Monday, March 31, 2008

Circular Logic- This Doesn't Fly!

The new American Passport is comprised of an electronic chip and a wireless antennae. The American Government has reasoned that in the shadow of the 9/11 tragedy, tracking devices should be inserted into all passports in order to avoid counterfeiting by terrorists who hail from overseas. The irony is that the American Government Printing Office (The GPO), has hired foreign companies to manufacture these sensitive devices and place them into passport sleeves. The sleeves are then shipped to America where data is added. Some deem this to be a threat to national security.

Certain members of congress are opposed to this outsourcing, stating that it makes America extremely vulnerable to terrorists abroad (the very problem that the passport chips are supposed to alleviate). The Government's rebuttal is that the companies they have hired, have all been inspected. The GPO feels that these companies are safe. However, the Washington Times reports that one of the contracted companies has already fell victim to Chinese espionage. Still, the GPO further justifies its position by saying that America doesn't have the technology to produce the new passports on their homeland.

In conjunction with the safety risks, outsourcing such a lucrative job during an economic downturn seems to be perilous to American Citizens. The easy solution to this simmering debate, would be to train American workers to manufacture these passports. This would increase safety, and infuse revenue into the American economy- a simple win-win.

Quote Of The Day

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." -Anonymous

Friday, March 28, 2008

BOOK EXCERPT OF THE WEEK: From, "The Power Broker: Robert Moses and The Fall of New York" By: Robert A. Caro

"Robert Moses was America's greatest builder. He was the shaper of the greatest city in the New World.

But what did he build? What was the shape into which he pounded the city?

To build the highways, Moses threw out of their homes 250,000 persons- more people than lived in Albany or Chattanooga, or in Spokane, Tacoma, Duluth, Akron, Baton Rouge, Mobile, Nashville, or Sacramento. He tore out the hearts of a score of neighborhoods, communities the size of small cities themselves, communities that had been lively, friendly places to live, the vital parts of the city that made New York a home to its people.

By building his highways, Moses flooded the city with cars. By systematically starving the subways and the suburban commuter railroads, he swelled that flood to city-destroying dimensions. By making sure that the vast suburbs, rural and empty when he came to power, were filled on a sprawling, low-density development pattern relying primarily on roads instead of mass transportation, he insured that that flood would continue for generations if not centuries, that the New York metropolitan area would be- perhaps forever- an area in which transportation- getting from one place to another- would be an irritating, life-consuming concern for its 14,000,000 residents.

For highways, Moses dispossessed 250,000 persons. For his other projects- Lincoln Center, the United Nations, the Fordham, Pratt and Long Island University campuses, a dozen mammoth urban renewal projects- he dispossessed tens of thousands more; there are available no accurate figures on the total number of people evicted from their homes for all Robert Moses public works, but the figure is almost certainly close to half a million; the one detailed study by an outside agency shows that in a ten-year period, 1946 to 1956, the number was 320,000. More significant even than the number of the dispossessed were their characteristics: a disproportionate share of them were Black, Puerto Rican- and poor. He evicted tens of thousands of poor, nonwhite persons for urban renewal projects, and the housing he built to replace the housing he tore down was, to an overwhelming extent, not housing for the poor, but for the rich. The dispossessed, barred from many areas of the city by their color and their poverty, had no place to go but into the already overcrowded slums- or into 'soft' borderline areas that then became slums, so that his 'slum clearance programs' created new slums as fast as they were clearing the old.

When he built housing for poor people, he built housing bleak, sterile, cheap- expressive of patronizing condescension in every line. And he built it in locations that contributed to the ghettoization of the city, dividing up the city by color and income. And by skewing city expenditures toward revenue-producing services, he prevented the city from reaching out toward its poor and assimilating them, and teaching them how to live in such housing- and the very people for whom he built it reacted with rage and bitterness and ignorance, and defaced it.

He built parks and playgrounds with a lavish hand, but they were parks and playgrounds for the rich and the comfortable. Recreational facilities for the poor he doled out like a miser.

