Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bush calls for new initiatives in Africa

I’m glad to see the president finally pushing for aid to Africe.  It saddens me that he (like most Americans) view Africa as just one country with one set of issues.

Malaria is one of the top killers in Africa, and most of its victims are children. The ancient mosquito-borne disease infects as many as 400 million people worldwide, killing 1 million a year.

The malaria initiative aims to provide tens of millions of dollars to Tanzania, Uganda and Angola in the first year, adding at least four more countries in 2007 and at least five more in 2008 for an eventual total spending of $1.2 billion, Bush said. The president said his proposal would eventually cover 175 million people in at least 15 nations most affected by the disease.

“We know that large-scale action can defeat this disease in whole regions and the world must take action,” Bush said. “Together we can lift this threat and defeat this fear across the African continent.”

Because the disease is highly preventable, the money will pay for approaches such as providing insecticide-treated sleeping nets, encouraging greater use of insecticides indoors and financing a new generation of anti-malarial drugs

Posted by SPN on 06/30 at 02:39 PM
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Mexican Pickaninny Stamps Racist, says Stephen

Oh, HELL no!!  Look at what the the Mexican government is trying to perpetrate.  Can I get a witness?


The Mexican government issued a series of stamps yesterday depicting a dark-skinned Jim Crow-era cartoon character with greatly exaggerated eyes and lips, infuriating black and Hispanic civil rights leaders for the second time in weeks.

Mexican postal officials said the five-stamp series features Memin Pinguin, a character from a comic book created in the 1940s, because he is beloved in Mexico. A spokesman for the Mexican Embassy described the depiction as a cultural image that has no meaning and is not intended to offend.

The Mexican government issued a series of five stamps depicting a black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin. (By Dario Lopez-mills—Associated Press)

“Just as Speedy Gonzalez has never been interpreted in a racial manner by the people in Mexico,” embassy spokesman Rafael Laveaga said. “. . . He is a cartoon character. I am certain that this commemorative postage stamp is not intended to be interpreted on a racial basis in Mexico or anywhere else.”

But the leaders of the NAACP, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the National Council of La Raza and the National Urban League denounced the image in strong terms, calling it the worst kind of black stereotype. The curator of a Michigan museum that collects Jim Crow memorabilia said the Memin Pinguin caricature is a classic “pickaninny”—a black child, oafish and with apelike features.

Posted by SPN on 06/30 at 10:10 AM
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Why Ridley Scottís story of the Crusades struck such a chord in a Lebanese cinema

Having lived in Lebanon 29 years, I too found tears of laughter running down my face
Saturday, 4th June 2005, by Robert Fisk

The Independent

Long live Ridley Scott. I never thought Iíd say this. Gladiator had a screenplay that might have come from the Boyís Own Paper. Black Hawk Down showed the Arabs of Somalia as generically violent animals. But when I left the cinema after seeing Scottís extraordinary sand-and-sandals epic on the Crusades, Kingdom of Heaven, I was deeply moved - not so much by the film, but by the Muslim audience among whom I watched it in Beirut.

I know what the critics have said. The screenplay isnít up for much and Orlando Bloom, playing the loss-of-faith crusader Balian of Ibelin, does indeed look - as The Independent cruelly observed - like a backpacker touring the Middle East in a gap year.

But there is an integrity about its portrayal of the Crusades which, while fitting neatly into our contemporary view of the Middle East - the moderate crusaders are overtaken by crazed neo-conservative barons while Saladin is taunted by a dangerously al-Qaíida-like warrior - treats the Muslims as men of honour who can show generosity as well as ruthlessness to their enemies.

