Thursday, August 31, 2006

Colorado Republican GOP candidate: "70 percent, maybe even more," of pregnancies among African-American women end in abortion

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African American Political Pundit says:
What, is this guy on some type of weed, "is he a member of the liberal wing of the KKK." You got to be kidding me! He needs to crawl back under his rock. But nothing surprises me anymore with Republicans or Democrats.

Here is the story.

Hat tip
jack and jill politics and colorado.mediamatters.org.

Colorado Public Radio host Warner failed to challenge Beauprez's claim that "70 percent" of African-American "pregnancies end in abortion"

Summary: On KCFR's Colorado Matters, host Ryan Warner let stand Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's citation of the false statistic that "as high as 70 percent, maybe even more," of pregnancies among African-American women end in abortion.

On the August 28 broadcast of Colorado Public Radio affiliate KCFR's Colorado Matters, host Ryan Warner let stand during the interview Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's citation of the false statistic that "as high as 70 percent, maybe even more," of pregnancies among African-American women end in abortion.

Beauprez stated that "in some of our ethnic communities we're seeing very, very high percentages of babies, children, pregnancies end in abortion." When Warner asked him to name "which ethnic communities in particular" he was referring to, Beauprez answered, "I've seen numbers as high as 70 percent, maybe even more, in the African-American community that I think is just appalling."

In fact, according to the latest figures from the November 2005 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among states in which abortion rates by race were adequately reported, the 2002 "abortion ratio for black women" was "495 per 1,000 live births." In other words, roughly 33 percent of pregnancies among African-American women that do not end in miscarriages or stillbirths -- less than half of what Beauprez claimed -- end in "legal induced abortions."

From the August 28 broadcast of KCFR's Colorado Matters:

BEAUPREZ: Tragically, I think, in some of our ethnic communities we're seeing very, very high percentages of babies, children, pregnancies end in abortion. And I think that it's time we have an out-in-the-open discussion about what that means.

WARNER: Do you know which ethnic communities in particular?

BEAUPREZ: I've seen numbers as high as 70 percent, maybe even more, in the African-American community that I think is just appalling. And I'm not saying it's appalling on them; I'm saying it's appalling that something's happening to encourage that. Frankly, it raises another question: Do we think it's OK that that many African-American babies aren't allowed to be born and live an otherwise normal life and reach the blessings, the fullness of the American dream? I think those are very, very serious, very intense, very personal questions that a society such as ours ought to ponder.

As jack and jill politics wrote, its hard to believe this man is a Member of Congress.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

U.S. Speaks In Fork Tongue


African American Political Pundit says: The Bush Administration speaks with fork tongue.

It's interesting to read in the Washington Post that Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld is drawing parallels to efforts by some nations to appease Adolf Hitler before World War II with news media, bloggers and other critics of Bush's war and national security policies . I guess the U.S. military is letting us know "indirectly" that our constitutional rights are being checked at the door. Speaking of checked...

Check out Donald Rumsfeld as he "appeased" then American buddy Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in his role as special envoy of President Ronald Reagan on December 20, 1983.

Now Rumsfeld says it would be "folly" for the United States to ignore the rising dangers posed by a new enemy that he called "serious, lethal and relentless."


African American Political Pundit is a regular contributor to Mirror on America

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cornel West Speech

Listen to Cornel West Speech from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he once taught. The speech was part of an event earlier this year to honor Barry Ulanov.

Listen to Part I of the speech.

Listen to Part II of the speech (A question and answer segment)





Previous Cornel West Speeches

1. Speech From the St. Sabina Church in Chicago. Listen Here. Give program a chance to load.

2. Watch Video of speech from North Carolina A&T University. Part of an HBCU event.



African American Political Pundit says: Here is one of the best editorials regarding Katrina lessons learned. It's too bad our Federal government does not get it. What do you think? To the left is a photo of FEMA mobile homes in Arkansas that, because of its own regulations, cannot be used in flood plains. $900 million of Federal tax payer waste.


The Washington Post says:

The important post-Katrina lesson is not about less vs. more government, or about the government's organizational chart. It is about competence and leadership. The initial response to the storm was bungled, with New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin being slow to order an evacuation and the federal government slow to step in with assistance. Even more shockingly, the realization of the full scale of the crisis did not improve the quality of government decisions. FEMA spent $900 million on mobile homes that, because of its own regulations, cannot be used in flood plains. A Senate report has estimated that the agency allowed an additional $2 billion to disappear in fraud and abuse. Bureaucracy has slowed progress repeatedly. Of the $110 billion appropriated for rebuilding and assistance to victims, only $44 billion has been spent.

This is a lesson in the danger of entrusting the emergency management agency to political loyalists rather than experts. It is a danger that exists quite independently of whether or not FEMA is part of a larger department: During the 1980s the agency was stuffed with political appointees with dubious credentials, which explains why its response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was similarly incompetent. In the wake of that disaster, the agency was overhauled, and another wave of reform is in the works: The Bush administration has appointed a new boss for the agency; it has installed new communications and logistical systems; and it has worked on prepositioning relief supplies in disaster-prone areas.

The test will be whether this and future administrations sustain this new seriousness -- or whether the old complacency returns. That in turn will depend on whether there is more leadership than Mr. Bush provided in the first year, and a greater sense of urgency.

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African American Political Pundit is a regular contributor to Mirror On America.

Doll Test Produces Ugly Results

Horrifying & Heartbreaking Story About Black Children and Self Image/Self Esteem. The report looks at young Black women in particular.

A Young filmmaker resurrects an old legendary experiment on race, and half a century after that experiment she was able to show that nothing much has changed.

Watch the short film below entitled A Girl Like Me. The film was made by 16 year old New York student Kiri Davis (now 17).

Article

New 'Doll Test' Produces Ugly Results
by Hazel Trice Edney
NNPA Washington Correspondent
Originally posted 8/16/2006

The reassuring female voice asks the child a question: “Can you show me the doll that looks bad?”

The child, a preschool-aged Black girl, quickly picks up and shows the Black doll over a White one that is identical in every respect except complexion.

“And why does that look bad?” “Because she’s Black,” the little girl answers emphatically.

“And why is this the nice doll?” the voice continues.

“Because she’s White.”

“And can you give me the doll that looks like you?”The little girl hesitates for a split second before handing over the Black doll that she has just designated as the uglier one.

This was not the 1954 doll test used by pioneering psychologist Kenneth B. Clark to help make the case for desegregation in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision outlawing segregated public schools. Rather, it was a doll test duplicated in Harlem, N. Y., last year, more than a half-century after Brown. To the chagrin of parents and psychologists across the nation, the results were unchanged.

Continue Reading Here


Watch Short Film Here

Monday, August 28, 2006

Holocaust in Darfur: What Is A Black Life Worth?

Atrocities continue in Darfur Sudan, as the world watches.

Watch/Listen to a report from Democracy Now on the situation in Darfur. I have written about this issue several times.

I ask the question- What is a Black life worth? I ask this because over the past few weeks and months, the world has been fixated on things such as the so-called murderer of a little American girl; a suspect that turned out to be a sick mental case, who wanted to create his 15 minutes of fame. Of course he was not the real suspect at all.... but the media swarmed on the story for their ratings because it was sensational. In reality, it is a story with no national or international significance at all. Do Americans realize how many children come up missing or are found dead every year in the U.S.? Just look at the list of missing children in the U.S. at any given time. They get virtually no media coverage at all.

Meanwhile, the media ignores hundreds of thousands of people dying in Darfur and other parts of Africa, and the wider developing world. Thousands of people of color are dying needlessly everyday. 6,000 people (mostly children) die of AIDS everyday in parts of Africa. EVERY DAY! Almost nothing is mentioned about them in Western media.

