Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Gun Industry Is Well Protected

New York City filed a lawsuit against the gun industry. This was done in an effort to force gun manufacturers to take responsibility for creating a cache of firearms that consistently find their way to the underground market.

This morning, a federal appeals court dismissed the case. According to NY1: "The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the arms industry is immune to litigation from cities and violence victims under federal law."

With the gun industry being granted such immunity and protection under the law, we must ask: "Who exactly is behind the gun industry?" Whoever's pockets are being lined with the sales of guns, has far reaching tentacles. It is rare for a manufacturer of any product to be cloaked in such inculpability.

[Pic from ABC News]

Quote Of The Day

"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." -Edward R. Murrow

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering Why Police Departments Across America Operate The Way They Do...

...the book "Slavery: The African American Psychic Trauma," (Authors: Sultan Latif & Naimah Latif) explains why. An excerpt from the book states:

"America's police patrol actually grew out of the south. Up until that time, justice was administered by local sheriffs and deputies. After the Revolutionary War, most states developed some type of militia, in case armed soldiers were needed for national defense. But the institution of slavery required that some type of organized law enforcement would have to be instituted on a regular basis, to protect white slave owners against massive uprisings and escapes. In "From Slavery To Freedom," Franklin describes how the slave patrols worked: 'One of the devices set up to enforce the slave codes and thereby maintain the institution of slavery was the patrol, which has been aptly described as an adaptation of the militia. counties were usually divided into "beats" or areas of patrol, and free White men were called upon to serve for a stated period of time, 1, 3, or 6 months. These patrols were to apprehend slaves out of place and return them to their masters or commit them to jail; to visit slave quarters and search for various kinds of weapons that might be used in an uprising; and to visit assemblies of slaves where disorder might develop or where conspiracy might be planned.'"

Big Brother Keeps Coming Up With New Ways To Watch

NY1 is reporting that the MTA is launching a pilot program to install surveillance cameras inside subway cars. This program is reportedly likely to be implemented within the next 12 months.

The MTA has already equipped 50% of its Manhattan bus line with high tech cameras.

I must ask: Is there such a thing as privacy anymore?

Quote Of The Day

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived; but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." -Maya Angelou

Monday, April 28, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation- veneer isn't worth anything." -George Washington Carver

Sunday, April 27, 2008

If We Play To Our Strengths, We Can Stop This

We are a community of spiritual, soulful, and intellectual beings. To conquer this constant police terrorism, we must play to our strengths.

Playing to our strengths = Being consistently involved in our community; attending community groups and holding elected officials present accountable (This must be done on a consistent basis if it is to have a transformative effect); Using our economic power strategically; Educating ourselves on the law; Setting up think tanks; Being active in local elections; Being in constant communication with our elected officials; Having liaisons and checks & balances set up to monitor elected officials and law enforcement.

[SIDEBAR: It is not what we do just in the heat of the moment, but what we are disciplined to do consistently that will bring about the results that we desire].

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Don't Be So Quick To Throw Rice At Your Summer Wedding

According to "The Independent," major food store chains- like Sam's Club and Costco- are rationing their inventory of rice. They are reportedly barring consumers from buying the food stable in large quantities. This maneuver come as the price of rice has reportedly risen by 68% internationally.

Limiting the amount of food that a citizen can buy in an American market is an unprecedented move. This rationing strategy is being implemented even though the leader of the California Rice Commission stated that there are no rice shortages in the U.S.

After reading this statement I was perplexed as to why the high rise in price, and the rationing measures, were taking place. This seems to defy the laws of supply and demand. Why ration something that is available in abundance? Put your thinking caps on to answer that one. The first person to come up with a viable/non-sinister answer, moves to the head of the class.

[SIDEBAR: It is being reported that flour is next].

UPDATE: CNN has weighed in on this story. CLICK HERE to read their take on the subject. Does CNN move to the front of the class? You be the judge.

Quote Of The Day

"Unlike top management at Enron, exemplary leaders reward dissent. They encourage it. They understand that, whatever momentary discomfort they experience as a result of being told they might be wrong, it is more than offset by the fact that the information will help them make better decisions." - Warren Bennis; New York Times (2/17/02)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"We talk a lot about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., but it's time to be like them, as strong as them. They were mortal men like us, and every one of us can be like them." -Tupac Shakur

Friday, April 18, 2008

So You Mean To Tell Me, That With All The "Terror Alerts" & Big Brother Paraphernalia In The City, Someone Failed To Buy A Paper Shredder...???

Many news sources are reporting that a homeless man has come forward to reveal that he has found what should be top-secret documents, in a Manhattan trash can. According to The New York Post, the vigilant Ohio-native turned New Yorker, reportedly found a 150 page document that contains the blueprints for the Freedom Tower- which is to replace the World Trade Center structure.

Despite the recovered document allegedly containing the blueprints "for each floor, the thickness of the concrete-core wall and the location of air ducts, elevators, electrical systems and support columns;" the project's spokeswoman attempted to defend the security lapse by saying that the discovered plans were not detailed. She also gave the obligatory- "we're looking into it...someone will be reprimanded" spiel.

