Monday, December 01, 2008

Elephant Meat Barbecue

Mr. John Mnamba was visiting a village in Tanzania where he stumbled upon some elephant meat being smoked. Some tourists shot the elephant and donated the meat to the local villagers.
Mr. Mnamba took the photos with his cell phone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

50 Facts about President Elect Barack Obama

Barack Obama: The 50 Facts You Might Not Know

• He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics
• He was known as "O'Bomber" at high school for his skill at basketball
• His name means "one who is blessed" in Swahili
• His favourite meal is wife Michelle's shrimp linguini
• He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father
• He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be left-handed
• He has read every Harry Potter book
• He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali
• He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and now can't stand ice cream
• His favourite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars
• He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper whi le living in Indonesia
2 He can speak Spanish
• While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN and had sports channels on instead
• His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea
• He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president – he didn't
• He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia
• He can bench press an impressive 200lbs
• He was known as Barry until university when he asked to be addressed by his full name
• His favourite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
• He visited Wokingham, Berks, in 1996 for the stag party of his half-sister's fiancé, but left when a stripper arrived
• His desk in his Senate office once belonged to Robert Kennedy
• He and Michelle made $4.2 million (£2.7 million) last year, with much coming from sales of his books
• His favourite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
• He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet belonging to a soldier in Iraq for good luck
• He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.
• His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees
• He took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing on their first date
• He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker
• He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol
• He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician
• As a teenager he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine
• His daughters' ambitions are to go to Yale before becoming an actress (Malia, 10) and to sing and dance (Sasha, 7)
• He hates the youth trend for trousers which sag beneath the backside
• He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal
• His house in Chicago has four fire places
• Daughter Malia's godmother is Jesse Jackson's daughter Santita
• He says his worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry
• He uses an Apple Mac laptop
• He drives a Ford Escape Hybrid, having ditched his gas-guzzling Chrysler 300
• He wears $1,500 (£952) Hart Schaffner Marx suits
• He owns four identical pairs of black size 11 shoes
• He has his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff, who charges $21 (£13)
• His favourite fictional television programmes are Mash and The Wire
• He was given the code name "Renegade" by his Secret Service handlers
• He was nicknamed "Bar" by his late grandmother
• He plans to install a basketball court in the White House grounds
• His favourite artist is Pablo Picasso
• His speciality as a cook is chilli
• He has said many of his friends in Indonesia were "street urchins"
• He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol of the fragility of life
• His late father was a senior economist for the Kenyan government

Monday, November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba dies in Italy

Miriam Makeba 1932-2008

It's with great sadness that we receive the news of South African songstress, Miriam Makeba. She died following a concert in Italy last night. She was 76 years old.

Some of her most famous songs were Pata Pata, Jikele Maweni and Malaika.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America has Changed!

Wow! I am still almost speechless. When Barack Obama was pronounced the winner of Election 2008, I cried tears of joy. America is truly a changed place.

America has changed for the better. I credit movies and TV shows for helping lead to Obama's success. There was a time in Hollywood when blacks were protrayed as idiots, servants, slaves, and other menial things. Then they started being portrayed positively as doctors, teachers, lawyers, heroes, superheroes and even President of the United States. These images are subtly entrenched in our minds. Take this example, ask the older generations about Africa and the first thing that pops in their mind is Tarzan!

What I am really saying if that a new generation has grown up without the racism of the past. These kids have grown up in a diverse society where they see each other as equals. They don't mind living in a neighborhood with people who aren't the same color as they are. They don't mind being in the same classroom or attending sporting events together.

It's hard for a person who has not experienced racism to understand what the election of Barack Obama means. It's also painful for those who have experienced racism to hear white people saying, "get over it". Or people saying slavery happened 200 years ago. Well it may have ended but the repercussions are still felt in the treatment of blacks and other minorities in America today. So, yes it's tough to "get over it".

Most black people, including myself never imagined that a black man could or would be elected President of the United States of America in our lifetime. I have experienced racism, been called the n-word, been terrorized by the Klan. It was most profound when I lived in a small predominantly white town, in the midwest. I was privileged in the early 70's to get a decent education at a white school in which there were only 7 black kids out of 980. The teachers and the principal especially were openly racist. When I think back on that, I can only imagine how it must have been for Obama and his mom.

During the camapign pockets of racism emerged. People used the n-word liberally to describe Obama and declared that they could never live in a country led by an n-word. The internet was filled with racists hiding behind anonymity spewing hate. At one point people were saying that America was descending back to the Civil Rights era because of all the hate that was emerging. Old wounds were reopened and people asked would change really ever be possible in America. Would people attitudes towards race really change?

When I watched the results last night and saw tears in the eyes of Oprah, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Roland Martin and others, it was a momentus moment. History was made and a change has come. What will the people who have condemned America as a racist country now say. I say change is possible, change has happened. This is a new diverse America. I hope our ancestors are watching from the heavens to see that a change has taken place in America.

Now that Obama has been elected, I am sure that in the future we will see Presidents of Latino and Asian descent as well. This is the work of the melting pot. There may even come a day when one day Americans don't see themselves by the color of their skin but just as 'AMERICANS'.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Call Center Workers Protest about McCain

Dozens Of Call Center Workers Walk Off Job In Protest Rather Than Read McCain Script Attacking Obama

By Greg Sargent - October 27, 2008, 5:18PM

Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.

Nina Williams, a stay-at-home mom in Lake County, Indiana, tells us that her daughter recently called her from her job at the center, upset that she had been asked to read a script attacking Obama for being "dangerously weak on crime," "coddling criminals," and for voting against "protecting children from danger."

Williams' daughter told her that up to 40 of her co-workers had refused to read the script, and had left the call center after supervisors told them that they would have to either read the call or leave, Williams says. The call center is called Americall, and it's located in Hobart, IN.

"They walked out," Williams says of her daughter and her co-workers, adding that they weren't fired but willingly sacrificed pay rather than read the lines. "They were told [by supervisors], `If you all leave, you're not gonna get paid for the rest of the day."

The daughter, who wanted her name withheld fearing retribution from her employer, confirmed the story to us. "It was like at least 40 people," the daughter said. "People thought the script was nasty and they didn't wanna read it."