OR you can point to the stories about Natalie Holloway, or the latest senseless Hollywood movie. All of these stories receive more coverage and attention than the crisis in Darfur.

So I have to go back to the same question that I have asked here before. A question that I have been pondering quite a bit of late. Is one White life, particularly one White American life more important than 1000 Black African lives? Is one White American life worth more than 10,000 Black African lives? Is one White American life worth more than 100,000; 200,000; or 300,000 Black African lives? I have come to the conclusion that in the eyes of most Americans (White America in particular), this is in fact the case.... I don't believe that they even view Africans as human beings who are even worthy of discussion, let alone worthy of help.

Until this fundamental underlying belief changes amongst those in the Western world, the Darfur crisis, and others like it, will continue to carry on unabated.

Now am I suggesting all out war against Sudan? No. However, sanctions, and other diplomatic action (such as limiting travel) are in order.

However, there seems to be two things that have made the U.S. impotent in dealing with this matter.

1. The U.S. standing in the world has been severly crippled due to U.S. foreign policy over the past several years (going back to Clinton and perhaps even as far back as George H.W. Bush). The U.S. has lost its moral authority. At the same time, weaknesses and limits of U.S. military power have been exposed by the war in Iraq. This has led to a situation where other countries (friend and foe) no longer take the U.S. seriously. Many potential foes have basically told the U.S. to go to hell in their own way....countries such as Iran, Russia, China, India, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Venezuela, Sudan, Belarus, and even allies Canada and Mexico among several others. So the world has basically chosen to ignore the U.S. (those nations that can afford to do so without losing or risking too much).

2. The U.S. has basically chosen oil over people (no suprise there, since the U.S. is run by a group of oil executives). The U.S. does not want to disturb the flow of oil from Sudan.

This is because of the Worlds dependence on oil. Although the U.S. does not directly get much oil from the Sudan region, other countries do, including countries that we trade with. Also, oil is used for the manufacturing of so many products that we need and use. It's not just used for the production of gasoline. Any oil disruption could raise retail prices here in the U.S. for all sorts of products, especially imported goods.

But what is a Black life worth? I can recall my readings regarding WWII. The U.S. spent upwards of 20+% of GDP, and was willing to risk it all to win that war and spare the Jews from total destruction. I'm not suggesting that this should be the U.S. response, because any response should not make matters worse. However, the U.S. and the UN could certainly do more than what is being done today. There are plenty of levers and tools at the worlds disposal.... including getting the Arab league and Muslim nations around the world to lean on Sudan. The problem here is that most of the perpetrators are Muslims. But the U.S. could certainly encourage nations friendly to Sudan to apply pressure on this issue.

The U.S. could also assist without entering Sudan at all. The U.S. could set up safety zones inside neighboring Chad, right along the border with Darfur Sudan. Temporary shelters could be set up along the border. The UN Security Council could vote on a Chapter 7 resolution to force Sudan to cooperate with a mass evacuation and the setting up of UN safety zones both in Chad and inside Darfur if necessary. This would be a temporary solution until a permanent peace agreement could be reached. If Sudan does not agree to negotiate to reach a peaceful settlement, sanctions could then be applied incrementally over a period of several years, isolating Sudan more and more from the rest of the world. This would likely lead to Sudan yielding eventually, or it could cause instability for the Sudanese government, ushering in the opportunity for a more reasonable government to emerge later on.

But what is a Black life worth? The World has so far shown that it has no backbone in dealing with this issue. No one wants to sacrifice.

Due to the Worlds dependence on oil, we are bound to have more of these kinds of problems in the future. This is why it is so important for the world to move away from an oil based economy and into an economy based on hydrogen, ethanol, natural gas, solar/wind power, and other alternative fuels.

How many hundreds of thousands of Black Africans have to die before Western media and the Western world in general begins to care? I see more attention paid to the care of animals and to animal rights than I see paid towards the life and well being of Black Africans.

I don't think this situation would be allowed to continue if it involved Europeans. In fact, the world acted in Europe during the 1990's when there was only a hint of genocide.... involving a few thousand people. I am not downplaying the seriousness of what occurred in the former Yugoslavia, however, I am pointing out that there were very distinct differences in how the world reacted to that situation and how it has reacted to crisis' in Africa (disasters that were much worse than Yugoslavia). There is no question that genocide is occurring in Darfur, (a conclusion that even the U.S. government has agreed with) and it's happening on a massive scale. Yet, there is a clear difference in the worlds response to these two parts of the world. When Africa had humanitarian disasters in Ethiopia, Seirra Leone, Rwanda, Congo, South Africa.... the world basically turned away. These calamities barely made the news in the Western World.

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Additional Report from BBC

Additional Report from San Jose Mercury

Related Blog Entries

Commentary on Darfur from Mia Farrow

Major Symposium on Darfur in New York City

Previous report from Amy Goodman

Still no response to crisis

Holocaust Continues

Report On Racial Profiling Of Muslims In The U.S.

Amy Goodman reports on racial profiling of Muslims in the U.S., including Muslim Americans.

This has been a big topic over the past few weeks. I was recently involved in a heated discussion at Lashawn Barber's Corner regarding this issue. Of course LaShawn Barber was in favor of profiling.

This issue became a big topic of discussion after British authorities began to debate whether profiling should be used at UK airports.

Watch/Listen to this story from Democracy Now. Muslim Americans discuss their ordeal. One family in particular was held for over 5 hours.

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Related Stories

Britian Considers Racial Profiling

LaShawn Barber- Muslims On A Plane


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My response to a reader of LaShawn Barber's Corner.... who stated that racial profiling was a legitimate tool of Law Enforcement.

I tried to explain to the reader that there was a difference between "profiling" and "racial profiling". These are two completely different concepts as they relate to law enforcement.

Profiling- YES
Racial Profiling- NO

I don’t think many people understand that there is a difference in Law Enforcement between those two concepts.

Profiling- Looking at a combination of factors that when put together= “probable cause” or “reasonable suspicion”. That is perfectly legal and legitimate.

However, racial profiling- Looking solely or predominantly at the race of an individual and using that as a determination to stop, frisk, question, detain, harass, etc… IS NOT a legitimate law enforcement tool and is not ethical and in most cases is not legal. It’s unconstitutional and could never hold up to legal scrutiny. It violates the 14th Amendment (section 1 under Equal Protection).

So you Conservatives can talk about it all you want… It can never be made into “official” policy here. Although it has been in practice (unofficially) for years.
If you want the law changed, it would require an amendment to the Constitution. (which won’t happen).

I have a feeling that if it were not for the Constitution & the Judicial System in this country (the only branch of government that the people have left)… we would still be swinging by our necks from tree branches.

Muslims wouldn’t be the only people being persecuted.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Iran Rejects U.S. & UN Demands

What will be the next move for the UN?

Report from USA Today.

Iran Starts New Nuclear Reactor, in defiance of United Nations.

Options for the U.S. are limited when it comes to dealing with Iran. Iran has political/economic advantage in this dispute.

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The U.S. is considering bypassing the UN to deal with Iran. Another "Coalition of the Willing" idea. BEWARE! The U.S. is looking at an alternative route because the UN is reluctant to take action.

In an unbelievable related story.... Valerie Plame was working on gathering intelligence about Iranian WMD when her name & status as an agent was leaked. This is interesting because members of Congress and some officials in the White House are now complaining about a lack of intelligence about Iran.
If they wouldn't play games with the nations intelligence sources, then perhaps they would have more information about Irans nuclear technology program and the intentions of the Iranian government.