For decades, to advance his own purposes, he systematically defeated every attempt to create the master plan that might have enabled the city to develop on a rational, logical, unified pattern- defeated it until, when it was finally adopted, it was too late for it to do much good."

[SIDEBAR: The Legal Eagles Community Newsletter on Gentrification soon as possible.]

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Riddle Me This: How Far Can An Apple Fall From Its Family Tree?

A curious group of genealogists have traced the lineage of the current U.S. Presidential hopefuls. Headlines blared that Barack Obama is a distant cousin to Brad Pitt, and Hillary Clinton is distant kin to actress Angelina Jolie. Many journalists and bloggers chuckled at the irony. However, the irony doesn't stop there.

According to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Barack Obama is related to current President George W. Bush, and 5 former U.S. Presidents. How's that for irony?

Barack Obama and current Vice President Dick Cheney, have also previously publicly discussed the alleged lineage that they share. [PLEASE SEE THE VIDEOS POSTED BELOW.]

NOTE TO MR. OBAMA: If you do happen to get an invite to The Cheney Family Reunion, and after everyone's bellies are filled and the dishes are done- if Cousin Dick happens to invite you to a post-dinner hunting round-up in the wooded backyard area- emphatically say, "No!"

Quote Of The Day

“It's not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.” -Francis Bacon

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Duck Down...Maybe She Had To Tie Her Shoe?!

Hillary Clinton is coming under fire...but not in the way that she previously claimed she had.

Footage of Clinton arriving in Bosnia during her tenure as first lady, shows a pleasant and peaceful welcoming. However, Clinton's recollection of that event initially bordered on a tale woven with wartime heroics, where she had to duck and dodge bullets.

According to the BBC website, Senator Clinton first spoke of said arrival at an airport in Bosnia by saying: "I remember landing under sniper fire...But it was a moment of great pride for me." Hillary Clinton recently made these false statements in an attempt to bolster her image as a future commander-in-chief who has first-hand knowledge of the perils of war. However, her posturing has backfired (no pun intended).

Mrs. Clinton's statements about her "courageous" 1996 trip to Bosnia, has since been dispelled. The dichotomy of her statements and what actually happened has been exposed courtesy of video footage taken during the then first lady's travels.

When confronted with the inaccuracies of her Bosnian recollections, Clinton responded by saying: "I did mis-speak the other day. You know this has been a very long campaign, so occasionally I am a human being like everybody else."

[SIDEBAR: Note To All Future Political Candidates: Campaigning can cause memory lapses and delirium which can cause you to confuse red carpet treatment, hugs from children, well-wishes, and hospitality with rapid automatic gunfire.]

[SIDEBAR: THE SEQUEL: Now you can officially stop strictly blaming "gangster rappers" for imaginary, scripted tall tales of gunplay...Congress, shady politicians, and the 9/11 Commission stand up!]

[SIDEBAR: THE FINALE: No word on how the Bosnians feel about being lied on like this...SMH.]

Quote Of The Day

"It is the fool whose own tomatoes are sold to him." - Akan Proverb

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It Was All Good Just A Week Ago

You can come up with your own caption for this travesty right here. All I can say is: What a difference a handful-and-a-half of days makes. SMH.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Is This What All Of The Smoke & Mirrors Is Camouflaging?...

Since David Paterson was inducted into office on Monday and publicly confessed to his private-life sins, his visage has covered the front page of almost every New York news periodical. His picture has been captioned with a variety of witticisms and puns alluding to his indiscretions.

However tucked away in the New York Post, in an article that took up less than an eighth of a page, is one if the most stirring official acts that David Paterson has committed during his brief tenure as governor thus far. The headline of this article states that "Paterson Rejects Tax On Wealthy."

In an effort to close the $5 Billion gap in the New York State budget, the democrats suggested a .85% income tax increase for residents who make more than $1 Million a year. David Paterson rejected this proposal made by his party members. Instead, he has opted to side with republican Mayor Bloomberg, and is declining a tax increase on his wealthier constituents.