A second worker at the call center confirmed the episode, saying that "at least 30" workers had walked out after refusing to read the script.

"We were asked to read something saying [Obama and Democrats] were against protecting children from danger," this worker said. "I wouldn't do it. A lot of people left. They thought it was disgusting."

This worker, too, confirmed sacrificing pay to walk out, saying her supervisor told her: "If you don't wanna phone it you can just go home for the day."

The script coincided with this robo-slime call running in other states, but because robocalling is illegal in Indiana it was being read by call center workers.

Representatives at Americall in Indiana, and at the company's corporate headquarters in Naperville, Illinois, didn't return calls for comment.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mixed Race

Just what do you call a mix between an donkey and a zebra?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Message to America from Queen Elizabeth II

Message from the Queen

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and th us to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas , which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded*.

*A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
(You may need to look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary. Also look up aluminum, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at j us t how wrongly you have been pronouncing it).

1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour', 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adj us ted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without us ing guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be us ed for shooting gro us e. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot gro us e.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangero us than a vegetable peeler, although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.

7. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get us ed to it.

9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

10. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further conf us ion.

11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try Rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us .

13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America . Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits ( not referred to as cookies) and cakes; pl us strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008



Africa Kabisa! is a weekly African music radio program that broadcasts SUNDAYS 4-6:00pm EST on WMBR 88.1 FM. We also stream live on the Web and have digital archives at .

Since 1992, we have been sharing the vibrant sounds of contemporary and classic African music with the Boston area and beyond. Africa Kabisa is hosted and produced by DJ Julia Goldrosen.

We endeavor to present an array of the best in music from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Afro-Caribbean world with the sounds of rumba, soukous, ndombolo, makossa, couper decaler, son montuno, mbalax, kompa, zouk, kwaito, mbaqanga, paranda, benga, salsa, highlife, afrobeat and more. We also feature a weekly calendar of African cultural events.

Our weekly playlists are located in the Database link. African events for the Boston area are in the Calendar section. (This website is established through Yahoo Groups so you have to click on "join this group" (top right) to access some of the information.) Join the Africa Kabisa group and discover more about African music!

Please send CDs for airplay consideration or local event information to:

WMBR 88.1 FM
Att: Africa Kabisa
3 Ames Street
Cambridge, MA 02142 (USA)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lizombe Traditional Dance

This is the famous Lizombe Tradional Dance done in the Southern Region on Tanzania. You have to be in great shape to do it. It involves a lot of Butt shaking and waist movements. I used to do this one when I was in the Masange JKT National Service Dance Group in Tanzania back in the 80's. (photo from Lukwangule Blog)

Tanzanian Groom

photo from Michuzi Blog

Why spend money on an expensive limosine ride when you can get their more cheaply via Tricycle. This Tanzanian groom (with Arab headdress) decided he'd rather spend his money on his wife than on fancy frills.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Swahili song for Obama

You can listen to a Swahili Song, "Obama Be Blessed" here:

It is by famous East African musician Samba Mapangala na his band Orchestra Virunga.


Umekisikia kibao cha Samba Mapangala (Orchestra Virunga) kwa jina "Obama Ubarikiwe"? 'That one'.... "my frienchs....." sikiliza:

- Subi

Tanzanian Editorial Cartoon

How Tanzanian Editorial Cartoonist, Gado, sees the 2008 Election Campain.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Jeffrey Brace Memorial - Former Slave

Shawn Henry, left, and Prof. John Nassivera hold a historical marker at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008. On Oct. 12, the historical marker will be placed in Poultney to honor the life of Jeffrey Brace, a former slave, who won his freedom by fighting in the Revolutionary War and later settled in Vermont, the first state to abolish slavery. Henry, president of the African American Club at Green Mountain College and Nassivera, a professor and adviser to the group, helped to get the marker made. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

I am proud to say that my son, Elechi Kadete, was part of the student effort to get, the marker placed in Poultney, Vermont.


Vermont town honors slave's life

POULTNEY, Vt. (AP) -- A former slave whose memoir is among the only ones known to describe abduction from Africa is about to get a historical marker in the small Vermont town where he ended up settling.

Descendants of Jeffrey Brace -- who fought in the Revolutionary War eventually earning his freedom -- will gather Oct. 12 for the erection of the memorial on a town green.

"The importance of Brace's story is not just that he's a remarkable individual but it's part of Vermont's history and American history that had disappeared," said Kari Winter, who edited the memoir "The Blind African Slave; Or, Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace."

The book and now the roadside marker will ensure that Brace's story will never be forgotten.
His memoir traces his abduction in 1758 at age 16 and the wretched trans-Atlantic voyage that ensued, in which he was starved, shackled and whipped and watched others die of starvation and beatings.

"Over the course of about 350 years, something on the order of 12 million people were shipped across the Atlantic and yet we could count on our hands the number of surviving first-person written accounts of people who made that journey," said James Campbell, a Stanford University history professor.

"So to have an account like this be discovered and made available to students describing the experience of capture in Africa, the experience of the middle passage and a life in slavery right up until the early 19th-century New England, that's an extraordinary find," said Campbell, who specializes in slavery history.

Brace ended up in Connecticut after being enslaved on an English trade ship in Barbados that engaged in skirmishes during the Seven Years' War. He was sold to a New England ship captain, and then auctioned off several other times, the final time to widow Mary Stiles in Woodbury, Conn., who sent him to school and taught him to read.

He later enlisted in the Revolutionary War with her sons and fought for five years, eventually earning his freedom in 1783 and moving to Vermont.
"Hearing flattering accounts of the new state of Vermont; I left Woodbury. ... I enjoyed the pleasures of a freeman; my food was sweet, my labor pleasure: and one bright gleam of life seemed to shine upon me."

He worked for a tavern keeper in Dorset, where he met his wife, Susannah Dublin, a widow and former slave. But their life in Vermont was a constant challenge, Winter said.

They lived in Manchester for a time, but the town indentured his wife's two children to work in different households. It was a common practice for poor people who could not support their children, but in this case: "The complaint amounted to this: that I was a black man," Brace said.
The family returned to land Brace had bought in Poultney.