This is why members of this administration should be held accountable for that intelligence leak.

My Internet Access Is On The Fritz

My internet connection is at a crawl right now.... ISP problems.

DAMN CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS!!!!

So my blogging will be limited until problem is fixed (with Charter, there is really no estimate for how long that could take).

Exclusive Interview With Juan Williams

Hear an Interview with Juan Williams on the topic of the State of Black America, particularly Black Leadership. Interview that you will only get here.

Interview from August 24th. He discusses his new book, Enough.
Listen to Interview here.

Juan Williams speaks the truth & drops bombs in the interview....making no apologies.



THANK YOU MR. WILLIAMS FOR TELLING IT LIKE IT IS!!!!


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Previous blog entries on this subject

Juan Williams and Michael Eric Dyson in Debate on State of Black America

Is Cosby Wrong?

Black Men in Crisis

Russell Simmons Campaigning for Michael Steele

Russell Simmons helping Republicans in next election cycle. Genius move by Republicans.

Russell Simmons campaigning for Michael Steele.

Report from Eurweb.

Report from the Washington Post

Simmons fighting for the best interest of poor folks, or for the best interest of the wealthy (like himself)?

This is why the country is probably better off with the rap community staying out of politics.

And poor minorities should stop depending on either party to help them. They have to become self reliant.

It seems that every few decades, Blacks switch their loyalty from one party to the other and back again. And look at where that has led them. Not very far at all.

And as for the rap industry..... are these thugs (rap moguls) really concerned with the plight of poor minorities, or are they just concerned about their own careers? I think they enjoy the news coverage that they get, and ride it as far as they can.

I remember "vote or die" from one of the other Hip Hop Hustlers (in the words of Mr. Cosby), but never heard anything after that in terms of follow-up.

What do I mean by follow-up? In terms of "follow-up" I am referring to voter education programs, voter registration drives all year round, developing new political parties and political movements, providing educational programming on networks like the dreaded BET in place of the butt shaking, naked women videos.....but I don't recall seeing any of that from Mr. Powder Puff.

These thug moguls need to find a rock to crawl under, rather than playing the role as spokespersons for a race of people. White folks get confused about this stuff and assume that people like Simmons speak for all Black people. Simmons and Puffy Combs are the kinds of images that I have to fight against and separate myself from everyday.

I'm all for personal responsibility, which is what the Republicans always preach, however, i'm not sold on the idea that Republicans are really concerned about issues impacting minorities, the poor, or for anything having to do with social justice or fairness in government. Republicans can talk all they want about reaching out to minorities and being concerned about the less fortunate, or even the "common man"....but their policies paint a different picture. This is the part that people seem to miss. People must look at the actual policies and the actions of these politicians, instead of listening to the rhetoric that they give. Deeds/Actions speak louder than words. Republicans talk a good game, but usually blow smoke.

Democrats are not much better when it comes to keeping their word after campaign season. But in a political system that gives you the choice between the Demon and the Devil, which would you rather have?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Race, Racism, Survivor and CBS

By African American Political Pundit

The most talked-about TV series of the fall may not be a new drama or sitcom, but an aging reality show that’s going into its 13th season. The buzz is all around town. Race Matters in America, even on the TV program Survivor.

Producers announced Wednesday that CBS-TV’s Survivor , in which individuals compete against each other on a deserted island for a $1 million prize, will have racially segregated teams when the next installment kicks off Sept. 14.

The 20 contestants will be divided into squads of blacks, whites, Asians and Hispanics, a move that is already generating controversy.

African American Political Pundit says: It's unfortunate that race matters so much in our country. The "bigotry demons" are working overtime at CBS. The Washington Post reports 20 contestants will be divided into the White Tribe, the African American Tribe, the Asian American Tribe and the Hispanic Tribe. Why not a Native American Tribe or a Japanese American Tribe? It seems to me the African American Tribe, Native American Tribe and Japense American Tribe are real survivors of American Racism let's get them to play the game.

Ooops the "bigotry demons" at CBS got it wrong, what is the white tribe doing in there? Let's kick out the white tribe real soon, they are not really "survivors" they are descendents of slave owners and neocolonialist but not really "survivors." How about a Jewish holocoust tribe for good measure. Oops again, to old, not in the CBS viewer market. How about an O.J. Simpson tribe? A Rodney King Tribe? Oh better yet, how about a KKK Tribe?

Survivor Cook Islands cast

Reaction has been swift in the Black and Hispanic community.

BAW (Black America Web) writes: The decision by producers of the CBS reality hit “Survivor” to divide the tribes by race in the upcoming fall season has triggered reactions of surprise, disgust and curiosity -- and a certainty that CBS will gain an enormous ratings boost, at least initially.

The Examiner.com writes: Get ready for a segregated "Survivor." Race will matter on the upcoming season of the CBS show as contestants will be divided into four tribes by ethnicity. That means blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians in separate groups.

Lisa Navarette, Communications Director for National Council of La Raza, the Latino civil rights and advocacy group. says: “The producers of Survivor are either really clueless or really soulless, that they are willing to engage a pretty hot-button topic for ratings and feel they won’t have any problems,” says “Knowing Survivor , and the way the game is played, it gets very ugly and setting it up that way almost propels people to go there [act negatively toward other races]. . .It borders on the irresponsible.” More>>>

The Defamer writes: Just as Page Six reported yesterday, Jeff Probst joined Harry Smith on CBS' The Early Show for an interview to defend Survivor's latest genius promotional hook of dividing next season's contestants into four, race-sorted groups: The Asian-American Tribe, The African-American Tribe, The Hispanic Tribe and The White Tribe (isn't the acceptable term Honky-Americans?). Smith can't hide his contempt for the shamelessness of it all, saying "there were groans" in the studio that morning, which Probst counters by explaining that the show's concept came out of "the criticism that Survivor was not ethnically diverse enough." It was a fundamental flaw in the casting process that producer Mark Burnett and his crack team of sleazebag reality producers immediately addressed by segregating the hungry and increasingly desperate players according to skin color, then letting the cameras capture which ethnic group will first resort to devouring a competing, weaker ethnic group once the stomach pains become too much to bear. More >>>

Marc Lamont Hill writes: On September 14, CBS will unveil the thirteenth season of the popular reality show “Survivor.” Like its predecessors, the upcoming season will send 20 people to a tropical island, divide the teams into four “tribes,” and have them compete against each other until one person is left standing. In addition to intensifying the colonial gaze through its reductive and exoticized representations of the “other,” the show has added yet another problematic twist: this year’s tribes will be divided by race. While the producers are labeling the show as a “social experiment, ” many critics are already dismissing it as a racist publicity stunt.

To be certain, the producers of the show are motivated by the high ratings that accompany such a sensational premise. Given the enormous hype and early high ratings for FX’s race-centered Black/White, it was merely a matter of time before another network followed suit. Initially, Donald Trump was planning to do a race-themed season of The Apprentice but opted out at the last minute. This was a wise business move, as the backlash from an offensive moment or two could permanently derail the series. Such a moment would have inevitable given Trump’s rough demeanor, disrespectful treatment of Omorosa, and public diss to Randal Pinkett. Unfortunately, the folks at CBS don't share Trumps keen understanding of his own limitations. More>>

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African American Political Pundit will be a regular contributor to Mirror On America.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Artist Spotlight: Deniece Williams

Artist Spotlight: Deniece Williams







They just don't make singers like this anymore.

Deniece Williams is one of my favorite singers from the past. Although she is still singing, she no longer does "secular" music.