It was certainly a revelation to sit through Kingdom of Heaven not in London or New York but in Beirut, in the Middle East itself, among Muslims - most of them in their 20s - who were watching historical events that took place only a couple of hundred miles from us. How would the audience react when the Knights Templars went on their orgy of rape and head-chopping among the innocent Muslim villagers of the Holy Land, when they advanced, covered in gore, to murder Saladinís beautiful, chadored sister? I must admit, I held my breath a few times.
I need not have bothered. When the leprous King of Jerusalem - his face covered in a steel mask to spare his followers the ordeal of looking at his decomposition - falls fatally ill after honourably preventing a battle between Crusaders and Saracens, Saladin, played by that wonderful Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud - and thank God the Arabs in the film are played by Arabs - tells his deputies to send his own doctors to look after the Christian king.

At this, there came from the Muslim audience a round of spontaneous applause. They admired this act of mercy from their warrior hero; they wanted to see his kindness to a Christian.
There are some things in the film which you have to be out here in the Middle East to appreciate. When Balian comes across a pile of crusader heads lying on the sand after the Christian defeat at the 1187 battle of Hittin, everyone in the cinema thought of Iraq; here is the nightmare I face each time I travel to report in Iraq. Here is the horror that the many Lebanese who work in Iraq have to confront. Yet there was a wonderful moment of self-deprecation among the audience when Saladin, reflecting on his life, says: “Somebody tried to kill me once in Lebanon.”

The house came down. Everyone believed that Massoud must have inserted this line to make fun of the Lebanese ability to destroy themselves and - having lived in Lebanon 29 years and witnessed almost all its tragedy - I too founds tears of laughter running down my face.

I suppose that living in Lebanon, among those crusader castles, does also give an edge to Kingdom of Heaven. Itís said that Scott originally wanted to film in Lebanon (rather than Spain and Morocco) and to call his movie Tripoli after the great crusader keep I visited a few weeks ago. One of the big Christian political families in Lebanon, the Franjiehs, take their name from the “Franj”, which is what the Arabs called the crusaders. The Douai family in Lebanon - with whom the Franjiehs fought a bitter battle, Knights Templar-style, in a church in 1957 - are the descendants of the French knights who came from the northern French city of Douai.

Yet it is ironic that this movie elicited so much cynical comment in the West. Here is a tale that - unlike any other recent film - has captured the admiration of Muslims. Yet we denigrated it. Because Orlando Bloom turns so improbably from blacksmith to crusader to hydraulic engineer? Or because we felt uncomfortable at the way the film portrayed “us”, the crusaders?

But it didnít duck Muslim vengeance. When Guy de Lusignan hands the cup of iced water given him by Saladin to the murderous knight who slaughtered Saladinís daughter, the Muslim warrior says menacingly: “I did not give you the cup.” And then he puts his sword through the knightís throat. Which is, according to the archives, exactly what he did say and exactly what he did do.

Massoud, who is a popular local actor in Arab films - he is known in the Middle East as the Syrian Al Pacino - in reality believes that George Bush is to blame for much of the crisis between the Muslim and Western world. “George Bush is stupid and he loves blood more than the people and music,” he said in a recent interview. “If Saladin were here he would have at least not allowed Bush to destroy the world, especially the feeling of humanity between people.”

Massoud agreed to play Saladin because he trusted Scott to be fair with history. I had to turn to that fine Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf to discover whether Massoud was right. Maalouf it was who wrote the seminal The Crusades through Arab Eyes, researching for his work among Arab rather than Crusader archives. “Too fair,” was his judgement on Kingdom of Heaven.
I see his point. But at the end of the film, after Balian has surrendered Jerusalem, Saladin enters the city and finds a crucifix lying on the floor of a church, knocked off the altar during the three-day siege. And he carefully picks up the cross and places it reverently back on the altar. And at this point the audience rose to their feet and clapped and shouted their appreciation. They loved that gesture of honour. They wanted Islam to be merciful as well as strong. And they roared their approval above the soundtrack of the film.

