Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cow on a Motorcycle

Cow riding motorcyles! Now I've seen everything. This photo was taken in Tanzania, East Africa.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Maasai Warriors in 1918

Found this interesting photo of Maasai Warriors taken in 1918, in German East Africa (now Tanzania). Look at what is on those ears. (Photo by Walther Dobbertin)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How to Talk About Race

Many white people would like to believe that race is not an issue in 2009. After Gatesgate, its pretty obvious that it still is even though we have a black President. President Barack Obama was even reminded that he was still an n-word even though he is President (Gatesgate backlash). A white congressman, Joe Wilson was rude to him in an act unheard of in U.S. history! And more..... Couldn't help but post this article as it speaks the truth.

Analysis: Wrestling with how to talk about race


WASHINGTON (AP) - For a while, it almost seemed as if President Barack Obama had soothed the angst over race in this country simply by taking office. The focus was on big issues facing a new president - one who just happened to be black.

If only it were so simple. This summer, Obama stepped into the dustup between a black college professor and a white police officer, and the race debate erupted anew. Then vitriolic attacks on Obama over his health care proposals spawned rippling allegations that his critics were motivated by racism.

And now passions over skin color are flaring red-hot again.
Obama's election nearly a year ago - a monumental stride toward bridging the racial divide - turned the politics of race on its head.
But it didn't end the matter by any means.

It turns out that Obama was right when he said in his much-watched race speech in March 2008 that there are "complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect."

Americans still are figuring out how to hold that conversation as the country navigates uncharted territory under its first nonwhite president.

One conundrum is how to hold Obama accountable for his words and actions - or even talk about his policies - without risk of being called racist.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain both wrestled with that question during the presidential campaign. Both found it tricky to maneuver. Both were frustrated by it. Each handled it differently.

In the Democratic primary, Clinton acted so cautiously that some insiders questioned whether she was afraid to throw a punch.
Come the general election, McCain early on accused Obama of playing the race card, hoping to send a message that he would not brook being called a racist.

Obama had triggered the reaction with a warning that Republicans would try to scare voters by saying he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

A year later and now as president, Obama is the one working to tamp down race in the political dialogue.

"Are there people out there who don't like me because of race? I'm sure there are," Obama says matter-of-factly. But he rejects the notion that racism is even partly behind his critics' attacks, as a growing chorus of Democrats have claimed.

Trying to turn down the heat, Obama adds: "We can have a strong disagreement, passionate disagreements about issues without resorting to name-calling."

But the "racist" label is as old as the country itself. And, in a nation founded by slaveholders, people aren't about to stop using it just because a black president is pleading for civility.
Certainly, Obama's election healed some racial wounds. But change takes time, and understanding the ramifications of change takes even longer.

"What we're dealing with is the foundational racial problems that we have had and still have. We're making progress, but we haven't come as far as people would like to believe we have," says Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., the senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and an outspoken conservative who is black. He says society is going through "a learning curve" on how to criticize Obama - and how to criticize the president's critics.

It's an issue that goes to the very heart of democracy. Free speech, including holding leaders accountable, is at this country's core.
Could the risk of being called a racist end up muzzling healthy debate if people don't dare voice their concerns?

Perhaps for some. But on the whole, criticism hasn't stopped.
Animosity toward the president and his policies has boiled over in recent weeks, most notably with South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" retort to the president.
Democrats from Jimmy Carter on down have blamed the increasingly harsh criticism of Obama on racism.
House Republican leader John Boehner countered that "the outrage that we see in America has nothing to do with race."

Reality likely falls somewhere in the middle.

"I hear it as anger, but anger masking fear," says Robin Lakoff, a linguistics professor at the University of California at Berkeley whose books include "The Language War." She says people are afraid of just about everything these days - the economy, the government, private business included. And she says: "There's this racial element. It isn't exactly racism but otherness."
Obama, for his part, has tried to shift the subject from the powder keg of race. It's been a distraction from his agenda, from his efforts to overhaul the health care system.

"It's important to realize that I was actually black before the election," the president said this week.

It was a gentle joke from the leader of a country still wrestling with the new dynamics that came when the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas took charge of the White House.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Liz Sidoti has covered national politics for The Associated Press since 2003.

Monday, September 21, 2009

President Obama Disrespected by Rep. Joe Wilson

56 Graymoor Lane
Olympia Fields, IL 60461
September 10, 2009

Joe Wilson, Member
United States Congress
212 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D. C 20515-4002

903 Port Republic Street
Beaufort, South Carolina 29902

Mr. Wilson:
I am an 80 year old mother and my older child is 51 years old; but, if ever I were to hear him call anyone a liar or rudely and obstreperously tell someone they were telling a lie, I would slap his face. My two children, 41 and 51 respectively, are very well reared as was I. I can remember as a little innocent child calling someone a liar. I only did it one time because the lecture in the form of a lesson in proper decorum sank in, and to this day, I have never called anyone a liar. My mother considered this the ultimate in rudeness and disrespect, not only for the person I called a liar, but for me, myself.

Having learned that lesson at such an early age, it made me cringe when you, at age 62, and a former military man, yelled to the President of the United States of America, “You lie.” As a military man, you know the chain of command; and, you were addressing the Commander in Chief of the United States of America. Of course, President Obama who is a very refined gentleman did not respond and he kept right on target delivering the most brilliant speech I have ever heard. I can say this with a degree of authority because I have been witness to every presidency since Herbert Hoover. Never in the hallowed halls of Congress have I witnessed such coarse, gross, despicable behavior.

I don’t know if your mother is alive or not, but if she is, I’m certain that she hung her head in shame knowing that all over the world you have disgraced her, yourself, your wife, your four sons, your office, your constituency and your country. Children of good breeding, who are properly reared carry the teachings of their parents throughout their lives. At 80 everything I do is tested against, “what would my mother think of that?” I would never defame her precious memory by demonstrating lack of self control and a knowledge of the social graces that separate women from ladies and men from gentlemen.

My mother was a proper Southern genteel lady who commanded respect because of the way she carried herself. I would think that your being from the South, you would have gotten some of that good ole Southern hospitality and gentility that seems to be characteristic of intelligent people of the South.

I do so hope you will listen to the foreign media as I did late last night. You are an international disgrace because from Ireland to China and England, your crudity was the main topic of conversation.

I note that you have a law degree. I wonder how proud your alma mater, University of South Carolina Law School , was of you tonight as you showed to the world that education without character is vacuous and meaningless. There is a popular expression of people with degrees who lack common sense, they are referred to as “educated fools.”

If you were playing to the media and to the camera for attention, you succeeded because your worldwide legacy will be that you were the ill-suited and ill-placed person who demeaned himself in the halls of Congress for the first time in U S history.

Written with embarrassment for my country,

Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Caribbean Carnival Cambridge

Every year we look forward to watching the Caribbean Festival parade go down River St. here in Cambridge, MA. Usually its in August, but this year they held it in September. The weather was great as it was warm and not hot.

You can also see more photos on my Swahili language blog: