Thursday, August 30, 2007

These damned rappers are always going on about filthy words like... IMPERIALISM

What hip hop artist wrote the following?

"Stanley thus laid the groundwork for long Belgian rule over the Congo, a regime that we know today claimed between 8 million and 30 million African lives. The French, who did not recognize Leopold's private colonization, tried to lay claim to the region themselves.

"Out of this dispute, the Berlin Conference of 1884 convened, at which 13 European countries and the U.S. recognized Central Africa's Congo region as Leopold's private property.

"But the effects of the Berlin Conference were much broader. It went on to divide the continent into incomprehensible pieces, in a process now known as the Scramble for Africa.

"The Europeans basically invaded, imposed a new map on Africa according to their geographical needs, divided tribes and communities that traditionally got along and confined traditional enemies inside new shared borders.

"All these years later, border disputes are still unresolved, as in Somalia, one of the most homogeneous countries in Africa. Ongoing conflict there began in 1886, when the British invaded the northern part of the country, the French took a piece in the north and Italians captured southern Somalia. Ethiopia's then emperor, Menelik II, encouraged by Britain, took over the Ogaden region.

"Celebrated Somali poet Mohammed Abdullah Hassan led a 22-year-long colonial resistance, one of the longest and bloodiest in sub-Saharan Africa, in which Somalia lost a third of its population in the north.

"The decisive end came when the British, having lost too many of their men, called on a squadron from the Royal Air Force, fresh from a World War I bombing run, to destroy the resistance. Ethiopia's support back then for the colonial powers made a long-term enemy out of its neighbour, Somalia.

"During a ceasefire in the 1980s, Somalis lived under a U.S.-funded dictatorship that was overthrown in 1991. The country was in complete anarchy, with a handful of powerful warlords struggling to dominate one another. More than a decade later, an alternative in the form of the faith-based Union of Islamic Courts emerged, crippling the warlords and restoring order in the capital of Mogadishu. Undaunted, the U.S., citing fears of Al Qaeda involvement, reorganized and funded the warlords under the umbrella Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terorrism.

"Fast-forward to 2007: Ethiopia is now withdrawing after its December invasion, and the U.S.-backed pro-Ethiopian Transitional Federal Government, which made warlords from the Alliance into ministers, has been discredited by its reliance on Ethiopian forces.

"Division and conquest, war and subjugation, tactical separations, ideological impositions and here we are, under the sun of a day when average people in these conflicts no longer know what happened to put them there, why they are dying and why they will continue to die, plagued by disadvantage, hunger and war.

"Over a conference table in Germany it all began, but we Africans, speeding to our demise when the baton was passed , have all too eagerly carried it on."

Luke Cage... why? WHY?

Maximus Security could take Luke Cage any day. Until that day arrives, read Chris's Invincible Super Blog:

"And that should bring you right up to speed for Hero For Hire #9, which opens with Cage taking the sensible route when you have a problem with Dr. Doom: He fights his way into the Baxter Building, punches out the Thing, and then demands that Reed Richards loan him a rocketship so that he can go to Latveria and give Doc Doom the business.

"Fortunately for Luke, he's been getting some positive press in the Daily Bugle lately--yeah, that Daily Bugle--and Reed decides hey, what the hell, and gives him a spare pogo plane that he had laying around."

Minister Faust throws down on Blade Runner in defense of Philip K. Dick

Darren Zenko wrote in The Toronto Star:

"Canadian SF writer and broadcaster Minister Faust (author of the recent novel From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain) agrees that Blade Runner's reputation opened Hollywood doors to the representatives of the Dick estate, but disagrees as to the artistic merit of Scott's hard-boiled adaptation, illustrating a hard and often hard-argued division between what might be called the Purist and Relativist approaches to cinematic Dick.

"'Hollywood,' says Faust, 'doesn't understand s--t about Philip K. Dick. They don't even care that Blade Runner was a bomb – $25 million to make, took in $31 million to date – and was an inversion of the novel's ideas and morality ... a travesty! But these same people remember Scott's visuals and Vangelis' music and they think, "Hey, classy."

"'No adaptation that I've seen has been a good adaptation. Total Recall is fun, but it's a foul-smelling one-night stand with Dick's memory. Blade Runner is gorgeous looking, has a beautiful score and strong acting. But Dick's fascinating mystical vision of ecological collapse as metaphor for null-empathy, and biological vitality as metaphor for empathy ... that's priceless.'"

Public Enemy's latest album is terrific.

