, “Bacon is a sort of 21st century tattoo, a marker that declares the wearer to be a badass, unbeholden to convention.”
(Oh, and bacon is, in some cases, also literally a tattoo.)
It’s telling that, among the many celebrity chefs who have embraced bacon (Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse), it is Anthony Bourdain who has become its most unabashed spokesperson. A cocktail-swilling, cock-slinging adventurer who disdains cliché, Bourdain is the poster boy for macho hedonism.
You can hear a kind of growling swagger in the introduction to Susan Bourette’s “Meat: A Love Story,” in which she writes about a spike in carnivore culture: “It’s like a bitch-slap to all those reedy, high-minded herbivores who demanded nothing short of a bloodless revolution, dictating the parameters of the discussion, decreeing the rules for years.”
“Bacon is the cocaine of the ‘00s,” says author Sarah Katherine Lewis, “a visible sign of decadent rebellion.”
2. Bacon is sexy
Sarah Katherine Lewis recently wrote a book called “Sex and Bacon: Why I Love Things That Are Very, Very Bad for Me.” It’s a series of funny, outré personal essays, with a title meant to transmit a kind of wanton lustiness. Bacon is the perfect food with which to do so. “Sex and Lamb Patties,” after all, doesn’t quite have the frisson.
To love bacon is to sink your teeth into life, to refuse to nibble at the side salad or sip on the seltzer with a twist of lime. “Nobody wants to be wholesome, boring Betty when they could be sexy, hot-to-trot Veronica,” Sarah Katherine Lewis says. “Pour me a drink, light me a smoke, fry me up a pan of bacon, and let’s get it on.”
A recent Taco Bell commercial has played up this idea of bacon as an aphrodisiac. In order to lure male attention at a bar, a woman hides the new Bacon Club Chalupa in her purse. It’s absurd; no one with hair that glossy would suffer the indignity of diced chicken in her handbag. But the spot has prompted at least one male viewer to suggest bacon perfume. And why not? It’s probably a more seductive scent than lilacs and roses.
“Bacon is sex in a skillet,” says Dan Philips of the Grateful Palate. “It’s the ultimate aphrodisiac for all living things. Except pigs, of course.”
3. Bacon is kitsch
Of course, bacon may be rebellious and sexy, but no one is really slaying hearts in the bacon costume. Bacon is silly, too. And there is a smug irony to be had in embracing such a blue-collar breakfast meat. On the site for Archie McPhee, an online novelty store, the top-selling bacon items are bacon bandages, gummy bacon and the classic bacon wallet. (They sit proudly in the top 50 items beside the corn-dog air freshener and the yodeling pickle.) The bacon chic movement is as much about a tongue-in-cheek goofiness as it is about stiff-arming the food police. In fact, it is about doing both at once. (Maybe the perfect illustration of this is Wendy’s Baconator commercials, in which bacon is a rock star.)
“Bacon is delicious and irresistible, but also can be perceived as gross. Wearing the image of bacon on the body intensifies that duality,” says Sasha Wizansky, former Salon staffer and co-founder and art director of the San Francisco-based Meatpaper, an art magazine devoted to animal flesh, which is in itself a highbrow example of this ironic stance.
A less sophisticated example? Barney’s sells bacon-and-egg cuff links for $300. That’s like a trucker cap for button-down goofballs.
4. Bacon is an Internet joke
A friend of mine recently remarked, “If someone is wearing a bacon scarf, chances are that person has a blog.”
Blogger Sadie Fox, who also goes by the name Miss Cellania, wrote about the online bacon bonanza in a post for Mental Floss last summer. She dates the burgeoning phenomenon back to September 2006, when blogger John Scalzi momentarily captivated the blogosphere by taping bacon to his cat. If there is a better example of the sublime pointlessness of Internet memes, I cannot think of one. Oh, wait: Yes I can.
The Internet does for a trend what lighter fluid does for a tiny, flickering flame. So, if someone is taping bacon to his cat, then it only stands to reason there is a bacon flow chart and a bacon Stonehenge and bacon robots. Someone has posted a video to teach you to say “bacon” in sign language. There are dozens of bacon Facebook groups. There are, naturally, bacon blogs, including I Heart Bacon and Bacon Unwrapped, which recently celebrated its third anniversary.
Heather Lauer began Bacon Unwrapped as a joke, but she says, “I started to realize there is something about bacon that gets people incredibly excited, and that was fascinating to me.” She recently completed a cross-country bacon tour of America, and still updates her site with the latest in bacon oddities—chocolate-covered bacon, for example, or a bacon cocktail contest.
This is catnip for kook-seeking sites like Digg and Metafilter, or bloggers scrambling to fill a 10-post-a-day quota, and it’s not uncommon to find the same zany links showing up again and again. Take, for example, the jaw-dropping, truly awe-inspiring bacon tux (it’s scented!). Archie McPhee put it out as an April Fools’ joke in 2006; I discovered it on BuzzFeed a couple of months ago.
All of this creates a wink-wink atmosphere among the Web community, a group of people who have been known to enjoy an inside joke. “People now wear bacon like it’s a mark of status or tribal membership,” says Leitha Matz, a New York writer who blogs under the name Miss Ginsu and has garnered online attention for making her own bacon cake and bacon ice cream.
But when is that proverbial shark jumped? When does this become less a celebration of bacon and more like a degradation of it? Recently, a blogger wrote of her attempt to make bacon vodka. The result? It made her hurl.
5. Bacon is a crafting trend, and not just for carnivores
Of course, it’s not the Gap and Forever 21 who are selling bacon fashion products. It’s online manufacturers, many of whom sell their own handmade wares through collectives like the crafting superstore Etsy. Mandy Jouan at Sappy Moose Tree sells bacon Christmas ornaments and a bacon fridge magnet and places bacon among those nostalgia-quirk items you often see clogging a craft fair—“like owls and unicorns and skulls.”
She also adds that, “Vegetarians and vegans have told me they love my bacon magnets.” Which reminds me that the latest top-seller on Archie McPhee is the Mr. Bacon vs. Monsieur Tofu action figures. Which also reminds me that in my next life, I want to invent toys for Archie McPhee.
6. Bacon is funny
There was a “Simpsons” episode—there is always a “Simpsons” episode—in which Homer is ordering at a restaurant. “I’ll have the smiley face breakfast special. Uhh, but could you add a bacon nose? Plus bacon hair, bacon mustache, five o’clock shadow made of bacon bits and a bacon body.”
The waitress is all bored sarcasm. “How about I just shove a pig down your throat?”
Now THAT gets Homer really excited.
“I was kidding,” she replies.
“Fine, but the bacon man lives in a bacon house!”
The thing is, bacon makes people smile. Bacon taps into that unsophisticated part of our brains, our inner Homer Simpson—the childhood mind untutored by such oppressive adult realities as fat or cholesterol or moral/ethical dilemmas.
“We are living in serious times,” says Bacon Unwrapped’s Heather Lauer. “And when you walk down the sidewalk wearing a bacon scarf, you know that you are going to get a few laughs.”
“Who can’t love a bacon with a little smiley face on it?” asks Mandy at Sappy Moose. “I honestly don’t know!”
“It’s like ninjas or pirates,” says David Wahl, marketing director of Archie McPhee. Actually, it’s more like: Ohmygod, baaaacon.
7. Bacon is America
The turkey is the unofficial mascot of Americana, the 20-pound plumper we dutifully cook on our most sacred of national holidays. But really, it should be the pig. Bacon is our national meat. The pig is not an elegant animal, but it is smart and resourceful and fated to wallow in mud. A scavenger. A real scrapper.
“I see bacon as a celebration of an American birthright,” says John T. Edge. “Four slices of Hormel Black Label, hissing in a cast iron skillet on a Sunday morning. To wear the bacon colors, to sport a bacon tattoo, is to announce your belief in the possibilities of bacon, in the American goodness rendered by a low-on-the-hog meat, transmogrified by smoke and salt.”
-- By Sarah Hepola