According To The New York Post, in lieu of the less than 1% income tax increase for the affluent citizens of New York, David Paterson is requesting $800 Million in cuts. Where exactly these cuts will be applied has remained to be seen. Without the specific details, I am unsure of what the resulting damage of Governor Paterson's plan will be. However, $800 Million of cuts seems like a frightening proposition. I venture to guess that most of those cuts are likely to adversely affect those who are most in need. After all, isn't that how it usually works? We will soon find out since the state's constitution mandates that the state's budget must be finalized by April 1st. [Sidebar: April fool's apropos.]

Quote Of The Day

"When brains are needed, brawn won't help." -Yiddish Proverb

BOOK EXCERPT OF THE WEEK: From, "Callus On My Soul" By: Dick Gregory w/ Shelia P. Moses

"Nineteen sixty-four was really a sad year of murders, church bombings, and the beating of children. I was doing as much marching as entertaining. I no longer wanted to be called; I did my own research and made sure I went where I was needed, when I was needed.

The first protest I did alone was to challenge the fact we didn't even have our public accommodation bill passed here in the United States. I flew to St. Louis where the AAU was holding national track and field championships and selecting a team to compete in Moscow. I was asking the Black athletes there not to go. They didn't understand that they were representing a country overseas and they were not free at home. The press was there from all over the world. I stood there alone, but not afraid. Everyone walked by me and ignored me, even the Black folks. One coach even spat at me. I got on the plane and went back to San Francisco...I left feeling defeated, alone and hurt. It took four years for that hurt to dissipate.

At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, two Black track and field athletes, Tommy Smith and John Carlos, came in first and second for the United States in the 200-meter dash. As they were presented with their medals, they each raised a Black-gloved fist in the air in front of the whole world in solidarity with the Black Power Movement. The world was never the same. A year later when I was in Thailand, the number one selling souvenir was a Black fist attached to a key chain. When a reporter asked Harry Edwards, the professor at San Jose University who had engineered Smith and Carlos' demonstration, where he got the idea, his response shocked me: 'I saw Dick Gregory protest the try-outs of the Olympics in St. Louis.'

When I read that, I felt more humiliated than I had in St. Louis. I felt humiliated because I realized that all God had been doing at those Olympic tryouts was planting a seed, like the farmer planting his crop. He didn't need me; He just chose me. He was saying to me: 'This is my crop, this is my sun, this is my rain, this is my cool evening, this is my morning dew. You don't determine when it is harvest time. Only I determine that.' I was trying to make harvest time come and I had no right to do that. All I was doing was planting God's seed." -From, "Callus On My Soul" By: Dick Gregory w/ Shelia P. Moses

CLICK HERE for the full book review.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Sidebar: Thanks to my my space who had this quote on her page. I had to post it here after I saw it on her page. Thanks again!]

Et Tu? Isn't Anyone Faithful Anymore?

It's been less than 72 hours, since Governor David Paterson and his wife admitted to having affairs in the past when their marriage hit a "rough patch." Since this confession, the details of the Governor's infidelities has been quickly expanding. What was first thought to be a single affair that commenced over half-a-decade ago, has now increased into multiple affairs- including one with a state government employee in the not-so-distant past.

Being human beings, we can all site our own personal sins of omission and/or commission (in varying degrees of severity- of course). However, I as a citizen, am becoming nonplussed with all of the sordid personal decisions that many of our government leaders are making. This is especially so when personal decisions cast a deep shadow on what should be the task-at-hand- making complex decisions that affect the lives of millions.

David Paterson, separates himself from other recent politicians caught up in extramarital affairs, by stating that he never used his governmental position to advance or facilitate his liaisons. However, the debate is still open on whether politicians who are unfaithful in their personal lives are qualified to hold positions that necessitate integrity and honesty. I personally feel that certain decisions and life patterns are indicators of an individual's character. However, the jury is also still out on the competency vs. character factor; and which weighs more in the minds of the constituents.

As for David Paterson, his political peers and the press seem to be on his side. They are mostly stating that the Governor's dalliances are a personal issue that he has handled well publicly.

[Sidebar/Note-To-Self: When it comes to future prospects: Politicians who party like rockstars < Actual rockstars. SMH]

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Right Person In The Right Position..."Let Me Re-Introduce Myself..."

This afternoon, history was made when New York inducted it's first African American Governor. David Paterson is also the first physically visually impaired Governor.

It is rare to see a politician with such a positive glow surrounding him. It is also rare to see a politician emphasize their role as one of being a servant "in the interest of the people."

Governor Paterson has already won over so many of his political peers and constituents with his competence, wit, and good-natured persona. I'm wishing him a successful tenure in office; may his leadership set a positive example for future government officials.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quote Of The Day

Mankind will never see an end of trouble until... lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power... become lovers of wisdom. -From, "The Republic" By: Plato

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -Theodore Geisel aka Dr. Seuss

Being #2 Is Never Any Fun

Hillary Clinton announced that she would be happy to have Barack Obama run on her ticket with her as a Vice President. How gracious of her. The only glitch in her plan is that Mr. Obama is the forerunner in their current competition for the democratic nomination. This ploy may be a tactic to try to confuse voters into thinking that they can get a 2 for 1 democratic deal.

According to the BBC website, Barack Obama rebuffed Mrs. Clinton's assertions by stating: "I don't know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to somebody who is first place...I don't want anybody thinking that somehow 'well, you know know, maybe I can get both.' Don't think that way. You have to make a choice in this election...I'm not running for vice president. I am running for president of the United States of America."

[SIDEBAR: Mrs. Clinton might have tried a more potent trick by resurrecting Bill Clinton; suggesting him as her possible 2nd in command...just an idea...after all turnabout is fair Then again, maybe he's holding steady for a possible cabinet position. I guess we'll have to wait and see.]

Monday, March 10, 2008

BREAKING NEWS...New York Governor Eliot Spitzer Caught Patronizing Prostitutes

Just a few moments ago, the married governor of New York held a press conference to apologize for his alleged ties to a prostitution ring. His teary-eyed wife appeared by his side. The governor did not give a detailed account of his exact sins. However, according to reports being released by The New York Times, it is alleged that Gov. Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging a liaison with a prostitute. This is ironic, since Eliot Spitzer was himself involved with prosecuting members of prostitution rings during his tenure as attorney general. This brings up all kinds of imagery of: pots, kettles, and blackness- let the conclusion drawing begin.

Governor Spitzer has not yet responded to the questions of whether he will resign due to this moral debacle.

[SIDEBAR: This is the same government official who last month proposed to close the state's budget gap by taxing drug dealers on their stashes of illegal drugs...SMH]

Does Barack Obama = David Palmer?

I'm not an avid TV watcher (In fact I don't even currently own one), so I'm about 7 years late on this whole 24 Series featuring Kiefer Sutherland. My friend from high school constantly raves about this show, so I finally picked up the first two seasons on DVD.

[MY CAVEAT: Because I'm only two seasons in, my analysis may be a little premature, it goes...]

David Palmer, the U.S. Presidential character on the show is my idea of a perfect president. He has unwavering integrity, he is decisive, he exhibits grace under fire, he's knowledgeable and intellectual, and he's an independent thinker who considers all the options. Bottom line: This character has character. Even though he's fictionalized, I would like to have a commander-in-chief this great. [SIDEBAR: Don't spoil it for me if this character somehow takes a wayward turn- like I said, I'm only 2 seasons in].

Watching the 24 DVDs this weekend, led me to ponder: "Can the popular, likely democratic candidate (He won Wyoming this weekend) Barack Obama be as great a president as the fictionalized David Palmer? If the answer is affirmative, I really look forward to the next four years.