Definitely one of the Greatest of All Time in terms of Soul Singers from the 70's and 80's. One of about a dozen female singers who truly provided the soundtrack of the 70's and 80's and set the standard for how Soul Singing is done.

She started out singing behind Stevie Wonder, alongside Minnie Riperton, in the backup group called Wonderlove. Stevie has launched a few big careers in his time.

Biography

Partial Discography

Songs (Right Click & Open in New Window)

If You Don't Believe

Waiting By The Hotline

Baby My Loves All For You

That's What Friends Are For

Cause You Love Me Baby

Do What You Feel

Too Much Too Little Too Late w/ Johnny Mathis

Silly

Free

See a very young Deniece Williams singing behind Stevie Wonder with Wonderlove....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Spike Lee Speaking About Katrina Documentary

Spike Lee Speaks About Hurricane Katrina Documentary entitled When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts.

Listen to Review of Film

Listen to Interview with Spike Lee from NPR's News and Notes program with Ed Gordon.

A Previous NPR interview.


Visit HBO's Official Webpage For This Documentary


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Related

Watch two additional documentaries about the Katrina disaster. These are two excellent films from PBS. Both were posted previously here.

Follow Link

Was The U.S. Behind the War On Lebanon?

And was Lebanon just the beginning of a wider plan to hit Iran?

Seymour Hersh seems to think so. Watch/Listen to report here.

Alleged Child Killer John Karr In Custody In L.A.


Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

First he's in Thailand giving news conferences and walking around without handcuffs as if he's a celeb or the President. This was odd since he was being deported there and was also under being questioned for having an improper relationship with a Thai child.

Then he's dining on shrimp, sipping on champagne (raising his glass & giving toasts) and enjoying first class on the airplane back to the U.S.

Hmmmm.... Star treatment indeed for an alleged child murderer. Are my tax dollars paying for this?
As a black man, I can only watch and shake my head. How crazy is this?!!!!

A Black (or non-caucasian) suspect under the same circumstances probably would have received the noose treatment, or a flogging prior to being taken to a firing squad. This is how undesirables are treated in many places overseas. No offense to my white brothers and sisters....but you probably know it's true. Something is just not right with this.

It's hard to hear about a guy like this enjoying top of the line cuisine, when there are so many children going hungry right there in Thailand and all over the developing world.

Yes, technically he was not under arrest & returned voluntarily, however, he could have been charged under U.S. Federal Law for improper contact with a child in Thailand, even though the incident(s) occurred there rather than in the U.S.

This treatment seems bizarre. I have never seen anything like it. This would make a good Twilight Zone episode.

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Read report here....

The CSM looks into the issue of teacher vetting... something that I brought up in a previous blog entry.

Israel Threatens Fragile Truce

Israel Threatens Truce With Hezbollah

Israel launches raid, invades Lebanese Airspace, and suggests they intend to resume war.
Israel is apparently trying to sabotage peace efforts.

Hear report from National Public Radio.

Summary

The United Nations has deemed that Saturday's raid by Israeli commandos in Lebanon is a violation of the cease-fire agreement. U.N. envoys traveled to Beirut where they warned that the fragile cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel could "easily start sliding … into the abyss of violence and bloodshed."


My take:

Israel is attempting to break the truce, so that it can resume its unfinished (and mostly failed) mission to knock out Hezbollah targets. Israels national ego has been damaged by previous failures in this war and now government leaders want another chance to strike at Hezbollah as a way to redeem themselves.

Israel is putting up obstacles for International Troops, setting conditions that they know can't be met. This is an effort to poison the peace efforts so that the UN deal will fail.
The lack of assertiveness & clear rules of engagement and direction by the UN has also led countries to refuse to send troops, which could also cause the ceasefire to fail. All of these questions should have been dealt with during negotiations.

France has since backed away from sending sufficient troops. Germany has refused. The UK will not send troops either. Without these leading European countries sending troops, it is unlikely that other nations will want to participate in any UN force. The UN contigent was supposed to be 15,000 troops. These troops were to be added to the 15,000 Lebanese troops to assist in keeping the two fighting parties apart and to stop Hezbollah from firing rockets into Northern Israel. However, the UN only has about 10% of the troops needed for its contingent of 15,000. It is unlikely that the mission will be carried through at all.

Then there is the problem of getting their soldiers back and disarming Hezbollah. No one seems to have the backbone or the stomach for the job....including the Labanese government. The Labanese government is essentially a hostage of Hezbollah. You basically have a terrorist group controlling an entire country.

Meanwhile, Israel is withdrawing, but continues to build up its forces in the region for something much bigger. I predict that the peace mission will be sabotaged (mostly by Israel) and the fighting will resume.

The next phase of this war could be much larger than the first. If war resumes (and all indications show that it will eventually resume because the UN is impotent in efforts to stop it), Israel will launch a full scale war on Lebanon. The purpose: to hold territory in order to protect Northern Israel, and to wipe out Hezbollahs weapons inventory. Syria could also be sucked into the conflict.

The UN is blowing what is probably its only chance to prevent this from taking place.

On Israels Failure

I predicted here several weeks ago that Israel would only make matters worse, cause a lot of death, and would not meet its objectives:
1. To cripple Hezbollah ...and

2. To get its soldiers back.

Israel failed in both missions. In fact, Hezbollah has come out stronger. They took a page out of the Bush administrations playbook, and they demonstrated that this kind of doctrine does not work against extremist groups.

One would think (and logic would suggest) that Israel would have learned something from this experience, and would be thinking of a different approach to solving its problems. Yet they only conjure up more ideas for war.

I cannot wrap my head around their strategy or thinking process. I can't make any sense out of their approach.

My predictions are often accurate...but this is one time that i'm actually hoping that my prediction is wrong.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Watch Recent Congressional Hearing On Immigration Reform

Watch Recent Congressional Hearing held in El-Paso Texas, on the subject of Immigration- The impact of illegal immigration on local communities and possible reform policies.

From August 17, 2006

U.S. House Judiciary Committee conducts a field hearing on Oversight Hearing on "Should Mexico Hold Veto Power Over U.S. Border Security Decisions?" This was a special "field Hearing" held in El-Paso Texas. There was also another special immigration hearing held in San Diego a few days ago...however, I am unable to locate that video at this time. If I find it, I will add it.

The following hearing in El-Paso Texas, was presided over by Congressmember James Sensenbrenner- Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Long hearing, but informative if you want to keep up with this issue.

Watch Here

DMCA Issues, Legal Stuff, etc

Have a copyright complaint or an issue with something posted here, and you would like an item removed based on DMCA?

PLEASE DON’T BE AN ---HOLE!

DMCA letters and threats are unnecessary. We remove items voluntarily if there is a copyright issue. Before beginning DMCA takedown procedures to have an item removed, please contact me - the blog author/editor-in-chief - directly with a simple, normal, friendly e-mail (not a DMCA notice) and I will remove the item or page immediately upon receipt of the request, no questions asked. Please describe the exact item under copyright, who controls the copyright, and provide the blog link…so that I know what to remove. Email: WebsterU2006 at yahoo.com

(this will be faster and easier than going through the headache of DMCA "takedown" procedures).

For photographers - we try to avoid using portrait photos and artwork. We prefer to use stock photos, and photos widely available online from news services that won’t send me threatening letters. I don’t like the threats, and I don’t want the trouble of dealing with copyright issues or legal nonsense. My life is problematic enough as is. I have enough problems to last 10 lifetimes. But sometimes something may get posted that might be under copyright, or that may be questionable or objectionable. This is not done intentionally for the purpose of stealing someone else’s work. It is often impossible to know the source of every photo on the web or to know which item will cause a copyright problem.

