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