Showing posts from February, 2006

MacArthur genius Sister Octavia Butler dead at 58

"Octavia E. Butler, considered the first black woman to gain national prominence as a science fiction writer, has died, a close friend said Sunday. She was 58....

"Butler's work wasn't preoccupied with robots and ray guns, Howle said, but used the genre's artistic freedom to explore race, poverty, politics, religion and human nature. 'She stands alone for what she did,' Howle said. 'She was such a beacon and a light in that way.'

"Jane Jewell, executive director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, said Butler was one of the first black women to explore the genre and the most prominent. But Butler would have been a major writer of science fiction regardless of race or gender, she said. 'She is a world-class science fiction writer in her own right,' Jewell said. 'She was one of the first and one of the best to discuss gender and race in science fiction.'"

Democracy Now's audio-video interview with Octavi…

SATURDAY: Get Smart or Die Slavin'

Check out our media forum this Saturday called Get Smart or Die Slavin'.

It's an exploration of how corporate media in North America exploits images of Afrikan-Americans and Afrikan-Canadians as anti-intellectual lowlifes, hyper-sexed thugs, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, drug users, gang bangers and murderers in order to earn hundreds of millions of dollars for wealthy White record company executives and stock holders... and how plenty of rappers, singers and video models are quite happy to sell out their race in order to earn their own thirty pieces of "House Negro" silver... not to mention how far too many of us will support these vampires by buying their records, their fashions, their imagery and their ideals,all at the low, low cost of our souls.

When:Saturday, 2 - 3:30 PM
Where:Library Theatre at at the Edmonton Public Library, Stanley Milner Branch (downtown on Churchill Square)
Moderated by:Minister Faust
Sponsored by:The Living History Group of CCACH

The Afrikan renaissance and the Third World Festival of Black Arts


"Prof. Atukwei Okai, Secretary-General of the Pan African Writers' Association (PAWA) has praised the campaign by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, for the recognition and integration of the African Diaspora as the sixth region of the African continent....

"The Third World Festival of Black Arts, which takes place in Dakar, Senegal, in June 2007, has the theme, 'African Renaissance', and will feature, as its country of focus, Brazil, which has the second largest black population in the world, after Nigeria.

"President Wade in his response said, among other things, that now, at the level of the Heads of State of the African Union, the mission and movement towards the creation of a United of Africa was no longer a matter of debate or doubt, and that the African people were expecting the African Civil Society to partake fully in the struggle for the realization of Africa's destiny in a positive sense.


Cartoons, death threats, killings, photos, torture + invasions

There are new Abu Ghraib photos(this one isn't one of them). has them, and Australian TV has them. They're even worse. See the two storieshere and here.

An interview on Democracy Now! with the Australian reporter who broke the story.

Also on Democracy Now!, Professor Alfred McCoy exposes the history of CIA torture, from the Cold War to the US Global War.

While I suppose some people might've believed that French peasants who rioted in 1789 were inflamed to irrational violence by false rumours that their queen had said during their years of starvation and oppression "Let them eat cake," a more sobre take on the revolution would focus on the years of abuse and exploitation... would, that is, look less at the lit match and more at the piles of dynamite.

I'm sickened, yes, by that tiny minority of Muslims who have threatened or committed acts of violence in wake of the cartoons. I'm sickened by the anti-Jewish filth that runs in many newspapers of the Mu…

The only reason I care about the Olympics

David Zirin writes: "1968. There was never a year when the worlds of sports and politics collided so breathlessly, without mercy or respite. It was the year Muhammad Ali, stripped of his heavyweight title for resisting the draft, spoke on 200 college campuses and asked the question, 'Can they take my title without me being whupped?' ....

"And most famously, it was the year that Tommie Smith and John Carlos took the 200-meter medal stand at the Mexico City Olympics to raise their black gloved fists in a demonstration of pride, power, and politics."

Check Zirin's interview with Tommie Smith here.