He cleared fields and grew crops but endured constant confrontations with a neighbor over land, crops and livestock. Fearing his children could be indentured again, he moved the family to Sheldon and then to Georgia, Vt., where he bought 60 acres with his son-in-law.

Brace became blind in his old age but says he felt it was his duty to publish his memoirs
-- "that all may see how poor Africans have been and perhaps now are abused by a christian and enlightened people."

He was helped by a white abolitionist lawyer, Benjamin Prentiss, who wrote down his story, adding his own research and interpretations.

Winter, a professor at the University of Buffalo, found one of the original copies published in 1810 in the special collections library at the University of Vermont, where she used to teach.
In Poultney, John Nassivera, a Green Mountain College professor took a special interest in Brace after Winter gave a talk on him.

He wrote a play based on the book and urged the school's African-American Club to take up the cause. They worked with the Poultney Historical Society and Vermont Division of Historic Preservation to have a marker made honoring Brace's life.

For Brace's descendants, who didn't know of their ancestor until the memoir was published or they were contacted by Winter, their heritage is something to be proud of.

James Brace, who's white and lives in St. Albans, calls his ancestor a hero.

Rhonda Brace, whose grandfather and an uncle are named Jeffrey, realizes they're one of few African-American families who can trace their ancestry to a particular slave.

It gives new meaning to being African-American, she said.

She says she still pinches herself that something of this magnitude -- the memoir -- was found. The interest in it in Vermont has been phenomenal, she said.

"I've always felt that Jeffrey Brace would really come to life when a lot of people would participate in reclaiming his memory," Winter said.


For More information on Jeffrey Brace visit:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lions enjoying Tires

"Oh look two cute lions are coming!"

It seems these lions in a South African wildlife preserve love the taste of rubber. Or is it that they love hearing the air hiss out the rubber tires after they've burst them?

I've had a few encounters with lions in Africa but this is the first time I've seen some that enjoy playing with tires.

Monday, September 15, 2008

WaTanzania wauliwa Afrika Kusini

Kweli binadamu hawana shukurani. Yaani Tanzania ilikuwa mstari wa mbele katikakupigania uhuru watu wa Afrika Kusini. Lakini sasa wanaua wageni kutoka nchi za Afrika wanaoishi kule.

Nimesikitika sana kusoma leo kuwa waTanzania wawili kutoka Zanzibar waliuliwa huko kwa kupigwa risasi. Kisa eti ni waTanzania.

Mola alaze roho zao mahala pema peponi. Amin.


Zanzibaris killed in SA foreigner attacks


By Mwinyi Sadallah, Zanzibar

Two Zanzibaris were reportedly killed in Port Elizabeth, South Africa last week in attacks linked to a spate of `xenophobic` incidents against foreigners, police here confirmed yesterday.

The Regional Police Commander for Mjini Magharibi Bakari Khatibu Shabani named those who were killed as Mzee Mussa Makungu (24) and Rajab Suleiman Mrisho (27) all from Jan?gombe in Unguja.

The late Makungu went to South Africa to look for employment, while Mrisho had already been working in the oil industry there for over eight years.

The two were buried in Unguja yesterday, Makungu at Shakani village and Mrisho at Kiboje.

Makungu`s uncle Ali Othman Ali said in an interview yesterday that they received reports about his death from Tanzanians living in South Africa.

``Makungu left Zanzibar six months ago to join his friend Mrisho, who has been in South Africa for eight years,`` he said.

Ali said they were informed that their relative was shot twice in head, while Mrisho was shot in his neck by unidentified people on September 4, this year.

Rajab Suleiman Mrisho, a brother of Mrisho, said they received reports about his death through Tanzanians living in Cape Town.

Some months ago, groups of South Africans, particularly youths, went on the rampage, attacking foreigners working in South Africa, and blaming them for taking up jobs meant for them.

SOURCE: Guardian

Sunday, September 14, 2008

White Privilege - 2008 Election

I have to agree that there are definitely double standards in America. If the Palin's were black their wrongs would not be idolized.


White Privilege, White Entitlement and the 2008 Election

By Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a "fuckin’ redneck," like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their fuckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re "untested."

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you. White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it, a "light" burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is Sarah Palin Racist and Vindictive?

Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska)

I got this article via e-mail. Wow! If this is true then God help America should she be elected VP. Alaska has a tiny minority population and other than the fact that a black woman (Maryline Blackburn) beat her for the Miss Alaska title, does she really care about minority populations? I had read since the day that she was elected that she was vindictive and the scandal about her wanting her brother in law fired is noted in court documents.
I hope that these claims are being investigated.

Alaskans Speak (In A Frightened Whisper): Palin Is “Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, And Mean”September 5, 2008

by Charley James –

“So Sambo beat the bitch!”

This is how Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin described Barack Obama’s win over Hillary Clinton to political colleagues in a restaurant a few days after Obama locked up the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

According to Lucille, the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used, Gov. Palin was eating lunch with five or six people when the subject of the Democrat’s primary battle came up. The governor, seemingly not caring that people at nearby tables would likely hear her, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively.

“It was kind of disgusting,” Lucille, who is part Aboriginal, said in a phone interview after admitting that she is frightened of being discovered telling folks in the “lower 48” about life near the North Pole.

Then, almost with a sigh, she added, “But that’s just Alaska.”

Racial and ethnic slurs may be “just Alaska” and, clearly, they are common, everyday chatter for Palin.

Besides insulting Obama with a Step-N’-Fetch-It, “darkie musical” swipe, people who know her say she refers regularly to Alaska’s Aboriginal people as “Arctic Arabs” – how efficient, lumping two apparently undesirable groups into one ugly description – as well as the more colourful “mukluks” along with the totally unimaginative “f**king Eskimo’s,” according to a number of Alaskans and Wasillians interviewed for this article.

But being openly racist is only the tip of the Palin iceberg. According to Alaskans interviewed for this article, she is also vindictive and mean. We’re talking Rove mean and Nixon vindictive.

No wonder the vast sea of white, cheering faces at the Republican Convention went wild for Sarah: They adore the type, it’s in their genetic code. So much for McCain’s pledge of a “high road” campaign; Palin is incapable of being part of one.