This blog is strictly non-commercial. Photos, interviews, wire reports, etc are used for non-commercial, informational, review & educational purposes only. I don’t make any money from this blog.

We will also try to avoid using MPAA covered material.


Background


Al Capone - also known as The Recording Industry

The recording industry is well known for its campaign against illegal file sharers and file sharing networks, particularly on college campuses across the U.S. To wage its battle, the recording industry cartel, aka the RIAA (representing 90% of commercial music made in the U.S.) has used the DMCA of 1998 - The Digital Millennium Copyright Act - Legislation largely written by recording industry lobbyists and attorneys. In the last few years, the cartel has stepped up its efforts to control how Americans (and people around the World) use media by going after average citizens.

The recording industry cartel, with cooperation from Google and other web hosts, has now launched a war against bloggers and podcasters (in my opinion). This appears to be a new, much more aggressive phase of its campaign to control media and generate more revenue for the record companies by playing gate-keeper/troll for the use of music. The recording industry cartel seems to believe that they will make more money and will remain viable long-term by attacking their customers, and by restricting access to music. They are effectively making sure older music will die, since new audiences won’t be introduced to it. By doing this, they are in a way pinning their hopes for viability on the newer cookie cutter music…which often ends up being a flash in the pan. Yes, I know….all of this appears backwards and counterproductive. They are working against themselves. Their thinking and their business model are illogical and outdated. The recording industry actually reminds me of the American car companies, which have (because of greed and a lack of foresight) worked against their own interests for the last decade….by not responding and adapting to the macro business environment- and now they find themselves in trouble. The recording industry is facing the same problems with their internal business culture. In my business school, these kinds of companies were held up as models for how not to run an organization.

There have also been efforts by partisan political groups to use the DMCA to control speech, stifle dissent and debate, and to intimidate. No one is immune from the cartel. Absolutely no one. Not even innocent toddlers. See more on the UMG vs. Lenz case. (complete insanity). With the slow economy and with CD sales slumping, the recording industry is desperately seeking new ways to generate revenue. If that means attacking their customers and destroying human lives, then so be it. They have children of CEO’s to feed and to keep clothed. These efforts, in my opinion, appear to be part of the recording industry’s business model. But the recording industry (which is supposed to be looking out for the artists) is actually looking out for the record companies and their executives, who actually control many of the copyrights.

Complicating matters for consumers is the fact that they have almost no protection from the industry. There is no government oversight of the recording industry cartel. They have extraordinary powers & they are allowed to act with impunity. There used to be a doctrine known as “Fair Use”, but that is now largely defunct (although it‘s still on paper). “Fair Use” has basically been eliminated little by little. Bloggers battle this industry at their own risk.

A similar situation is emerging with newspapers. With sales falling, newspapers are struggling to stay afloat. They too are lashing out at blogs.

But the point of all this is to inform readers that bloggers and podcasters are the new targets of a much more aggressive recording industry (and other media). Bloggers are being targeted with DMCA action, and face the removal of their blogs. The aim seems to be to get rid of all music blogs and music podcasters. Somehow this effort has gone under the radar of major news media. Within the next year or two… there probably won’t be many music bloggers or podcasters left… definitely not as many as there are now (as of Fall 2008). Bloggers are even being targeted with legal threats for posting items in flashplayer format, where no downloadable files are being offered whatsoever. Posting music using a flashplayer is no different than the music posted to Youtube (which is also flashplayer based). Even if you encourage listeners to purchase the music that they can’t download (essentially becoming a salesperson for the artists), you still get threatened. In some cases, the cartel is threatening bloggers who actually have permission to post the items on their blogs…. Sometimes the recording industry demands removal of items which they have no copyright for. In some cases, the recording industry has used questionable practices, such as frightening & intimidating their targets into paying money (often average citizens...and people who they know can't afford attorneys).... practices akin to extortion, just like the old Mafia would do. And it's all legal. Remember... as I mentioned, they can do almost whatever they want.

I will admit, there are some bloggers and podcasters who operate irresponsibly…by offering pirated material, individual song files and other kinds of files, instead of posting playlists and album/artist reviews, interviews and using posting methods that protect the actual material.

But is eliminating all music blogs and podcasts really the way to go…or could there be a new protocol created so that music blogging/podcasting could be done more responsibly? Why not get rid of the bad apples who are using filesharing services to post songs and in some cases entire albums? How about shutting these sites down completely and banning IP addresses of the pirates at the host level, as opposed to the peace-meal removal of individual posts? Why not allow streaming or limited streaming (as opposed to downloadable files)? It seems like there are almost endless possibilities in terms of a sensible compromise. But the recording industry isn't interested in compromise or solutions. Their aim is to shut down all music...all sound..online where they don't have absolute control. (Basically silencing the internet).

Well, this is an issue that I won’t have to worry about… since this blog will not be posting music.

Policy on Music, Videos and other Media

This blog has a policy of not posting music files of any kind. No songs, no snippets, and no playlists, and there will be no Mp3 downloading or filesharing. That includes music from independent record companies, unsigned groups or anyone claiming to control the rights to their own material. I don’t have the time to deal with the legal headache and trying to figure out what I can and cannot post. So to Hell with it….and to Hell with the current commercial recording industry & its trade groups.

The only exceptions to this rule will be:

Music and artist interviews presented on Public radio, and Public TV (PBS, NPR, Pacifica, PRI, and so forth). I will continue to link to these stories. Thank God for Public Radio. I'll also use the occasional Youtube video.

No Solicitations

Occasionally I get e-mails from book authors, columnists, and others who would like me to post their material, give a book review, etc. Somehow they think this blog is really that important.
Mirror On America does not seek or accept such solicitations, largely due to the issues surrounding DMCA. I won’t deal with you, even if you claim to control your own copyrights. I don’t have a legal department and I don’t want to burden myself with copyright issues. To put it more bluntly- I don’t want to be bothered with your bull---- and the potential headaches and complications that may come with it. So please save it. Don’t bother sending unsolicited materials, book passages, requests for reviews, etc.

But if I come across something on my own…and I take a liking to it… I may write something about it. And if you get an appearance on public TV or public radio, and I like your work, I may indeed write a post on it… or post a link to the story. Again, that would be my choice.

One of the reasons for this policy is because often you have a situation where the writer or artist does not control the rights to their own work- instead, their management or publishing companies control such rights, which will give the industry representatives a reason to harass me about what I’m posting.

Amy Goodman Discusses UK Terror Plot

Amy Goodman Discusses the UK Terror Plot on the Democracy Now program.

The program gets through the media hype and offers an alternative viewpoint on the case.

I am still of the belief that the Brits have a good case, and that they are being careful by taking their time to connect the dots.
But Democracy Now also raises some interesting questions about the case.

Listen/Watch the program here.

North Korea Planning Nuclear Test?

N. Korea Watched for Possible Nuke Test

By BO-MI LIM
The Associated Press
Friday, August 18, 2006

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea said Friday it is continuing to monitor North Korea, but declined to confirm or deny a report citing alleged evidence that the communist nation is preparing for an underground nuclear test.

"We are monitoring movements in North Korea in preparation for any possibility of a nuclear test," Lee Yong-joon, head of the South Korean Foreign Ministry's task force on the North Korea nuclear issue, told The Associated Press. He declined to comment directly on the report about a possible test, citing protocol.

Continue Here

Friday, August 18, 2006

Another Blow For The Bush Administration

A Federal Judge Has Ruled Against Warrantless Wiretapping.

This comes only a few months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Bush policy of using Military tribunals, and holding suspects without trial. (A System of Show Trials rather than real trials that follow basic, well established procedures that hold more legal muster).