So I left the Dunes cinema in Beirut strangely uplifted by this extraordinary performance - of the audience as much as the film. See it if you havenít. And if you do, remember how the Muslims of Beirut came to realise that even Hollywood can be fair. I came away realising why - despite the murder of Beirutís bravest journalist on Friday - there probably will not be a civil war here again. So if you see Kingdom of Heaven, when Saladin sets the crucifix back on the altar, remember that deafening applause from the Muslims of Beirut.

Posted by Nuttshell on 06/29 at 05:04 PM
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Bush Criticized for Linking 9/11 and Iraq

With all of the “intelligence” that the Fed has accumulated, it seems to ignore the facts that not one of the hijackers were from Iraq.”

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Congressional critics of President Bush’s stay-the-course commitment to the war in Iraq argued Wednesday that the administration lacks sufficient troops on the ground to mount a successful counterinsurgency.

Democrats in particular criticized Bush for again raising the Sept. 11 attacks as a justification for the protracted fight in Iraq after the president proclaimed anew that he plans to keep U.S. forces there as long as necessary to ensure peace.

Urging patience on an American public showing doubts about his Iraq policy, Bush mentioned the deadly 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington five times during a 28-minute address Tuesday night at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“We fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand. So we will fight them there, we will fight them across the world and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won.”

Posted by SPN on 06/29 at 10:49 AM
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Too damn little, too damn late

Senators can take their half-assed lynching apology and shove it.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Debra J. Dickerson
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., right, shakes hands with James Cameron, 91, thought to be the only living survivor of a lynching attempt, on Monday, June 13, in Washington. Directly behind Cameron is Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

Salon June 28, 2005 | You were expecting, maybe, gratitude for your lynching apology? You should live so long. Here are my top 10 reactions to America’s latest patronizing attempt to repent its racism:

1. Bite me.
2. Damn right, the least you could do.
3. Mighty white of you.
4. Gee, couldn’t you have waited just a little longer—until even the trees from which the “strange fruit” swung were dead?
5. I’m not impressed, but then, I’m bell-curved. What do I know?
6. Thanks for kicking our asses so hard, and for so long, that we were forced to develop entire art forms around our oppression.
7. Try not to break your arm patting yourselves on the back.
8. Give us back the land, the businesses and the unpaid debts that were the true cause of many lynchings. You sleaze bags!
9. Gee, was there no appropriate Hallmark card? Let a sister help you out:
Sorry I castrated your granddad. My bad.
What’s 300 years of raping your ancestors among friends?
Sticks and stones may break your bones ... Oops. They already did.

And my topmost reaction to your lame-ass, late-ass lynching apology:

10. Thanks for absolutely, positively nothing. You feel better. We feel worse. DÈj‡ bloody vu all over again.

Here’s the problem with apologizing for stuff like slavery, Jim Crow laws and lynching—and the problem with digging up Emmett Till or prosecuting Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old man, for murder 41 years after it happened: It’s too damn little, much too damn late. Does America’s contempt for us never cease? How else to describe the refusal of 15 senators to cosponsor the lynching apology bill, and its late-night voice vote? For all we know, the bill was passed by one lonely, overcaffeinated senator who happened by in search of an Ambien. We aren’t sure which senators voted for the bill and which voted against it. An accident? I think not.

Sen. Robert Byrd can apologize again and again for having been in the Ku Klux Klan and for having fought tooth and nail against every civil rights bill that came down the pike. The military can give posthumous medals to black World War I, World War II and Korean War veterans who are long dead and not around to describe the racism they faced under fire. And, as of June 13, some—but not all—senators can apologize for taking 105 years to pass an anti-lynching bill.

The crux of the matter is this: Had America ever truly repented its racism, no apology would be needed now. Our schools and neighborhoods wouldn’t be segregated. The term “driving while black” need never have been coined. Oprah, who routinely graces the list of America’s most admired people, could shop in an “upscale” neighborhood without a camera crew to mark her as a “daylight white.” The words “black” and “white” would be as giggle inducing as “23 skidoo” and “Chi-town.”