Posted by Nuttshell on 07/07 at 06:47 PM
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The unbearable whiteness of being

Hilarious article from Salon Magazine.  The author of “Stuff White People Like” skewers the sacred cows of lefty Caucasian culture, from the Prius to David Sedaris. (Never heard of him)

July 5, 2008 |

Stuff White People Like is a satirical blog about a particular segment of Caucasian culture. It’s like an extended “you might be a redneck if” joke recast for a more upscale set. It gently mocks the habits and pretensions of urbane, educated, left-leaning whites, skewering their passion for Barack Obama and public transportation (as long as it’s not a bus), their idle threats to move to Canada, and joy in playing children’s games as adults. Kickball, anyone? (A list of the white stuff is here.)

It’s likely I don’t have to tell you about the Stuff White People Like site, because the odds are someone—someone white—has already forwarded it to you. Christian Lander, 29, who grew up in Toronto and now lives in Culver City, Calif., created the site to amuse his friends when he was working as the associate manager of corporate communications for an Internet agency last January. He doesn’t do that job anymore, because 32 million hits and a book deal later—“Stuff White People Like: The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions” was published July 1—Lander’s become a professional mocker of whitey and himself.

Lander is firmly in the demographic he’s ribbing. By his own definition, he screams white. A grad school dropout, he studied film and literature in a master’s program at the University of Arizona before bailing on a Ph.D. program at Indiana University. In his author’s photo, Lander illustrates a number of things he spoofs in the book: He wears a beard, chunky glasses, shorts, a performance athletic vest, New Balance shoes and an iPod, while riding a bike and carrying a reusable water bottle, a Macintosh laptop, organic vegetables and a copy of the New Yorker.

Not surprisingly, Lander’s site has been embraced by the white culture that he lampoons, complete with an appearance on public radio’s “Talk of the Nation.” The site’s success supports Lander’s theory that, as he writes in his book, self-deprecating humor is all a part of whiteness. Lander’s site has also inspired copycat sites, such as Stuff Asian People Like, as well as hate mail accusing him of racist stereotyping and critiques that he’s pretending to poke fun at white people while actually giving them new ways to feel superior.

Salon spoke with Lander by phone from his home office, where his fixed-gear bicycle hangs on the wall, near the shelves of books, proudly displayed.

What led you to launch your site Stuff White People Like?

My friend Myles Valentin and I were both at work, and we were just having an IM [instant messenger] conversation. We were talking about “The Wire.” We’re both huge fans of the TV show “The Wire.” And then my friend Myles, who is Filipino, said he didn’t trust any white people who don’t watch “The Wire.”

From there we ended up talking about what are white people doing instead of watching “The Wire”? And we threw back a few responses, like doing yoga, getting divorced, going to therapy. And I thought it was funny.

So I went to Word Press, and I just started writing, never expecting it to be popular, just expecting Myles to read it, and maybe a few more friends back home. And that was it. It wasn’t any more of a grand scheme than that.

Obviously you’re not talking about all white people. Which white people are you talking about?

I think it doesn’t take long reading the site to figure out which white people I’m talking about. It’s mostly left-wing, upper-middle-class.

In the book, you also occasionally mention “the wrong kind” of white people. Who are the wrong kind of white people?

There are a lot of the wrong kind of white people. You have, obviously, poor, right-wing white people, and rich, right-wing white people.

Yet a lot of the stuff you write that white people like, obviously many other people like, too.

When you create a site called Stuff White People Like, it’s easy for people to make an assumption that it’s actually about stuff only white people like. It’s not meant to be exclusionary but rather a focus on the things that, well, white people like.

Let’s talk about some of them. What is the significance of bottles of water?

It’s all about ranking. It’s essentially a contest. It used to be that bottled water was a status symbol. You drink Evian, or you drink Fiji, or what is the most expensive water.

But advanced-level white people, the higher-ranking white people, realized that they were creating a lot of waste, and so they switched over to the Nalgene bottle. That also reminded them of going camping. So then they could take a stance of superiority over the people who were drinking bottled water. And then, that whole story came out about Nalgenes leaching I don’t know what the exact toxin is [Bisphenol A]. So then super-advanced white people went even further and got those metal Sigg bottles, and now you have this really solid hierarchy and ranking of white people of commercial bottled water, Nalgene bottle and either the glass or metal, twist-top bottles.

What’s the significance of an eco product, like the Toyota Prius, the carbon offset or the reusable shopping bag?

That again is another way to claim superiority over regular-level, or subpar, white people. You’re saving the environment, you’re making a difference. It helps remind you and others that your lifestyle is making things better.

Why is it important to hate evil corporations, except for Apple, Ikea and Target?

That’s one of the great contradictions of white people. For the most part, all the world’s ills are based on large, evil corporations—government corruption, American expansion through the use of corporate contracts, pollution, globalization, every bad thing that’s happened. But if it happens with nice design, it’s acceptable.

What happens if you point out these exceptions?

You’re going to really annoy white people. They do not need to be reminded. It’s like with the Prius. It’s not a good idea to remind Prius owners that the car still burns gasoline. That really pisses them off.

You are a graduate school dropout. What is the significance of graduate school?

Graduate school—it’s very important, because you sort of get this impression in the rest of the world that getting advanced degrees helps you get a higher-paying job. But interestingly, within white culture it actually gets you lower-paying jobs.

Why is that?