It's good to see at least SOME signs of Democracy here. The Forefathers built such a great system when they put together the three branches of government, and balanced them against one another. It is a system so great that even when it is put under severe strain from an Executive branch that is out of control, and from a U.S. Congress that is asleep and not handling its oversight responsibility (really becoming an extension of the White House rather than a separate branch), the system somehow still works.

I am thankful for the Judicial branch of government. This is the only branch of government that the American people have left. It is the only branch of government that Americans can still reasonably count on to protect basic rights and freedoms, and allow the people to be heard. It is the only branch of government left that is accessible to the people. This is especially the case when the White House acts in its own selfish interests, and the U.S. Congress (which is supposed to represent the people) is actually owned and controlled by corporate interests, having no connection whatsoever to the people of this country. This is why the Courts are so important.
In fact, the courts are the last line of defense holding the fabric of the country together. The last line of defense preventing the wheels from falling off of this nation completely.

This is why radical neo-conservative Republicans want to destroy the Judicial Branch of Government. In fact, they have been involved in a war against the Judicial branch for a few years now. They know that the Judicial branch is the last obstacle blocking them from establishing greater control over the government. They want something resembling an autocracy rather than a Democracy.

Although I still feel that the U.S. is a long way from a true Democracy, this is at least a sign of hope.

Will this decision hold? Probably not. It's likely to go to the Supreme Court (If rejected by the Appeals Court). It will likely be the first Mega case heard by the new Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court may very well rule in the favor of the White House.

BUT.... what this judge did may at least wake up the lazy U.S. Congress, to get Congressmembers to do their jobs. They should tell the White House that legislative approval is needed for any such program.

I am in favor of some level of wiretapping of certain calls (including warrantless wiretapping, and collecting phone numbers).... but i'm not sold on the idea of blanket rights to monitor calls by Americans. The scope of the monitoring may have been way too broad. Any warrantless wiretapping must be more targeted to likely terrorist threats, and must have legislative approval of, and oversight from the U.S. Congress.

Blanket wiretapping goes against everything that the United States was founded on. Isn't that what they do in places like China, N. Korea, and other authoritarian countries?

______________

Additional Report from CBS

The Moderate Voice Is also covering this story.

Senator George Allen Apologizes for Slur

Another Republican Politician has a "Slip of the Tongue".

The Moderate Voice has been covering this story.

Doubts Emerge In Jon-Benet Ramsey Case

Listen to an Interview that you will only get here.... A writer who has followed the case closely describes how the events don't yet line up with what the suspect has been saying so far (story taken from KMOX radio in St. Louis).

The suspect also seems like a very serious head case. He could be someone seeking attention.

But if he is tied to the crime, it's sickening to think of the fact that he had access to so many kids. How was he able to teach in so many other places around the World, which allowed him to have access to so many kids, even AFTER he developed a criminal history that involved sex crimes? Don't these foreign governments run background checks on these people through their home countries? This is an issue that governments around the world must work out. Did they assume that he was o.k. because he was a White American male? This is often the case in the countries that he visited. This story behind the story also played out during the Press Conference and while he was being moved around in Thailand. The guy was allowed to walk around without handcuffs, as if he was some kind of celebrity. This seemed very odd to me. Perhaps it had something to do with Thai Police Policy.
But what was he doing giving a Press Conference? WTH? Since when do child murder suspects hold or participate in news conferences?

If that had been someone of almost any other persuasion, they would have been in handcuffs (behind the back), and in leg irons.

There is a lot about this case that is unknown... more bombshells are likely to emerge in the days to come. I am sure police have much more information that they are not releasing for obvious reasons. Apparently this guy incriminated himself through e-mails.... So the media speculation should be ignored for the time being.

I didn't want to post about this case, because I despise Hollywood stories. NPR Commentator Julianne Malveaux sums up my viewpoint in her commentary here. I agree with Julianne 100%. You will notice that I will very rarely mention a "Hollywood" story here.... I make a conscious effort to avoid them (Mel Gibson is one recent example).

I mention this Jon-Benet story because it shows how quickly the media goes into a frenzy about these kinds of sensational stories, often without the correct information, and without doing their homework. And Americans seem to be addicted to this Pop news, while at the same time, not being very concerned about the more important events in the world.

But in closing I will say that the parents of this child are trash (and that goes for similar parents out there). I felt that way from day one. And I think they had some responsibility in the situation.

Are Republican Efforts to Reach Black Voters Genuine?

Or are they just a ploy to weaken Black support for Democrats?

Commentator Lester Spence gives his take on this issue. Listen Here.

He makes an interesting argument. I share many of his concerns…and he lays them out clearly.
He sees through all the fog and B.S. I only wish the rest of America was able to see through the fog.

We are in 2006, and many Americans still believe that Iraq attacked us on 9/11. (scroll down to the report about the Zogby survey, showing Americans lack information about basic facts). This is what we are up against.

I always recognized that Republican efforts to get the Black vote were really part of a wider strategy to split/weaken the Black vote for Democrats in key elections. This has been part of the Karl Rove strategy for quite some time..... genius on their part I must say. Not that I love the Democrats... The Democrats are not much better for the country right now.

Bush Signs Pension Reform Legislation

Bush signs pension reform legislation. Private sector will likely face problems with providing retirement programs for workers.

Short audio report from Public Radio.


RELATED

Previous Blog Entry Regarding Retirement Crisis in the U.S.

A recent documentary on the subject is available for viewing online.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Britain Considers Racial Profiling To Find Terror Threats

Originally posted in the comments section of LaShawn Barbers Corner from 8/15/06 in response to Ms. Barbers suggestion that racial profiling was a good idea.

Great Britain Considers Using Racial Profiling To Identify Threats At Airports

My Perspective

Being an African American, I couldn't help but think- what if the targets of this proposed policy were African American? Would Ms. Barber feel the same if all Black people had to be looked at as targets and could not travel without being shaken down, strip searched, watchlisted, treated as criminals, etc??? Keep in mind, the actual Terrorists/Extremists are a small slice of the Muslim community. (although there are plenty of sympathizers).

Black people have been through this already, at various times in this country's history, so I find it hard to condone this for other people- this is the dilemma from an African American point of view. One of the main problems at least (there are several).

I do understand this from a safety point of view. I have experience in this industry, but i'm not sold on the idea of racial profiling as being THE ONLY thing determining who is stopped & searched. It has to be a combination of things that would lead up to "Probable Cause".

The second problem with this approach is that it risks creating what we call tunnel vision...a vacuum that would allow other threats to be missed, while officials are distracted, concentrating on looking for who/what they think a terrorist "looks like".

Muslim extremists/Terrorists come in all shades, from very pale to very dark skinned. Some have Asian/Orient features- slanted eyes, while others do not. Some have Muslim sir names, while others do not. Some are from majority Muslim countries, while others are from minority Muslim countries (so the nationality test is out of the window).

There will be a lot of innocent Mexicans, East Indians, Bangladeshis, Canadians, and U.S. citizens caught up in the dragnet as a result of this kind of approach. And at the same time.. there will be some terrorists who will be missed if this approach is implemented.

Let's not forget Timothy McVeigh, John Walker Lindh, Matt Hale, Richard Reed (and many many others)- terrorists or extremists who were caught over the years, but DO NOT have these targeted physical characteristics, sir names, & so forth.
Then there is the problem of women being used.

Al Qaeda and other groups would love for the UK to switch to this approach. These terror groups would quickly adapt to it and would exploit the many weaknesses inherent in this idea.