So I’m with the lynching descendant who said: “I won’t accept their apology ... What they used to do with a rope, today they do with a paper and pencil.” And that’s why we reject the apology: It’s insincere. You either pity us or hate us; either way, we’re still “other.” Half-assed apologies like this take the place of actual progress, of actually embracing and accepting us.

And now that we’ve gotten our empty apology, the question isn’t how blacks feel, it’s how whites do. Shamed? Guilty? Bored? Patronizing? Victimized? Shriven?

Bored and patronizing, I think.

Shove your apology and kiss my unforgiving ass.

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

About the writer
Debra J. Dickerson has written about race, gender and poverty for many publications, including Washington Monthly, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Village Voice, the New Republic, Slate, Mother Jones, the L.A. Times, Vibe, Talk and Essence. Her 2000 memoir, “An American Story,” was named a New York Times Notable Book.

Posted by Nuttshell on 06/28 at 06:04 PM
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Zombie dogs in your neighborhood.

This scares the poop out of me.  I can’t help but look at all of the possible uses the prison system would use this for.,10117,15739502-13762,00.html

SCIENTISTS have created eerie zombie dogs, reanimating the canines after several hours of clinical death in attempts to develop suspended animation for humans.
US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years.

Pittsburgh’s Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject’s veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.

The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity.

But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock.

Plans to test the technique on humans should be realised within a year, according to the Safar Centre. 

Posted by SPN on 06/28 at 06:01 PM
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Exclusive use of Bible called ‘state endorsement of religion’

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/21/05) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on judges meeting this week in North Carolina to allow use of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, when administering oaths.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the current exclusive use of the Bible may be an inappropriate state endorsement of religion.

CAIR issued its call after Guilford County judges said they would not allow use of Qurans in their courtrooms. “An oath on the Quran is not a lawful oath under our law,” said W. Douglas Albright, Guilford’s Senior Resident Superior Court judge. State law only refers to swearing an oath by putting a hand on the “Holy Scriptures.” Those who do not wish to take an oath using the Bible may instead make an “affirmation.”

A preliminary opinion last week by North Carolina’s Administrative Office of the Courts said that state law allows people to be sworn in using a Quran rather than a Bible.

SEE: “N.C. Judges Face Quran Question”

SEE ALSO: “Judges Question Use of Quran in Taking Oaths”

“By stating that only one book qualifies as ‘Holy Scriptures,’ the court may be making an inappropriate endorsement of a single set of religious beliefs,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar. “Eliminating the opportunity to swear an oath on one’s own holy text may also have the effect of diminishing the credibility of that person’s testimony.”

Iftikhar said CAIR will offer a free copy of the Quran to any judge in North Carolina or throughout the United States for use in oaths or for personal awareness of the holy text. Judges or other court officials may order a free Quran by visiting: [url=][/url]

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to:

- END -

On the personal, I say hooray! But since this whole 10 Command.... thing, I fear that you won"t even have the Bible, Qur’an, or any other revered text in the courtroom either out of spite from fund… Christians. Or from ACLU zealots who are like termites, just a’nibblin away at our good, strong, building wood. And leaving sawdust.

Posted by cricket on 06/28 at 01:56 PM
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Doctor pleads guilty in prescription-drug case

I went to high school with this guy!

A Baton Rouge doctor on Thursday admitted to writing prescriptions without a medical reason.

Dr. Mark M. Cotter, 40, pleaded guilty to a five-count indictment, which also included one charge of cocaine distribution and one of marijuana possession.

Cotter and his attorney, Aidan Reynolds, declined to comment as they left the U.S. District Courthouse.

Sentencing is scheduled next week before U.S. District Judge James J. Brady.

On the four most severe counts, Cotter faces maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison with fines of up to $1 million on each count.

Posted by SPN on 06/28 at 07:47 AM
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Jaafari says Iraq can be made safe in two years

WHat kind of bullshit is this?  Hell, the USA isn’t even safe.  C’mon people wake up!!  Terrorism is not defeatable as long as the poor and disenfranchised are kept down.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said on Monday security in his country could be established within two years, while insurgents killed and wounded dozens in new attacks.