A Ph.D. in English isn’t going to get you a higher-paying job than, say, a Ph.D. in chemistry or law, but it does give you one important thing, which is academic credibility at cocktail parties.

But obviously, there are a lot of white lawyers.

Oh, yeah. Some of the white people, who are not quite advanced enough white people, have sold out.

What does going to law school represent?

It’s what you do when you finish with your liberal arts degree, and you start to panic about realizing that the careers available for someone who knows a lot about Proust are very limited, and you realize that you still want money. So you end up going to law school. There are people who enjoy law school, because then you can work for a nonprofit organization, and you can be very helpful.

Why is working for a nonprofit important?

White people have the constant and unabiding need to feel as though they’re helping, and because this gives them the ability to hold it over other people.

Who are the whitest celebrities?

Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rosie O’Donnell.

Is the whitest TV show “The Wire?”

It’s not the whitest TV show. It’s just a TV show beloved by white people, because it was really well done, and it got low ratings. These are two very important characteristics for white people to like a TV show. In order to be known as an ultimate white TV show, you have to make sure that you don’t last more than five seasons.

But isn’t it kind of a contradiction, because isn’t bragging about not having a TV also a sign of status?

Yes, because do you know how white people consume “The Wire”? Netflix subscription watched on their MacBook.

What do you think is the whitest TV show ever?

“Twin Peaks” is a contender. “Mr. Show” is definitely on that list. “The Simpsons” is on there, although in recent years it’s also declined a little bit.

A very important concept when you’re dealing with white people is this idea of “jumping the shark.” And “The Simpsons” is one of the best examples of that. You have to make sure that when you talk about “The Simpsons” you know exactly the appropriate moment to say when you stopped liking it.

If you say you stopped liking it too early, you look too snobby. If you say you stopped liking it too late, you kind of look like an idiot. So, the best answer is you say the “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” episodes.

What’s the whitest movie ever?

This one is a challenge. “The Royal Tenenbaums” is up there. “Garden State.” “Donnie Darko” is on there. “Fight Club.”

The problem is that whatever is liked by white people, advanced-level white people have to hate it, because it was popular. The advanced levels have to have some sort of French film in there from Godard. Some people need a Japanese film that hasn’t been translated yet. You’ll get some white people who are like, “I only watch silent film.” It’s difficult.

What about the whitest band?

Right now? I have to say Vampire Weekend all the way. They’re pushing it to levels unseen.

Let’s talk about food.

Food is another important area of competition, and being able to show up other white people. Some white people get their status based on how much they know about food, like expensive ingredients or foreign cuisine. Whereas other white people gain their status based on how many things they’ve cut out of what they eat, like gluten and sugar and refined things and dairy and meat, trying to reduce as much as possible.

But universally, throughout, shopping at Whole Foods is considered the best way to go.

But what about farmers’ markets?

Unless you’re in California, where you have year-round farmers’ markets, you need consistency throughout the year, and Whole Foods provides that.

Definitely organic, when you’re talking about fruits and vegetables?

This isn’t even a question.

What meals are important?

Breakfast on the weekend, I guess you’d call it brunch, too, is one of the most important white meals, because it allows white couples to get together. Some people even bring their dogs, if they have outdoor patios. During the week for working white people, the expensive sandwich lunch is essential.

What do you mean by the expensive sandwich?

Anywhere you will find a predominance of white businesses, such as advertising agencies, nonprofit organizations, hedge funds, there will undoubtedly be a store nearby that sells sandwiches that cost between $8 and $12.

You’ve already mentioned eating outside. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of the outdoors?

It’s just where white people want to be. From the time white people are raised, they’re taught that being indoors is a bad thing, and that it’s always better to be outside. So they’re always on this constant quest to be camping or bicycling or eating outside, whatever it takes to get outside. The more time you spend outside the more credibility you have to dump on other people for not going outside.

And even if you’re not outside, you might be wearing what you call outdoor performance clothes. Why is that?

White people need to know that if someone calls them up, and says: “You want to go camping?” they’re ready at the drop of a hat. Bam, out they go. You could be in the Ikea, just leave the cart in one of the aisles, head up to some campsite.

Can you talk about the deep love of David Sedaris?

It’s hard to talk about it. It’s like talking about a love of oxygen. It’s just there.

Why David Sedaris?

They love him, because he’s funny, and he lives in France, and he’s gay. He’s like everything you could possibly want in the ideal friend. Oh, he also writes for the New Yorker. He hits so many things on the list it’s unbelievable.

On the site, I’ve been getting all these e-mails from people who have gone to his signings, and they said that it’s just like this sea of white people and huge lineups usually reserved for rock stars.

You have this quiz in your book to calculate how white you are. So, how white are you?

It’s tough for me to say this, because there is the answer based on my quiz, and then the fact that I wrote the book gives me like a bonus score. So, I’m going to say 91 percent.

So, are you like the ultimate, advanced, elite white person, because you are categorizing all the rest of them?

I think, but I know that people are gunning for me, and I don’t think that it’s going to last much longer.

Do you see yourself as critiquing this white culture, or are you kind of celebrating it?

I think I’m critiquing it, as well. I make fun of myself a lot on the site. That’s why I put my photo on there to let people know that I’m making fun of myself. It’s been a great chance for me to call out so many of my pretentious leanings.

There is such a strong belief among this type of people that you’re right, of being unwilling to listen to anything else, and I think that’s one of the things I’m trying to point out. There is a critique in there, but the top priority is to be funny.

But don’t you say that even self-deprecating humor is a marker of the white culture?

Yeah. I was trying so hard to sound smart there, and you totally called me out on it.

White people figured out an awesome way to use self-deprecating humor to compliment themselves. Like, when you talk about being “broke,” what you’re really saying is that the people with money are sellouts.

Haven’t you gotten a lot of hate mail about the site?

Yeah. I used to read all the comments on the site, when it was getting like 30,000 hits a day, and I was getting comments every couple of minutes. I was reading them all, because it was fascinating to me, and there are so many funny people out there. But as it got bigger, people left a lot of mean comments about me, about the site, so I stopped reading them entirely, because I was trying to write the book, and I just wanted to stay positive. Reading the comments broke my spirit. I’d just feel so down. But I still read every e-mail that comes in.

Are the angry commenters mad about the idea of the site, or do they feel like you’re making fun of them?

A lot of them just hate me for the fact that the site got popular. A lot of people just hate it because they think I’m being racist, but they don’t really think it through. The people who write in think that I’m perpetuating hate, and that all stereotypes are evil, and I think that they’re kind of missing the point.

The white people who like your site—are you just giving them another way to feel self-congratulatory?

Possibly. That might be part of it. It’s a funny concept that is open-ended. A lot of people can add their things that I’m missing.