This would serve two purposes for these terrorist groups:

#1. It would anger the Muslim community, vindicating and validating the terror groups propaganda, and increasing their pool of potential new recruits. Muslim cooperation (which is vital in the fight against terrorism) might be harder to come by.

#2. It would create many more holes for them to exploit.

I mentioned women being used a moment ago. I encourage you to read about the "Black Widows" of Russia (Chechnya). They have been able to take down several airliners. These women are brutal. They are some of the most ruthless terrorists in Asia/Europe. (Also research why they are so vicious).

The Palestinian extremists have also used women in the past to get by Israeli Security for Suicide bombings.

Al Qaeda has also looked at this idea as a method.
This new approach may be a feel good measure for people who don't know much about security. But from a security point of view, you will be less safe with this plan rather than more safe. It will just provide a false sense of security.

The comprehensive, blanket security is best. NOW I will concede this... that security officials should use more common sense (this is the real problem) when they are conducting their routine searches at airports and elsewhere. Everyone should be required to adhere to the security measures, but more emphasis should be placed on those who would be more likely to be involved in terror activity. Spending too much time on wheelchair bound old ladies is not a very efficient use of time for a screening agent.

I used to run security checkpoints at the St. Louis International Airport, and the rule of thumb for supervisors was to let common sense prevail in those kinds of situations. That concept has been lost in recent years.

Also, the U.S. should increase the use of safe flyer programs where special passes are issued to American citizens who have been vetted- background checked by authorities beforehand. They could then be allowed to enter an express line, decreasing the wait time for other passengers in the main line. Those steps would work better to speed up the lines and they could do so without compromising security.

__________________

Listen to the Roundtable Segment from Ed Gordons Public Radio Program from August 16th. The commentators basically echo the view that I presented earlier this week.

Americans Grossly Uninformed

Americans Unable to Demonstrate Basic Knowledge of History, The World, and the U.S. Government, According to New Survey

Scary stuff!

By Jennifer Harper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
August 15, 2006

Sleepy, Grumpy, Larry, Moe, Krypton -- that's what seems to stick in the national mind-set these days. Americans are more familiar with the Seven Dwarfs, the Three Stooges and Superman than with current events and world leaders, according to yet another poll that reveals our trite side.

In a survey released yesterday, veteran political pollster John Zogby determined that although 77 percent of us can identify two of the Seven Dwarfs, only 24 percent could name two Supreme Court justices.

"Not surprisingly, Clarence Thomas, whose nomination was marked by controversy, was the most recognized justice -- identified twice as often as his next best-known peer on the Supreme Court -- Antonin Scalia," the survey stated.

Justice Thomas was cited by almost 20 percent of the respondents and Justice Scalia by a little less than 11 percent. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were tied at 9 percent. Sixty-three percent were unsure just who was on the Supreme Court. Only 11 percent knew that Samuel A. Alito Jr. was confirmed as the 110th Supreme Court justice in January.

Sleepy, incidentally, was the most frequently cited Dwarf, followed by Dopey, Grumpy and Sneezy. Meanwhile, a tidy 74 percent were able to name Moe, Larry and Curly as the Stooges in question -- with almost an equal number able to name later members of the slapstick team. But alas, the majority of respondents were unable to name another high-profile group of three: only 42 percent knew that the legislative, executive and judicial branches made up the federal government.

Should such findings be worrisome? Surveys that bemoan the demise of scholarship in America are common. Research released in May by the National Geographic Society, for example, found 88 percent of our young adults can't find Afghanistan on a world map, evidence of a geographic illiteracy that "isolates us from the world," society President John Fahey said at the time.

Syracuse University communications professor Robert Thomson, who designed the questions on the Zogby poll, is not quite so concerned. "These results are not about how 'dumb' Americans are, but how much more effective popular culture information is communicated and retained by citizens than many of the messages that come from government, educational institutions and the media," Mr. Thompson said. "There are important lessons to be learned here."

Still, more Americans knew boy wizard Harry Potter than British Prime Minister Tony Blair, 57 percent and 49 percent, respectively. And 60 percent knew Krypton as Superman's home planet, but only 40 percent knew that Mercury was the closest planet to the sun.

The survey of 1,213 adults was conducted July 21 to 27 with a margin of error of three percentage points. It was commissioned by America Online.


Source

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New Orleans Facing Crime Wave

As if New Orleans did not have enough problems, the city is now faced with an upsurge in crime while it tries to rebuild.

This is not that unusual for the City, since it had a high crime rate before Hurricane Katrina struck exactly 1 year ago. However, the city does not have the capacity, manpower, and services to deal with the increased violence and drug activity.

NPR has been covering this story.

Citizens of the area have been arming themselves, in hopes of protecting themselves from the chaos. The criminal element has begun to return to the city sooner than expected; something that local officials were not prepared for.

Other cities such as Baltimore, Washington DC, and St. Louis have seen similar increases.

Another Blow To Hurricane Katrina Victims

A Federal Judge Has Ruled That An Insurance Company Will Not Be Required to Pay For Damages From Water

This is a case that will likely set precedent for other similar cases where insurance companies have refused to pay for water damages. Thousands of homeowners will likely be affected by the ruling.
__________________

From The Houston Chronicle

Katrina damage ruling bad news for homeowners
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN

Associated Press

GULFPORT, Miss. — A federal judge ruled today that an insurance company's policies do not cover damage from wind-driven water in a decision that could affect hundreds of upcoming cases related to property damage from Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled that a Mississippi Gulf Coast couple cannot collect damages from storm surge caused by Katrina because Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.'s policies do not cover wind-driven water damage.

Continue Reading

Story From NPR

Related NPR report about the progress in New Orleans. Citizens still battling bureaucracy.

This new Federal Court decision is likely to compound their troubles. The ruling likely means that fewer homeowners (a lot fewer) will be able to afford to rebuild in Louisiana and Mississippi; this is especially the case in New Orleans, where thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged by flooding.

This may also open the way for corporate entities to move in and buy the land that is unused- something that was feared by longtime New Orleans residents.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Juan Williams & Micheal Dyson Discuss New Book

Juan Williams & Micheal Dyson Discuss New Book

Watch as Juan Williams and Michael Eric Dyson debate the State of Black America and further discuss the larger debate that was raised by Mr. Bill Cosby.

The debate first centers around a new book by Williams entitled "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead End Movements, and Culture of Failure that are Undermining Black America".

As some of you may (or may not) know, I don't usually see Eye to Eye with Mr. Dyson when it comes to issues concerning African Americans. I tend to take the view of Mr. Williams in this argument.

This video is from the last few days, taken from a Public TV program.

View Video Here

If Anyone Has Trouble With The Link, Try Copying and Pasting

rtsp://video.c-span.org/archive/arc_btv/arc_btv081206_4.rm?mode=compact

Or go to C-Span.org and you can find the video from there.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Major News Still Unfolding About Foiled Terror Plot

The story keeps growing and growing. I heard a report late on Saturday that described the scope of the case. By the time this is said and done, we could be talking about 50-100 people involved from at least 4 or 5 different countries.

SIDE THOUGHT: If they have such a huge jackpot of info/intel.... why can't they find Bin Laden??? SOMEONE in this plot knows where the Al Qaeda leadership is hiding, IF in fact this was a plot that sprouted from Al Qaeda itself. But then again, what some people fail to understand about Al Qaeda is that it is no longer a central well defined organization. It's more like a movement that encourages others to go out on their own....under the Al Qaeda banner. So having contact with OBL probably wouldn't be necessary...HOWEVER, with that said, I still believe that (if it's Al Qaeda) someone would have to know something about the whereabouts of the worlds most wanted terrorists. This operation appeared to be too big and too sophisticated for any other possibility.