Tough Getting People Who Know Her to Talk

It’s not easy getting people in the 49th state to speak critically about Palin – especially people in Wasilla, where she was mayor. For one thing, with every journalist in the world calling, phone lines into Alaska have been mostly jammed since Friday; as often as not, a recording told me that “all circuits are busy” or numbers just wouldn’t ring. I should think a state that’s been made richer than God by oil could afford telephone lines and cell towers for everyone.

On a more practical level, many people in Alaska, and particularly Wasilla, are reluctant to speak or be quoted by name because they’re afraid of her as well as the state Republican Party machine. Apparently, the power elite are as mean as the winters.

“The GOP is kind of like organized crime up here,” an insurance agent in Anchorage who knows the Palin family, explained. “It’s corrupt and arrogant. They’re all rich because they do private sweetheart deals with the oil companies, and they can destroy anyone. And they will, if they have to.”

“Once Palin became mayor,” he continued, “She became part of that inner circle.”

Like most other people interviewed, he didn’t want his name used out of fear of retribution. Maybe it’s the long winter nights where you don’t see the sun for months that makes people feel as if they’re under constant danger from “the authorities.” As I interviewed residents it began sounding as if living in Alaska controlled by the state Republican Party is like living in the old Soviet Union: See nothing that’s happening, say nothing offensive, and the political commissars leave you alone. But speak out and you get disappeared into a gulag north of the Arctic Circle for who-knows-how-long.

Alright, that’s an exaggeration brought on by my getting too little sleep and building too much anger as I worked this article. But there’s ample evidence of Palin’s vindictive willingness to destroy people she sees as opponents. Just ask the Wasilla town administrator she hired before firing him because he rebelled against the way Palin demanded he do his job, or the town librarian who refused to hold the book burning Walpurgisnach Mayor Palin demanded.

Ironically, Palin was pushed into hiring the administrator by the party poobahs who helped get her elected after she got herself into trouble over a number of precipitous firings which gave rise to a recall campaign.

“People who fought her attempt to oust the librarian are on her enemies list to this day,” states Anne Kilkenny, a Wasilla resident and one of the few Alaskans willing to speak on-the-record, for attribution, about Palin. In fact, Kilkenny actually circulated an e-mail letter about Palin that was verified and printed by The Nation.

For good measure, Palin booted the Wasilla police chief from office because, she told a local newspaper, he “intimidated” her.

Running on Extreme Fringe Evangelical Views

Sarah Palin drew early attention from state GOP apparatchiks when, during her first mayoral campaign, she ran on an anti-abortion platform. Normally, political parties do not get involved in Alaskan municipal elections because they are nonpartisan. But once word of her extreme fringe evangelical views made its way to Juneau, the state capitol, state Republicans tossed some money behind her campaign.

Once in office, Palin set out to build a machine that chewed up anyone who got in her way. The good, Godly Christian turns out to be anything but.

“She’s doesn’t like different opinions and she refuses to compromise,” Kilkenny notes. “When she was mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t hers. Worse, ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits but on the basis of who proposed them.”

Sound familiar? Palin may well be Dick Cheney’s reincarnate.

Something else has a familiar Republican ring to it: Her tax policies, and a “refund surpluses but borrow for the future” attitude.

According to Kilkenny and others in Wasilla as well as Juneau, Palin reduced progressive property taxes for businesses while mayor and increased a regressive sales tax which even hits necessities such as food. The tax cuts she promoted in her St. Paul speech actually benefited large corporate property owners far more than they benefited residents. Indeed, Kilkenny insists that many Wasilla home owners actually saw their tax bill skyrocket to make up for the shortfall. Two other Wasillian’s with whom I spoke said property taxes on their modest, three bedroom homes rose during the Palin regime.

To an outsider, it would seem hard to do, but an oil-rich town with zero debt on the day she was inaugurated mayor was left saddled with $22 million of debt by the time she moved away to become governor – especially since nothing was spent on things such as improving the city’s infrastructure or building a much-needed sewage treatment plant. So what did Mayor Palin spend the taxpayer’s money on, if not fixing streets and scrubbing sewage?

For starters, she remodelled her office. Several times over, as a matter of fact.

Then Palin spent $1 million on an unnecessary, new park that no one other than the contractors and Palin seemed to want. Next, Sarah doled out more than $15 million of taxpayer money for a sports complex that she shoved through even though the city did not own clear title to the land; now, seven years later, the matter is still in litigation and lawyer fees are said to be close to at least half of the original estimated price of the facility.

She also worked hard to get voters approval of a $5.5 million bond proposal for roads that could have been built without borrowing. Anchorage may not be the center of the financial universe but, like good Republicans everywhere, Sarah Palin knows how to please Alaskan bankers and bond dealers.

For good measure, she turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots.

Sarah Barracuda

En route to the governor’s igloo, Palin managed to land what Anne Kilkenny says is the plumb political appointment in the state: Chair of Alaska’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (OGCC), a $122,400 per year patronage slot with no real authority to do anything other than hold meetings. She took the job despite having no background in energy issues and, as it turned out, not liking the work.

“She hated the job,” an OGCC staff member who is not authorized to speak with the news media told me. “She hated the hours and she hated what little work there was to do. But she couldn’t figure out a way to get out of the thing without offending Gov. Murkowski” and the state Republican Party regulars, some of whom were pissed off they didn’t get appointed.

But ever the opportunist, Palin quickly concocted a way. First, she waged a campaign with the local news media claiming that the position was overpaid and should be abolished – despite the fact that she lobbied Murkowski hard to get it. Then, mounting what she saw as a white horse, Palin raised a cloud of dust by resigning from the OGCC and riding away with an undeserved reputation as a “reformer.”

But when a local reporter dared to suggest that the reformer Empress has no clothes, Palin tried to get her fired.

“She came at me like I was trying to steal her kids,” said the targeted reporter, who now works for an oil company in Anchorage. “I heard she had a wild temper and vicious mean streak but it’s nothing like you can imagine until she turns it on you.”

Not surprising since some of her high school classmates still openly call her “Sarah Barracuda,” Kilkenny insists.

Still, as a Republican Party hack Palin managed to get herself elected running under the false flag of a “reformer.”

And what did she bring to the job? No legislative experience other than a city council of a village of 5,000 people, which is smaller than some high schools in Chicago. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; after all, she needed to hire a city administrator to run Wasilla. No executive experience, except for almost being recalled as mayor. A philosophy of setting public policy based on one word: No.