To some extent I’m sure there is some self-congratulation in there, and that’s fine. I’m not a performance artist here. I’m really trying to make people laugh more than anything. If it leads to questioning, that’s great, but I think a lot of people are quite proud with how white they are, which is certainly an unintended consequence.

-- By Katharine Mieszkowski

Posted by Nuttshell on 07/07 at 06:04 PM
Blogging • (3) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Barack Obama gives his wife a “pound” and Fox News calls them terrorists.

If the Obamas are terrorists then most the Bush Klan are Satanists and devil worshippers.  See possible proof of their subtle evil beliefs below the coverage of the “terrorist fist jab”.

Just how unrealistic must Fox News be before people start to see they are a bunch of fear mongers intent on turning this beautiful world into a police state.  Why are they so afraid of anything non-blond and European?

Seriously folks, any self respecting American surely knows that this was the action performed by the “Wonder Twins” when about to transform into their task specific Super Identities.

Are the Bushes linked to Satanism?
Are the Bushes linked to Satanism? Are the Bushes linked to Satanism?
Are the Bushes linked to Satanism? Are the Bushes linked to Satanism?

Posted by SPN on 06/28 at 12:55 PM
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Genocide in Sudan continues daily.

A college student shot by Sudanese security forces because the color of his hair and skin resembled that of Darfuri rebels.

Paramilitary and security forces going from house to house, arresting men and boys, throwing them in trucks and speedingthem off to unknown destinations.

These are fragments of daily life in Sudan. This is more than a crime scene. This is genocide.

We cannot stand idly by as genocide continues. Nearly a year has passed since the U.N. resolved to send peacekeepers to Darfur - we need your support to make sure they don’t forget their promise.

We have only 5 days left to raise $200,000. Please make a secure online donation today.

There are hopeful signs, and your activism has made a profound difference. The recent joint statement on Darfur from Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama was historic - the first time since World War II that presidential rivals have come together on a foreign policy issue.

But the people of Darfur shouldn’t have to weather seven more months of unspeakable atrocities until a new U.S. president takes office. We will continue to demand accountability from the current president, from those who want to be president, and from everyone with the power to address this humanitarian crisis.

But we can’t do any of that without your support.

We are still $165,000 away from our $200,000 goal for this critical campaign. Send a gift before the end of the month and help chart the path to peace for Darfur.

Our common humanity demands action. There isn’t a moment to lose.

Best regards,

Colleen Connors
Save Darfur Coalition

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this
urgent campaign.


Posted by SPN on 06/25 at 10:44 AM
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Please join Dream for Darfur and the Save Darfur Coalition

Please join Dream for Darfur and the Save Darfur Coalition for a nationwide protest against the silence of Olympic corporate sponsors on the Darfur crisis.

On June 20, U.N. World Refugee Day, activists across the country will gather at stores and headquarters of four sponsors of the Beijing Olympics - Coca-Cola, General Electric, Swatch and Volkswagen - and demand that they use their partnership with the Chinese government to help end genocide in Darfur.

What: Spotlight on the Sponsors Day of Action

When: Friday, June 20, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Coca-Cola Co.

711 5th Ave.

New York, NY 10022

The Chinese government has not done enough to help end genocide in Darfur. Yet, as it prepares for the 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese government is attempting to cloak itself in the Olympic ideals of peace and brotherhood and cover up its failure to act on Darfur.

And the Olympic corporate sponsors have refused to urge China to act.

The corporate sponsors cannot turn a blind eye to genocide.  Join us on June 20 and demand that they speak out to China about Darfur.

For more information, please click here.

Can’t attend? You can still send all four sponsors a message. Click here to send an email to the CEO of each corporation to ask them to help end genocide.

Thank you for your commitment to Darfur, and we hope to see you on the 20th!

Best regards,

Coby Rudolph

Save Darfur Coalition

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.


Posted by SPN on 06/17 at 11:10 AM
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Who is the real John McCain?  Apprently John MCain doesn’t know which one he is either.

Posted by SPN on 06/13 at 12:08 PM
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kucinich Offers Impeachment Articles Against Bush

Cusco Carmen emailed me a link to cbsnews.com that had information about Rep. Dennis Kucinich offering 35 articles of impeachment against Pres. bush.  I had heard nothing about this.  It seems that our media is still afraid (or too complicent) to confront Bush.  Has anyone else heard about this?

Thanks Carmen.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush on Monday night, reading the resolution into the Congressional Record.

Kucinich, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination this year, unveiled a litany of alleged illegal and improper acts by Bush, including war crimes.

Kucinich has introduced a similar impeachment resolution against Vice President Cheney. That resolution was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which has taken no action on the measure. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top House Democratic leaders have stated that there will be no consideration of impeachment proceedings against Bush, calling the idea “off the table.”

Kucinich and other liberal Democrats, including Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), have sought the removal of the current administration, arguing that Bush and Cheney have lied to Congress and the American public about the reasons for invading Iraq in 2003 and abused their offices in order to conduct the “War on Terror” following the 9/11 attacks.

Posted by SPN on 06/11 at 08:41 AM
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Monday, June 09, 2008

How Karl Rove played politics while people drowned

Excellent article from Salon magazine.
Hurricane Katrina posed a huge test to Bush’s administration. But instead of bailing out Louisiana, Karl Rove played Blame the Democrats.

By Paul Alexander

Jun. 06, 2008 | On Monday, August 29, 2005, at about 6:00 a.m., Hurricane Katrina slammed into the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. A category 5 hurricane until just before landfall, it was one of the worst storms ever to hit the Gulf Coast. Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana, had been briefed extensively about what to expect when the storm hit, which was why, on the Friday night before the storm reached the coast, she signed papers declaring Louisiana to be in a state of emergency. Based on what she had been told by her advisers and what she knew from being a native Louisianan, she understood that Katrina, creeping gradually toward land with sustained winds of a strength rarely seen in a hurricane, could prove to be catastrophic for Louisiana, and particularly for New Orleans.

Over the weekend, Blanco and her staff monitored the storm from an emergency headquarters in Baton Rouge. As the storm was hitting on Monday morning, Michael Brown, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, met with the governor and her staff. Brown had arrived in Louisiana the night before, supposedly ready to deal with the disaster. When he got to the headquarters that morning, Brown told Blanco he was prepared to help. “He showed up Monday morning,” says Bob Mann, a senior aide to Blanco, “and gave us the feeling we would have everything we wanted and needed. He was nothing if not an effective bullshitter.” Specifically, there was talk of FEMA buses. “Michael Brown told me he had 500 buses,” Blanco says. “They were staged and ready to roll in.