This plot also had to be well financed. Just the idea of doing a "dry run" on planes for example, has a cost of several thousand dollars for airline tickets. So it leads to the idea that someone else may have been providing money. Follow the money and it always leads you to the right suspects.
I think Bin Laden is either in Pakistan in a safe house, OR he has left that region entirely and has set up shop in Africa or someplace where authorities would not think to look (such as on an island or on a ship...where no one would find him). It's interesting how the fear mongering starts right around election time...and Bin Laden sort of pops up. This has happened in about 3 election cycles now. The Bush administration has been a gift to Al Qaeda in my opinion.... helping the AQ and Jihadist movements grow by unimaginable proportions. And conversely...AQ has been somewhat of a gift to the Bush administration, allowing Bush & Co. to have a boogeyman to point to so that Americans stay afraid, and as a way to distract attention from disastrous strategies and policies in Iraq.

We shall see. A lot of information on this current plot story will come out over the next few weeks.

The Moderate Voice has been following this story.

Future Blog Entries

Whenever I get the time to comment (this is why I badly need Co-Bloggers).... I spend so much time keeping up with current events (because everything is happening so fast in the world) that I don't have time to do personal/professional commentaries.

But Future Blog Topics That I Hope to Get To:

1. Airport Security and the current issue of banned liquids. I used to run the Security checkpoints at the St. Louis International Airport (in the early-mid 1990's) and have some personal/professional opinions on this subject. I worked in this capacity long before 9/11.... but the issues still remain. These risks have been known for many years. I will briefly mention some of my experiences and the risks that are still out there (without helping any would-be nuts out there who may want to do something crazy).

2. My experiences last month that had me offline for a week or two. I called it a mini-crisis, lol. More like a serious pain in the ass. Unbelievable story.... Perfect for a blog entry. It is all connected to new Homeland Security requirements (which I am glad are in place.... they just have idiots who are implementing the policies). Still trying to get it all straightened out.

3. The likely scenario with the upcoming crisis with Iran. I have hit this topic a couple of times... but I really want to get into some more detailed analysis of the situation. AMERICANS DON'T HAVE A CLUE OF WHAT COULD BE COMING!

4. A few movie summaries/reviews.

A couple of films that come to mind are Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (I think this is the title ? It's an independent film about the state of politics in the United States), and Smoking Aces. I usually don't really pay much attention to silly Hollywood productions... but 'Smoking Aces' has Alicia Keys in the cast (My Dream Woman *cough*). All bets are off, lol. I'm going to mention it.

I usually stick to serious films, independent films/documentaries.

5. More music playlists.... also want to do some artist spotlights. (time consuming however).

About The Bloggers

Rikyrah
Editor

A quick bio from Rikyrah herself:

I'm Rikyrah. Thirtysomething from the midwest (Chicago). I graduated with a degree in Political Science, & later went back to school to get an MBA. I spent five years working in inner city schools - on the business end. Got out of it because it deflated my spirit. I now work in finance. I enjoy reading, movies, television, nearly all sports and politics. Got away from politics because of the 2000 and 2004 elections, but was drawn back for the 2006 elections, and the bug is definitely back for 2008. I vote for more Democrats than Republicans, but don't consider myself devoted to a party. Fiscally, I'm more left, but on social issues, I think we've lost our way as a country, and definitely as a community. I spend my time trying to be as positive a member of ' The Village' as I can be.

(You can also find Rikyrah blogging at the award winning & groundbreaking blog Jack & Jill Politics - a leading African American blog. You can also find her on her collaborative blog 3chickspolitico.)

_______________________________


Brian E. (Formerly The Angry Independent)
Founder/Editor-in-Chief


30 something from the Midwest & founder of this here blog. Earned my Masters Degree in Management (w/ focus on Organizational Security) from Webster University. Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice Administration. I'm currently a grad student at Washington University, in the International Affairs program.

I was born into a military family (Army), and both parents, a brother, and several uncles have served in the U.S. military in wartime. Each one of my fathers 4 children was born in a different Country. I moved around quite a bit growing up. I have never really had the sense of "home", or a home city, although St. Louis is my hometown.

I consider myself an Independent, part of a growing number of Americans with no representation in Washington D.C.
Political observer, and Music lover (all sorts, although not a fan of Hip Hop). I have been a serious follower and student of Politics for at least the past 18 years. Love writing and staying informed about current events. Areas of interest include Homeland Security, World affairs, political reform, campaign financing, the need for more major political Parties (a viable 3rd and 4th Party), current events, Foreign policy, and African American issues. I'm the all around political and news junkie. Another topic will be my love for various kinds of music, especially Jazz, Rock, and old Soul music. Music is one thing that I can’t do without. I hate to describe my politics in a slogan, other than to say I am an independent thinker.... I just hate the categories. However, a lot of people wonder how I would label myself in terms of my overall position on politics. I recently came up with the following as the best way to describe where I am on the political scale. I would say that I am "an Independent Progressive with a few Conservative tendencies".

I started this blog to give myself a canvass to write on & share information. But also because I got fed up with the often distorted State-Run Fox News view of the world. When you flip through your channels (radio or TV) you get the same thing shoved down your throat, often in a 24 hour news cycle. It’s not much about news or analysis…it’s more a form of entertainment, created for ratings. Too many expert pundits who are not really experts at anything other than being pundits. They are often paid by the networks to say the things that they say. There HAS TO BE another viewpoint that someone could put forward. The net is one of the few places where you can get a wide range of genuine viewpoints, because it’s a medium that has not yet been thoroughly corrupted by corporate greed.

Mirror On America is not a "Black Blog", and was never intended to be. Although it is often mislabeled as such by those who want to place the site into a certain category or box. Instead of being a "Black Blog", Mirror On America is a blog of diverse interests, that covers some of the issues important to Black Americans. Covering a variety of topics, having a diverse group of bloggers, having a diverse readership and a diversity of viewpoints was what I always invisioned for this blog. Being labeled a "Black Blog" or a "Black Blogger" would not allow me to have the kind of wide ranging blog that I wanted when I started. The "Black Blog" label is like the kiss of death in the context of the wider blogosphere (at least in my view); because with that label, people will make assumptions about you from the outset. As soon as you are hit with the label, a trap door opens and you fall right into "the box". My interests and the subject matter covered here are more varied than what "a black blog" would imply. It's a label that is too confining to describe me or the blog.

I also started this as an experiment…. I don’t know how long I will stick with it. I think I will leave it when it begins to feel more like work rather than an outlet… OR if my personal situation changes.

Comments & Suggestions are welcomed. Readers are also encouraged to help the site by sharing my individual story links with other blogs or by sending them to friends. If you are a blogger, I encourage you to link the blog entries if you find something of interest.


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Dr. Marvin King (King Politics)


Dr. Marvin King is an assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). He is also a blogger and sports analyst. Dr. King runs the blog "King Politics". He also blogs for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper.











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Dr. Errington Thompson

Dr. Errington Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, sports fan, author, blogger, podcaster, & part-time political activist. One of the most prophetic & incisive voices in the blogosphere, he is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats. He is the author of the book, A Letter To America. Through the book he hopes to share his thoughts and reflections on the current political landscape.

Dr. Thompson, is also an associate director of trauma/surgical critical care in Asheville, North Carolina. His profession allows him to see the real-life, physical affects of government policy, which gives him a unique perspective on current issues. He attended Emory University and Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where he was raised. He received further training at hospitals in Shreveport, La., and St. Louis. Although he has written more than 20 professional articles and book chapters, A Letter to America is his first non-medical book.

Dr. Thompson has his own blog entitled, "Where's The Outrage".