And what has she done since winning the job?

According to Kilkenny, nothing. Well, nothing other than suggesting the state’s multi-multi-million dollar, oil-generated surplus be distributed to residents and finance future state needs by borrowing money. Gee, doesn’t that sound precisely what George Bush did with the surplus he inherited from Bill Clinton in 2001 and we all know in what great shape Bush’s economic policies left the nation.

It may explain why, when asked by reporters, including me, what she thought about Palin being picked to be McCain’s running mate, her mother-in-law replied with a sardonic, “What has Sarah done to qualify her to be vice president?” Of course, when the woman – said by many I spoke with to be well-respected in Wasilla – was running to succeed Palin as mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her, so that may explain the family tension.

As Governor, Palin gave the legislature no direction and budget guidelines, according to the chair of a legislative committee. But then she staged a huge grandstand play of line-item vetoing countless projects, calling them pork. “They were restored because of public outcry and legislative action,” the aide said. “She vetoed them mostly because she had no idea what they were or why they were important.”

But it was enough to get the McCain, who is mostly unobservant of the world around him anyway, to think Palin has a reputation as being “anti-pork”.

In fact, Juneau observers note that Palin kept her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork ladled out by indicted Sen. Ted Stevens. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be politically unwise to keep supporting it, these same insiders assert. Then, Palin fell back on her old habits and publicly humiliated him for pork-barrel politics.

As for being “ready on day one” to be commander in chief, despite the repeated public claims she’s made, the Alaska National Guard commander said that, “she has made no command decisions, other than sending some troops to help fight a few brush fires and march in parades at county fairs.”

“Sambo Beat the Bitch”

“Palin is a conniving, manipulative, a**hole,” someone who thinks these are positive traits in a governor told me, summing up Palin’s tenure in Alaska state and local politics.

“She’s a bigot, a racist, and a liar,” is the more blunt assessment of Arnold Gerstheimer who lived in Alaska until two years ago and is now a businessman in Idaho.

“Juneau is a small town; everybody knows everyone else,” he adds. “These stories about what she calls blacks and Eskimos, well, anyone not white and good looking actually, were around long before she became a glint in John McCain’s rheumy eyes. Why do I know they’re true? Because everyone who isn’t aboriginal or Indian in Alaska talks that way.”

“Sambo beat the bitch” may be everyday language up in the bush. Whether it – and the outlook, politics and worldview Palin reflects when she says such things in public – should be part of a presidential campaign is another thing altogether. The comment says as much about McCain as it does about Palin, and it says a lot of things about Americans who overlook such statements (as well as her record) and vote anyway for McCain.

by Charley James

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Voting with "YOUR TRIBE"

This is a commentary by Roland Martin. I agree with every he is saying here.

Commentary: Race, age, gender are taboo in electionStory

By Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor

Roland Martin says Americans need to rise above issues of race, age and gender when they vote.

(CNN) -- One of the most intriguing conversations I had at either the Democratic or Republican convention was with a white labor leader from Ohio.

I can't remember his name, but he made it clear that he is going all around the Rust Belt state looking his white union brothers and sisters in the eye and essentially shaming them into supporting Sen. Barack Obama for president.

No, he's not saying vote for the black man for president because he's black.

He said he's telling them that it's shameful that as Democrats, they agree with him on various political issues, but because of his skin color, they are refusing to cast ballots for him.

"We have gone to our black brothers and sisters for years to support our [white] candidates, and it's wrong for us to stand here and not support one of their own, even though we're Democrats," he barked.

There is nothing more in-your-face than to hear someone speak truthfully to the inherent racism that is at play in this election.

For all the talk about inclusion and the historic nature of this campaign, the true tribal feelings of so many people will come into play, whether we want to admit it or not.

We are seeing remarkable bias playing strongly in this election. Exit-polling data in the primaries showed some evidence of bias when it came to age, race and gender, but the great concern is whether people are as honest in talking to pollsters as they are in the voting booth.

Because Sen. John McCain is 72 and would be the oldest person to be sworn in as president, there is a lot of dialogue about how old this white guy is, and how wrong it is that he's running. Age questions also have been raised about the 47-year-old black guy from Chicago and whether he is too young and inexperienced to lead.

While there is a lot of talk and excitement surrounding Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin being named as the first woman on a Republican ticket, and what that may mean in terms of widespread female support coming the way of McCain-Palin, there are some voices who refuse to vote for a woman.

We've also seen a number of prominent women -- including Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn and radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger -- who have questioned whether the 44-year-old white mother of five children should be vice president, considering she has five children, including a special needs child.

It's wonderful to talk about the economy, immigration, the war in Iraq, health care and education, but we can't be naïve to the reality that when voters go into that voting booth, they will, as one person told me during an interview, "vote with their tribe."

That was one of the arguments we heard during the Democratic primaries when Obama enjoyed overwhelming support from African-Americans -- to the tune of 90-plus percent -- while Sen. Hillary Clinton had major female support, largely white, in the range of 65 to 70 percent.

So what do we do when it comes to our tendency to follow group identification?

1. Stop dancing around the topic. When you watch TV and hear folks talk about Wal-Mart moms or small, rural towns, they are talking about white Americans. These catch phrases never include African-Americans or Hispanics

2. Confront bias where it is. Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers and church members who they are voting for. When they give you the "I really can't put my finger on it" line, then press them. Hard. You know the real answer, so don't beat around the bush. The best folks to challenge Americans on their hang-ups regarding age, race and gender aren't the AARP, NAACP or NOW. It's Y-O-U. Don't give in to the "That's the way I was raised" mantra. When someone suggests that flags and faith show that a candidate isn't one of us, drill down.

3. Accept the fact that some people will not change. We all think that we have been gifted to the degree that our sane and logical arguments can get folks off their biased stumps. Some people just won't give in. Fine, move on. The goal is to rid our society of as much bias as possible. If someone is so hard-headed, then you have to go on to the next person and try to change them.

It's critical that we be as honest as possible about the impact of race, age and gender in campaigns. A lot of people love to toss around the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote that he hoped one day people would be judged by "the content of their character." But it's still a reality that skin tone, gender and our birth date means more than character to a lot of Americans.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Because He is Black

A word of encouragement can make the difference between giving up and going on....