Meanwhile, as a deadly storm of historic proportions ripped into three Gulf Coast states that Monday, Bush, on a working vacation at his ranch in Crawford, stuck to his schedule for the day. He traveled to Arizona, where he gave a stay-the-course speech about the war in Iraq. He even made himself available for a photo op after the speech, posing with a guitar next to someone wearing a sombrero, seemingly unaware that the Gulf Coast of the United States was in the throes of a horrific natural disaster perhaps unparalleled in the nation’s history. For a president who often seemed to care more about developments in Iraq than those at home, here was a singular moment. Never had Bush appeared to be so out of sync, at least when it came to events unfolding in the homeland. To make matters worse, in this case the disaster was not happening on the other side of the world or even the other side of the country, but in a state next door to Texas.

On Tuesday, Bush was still out of touch with what was happening and seemingly unaware of the seriousness of the events unfolding on the Gulf Coast, especially in New Orleans. A major American city had filled up with water, but Bush had not departed from his planned schedule. In Coronado, California, at a naval base near the USS Ronald Reagan, Bush delivered a speech to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the defeat of the Japanese in World War II. But Bush used the occasion, as he had repeatedly of late, to give yet another stay-the-course speech about Iraq. On this day, he compared the ongoing military action in Iraq to the allied struggle against German fascism and Japanese imperialism in terms of its moral significance. “The terrorists of our century are making the same mistake that the followers of other totalitarian ideologies made in the last century,” Bush said. “They believe that democracies are inherently weak and corrupt and can be brought to their knees.” It was not terrorists who had brought three states in the American South to their knees, but an act of nature that, judging from his actions on Monday and Tuesday, had not fully engaged the attention of the president.

As it turned out, the federal government’s attempts to respond to the storm and flooding appeared frozen by inadequacy and ineptitude. Thousands of people were stranded in their homes, unable to make a better escape than to their rooftops to wave for help and hope emergency personnel in helicopters might rescue them. Tens of thousands of refugees were holed up downtown in the Convention Center and the Superdome, yet FEMA was unable to bring in even food, water, or ice, not to mention buses to evacuate them. Touring the Superdome on Tuesday night, Blanco was disturbed by what she witnessed: in short, no federal assistance whatsoever. All she saw was the Louisiana National Guard and the Louisiana State Police—certainly not enough of a law enforcement presence to be able to maintain order without additional guardsmen and troops.

If Bush had not seen what was taking place by Tuesday, Karl Rove had. The first evidence of Rove’s involvement in the Katrina disaster occurred on Tuesday afternoon. “Rove understood what a nightmare this was for the president,” Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana says, “so he went into high gear on the spin thing they’re so good at in the White House. Rove had David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana. I was at a press conference and David Vitter walked up to the mike and said, ‘I just got off the phone with Karl Rove.’ I looked at the governor and she looked at me, like, ‘Why is David Vitter on the phone with Karl Rove?’ I mean, he could have been talking to generals, the president himself, but Rove is just a political hatchet man.”

Despite his expertise being politics, the administration had made Rove a central player in the handling of the disaster. “A light switch in the White House didn’t get turned on without going through Rove,” says Adam Sharp, an aide to Landrieu. “It was clear that Rove was the point person for the White House on this disaster.”

That fact was proven precisely by what Vitter had done and said at the press conference. “As soon as Vitter said he had just gotten off the phone with Rove and other Republican officials,” Landrieu says, “he started in on the first talking point to come out of the ordeal. I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe the White House has already given David Vitter talking points to talk about this.’ We weren’t going to blame anyone. We weren’t going to blame the president. I mean, is there a Republican talking point for how to get people water? But that was Karl Rove.”

Instead of supplying relief to the city, Rove had devised a scheme whereby he could blame the failure of government to take action on someone besides Bush. “They looked around,” Landrieu says, “and they found a Democratic governor and an African American Democratic mayor who had never held office before in his life before he was mayor of New Orleans—someone they knew they could manipulate. Ray Nagin had never held public office and here he was the mayor of New Orleans and it was going underwater.”

In short, Rove was going to blame Blanco for the failure of the response in Louisiana, and to do that he was going to use Nagin. He had already set the plan in motion on Tuesday with Nagin, who, even though he was a Democrat, was so close to the Republican Party that some members of the African American community in New Orleans called him “Ray Reagan.” In 2000, Nagin had actually contributed $2,000 to Bush’s campaign when he ran for president.

Rove knew of Nagin’s ties to the Republican Party, so more than likely Nagin could be convinced to level his criticism at Blanco and to support Bush when he could. Here was Rove’s strategy: Praise Haley Barbour, the Republican governor of Mississippi; praise Michael Brown and FEMA; blame Blanco, the Democrat. It was not a stretch for Nagin. He and Blanco so disliked each other that in Blanco’s last race Nagin had endorsed her opponent.

Rove and Nagin were communicating through e-mail. “I heard Nagin was bragging about being in touch with The Man,” Blanco says. “Nagin took the position that they were the people who could help the most to do what he wanted. People get highly complimented when they have contact with the White House.” In this case the trade-off for Nagin was his willingness to cooperate with Rove. “I knew Ray Nagin could be easily manipulated,” Landrieu says. “I could feel it. We were all working together in a relatively small building. We were in close proximity. But I could see where Rove was going. Blame Blanco. Blame the levee board. Blame the corruption in New Orleans. ‘The reason the city is going underwater is because the city is corrupt,’ Rove was saying. ‘But don’t blame the Republicans or George W. Bush or David Vitter. We are the white guys in shining armor, and we are going to come in and save the city from years of corruption.’ That was their story and they sold it very well.”

Rove sold the story, as he had in the past, through the media. On Wednesday, while Blanco was trying to get help from the White House, her staff began receiving calls from reporters questioning her handling of the disaster, almost all of them citing as their sources unnamed senior White House officials.

“One story,” Blanco aide Mann recalls, “would say the governor was so incompetent she had not even gotten around to declaring a state of emergency when she had actually done so three days before the storm. It was obvious to us who was behind this attack based on inaccurate information that was being shoveled to Washington reporters who were identifying their sources as senior Bush administration officials.” Blanco adds, “People at Newsweek told me the White House called them to say I had delayed signing the disaster declaration. The assumption was that their source was the political director—Karl Rove.” Not only was the attack on Blanco in print, it was also on television. “All of a sudden,” Blanco says, “a whole lot of talking heads showed up on television repeating the misinformation over and over, making it the truth.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Blanco called Bush and told him she needed “everything you’ve got.” Since Bush promised to help, Blanco believed that assistance was arriving in the person of Army lieutenant general Russel Honore, who met with the governor. After a long and cordial discussion, Blanco asked Honore how many troops he had brought with him to Louisiana at the order of the president. “Just a handful of staffers,” Blanco heard him say, much to her amazement. “I am here in an advisory capacity.”