Four civilians were killed and 29 wounded by a car bomb at a Baghdad mosque, five people were killed by two roadside bombs, two senior police officers were assassinated and a mortar strike on a restaurant wounded seven people. A U.S. soldier was killed.

A U.S. Apache attack helicopter crashed north of Baghdad, killing both its crew. Witnesses said it may have been fired on.

Violence has worsened in the two months since Jaafari’s government took office, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reiterated on Monday it would be up to Iraqis, not U.S. forces, to defeat an insurgency that could last many years.

Rumsfeld’s remarks appeared to signal a change in the U.S. stance before President Bush’s planned keynote speech on Iraq on Tuesday. A few weeks ago Vice President Dick Cheney said the insurgency was in its last throes.

“I think two years will be enough and more than enough to establish security,” Jaafari told reporters after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.

Posted by SPN on 06/28 at 07:09 AM
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Monday, June 27, 2005

Don’t tell the kids.

The artists that voiced the Pooh characters have died.,1,16827,00.html

Pooh Mourns Tigger, Piglet

by Josh Grossberg
Jun 28, 2005, 11:00 AM PT

‘Twas a sad weekend in Hundred Acre Wood.

Paul Winchell, the early TV pioneer best remembered for creating a string of cartoon voices, most famously Winnie the Pooh’s pal Tigger, died Friday. A day later, John Fiedler, the veteran stage and screen actor who voiced Piglet, passed away.

Somewhere Eeyore is even more glum than usual.

Winchell and Fiedler gave voice to the beloved characters in several animated Disney shorts and features, beginning with 1968’s Oscar-winning, franchise-launching short, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which also featured the vocal work of Sebastian Cabot as the narrator and Sterling Holloway as the honey-obsessed bear. (Cabot died in 1977; Holloway in 1992.)

Posted by SPN on 06/27 at 04:06 PM
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Saturday, June 25, 2005

US confirms new case of ‘mad cow’

Again I ask, “What will it take for you to stop eating beef?”

A form of the disease in people, called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, has been linked to eating contaminated meat.

The disease has killed about 150 people worldwide, mostly in Britain, the epicentre of an outbreak in the 1990s.

Posted by SPN on 06/25 at 08:44 AM
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What kind of stupid shit is this?

This company sells spray on mud for stupid SUV owners too scared to drive their trucks in the woods.

Posted by SPN on 06/25 at 08:22 AM
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Friday, June 24, 2005

skills test

check your computer mousing skills. click on the link to take the test

Posted by bbeard on 06/24 at 05:48 PM
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Funny t-shirt.


Posted by SPN on 06/24 at 01:38 PM
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Lawrence Hill Update

1089730350.jpg Off to Stanford! c48bb.jpg

My nest is a little emptier there days now that my first-born has offically flown the coop.

Lawrence left Arizona last Friday, arrived on campus Sunday and started classes on Tuesday. 

He and the two other new basketball recruits, Anthony Goods from California and Mitchell Johnson from Washington, are all taking the same Spanish course which meets M-F from 8:30am to 1:00pm.  After class, they have lunch and hit the gym until its time to hit the books before they have to take the time to prepare themselves for the next day. 

So far, the first week is going very well for Lawrence and he’s as happy as he can be right now.  Although we chit-chat on the phone every day, I have to wait for weekends to really talk to and catch-up with Lawrence as his schedule is going to be jammed packed throughout the week until mid-August.

I sure do miss him, but I couldn’t be happier for him.  Not only does he have the opportunity to attend one of the finest universities in the country, he will also get to be part of one of the most respected programs in college basketball as well.

Well, that’s all for now, but I’ll be back with more brag-blogging later… redthumb.gif

Posted by 360DIVA on 06/24 at 01:18 PM
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