Because He's Black

This older white guy asked his older black friend, 'Are you voting for Barack Obama just because he's black'? So the older black guy fires back and says, 'Are you not voting for him because he's black? Why can't I vote for him just cause he's black? Hell in this country men are pulled over everyday just cause they are black, passed over for promotions just cause they are black, considered to be criminals just cause they are black, but you don't seem to have a problem with that. This country was built with the sweat and whip off the slaves back, and now a descendent of those same slaves has a chance to lead the same country where we wasn't even considered to be people, Where we weren't allowed to be educated, drink from the same water fountains, eat in the same restaurants, or even vote, so you damn right I'm going to vote for him!
Not just because he's black, But because he is hope, he is change, and he now allows me to understand when my grandson says he wants to be president when he grows up, it is not a fairy tale but a short term goal, Because he sees, understand, and knows, he can achieve, withstand, and do anything just because he's black!

And pass it on..... JUST BECAUSE

Monday, September 01, 2008

Palin family Pregnancy Scandal

Wow! I thought Ms. Palin was such a moralist. Now we hear that her 17 year old daughter is pregnant. There are even rumors that the little baby is not really the governor's but her daughters. This guy analyzed the situation well.

Happy Labor Day

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just who is Sarah Palin?

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska

Frankly, I was also shocked at the choice of Sarah Palin. Seriously, running a town of 9,000 isn't close to running a city like New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles. Has she even been to an inner city?

I'm also wondering about why McCain chose her. Is it really because she's a former Miss Alaska contestant, who counters his old age on stage. An interesting balancing act indeed. (Don't look at the young man - look at the pretty young thing).

And, if McCain thinks women will see Hillary Clinton in her, he better think twice, she is NO HILLARY! Is she really able to deal with a national security issue at 3:00am? What's the most crisis Ms. Palin has had to handle... out of control polar bears?

And what's this about her firing of the police chief because he refused to do something about her brother in law who was divorcing her baby sister? They say she's a ethical reformer...yeah right.
This election is interesting indeed.


Subject: McCain's dangerous choice

Dear MoveOn member,

Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:

She was elected Alaska 's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1

Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2

She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3

Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4

She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5

She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6

How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.

We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here's a sample:

She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK

She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She's a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK

As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK

Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK

She's vehemently anti-choice and doesn't care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK

I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK

So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.

In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.

In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.

Thanks for all you do.

–Ilyse, Noah, Justin, Karin and the rest of the team


1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008

2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008

3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008

4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006

5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008

6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008

7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008

Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 3.2 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Will Smith in Zanzibar,Tanzania

Actor Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith are currently on a visit to Tanzania, East Africa. They are currently on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.

Today they had the privilege of meeting with Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume and his wife Mama Shadya.

Othman Maulidi of Zanzibar took this photo.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Skeletal Beauty is ‘In’…so says Hollywood!

Many times we hear about a certain star passing out because they were simply starving. People need to eat and there is a reason for that…to nourish the body. Yet some are choosing not to eat or to eat just enough to survive in the name of ‘beauty’.

People come in all shapes and sizes but Hollywood would have you believing that only one size is good, super thin. Today, I’m going to talk about ‘thin’ in Hollywood. I call it ‘Skeletal Beauty’. If you take a good look at some of today’s stars they are just skin and bones with a big head and a face that it beautified by tons of make-up. In some cases they are suffering from malnutrition so their natural hair is falling out or looks horrible so they wear extensions and wigs. What price beauty?
I mean I have seen some famous actresses up close. Yuck! They look sickly and gaunt.Look at some of the voluptuous stars of the 50’s and 60’s. Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield & Raquel Welch would be considered overweight by today’s standards. I saw a chorus line from the 30’s in the film and most of the dancers had ‘something’ to their name. Today they’d be considered too fat to dance.
Remember Twiggy and the waif look. She weighed 90 lbs and looked more like a 12 year old boy than a woman. Women have to look like 12 year old boys to be beautiful. Hips have disappeared from a lot of the stars.I was watching a behind the scene of a certain movie and the director was pointing out how beautiful his lead actress was from a side profile. She had no back side or chest. She looked like a board to me.
Sometimes I ask if men did not create this thin image so that they could control women. Let’s face it, a 90 lbs woman is physically less of a threat to a man than a 180lb one. Plus they are playing with the female mind and pitting women against each other this way. And let me not go into the bulimia and anorexia thing. Women are killing themselves to achieve an unrealistic body thanks to the ‘Skeletal Beauty’ image.
The diet industry is a ‘billions of dollars’ business because of the ‘thin’ obsession. Yet, a lot of dieters don’t ask themselves why their bodies rebel and their diets don’t work or if they do, it’s temporary.
Is it me, or does it seem that films that use people who resemble ordinary people do better at the box office. Look at the success of the film, Fried Green Tomatoes, and its star, heavyset Kathy Bates. Commercials that have real looking actors selling products tend to do better than those which have actors who look like perfect models. Why…because the majority of people can identify with them.
I look at a film like the remake of the Amityville Horror (2005) and I laugh. That’s because the two leads are too gorgeous to be believable. The mother of three kids looks like a model, and the father Ryan Reynolds, looks too buff to be what he is. Wouldn’t he have a little paunch and be more rough looking for someone owning a construction business?
It’s no secret that those women who are starving themselves in the name of beauty are also grumpy. I’ve worked with some. One day, someone brought some donuts in. So this thin lady stood over them for like five minutes having a very vocal debate about whether she should eat one or not. I mean was her goal to let us know that she watches what she eats or to ridicule everyone who ate them.
I got so fed up, with the debate I told her, “Just eat the daym donut!” She walked away and needless to say we haven’t spoken since.
Now tell me, don’t you just hate it when someone takes, half a bagel or donut or some other pastry and leaves the other half. That seems like the ‘in’ thing. I watch what I eat so I can only eat half or a quarter.
I saw a guy shout at a woman who did this saying, “We don’t want your leftovers!”
Well skinny ladies, I have seen something really bad on my media job. I have seen guys laugh at the skinny starving ladies. Yes, they laugh, the woman thinks she is some kind of Goddess for being a size 2 or less. As soon as she turns the corner the men laugh.
They joke they don’t want bones but something to hold onto and they weren’t men of color either. Another time, there was a woman who dieted and became bony thin to the extent that people started telling her she needed to eat. Every time she walked by people worried if she would fall down and die.
Plus size actress, comedienne Mo’nique has been an advocate for heavier women. She is not advocating getting fat, but advocating acceptance and self- esteem for women who have been relegated second class status because of their body size. There’s a serious message for the big girls in the film ‘Phat Girlz’.
I’m not saying fat is good. Of course there are negative health effects when the body has too much. But the body needs some fat and there is a reason for that. If a person gets sick, or is in a starvation situation, the body uses the fat to nourish the body until the person can recover. There have been cases where some thin people have died simply because they had no body fat. And there have been cases where thin fitness buffs have died from heart attacks. So no, heart attacks aren’t the monopoly of fat people. This will be a great topic for another discussion.
Shelly “nun- chucks” mentioned air brushing in a lot of models photographs. Yes, that also helps create the idea that these women we see have no flaws. Well, if they didn’t have flaws then why did it take ten people to get the model ready for the shoot? That perfect fitting blouse or pants make have some pins in it so that it looks that way. Ah, Hollywood influence. The sad thing is that this influence is now being felt in the Third World. I'll go into detail in another discussion.
Films should be representative of real people. If you want to see real people just stand on the street and look who walks by. Most people are not size 2 or below. They come in all shapes and colors. It’s time for films to reflect this.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Black Actor and Skin Color