On Thursday, as New Orleans remained underwater, with countless thousands of people stranded in their homes, on their rooftops, or at the Convention Center or Superdome, there was still no federal help. What continued unabated, though, was the assault on Blanco, questioning her handling of the disaster. “We were in life-and-death mode and every minute counted,” Blanco says. “I found my staff having to do public relations in the middle of the most disastrous days Louisiana has ever experienced. The talking heads had been turned on. My staff was saying, ‘My God, governor, they are crucifying you politically.’ I finally pulled all of my staff together and said, ‘We are wasting our energy. We do not have a stable of talking heads. We cannot control the national media. We have lifesaving missions to accomplish, so let’s do it.’ My staff was upset with me.”

Blanco sought out Michael Chertoff. She found him in one of the emergency headquarters trailers. “Turn off the talking heads,” she told him point-blank. “People are dying while you people are playing politics. Turn them off.” It was Thursday, and so far the FEMA buses had still not arrived to help evacuate people from the Convention Center and Superdome, nor had Bush sent any federal troops, who were desperately needed in the search-and-rescue efforts. Instead of sending help, the administration had come up with a ploy. “I was on a conference call with the White House,” Adam Sharp says, “where they were saying: If you want any help, you have to turn over all control of your state to the president. We won’t help until you give us control of your National Guard and your law enforcement agencies, until Louisiana becomes a federal territory. They were using this as the excuse for their delaying on the issues. They kept trying to put it on Blanco. But no governor would ever give control of her state to the president.”

On Friday, Bush finally traveled south. His first stop was Mobile, Alabama, where he met with Bob Riley, the Republican governor whose associates were engaged in a collaboration with Karl Rove to politically destroy Don Siegelman, the Democratic former governor. During the stop in Mobile, Bush went out of his way to congratulate Michael Brown, saying, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” Bush was willing to make such a public statement in support of Brown, carefully staged in a holding area for a national press corps that included a wall of television cameras.

It was especially perplexing that he would make this statement now because the day before Bush had read a news report, handed to him by an aide, that contained information about events on the ground in New Orleans that Michael Chertoff had not shared with him that very morning in his briefing. Chertoff himself had been briefed by Brown. Worse still, Brown had at first been unaware that 25,000 people had gathered at the Convention Center—a fact so disturbing that some Republicans had begun to call for his firing, a move Bush seemed unable to make. “Mr. Brown,” the New York Times later reported, “had become a symbol of President Bush’s own hesitant response.”

From Alabama, it was on to Mississippi for Bush. There, he met with an old friend, Haley Barbour, the Republican governor. Significantly, Bush had nothing but praise for Riley and Barbour, neither of whom he asked to consider federalizing their National Guard troops. Finally, Bush traveled to Louisiana, still in the throes of disaster five days into the crisis—and still receiving no help from the federal government. In New Orleans, Bush met with Nagin and Blanco, along with other officials, aboard Air Force One at the Louis Armstrong international airport. The events aboard Air Force One began with a meeting of several officials, including Landrieu, Vitter, Nagin, and Blanco, as well as selected congressmen and staff members. Rove was onboard, too, “lurking,” as Blanco would put it, “around the halls.” In the meeting Nagin, extremely agitated, kept insisting, “Do something! Do something!” It was not clear exactly what he wanted done or who he wanted to do it, nor was it evident whether Nagin had any idea that his clandestine e-mail communications with Rove during the week may have contributed to the Bush administration’s lack of response. They certainly had not helped. Finally, Bush asked to meet with Blanco alone in his office on Air Force One.

“Kathleen,” Bush said in their meeting, which was attended by Joe Hagen from Bush’s staff but no one from Blanco’s staff—a fact that troubled Blanco—“I’m going to need you to sign a waiver that the Louisiana National Guard needs to be turned over to the federal government. I can’t take them from you but I’m going to need you to federalize them.”

Blanco had no intention of signing a waiver. She was concerned about a variety of legal ramifications that could result from her signing over her National Guard, but her main fear was that, without the leverage Blanco had as a free agent in what had now turned into a protracted negotiation with the administration, she would have no means to force Bush to provide any assistance at all. Blanco told Bush she would not sign a waiver. “You need to give General Honore some soldiers,” Blanco told Bush. “Where has the federal government been for five days? If I sign this, it’s going to look like I’ve been wrong.”

Bush appeared to be confused by what Blanco was saying.

“Well, I have no intention of turning over my National Guard to you,” Blanco said. “Anyway, the evacuation of the Superdome is now well underway and after that we will begin finishing the evacuation of the Convention Center.” This was true. While the administration had bickered over politics, Blanco had expanded the size of her National Guard by accepting deployments of guardsmen from all of the other 49 states.

By federalizing her guardsmen, Blanco would have been admitting that it was the state that was unable to handle the disaster, not the federal government. The Bush administration could have argued that they had had to save the day for Blanco because she was not up to the task. However, if Blanco did not take the bait, the scheme was dead. Blanco wondered about Bush’s confusion. Was he really confused or just trying to get her to sign the waiver?

It didn’t matter. Not only did Blanco refuse to sign, she gave Bush a two-page letter detailing everything the state needed to cope with the disaster—troops, buses, supplies, money, and more. It would not be until several days later, when Blanco’s aides released the letter to the press and got frantic phone calls from Rove’s aide Maggie Grant, that it became clear that Bush had taken the letter Blanco had personally handed to him—and lost it.

Finally, that day on Air Force One, when it became apparent that Bush would not be able to manipulate Blanco, he ended the meeting. Then, he took a private meeting with Nagin, who had taken his first shower since the storm hit on Air Force One. Afterward, Bush was taken on a tour of the city by helicopter, which included a visit to the 17th Street Canal. Blanco accompanied Bush in his helicopter, along with Nagin. Landrieu, Vitter, and Rove had followed in a second helicopter. Behind them in a third was a pool of reporters from the national press corps.

“We landed at the 17th Street Canal,” Landrieu says. “The story that day Karl Rove was feeding was: ‘The president is on the job, the president has taken control, the president is going to rebuild, and despite the fact that the government and all these babbling fools down here can’t do anything, the Corps of Engineers is on the job.’ So we landed at the canal, five minutes from my house. I was so excited because they were finally doing something. The Corps of Engineers was there, and they had dump trucks and sandbags. All the cameras were there for the president, who was doing one of his famous press conferences about how he was going to do everything. So I thought, ‘At least the guy is doing something, so show your manners and be good and smile.’”