Media accused liberals of politicising King funeral, ignored conservatives' use of Reagan funeral

"Following civil rights leader Coretta Scott King's February 7funeral, numerous media figures highlighted the purportedly 'partisan' nature of the event, in some cases describing it as a 'Democratic pep rally,' a 'Bush bashathon' and a 'Democratic convention.'

"The controversy stems primarily from tributes delivered by civil rights activistRev. Joseph Lowery and former President Jimmy Carter, which included a reference to prewar intelligence failures in Iraq and what many interpreted as Carter's reference to President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program.

"But many of those same media figures accusing speakers of politicizing the King funeral did not show the same aversion to the politicization of the 2004 death of a figure of a different political stripe:former President Ronald Reagan. Nor did they apparently think it worth noting that the Reagan funeral included no Democratic speakers, but a long roster of Republic…

Right-wing spew-shrew Ann Coulter calls Islam "a car-burning cult"

"In a column commenting on the recent violence linked to cartoons in European newspapers that satirized the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter suggested that Islam is 'a car-burning cult,' and wrote that Muslims have 'a predilection for violence.'"

For a larf or two, also try this on Coulter (Culter?), and this,and The Nation's "Devil in a Blue Dress" regarding the "lunatic ravings of Ann Coulter." The Ann Coulter parody blog is here.

Here's another bit on Coulter's sputem: "After writing that cops and pretty girls were her allies at the [Democratic National] convention, she had this to say about the women in attendance: 'My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie-chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention.'

"Here's how Coulter op…

Birds, murder, self-destruction and redemption

From Walter Mosley's "Crimson Shadow"
A Socrates Fortlow story

"Why you kill Billy, boy?"

"That's a bird." Darryl pointed. There was relief mixed with panic in his eyes.

"That's my friend."

"You crazy, old man. That's a bird. Bird cain't be nobody's friend." Darryl's words were still wild. Socrates knew the guilty look on his face.

He wondered at the boy and at the rooster that had gotten him out of his bed every day for the past eight years. A rage went through him and he crushed the rooster's neck in his fist.

"You crazy," Darryl said.

A large truck made its way down the alley just then. The heavy vibrations went through the small kitchen, making plates and tinware rattle loudly.

Socrates shoved the corpse into the boy's lap."Get ovah there to the sink an' pluck it."


"You don't have to do it ..."

"You better believe I ain't gonna ..."


Cartoons and hypocrisy, Part 3

Democracy Now! reports: "On Monday, the Guardian of London revealed that the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ. In April 2003, a Danish illustrator submitted a series of cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ. He received an email back from the paper's editor which said: "'I don't think our readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them.'"

And (thanks to Black for the next two story links) The Jerusalem Postwrites: "A Belgian-Dutch Islamic political organization, the Arab European League, posted anti-Jewish cartoonson its Web site on Saturday in response to the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that appeared in Danish papers last year and offended many Muslims, unleashing violent demonstrations around the Islamic world."

On a note of sobering sanity, Abdel-Rahman Hussein writes in…

Cartoons and outrage, Part 2

Correction: Thanks to Garvey's Ghost for letting me know that the "pig" cartoon was a hoax.

I've now seen all the cartoons, and my original (unpublished) reaction stands--none of this madness (death threats, violence, burning of property, recalling of ambassadors, boycotts), absolutely none of it, was warranted by these mostly innocuous cartoons.

Some of the cartoons are offensive to me, as a non-Muslim. And also, analagous imagery depicting Moses, David or Jesus would be unlikely if not unthinkable in the political cartoons of Western papers.

What's truly sickening is that, in the face of US occupation and the illegal US wars of aggression which included the use of depleted uranium, a WMD which will deform, maim and carcino-kill for generations, in the face of US-funded Israeli occupation and all its crimes, in the face of massive abuse of men's and women's civil and human rights under every Arab government and also the governments of Indonesia, Iran, Turke…

Freedom of expression

For an interesting debate between Asad Abu Khalil and Irshad Manji, visit today's Democracy Now or go to this link for audio and video.