I've been busy enough late that I get an album by my all-time favourite hip hop group two weeks and I get to listen to it maybe three times so far. So nothing especially clever to say except that this album is terrific.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Researchers: Underground Lake Could Bring Peace to Darfur

Democracy Now! reported recently:

"In Darfur, a team of international geologists say they’ve discovered the imprint of a vast underground lake that could help put an end to the mass killings there. Researchers say the so-called ‘mega lake’ is three times the size of Lebanon. Farouk el-Baz of Boston University’s Center for Remote Sensing said the potential water source could be the key to peace.

"Farouk el-Baz [said]: 'What most people don't really know is that the fight, the war, the instability in Darfur, is all based on the lack of water, simply put, nothing else. So now, if you find water for the farmers, if you find water, in addition to that to the nomads, if you find water in addition to these two for agricultural production, to feed them, to give them grain, then you resolve the problem completely.'

"Up to 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Sudanese-backed militias and rebel groups. In a report last month the UN Development Programme said widespread environmental problems are the root of the violence."

Listen to an interview on CBC's The Current with Dr. el-Baz.

See also Geology Inspires Desert Wonders?

Anti-Muslim Hatred at the Heart of Christian Extremist Base of US Republican Party

If you think that more newspapers and media should be covering this horror, and that anti-hate groups such as the crusading Southern Povery Law Center should be listing these people, a far, far more powerful bloc than those listed on the SPLC's current hate listings, please let them know. Write, email and call.

And let your friends know about these dangerous bigots and urge them to pressure and media to expose them and government to stop them and their hateful speech (not to mention plans).

There are plenty of excellent, impressive moderate and progressive Christians. Christianity should not be hijacked in the most powerful country in the world to pursue a vision of hatred and genocide.

Chicago teacher protests white-washing of Tutankhamun (And it don't stop, Naw it won't stop... It goes on and on....)

Kia Gregory writes, "For Mukasa Afrika, it’s another blow in a continuing assault.

"In June 2005 National Geographic magazine featured the reconstructed image of King Tutankhamen on its cover. The headline read: 'THE NEW FACE OF KING TUT.' The young pharaoh had light eyes, a pointy nose, thin lips and a golden caramel hue....

“The mummy itself is evidence that King Tut is African,” he says. He adds that paintings found in king’s tomb show he had deep brown skin. Also the king’s 18th dynasty descends from Thebes, located in the southern part of Egypt, making his family lineage African. He also points to the famous golden mask in which the king has almond-shaped eyes, a rounded nose and full lips....

"He questions why scientists didn’t use a melanin dosage test or a DNA test for a truer picture of King Tut’s African identity. 'It’s more about money than racism,' Afrika says of the museum’s 'Golden Age' exhibit. 'If they had an image of an African King Tut, how many fewer tickets would they sell? That’s a question they don’t wanna deal with.'"

"After seeing the magazine cover, Afrika, through the Laying the Foundation organization, built a website, wrote essays, held workshops and hosted scholars to educate the public on the king’s true identity. And when the King Tut exhibit came to the Franklin Institute, he, along with many community activists, stood in front of the museum’s steps in protest."

See the sidebar link: The Sickening Story of the Whitening of Tutankhamun.
And also visit another article by Dr. Niara Sudarkasa, and a further piece on the controversy surrounding the most recent "Tut whitening" or "'truth' whitening."

See the website KING TUT-ANKH-AMUN for excellent coverage and a fine set of links. In fact, hell, here they are:

And see also earlier Bro-Log coverage on the de-Afrikanisation and white-washing of Tutankhamun (and by extension, Egypt as a whole).

Drink green tea to fight cancer, strokes, and yes, fat

"...[G]reen tea is particularly rich in a type of polyphenols called catechins. These substances have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, but recent research in animals show that catechins may also affect body fat accumulation and cholesterol levels.

"In this study, researchers looked at the effects of catechins on body fat reduction and weight loss in a group of 35 Japanese men. The men had similar weights based on their BMIBMI (body mass index, an indicator of body fat) and waist sizes.

"The men were divided into two groups. For three months, the first group drank a bottle of oolong tea fortified with green tea extract containing 690 milligrams of catechins, and the other group drank a bottle of oolong tea with 22 milligrams of catechins.

"During this time, the men ate identical breakfasts and dinners and were instructed to control their calorie and fat intake at all times so that overall total diets were similar.

"After three months, the study showed that the men who drank the green tea extract lost more weight (5.3 pounds vs. 2.9 pounds) and experienced a significantly greater decrease in BMI, waist size, and total body fat.

"In addition, LDL 'bad' cholesterol went down in the men who drank the green tea extract.

"The catechin content varies by amount of green tea used and steeping time. But general recommendations, based on previous studies on the benefits of green tea, are at least 4 cups a day. Green tea extract supplements are also available."