Halle Berry and Denzel Washington

Recently, I had a discussion with another black actor about skin color and the movies. We agreed that lighter skinned black actors are favored over darker actors. Take a look at mixed race actors like Halle Berry and Terrence Howard. They get more work and better roles.

I remember the first time I saw the late Bernie Mac on a sitcom. He had a small role in which he was ridiculed by another black person because of his dark complexion.

It’s like this, when you say ‘black’ we black actors tend to get lumped into one group. But in reality, we have been broken down into several based on our skin tones. So for instance, in most commercials and magazine ads you will see lighter blacks used. But in ghetto scenes they go for darker skinned actors. Black villains are also darker.

I have heard some film folks justify using light skinned black actors or not using blacks at all. The excuse, “It’s difficult to light black people especially if they are in the same scene with whites”. So, what’s the real problem? Is it that people don’t want to take time to work on lighting? Or is it really something subtly engrained into people’s minds?

Now, why are blacks different shades? It’s mostly because of the legacy of slavery. African slaves being forced to bear their white masters children and then being brought up believing that lighter is better. People opted to have light skinned babies believing that they would have a better life. In most black families you will find people of different shades with different hair textures as well (and hair texture is another issue). If you want proof, just look at photos of real African slaves and what their descendants look like. The slaves were much darker while their descendants are lighter. The lighter you are the more mixing there was. I know people don’t like talking about slavery, but it is part of our history and should not and cannot be ignored or forgotten

But it’s not just the way that whites see us. Even we black people have issues with skin tone. Again, it’s because of the legacy of slavery. The ‘high yellow’ lighter skinned blacks were treated much better than the darker blacks. This is highlighted in Spike Lee’s film School Daze.

Well, I’m just grazing the issue today. I’d love to hear your views.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tecnology in Africa

Yes, nowadays even mud houses in Africa have the internet and television! This photo was taken recently in Lushoto District, Tanzania. Photo by John Kusaga.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Meet Dakota the Actor (He's a Horse)

Dakota takes a break from filiming the Surrogates

Dakota, a 16- plus hand black Percheron, stands in an arena at Achorn Acres farm on the Westborough/ Upton town line with owner and Westborough native Craig McCoskery. The horse made his acting debut during the filming of the Bruce Willis movie, "The Surrogates." The film has been shooting scenes in various towns in the region and PHOTO/KATE DALY is due out in 2009.

You can read more about Dakota here:


I was an extra in the scene with Dakota. He passed me pulling the vegetable cart many times as we were walking down the street 'looking happy'. I walked past Bruce Willis many times! He's really thin.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bongoland II in Chicago

BONGOLAND II compared to Ousmane Sembene's films


Josiah Kibira, Tanzania, 100 min. With Peter Omari, Thecla Mjatta

Friday, August 15, 6:15 PM AND Wednesday, August 20, 6:15 PM

In his first film BONGOLAND (2003), Josiah Kibira related the misadventures of Juma, a Tanzanian immigrant in Minnesota. In this self-sufficient sequel, Juma returns to Tanzania (aka Bongoland) to manage a company. His American-style ideas about efficiency and motivation meet with a less than enthusiastic response, and, when Mom’s visit produces some jaw-dropping revelations, he discovers that his relationship to his homeland has become even more tenuous. The film’s sharp, angry satire recalls such Ousmane Sembene classics as XALA and GUELWAAR. In Swahili with English subtitles. DV-CAM video. (MR)Who is Ousmane Sembene


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Paris Jazz Night

Encore Performance!

Special Event: Paris Jazz Night Saturday, August 16, 2008

Two Performances in One Room Only

Chez Ducrot presents an evening of elegant dining and a special encore guest performance by one of Boston's finest talents: Ron Murphy and Friends. Enjoy four-course, leisurely dining to the acoustic sounds of jazz standards and classics, sung by baritone Ron Murphy, accompanied by Bassist Dave Zox and Pianist Jonathan Singleton. Let the music come to you & enjoy Ron's rich, honey-toned voice in either of two personalized one -and -a -half hour performances in the intimate atmosphere of our bistro room, overlooking the garden. Savor an evening of elegant dining and music in the ambiance of an upscale Parisian bistro.

Location: The Home of Philippe & Linda Ducrot, 40 Russell St. Plymouth, MA

Two seatings: 5:30PM - 8:00PM, 8:30PM - 11:00PM both seating in the Garden Room
Limited seating available

Reserve Now $65 per person

Call for reservations and information

All dates and times are subject to change.

Chez Ducrot Reservations & Information: 508-747-4148Email: info@chezducrot.comWeb Site:

All dates are subject to change.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

75th SAG Anniversary Party in Boston

Some of the local Boston actors who attended the 75th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Anniversary Party at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Boston, Saturday June 21, 2008.