We're Going To Pay For This In More Ways Than One

According to a new book written by a Nobel Prize winning economist, a conservative estimate of the cost of America's war for 2008 will be $12 Billion (yes that's billion with a "B") per month (multiply that by 12 for all you math fanatics). Once again, this is a conservative estimate.

As an American citizen, I fear the repercussions of such treachery and waste. This doesn't even count the lives lost and the families affected.

[Source: Click here for full article.]

I Thought Water Was Supposed To Be Synonymous With Purity

CNN's website is reporting that U.S. drinking water contains some surprising elements. Water sources in many major U.S. cities is made up of more than just your average H2O.

An associated press study found a diverse group of pharmaceuticals in the American water system. Drugs and medicines including: antibiotics, mood stabilizers, codeine, and caffeine were found. Also, various types of hormones were proven to be present.

In Philadelphia, 56 different types of drugs and pharmaceuticals were discovered in the city's drinking water.

Scientists claim that the traces of the cocktails of drugs that are being found in the American water supply are small. However, the long term effects of drinking, and being exposed, to such contamination has yet to be reported.

According to, "The federal government doesn't require testing, and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water." Just a thought, maybe the government should take a small fraction of their war budget to ensure that our "8 glasses a day" isn't killing us softly.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"By attack is understanding lost." -From, "A Course In Miracles"

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Presidential Race '08 Update

It is being reported that with 99% of the votes counted, Hillary Clinton has prevailed in the primary polls in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Barack Obama has secured the state of Vermont. The tally for the democratic delegate race is as follows:

Barack Obama: 1,477 Delegates and 24 States won
Hillary Clinton: 1,391 Delegates and 16 States won

The amount of delegates needed to secure the democratic nomination is 2,025.

On the Republican side of things, John McCain has secured the spot as the rival to whoever will secure the democratic ticket.

Quote Of The Day

"The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power; because they control the minds of the masses." -Malcolm X

NYC MTA Fare Hiked Up- Once Again

NYC transit commuters started their week digging deeper into their pockets in order to make their commutes. The fare increases are as follows:
  • The One Day Fun Pass increased from $7 to $7.50
  • The 7 Day Unlimited Ride Metrocard has increased to $25
  • The 30 Day Unlimited Ride Metrocard has increased to $81
The increases were enacted despite a large public outcry. They also come in the face of a Daily News article printed yesterday stating that the MTA's CEO is receiving unprecedented privileges on the taxpayers' dime.

The MTA's CEO reportedly has a driver/bodyguard who is paid an annual salary of approximately $160,000. I guess with that salary at least someone can afford to ride the MTA.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

BREAKING NEWS...NY Metro North Service Suspended Due To Building Collapse

All service on the Metro North (NY) has been suspended due to a building collapse on 124th Street and Park Avenue.

It has been reported that luckily, there were no injuries.

Quote Of The Day

"Never confuse motion with action." -Benjamin Franklin

Lockdown America Part 1

Last week, the Pew Foundation released a report regarding their findings on the rate of incarceration in America. According to the report, the U.S. incarceration rate is at an all time high. The numbers are staggering. The statistics are as follows:
  • At the start of 2008, 2.32 million adults were in prison.
  • 1 out of every 99 adults are currently incarcerated.
  • 1 out of 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 are in prison.
  • 1 out of 9 Black men between the ages of 20 and 34 are incarcerated.
  • 1 out of 15 Hispanic men between the ages of 20 and 34 are incarcerated.

Monday, March 3, 2008

So The Press Can Keep A Secret

The press recently broke a story that Prince Harry was on the frontlines in Afghanistan as a soldier, for about 10 weeks. This information was kept from the general public via a media blackout. Various sources in the UK media who were privy to this classified information, were asked by the Ministry of Defense to keep silent about it. They readily agreed. In today's times of media & technology, it is nothing short of amazing that this story wasn't leaked, and reported internationally as it was unfolding. Who would ever think that the headline thirsty press could be so tight lipped.