Today, for the first time, I heard about a cartoon other than the turban/bomb. Apparently in one of the cartoons, a pig stands upon a copy of the Qur'an. I'm trying to figure out how that ranks as political insight. Imagine a cartoon depicting a pig walking upon a Star of David appearing in a Western paper. That would offend me, and rightly so. I removed a link I had on the Bro-Log because it led to a book whose title was, in my opinion, anti-Jewish. So I'm glad we don't have many examples of anti-Jewish content showing up in Western media. But slights or slurs against Muslims (and I'm not a Muslim) are so routine that most of them pass by without us even noticing them. Ditto the depiction of Afrikans.

This whole affair is upsetting for numerous reasons, from Western hypocrisy and incitement to hatred to the manipulation by Arab …

Sudan produced a Stonehenge before Stonehenge

"The most exciting discovery came 20 years ago when anthropologists and archaeologists uncovered stone structures older than Stonehenge in the southern part of Egypt near the border with Sudan.

"Medupe said: 'The stones were aligned with the different riding positions of the sun because everyday the sun rises at different points along the horizon and that is an effect cause by the earth’s movement around the sun.'

"The alignment worked to determine the seasons. The interesting thing about these African stones is that they were built a thousand years before Stonehenge so right now they are believed to be the oldest astronomical alignments in the world. 'That should give us pride because it shows that our people were the first to do this astronomical study of the movement of the sun or the positions of the sun.'"

See also: Nabta Playa (the "Egypt" in question is so far south that, given the date, 6800 years ago and 1000 years before Stonehenge,…

Dave Chappelle speaks on Oprah

Dave Chappelle speaks on Oprah. You can watch it here. Refreshingly, Chappelle doesn't waste the interview trying to be funny, or cooning, or otherwise not addressing the issue everyone is tuning in to hear.

AU celebrates Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop

"The African Union has plans underway to commemorate Senegalese historian, Cheikh Anta Diop, on the 20th anniversary of his death during a two-day programme scheduled to begin here next Tuesday, Senegalese Foreign Affairs Minister, Cheikh Tidiane Gadio announced on Friday.

"Panels of intellectuals from the continent and the Diaspora will celebrate the life and works of the Egyptologist and panafricanist who died in Dakar on 7 February 1986. In addition, there will be an exhibition of his works and a video projection of the most important conferences he hosted in Niamey, Cairo, Atlanta and elsewhere.

"'Through these events, the African Union aims at paying a worthy tribute to Cheikh Anta Diop who devoted his entire life to African renaissance and to a Union of the continent, and whose intellectual and scientific heritage is acknowledged by the institution as a basis for Africa's development,' Gadio added.

"Meanwhile, Gadio revealed that the organisation pla…

Dave Chappelle to explain his case on Friday's Oprah

"Dave Chappelle will make his first television appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Showthis Friday (Feb. 3) to explain his sudden disappearance last year after announcing a $50 million dollar deal with Comedy Central. Chappelle gained headlines worldwide when he suddenly disappeared from the set of The Chappelle Show last year and reemerged in South Africa, in the middle of production for the show's third season."

Puzzle of Nubian king and Egyptian goddess

"The Sakhmet statues, which date to the New Kingdom's 18th dynasty (circa 1533 - 1292BC), hail from the same period as most of the finds in the area. The head - believed to date to the 25th dynasty (circa 760 - 656BC), that is characterised by itsNubian features - however, seems somewhat out of place."

Don't take uppers--sniff cinnamon

"To stay alert behind the wheel on long road trips, skip the coffee and try sniffing peppermint or cinnamon. Researchers from West Virginia have found that getting a whiff of pleasant odours periodically while driving increases alertness, reduces fatigue, and even lowers drivers' anxiety and frustration."