On Saturday in the Rose Garden, Bush announced the deployment of federal troops to Louisiana—without the benefit of Blanco signing a waiver. He also tried to backtrack to explain why his administration had botched the rescue effort so badly. “The magnitude,” Bush said as Rove and Cheney stood nearby watching, “of responding to a crisis over a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need, especially in New Orleans. And that is unacceptable.”

While Blanco and her aides watched the federal government do little, they completed the rescues of thousands of people stranded at the Convention Center and the Superdome on their own by commandeering buses from around the state and transporting people from downtown New Orleans to various surrounding cities—using only the National Guard under Blanco’s command. When the federal troops finally did start arriving over the weekend, the refugees had been cleared out. The troops made a show for the media, but they were too late. The damage had been done.

After one of the most agonizing weeks in American history, with Bush and his key department secretaries embarrassed on national television, the blame, despite Rove’s efforts to the contrary, ended up being placed firmly on the federal government. The administration, not Blanco and the state of Louisiana, took the hit, especially Michael Brown, who became a poster boy for ineptitude and was forced to resign from his job. Following Katrina, Bush’s approval rating began to slip even more. “In the middle of the worst disaster in American history,” Adam Sharp says, “the president was nowhere to be found and was still clearing brush on the ranch, when the previous iconic image people had of him was standing in the still-smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center 24 hours after the attacks and saying, ‘I can hear you.’ People were asking, ‘Where is that moment here?’”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Of all of the stories and subplots, there would be one that, in many ways, symbolized the whole of Katrina, what it revealed about the Bush administration, and how it would affect the lives of so many people. On Friday, Mary Landrieu had been with Bush and Blanco as they toured the 17th Street Canal, where, at last, major work had commenced to repair the damage that had been caused when the levee broke. “Then, on Saturday,” Landrieu says, “George Stephanopoulos called and asked to do an interview with me, and I said, ‘George, I’m tired of doing interviews. I have to work. And nothing you are airing is accurately showing what’s going on down here.’ He wanted to go to the Superdome, and I said, ‘We still have people stranded on their roofs. If you want to tell the right story, I will help you tell the right story. You get a helicopter and I’ll go up and I will show you what is actually happening. It’s awful what’s happening at the Superdome, but the reason the people can’t understand the story is because the entire region is under 20 feet of water. People can’t get into the Superdome to help. They can’t get out. People are drowning in their homes.’

“So George and I went up in the helicopter and for three hours his jaw was dropping. Then I said, ‘George, before we finish I have to show you one positive thing because I can’t send you back to Washington to produce a story that shows nothing but devastation and disaster.’ So I told the pilot to tack right so I can show George the 17th Street Canal and the work that was going on there. I swear as my name is Mary Landrieu I thought that what I saw with the president was still there—people working, trucks, sandbags, everything. Then I looked down and saw one little crane. It was like someone took a knife and stabbed me through my heart. I lost it.” There, in the cabin of the helicopter, as they flew above the breached canal below them, Landrieu sat devastated.

“I could not believe that the president of the United States, staged by Karl Rove himself, had come down to the city of New Orleans and basically put up a stage prop. It was like you had gone to a studio in California and filmed a movie. They put the props up and the minute we were gone they took them down. All the dump trucks were gone. All the Coast Guard people were gone. It was an empty spot with one little crane. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life. At that moment I knew what was going on and I’ve been a changed woman ever since. It truly changed my life.”

Copyright © 2008 by Paul Alexander. Reprinted by permission of Modern Times/Rodale Inc. All rights reserved.

-- By Paul Alexander

Posted by Nuttshell on 06/09 at 02:00 PM
Blogging • (1) CommentsPermalink

Apple releases 8GB iPhone that works on 3G network for only $199!

The new phone comes in black or white
Phone, iPod, and Internet in one fast 3G device.

Introducing iPhone 3G. With fast 3G wireless technology, GPS, support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and the new App Store, iPhone 3G puts even more amazing features in your hands. And just like the original iPhone, it combines three products in one —a revolutionary phone, a widescreen iPod, and a breakthrough Internet device.


Apple Store

Posted by SPN on 06/09 at 02:55 PM
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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Name the series that this quote comes from.

If you don’t get it, check the read more link to see plenty of more great quotes from this groundbreaking series.  I took the whole thing from Wikipedia.

Huey:: Mr. Jones, it’s Huey. You ready?
James Earl Jones::Young man, I told you last time this isn’t funny. You’re going to get us both in trouble.
Huey:: Last time, I promise. Hold on. [Opens a three-way call]
George W. Bush:: [Answers the phone] This is Bush.
Huey:: Mr. President, please hold for Darth Vader.
James Earl Jones:: [In full Vader voice] President Bush, this is Darth Vader… I wanted to thank you for helping spread Evil throughout the galaxy!
George W. Bush:: Uh… Thank you, Lord Vader! 

The Boondocks is a daily comic strip written and originally drawn by Aaron McGruder. Created by McGruder in 1997 for The Diamondback, the student newspaper at the University of Maryland, College Park, the comic strip was picked up by the Universal Press Syndicate in 1999 and made its national debut on April 19 of that year.

Huey: Riley, we’re not in Chicago anymore… These people are well-off… comfortable. These are not the hard streets of the South Side. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?
Riley: I think so. I’m the hardest, baddest thing for miles, and I can run amok here without fear.
Huey: No. Let me try this again…

Huey: Ok Jazmine, if you’re not Black, then what are you, Hmmm?
Jazmine: Well, let’s see… My mother is one-quarter Irish, one-quarter Swedish, and one-half German. And my grandmother on my father’s side is part Cherokee, and my grandfather is mostly French, I think, because he’s originally from Louisiana, and his father was from Haiti, I believe, which makes me…
Huey: Which makes you as black as Richard Roundtree in Shaft in Africa.
Jazmine: IT DOES NOT!! And who is Richard Roundtree?”

Sarah: Honey, we bought this house on the corner of Gurgling Brook and Blushing Dove, right?
Tom: Of course, why?
Sarah: Because now it’s on the corner of Wu-Tang Drive and Buckshot Avenue.
Tom: Huey or Riley?
Sarah: Riley. Will you talk to him, or should I fill out a change-of-address form?

Huey: Still practicing your “Thug Mug”?
Riley: Hey, “Keepin’ it Real” is hard work when you’re cursed with cuteness…

Huey: I’m sick of women singing about broke men, sick of men singing about loose women, sick of award shows, sick of name-brand clothes… From this moment on, I stand as the antithesis of Black popular culture!! I am the Anti-Cool! I hereby declare myself… A NERD!
Riley: Word?! You? A Nerd?! Speaking of shockers, I just found out that Wesley Snipes is Black! Really! So is Isaac Hayes! And Ray Charles still can’t see!! Can you believe it? Oh yeah, and I hear Bill Clinton really loves the ladies.