Center is Ellen Becker-Gray. From l-r Ron Murphy, Rob Gray, Paul (?), Me, Doug Weeks, Maria (?),

Super Banana

I'm not sure where this photo was taken but it is certainly a record breaking banana plant!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Zanzibar International Film Festival 2008


Zanzibar Catches Festival FeverFestival Centre Buzzes with Top Talent and the Best local and International Films of 2008 Zanzibar, July 11-20, 2008:

The Eleventh edition of the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) is in full swing, with both industry delegates and cinema lovers riding a wave of excitement following the coming ten days’ activities, and looking forward to another 8 days of local and international discussion panels, workshops, Ten days of screenings of the best local and international cinema and evenings of musical concerts including a Gala each evening.

The festival is an all-arts affair, with all its programs culminated of realising the capacity of film to fuse together the best of each art-form, offering a wide range of Entertainment, Educating, Shopping, and Networking options for world audiences.

The festival centre is located in the beautiful stone town area in Zanzibar. The main location of the festival is an atmospheric Amphitheatre located inside an Old Fort. Other venues are Mambo Club, House of Wonders, Old Customs House, Palace Museum, Aecrotanal, Chake Chake and Wete Cinema in Pemba.

Each festival evening begins with the Festival of Festivals, welcomes festivals, TV stations and different programmers to showcase their works and discuss them with audiences. Cocktails in the sunset splendour of the House of Wonders. It leads on to the presentation of the main films of the day at the Amphitheatre in the Old Fort.

Screening 50 films from an impressive collection of studio and independent features that enthral and top notch documentaries that captivate and inform audiences. This year festival has created space for four of the newest offerings to world cinema- 4 World Premieres. showcasing African Premieres, including the most talked about films coming out of Africa recently Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation (2007) and Ezra (2006) the winner of the Etalon Yenenga at FESPACO 2007.

The FESPACO 2007 package, composed of all winning films at that Premier Film festival of Africa also presented.

The11th ZIFF is the Festival as you’ve never seen it before! ZIFF ALIVE!

Check us out@ your friends, neighbors know that YOU WANT TO ATTEND THE 11th Ziff Festival from 11th to 20th July 2008!

Experience the festival difference!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Funeral Arrangements for Jim Mitchell & Obituary

Burial will be private, but a celebration of his life will be held at the Warner Town Hall on Tuesday, June 17 at 2 pm to be followed by a reception at his home, The Gallery at MainStreet Bookends.

Obituary for Jim Mitchell

Henry Milnor Jim Mitchell died June 4, 2008 of a heart attack in his home, MainStreet Bookends of Warner. Born March 17, 1950 in Charlottesville, VA, he was the first child of Arthur Hayne Mitchell, Jr. and Edith Looker Mitchell.

With his sister and brother-in-law, he in 1998 created and became co-owner of the community bookstore MainStreet BookEnds of Warner. In his ten years operating the store, it won numerous awards, including Yankee Magazines Must-See Bookstore of New England, and NH Magazines Best Community Bookstore.

It became the focal point and gathering place for the town. Here he coordinated over 300 events a year, including concerts, lectures, classes, story hours, and the meeting of primary presidential candidates. He was a former director of the annual Warner Fall Foliage Festival, served on numerous town committees, and was named Warners Citizen of the Year in 2004.

Jim was a decorated Vietnam veteran, being named Airman of the Year in 1970. He began his long radio career as a news anchor with WLNH in Laconia, New Hampshire, and moved to WSB Radio in Atlanta, GA where he stayed until 1981. He then came back to New England to anchor the morning news at WHDH Radio in Boston, the afternoon news at WEEI-AM, and then in 1998 became the weekend news anchor for WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

He also served as a union negotiator for the news crew. He received numerous broadcast awards including several awards from the Associated Press for "Best Newscast." He was most proud of his award for "Best Spot News" coverage of the World Airways crash at Logan International airport in Boston in 1982, and was known in the Boston area for bringing human interest stories from all around the world. He had traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, South America and the South Pacific.

He will forever be remembered for his clear voice, his humble nature, for his million small gestures of kindness, his ability to make everyone laugh and feel at ease, and his free balloon hour in the bookstore.

He leaves behind his adoring sister, Katharine Mitchell Nevins, and her husband, Neil, of Warner. Their children Lane, Matthias, Colin and Klare were his greatest loves. He is also survived by a brother Arthur Mitchell of Virginia, his wife Monica, and their children Katharine, Andrew and Thomas, his aunt Karen Hyde also of Virginia and many cousins.

He leaves behind a huge and grateful community of friends in Warner, at WBZ, and within the world of radio news.

Jims passion and greatest pride was the little town of Warner. He worked to encourage and promote all the artists, writers, musicians and children that live there. To honor Jims spirit and life work, his plans and dream for a community park between the bookstore and the Pillsbury Free Library of Warner will come true.

Any donations should be directed, in his name, toward MainStreet Warner, Inc., P.O. Box 248, Warner, NH 03278, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that he created. Burial will be private, but a celebration of his life will be held at the Warner Town Hall on Tuesday, June 17 at 2 pm to be followed by a reception at his home, The Gallery at MainStreet Bookends.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Rest in Peace Jim Mitchell (WBZ News Radio Anchor)

WBZ News Radio Weekend Anchors from left to right, Jim Mitchell, Bill Watson and Walt Perkins

You know its strange. Last week Saturday, I was talking to Jim Mitchell and when my shift ended I told him that I'd see him again this week today. That wouldn't be the case as Jim died of a heart attack on Wednesday. He was 58.

I worked with Jim Mitchell for the past 8 years at WBZ News Radio in Boston, where I work part time as a news writer mostly on Saturday's. I often wrote for Jim. If there was a problem he was always polite about it and keen to educate.

He loved his bookstore in Warner, New Hampshire. He even offered to order a book for me that I was looking of charge. Sometimes he'd bring in treats for the newsroom like cookies, cakes and pies which would be devoured quickly. He passed away in his beloved Bookstore.

We loved hearing him interview foreign correspondents. He was a pro at it, and even pronounced their names right.

I will miss Jim. I'm in the Newsroom now, it just doesn't feel the same.


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