[Riley is writing a letter to Santa.]
Riley: While I am aware the Playstation 2 is a bit pricey, your records should indicate that I have, in fact, been remarkably good this year. [pauses] Please note that that the number of kids I smacked in the face just for living is down 25% from last year.

Hello and a hearty salute to Bob Johnson and BET, who recently proclaimed that BET does more to serve the Black community each and every day than the creator of this feature - one “playa hating” Aaron McGruder - has done his entire life. In order to follow the fine example set by Mr. Johnson, we present to you, the reader, in the spirit of Black uplift -
a black woman’s gyrating rear end.
[shows a drawing of a woman’s ass]

Huey: I don’t get it. What’s the significance of the name change? What’s “P.Diddy” supposed to mean?
Ceasar: Well… what can it rhyme with? “P.Diddy"… Let’s see… Witty… Kitty… City… Biddy… Doesn’t seem clear.
Huey: What about sh-
Ceasar: Stop that.

TV News: Senator Trent Lott reiterated the critical need for genetically enhanced super-commandos with multiple heads and appendages, saying “I’m confident the president will do right by America’s armed forces.” Meanwhile, the Japanese government announced that it was already well on its way to creating a three-headed soldier with wings and cybernetically implanted machine guns. They are promising to pour millions into further human cloning projects with the hope of “Making real life more like our really, really cool cartoons.”

Ceasar: I can’t believe they still have Ms Cleo on the run. I hope she’s ok.
[The phone rings.]
Huey: I guess I gotta go get that… [picks up the phone] Hello? This is he… Ok, good… Good… Excellent… Well, thanks for calling.... Take care. [hangs up]
Huey: She’s fine, and she says thanks for asking.
Ceasar: Cool.

[Huey is debating whether or not to see Attack of the Clones
Huey: See, on the one hand, I’m still mad at that whole Jar Jar Binks/Sambo bit in Episode I. On the other hand, we have Sam “Foot to Rear End” Jackson choppin’ heads with a purple lightsaber. I just don’t know what to do…

Huey: “And the winner of the “Black Artist Most Likely to Commit a sexual offense involving a twelve-year-old” award is…
Huey: Y’know, it’s bad enough we even have to have this award, but… It’s a tie!

New Slang Alert: Brokeback (adj) - Used to describe anything of questionable masculinity. Believed to have originated from 2005 motion picture: Brokeback Mountain Here’s how to use it in daily conversation:
Granddad: It’s not a purse! It’s a man-bag! It’s very manly!
Riley: I don’t know, Granddad… looks kinda Brokeback to me…

Huey: Give me news of hope, Ceasar. Tell me of the leaders who dare to stand against the grave dangers faced by this world. I crave inspiration.
Ceasar: Says here Al Sharpton is protesting a cartoon for using the N-word.”
Huey: I’m going back to bed.

[Huey is leading Thanksgiving grace.]
Huey: Ahem. In this time of war against Osama bin Laden and the oppressive Taliban regime, we are thankful that OUR leader isn’t the spoiled son of a powerful politician from a wealthy oil family who is supported by religious fundamentalists, operates through clandestine organizations, has no respect for the democratic electoral process, bombs innocents, and uses war to deny people their civil liberties. Amen.

Robert: This is the last time you say grace, boy.

Huey:: They always say I’m against the troops. I’m completely for the troops. Why, just last week I sent the president a 50 page “support our troops” resolution giving U.S. Soldiers or their families perpetual revenues from Iraqi Oil.
Caeser:: I’m going to miss you when they pass “Patriot Act 2”

Huey calls the FBI’s terrorism tip line ...
Huey:: I’m very serious. I know of several Americans who helped train and finance Osama bin Laden.
Speaker:: And how did you come by this information?
Huey:: A little investigating. It wasn’t that hard, actually.
Speaker:: Okay, give me some names.
Huey:: All right, let’s see ... the first one is Reagan. That’ R-E-A-G ... Hello? Hello?

TV News:: ..And today in sports, a black man somewhere ran with a ball and jumped with a ball and threw a ball and people got really excited as if they hadn’t seen it a million times before… ...Next, we’ll pretend like we can predict the weather…
Huey:: I definitely don’t hear the same news as other people.

Aaron Brown(on TV):: Welcome Back to CNN’s continuing coverage of the war in Iraq. I’m Aaron Brown. I have been so profusely moved by… everything that has happened since the war started. It’s all so… moving… and I care… So much. If you’ll excuse me, I… I just need a minute… [a beat] You do believe I care, don’t you?
Huey:: OH SHUT THE badword UP, AARON!!!

[Huey is writing a review of The Matrix Reloaded]

It’s important to note that not all moviegoers have been kind to the Matrix sequel. Many have complained that the movie is confusing, and I would have to agree. With so many black people in the movie, it was impossible to predict who would die first.

Ceasar:: You know, people say the best way to make good things happen is to put positive thoughts out into the universe.
Huey:: [thinking] Queen Latifa versus Ann Coulter in a steel cage deathmatch… Queen Latifah verses Ann Coulter in a steel cage deathmatch…

Huey:: Mr. Jones, it’s Huey. You ready?
James Earl Jones::Young man, I told you last time this isn’t funny. You’re going to get us both in trouble.
Huey:: Last time, I promise. Hold on. [Opens a three-way call]
George W. Bush:: [Answers the phone] This is Bush.
Huey:: Mr. President, please hold for Darth Vader.
James Earl Jones:: [In full Vader voice] President Bush, this is Darth Vader… I wanted to thank you for helping spread Evil throughout the galaxy!
George W. Bush:: Uh… Thank you, Lord Vader!

Caesar: Hey man, are you ok?
Huey: A friend of mine back home just died...I never got to say goodbye, you know? I keep wishing he’ll come back as a blue ghost, like Obi-Wan Kenobi. There’s so much I want to say to him. [sigh] Why can’t life be like Star Wars?
Caesar: Well, then Jar-Jar Binks would be real, and there’d be a bunch of Ewoks running around everywhere - nobody wants that.
Huey: A small price to pay if the people you love could come back as blue ghosts.

Tom: Huey, why did you tell Jazmine that Santa Claus is on Death Row in Hungary?
Huey: For the same reason you told her that Santa flies around the world passing out gifts with the help of magical reindeer. I guess we both really enjoy lying to small children.

Huey: See, I told you.
Caesar: I can’t believe it.
Huey: I’ve known some self-hating black people before, but this takes the cake.
Caesar: Oooh, we’re next… Merry Cristmas!
Uncle Ruckus: I hope you chimpanzees don’t have a chimney. 

Posted by SPN on 06/08 at 01:38 PM
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