In light of this egregious breach of security, I must ask myself, "How seriously does the government take their own warnings of 'terroristic threats?'" Citizens have been subjected to invasive government snooping all in the name of "terrorism." Yet, blueprints for one of the supposedly most vulnerable locations in the country is left in a street corner garbage can for anyone to discover. [SIDEBAR: I can't speak on how may "heaven points" the man has, but at least Oliver North knew the value of a good shredder].

Many citizens are understandably rattled by the leakage of the Freedom Tower's blueprints. According to the New York Post, a New Yorker whose son died in the 9/11 tragedy stated: "I'd certainly be pretty leery going to work in the building knowing that security on the plans was so lax...The whole thing is kind of frightening, but at the same time totally expected, because we have been failed time and again." The former head of security of the MTA has also voiced his opinion by saying, "Outrageous security breeches like this amplify how vulnerable New Yorkers are."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Who's Up For A Game Of: Pocket The Buck, Pass The Buck?...Apparently Some NYC Council Members Are

According to news sources, like The Gotham Gazette, approximately $4.7 million of NYC taxpayers' money was allocated by city council members to fictitious organizations. Funds were embezzled via fake non-profits like, "The New York Foundation for Community Development" and "The American Association of Concerned Veterans."

This revelation comes amidst a time when the city is already at least 9 figures in the red. With such a deficit in the city's balance sheet, you would think that city officials would be extra vigilant about how every alloted dollar is being spent. However, despite very tough financial times, some elected officials have been playing fast and loose with discretionary funds. Two council staffers have already been indicted on embezzlement charges.

It is bizarre that such a fiasco would unfold under the gaze of a billionaire mayor who specializes in finance. The fact that the administration of a financial wizard would let millions of dollars slip through the cracks (especially during a fiscal crunch), rings of either: gross incompetence and negligence, or a case of "the fox guarding the hen house."

As of yet, no one has taken responsibility for dropping the ball on watchdogging the funds. The buck is being passed as to who is to blame. However, some government officials who are appalled by the theft of funds, are asking that the Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, step down from her position. This request is due to the fact that the "missing" funds were parceled out to various council members and organizations solely at her discretion.

Quote Of The Day

"Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change." -Muhammad Ali

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So Much For The Old American Myth That War Boosts The Economy

Almost every American history teacher I ever had spewed the economic theory of how good war is for the American economy. Well in 2008, that myth is being debunked. With the U.S. having occupied Iraq for over half-a-decade, the U.S. economy has entered an extremely perilous time.

Having traditionally based their power on being a leader in industry, the U.S. is seeing its status take a dive. Today, it is being reported that the U.S. dollar has sunk to an all-time low against the Euro. I can only imagine what this forecasts for the future of American economics. American inflation has already spun out of control. According to CNN, "U.S. inflation is coming in three times as high as expected in March- on top of escalating food and energy prices."

[SIDEBAR: You can only sidestep universal law and karma for so long. There are repercussions for every action. Warmongering, greed, and the worship of money, will only cause an equal and opposite reaction. My economic theory says: Extreme materialism, in which the power of money is so over-valued, will eventually create an economic environment where money is rendered powerless.(SIDEBAR within a SIDEBAR: Ben Bernanke should consult me on this...Lol).

Only a change of values and character can fix this. There's no way we can rectify our country's problems with the same mindset that created them. We need a leader cut from the cloth of more than ever!].

A Strip Search You Can Keep Your Clothes On For

A new type of invasive camera is being installed in public places around the world. The ThruVision T5000 camera, which can see through clothing and walls, is now being touted by security experts as a new way to thwart terrorist attacks.

The T5000, which is already in use in the London financial district and several airports around the world, has sparked many privacy debates. Discussions concerning whether various "terroristic threats" are real or imagined are also brewing.

Citizens' rights to privacy are rapidly being forfeited around the globe in the name of "public safety." This seems to be placing us on a road to the unveiling of the contents of Pandora's box. Who is to say if these new standards of "public spying" are justified? Also, how much power does the average citizen have to say where the lines of surveillance should be drawn. The Patriot Act, legally erased the lines that law enforcement used to be required to color within.

According to, surveillance expert David Wood has weighed in on the quickly loosening standards of the publics' rights to privacy. The Director of the Surveillance Studies Network, stated: "What we should consider is how much we want to lose aspects of our privacy in order to attain a sort of national security...In most cases this isn't real security- it's a sense of safety that has very little real effect."

I am interested in hearing how our current presidential candidates feel about this issue.

Quote Of The Day

"The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe." -Albert Einstein

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"One man with courage makes a majority." -Andrew Jackson

Monday, April 14, 2008

How Would You Like To Have Two Of Him...?

A new and easier method of cloning has been discovered. Scientists have used a new cloning technique to create a baby mouse from the skin cells of adult animals. This was done so simply and easily, scientists fear the ramifications of this new cloning method. The new cutting-edge procedure proves that technology now exists that allows for the cloning of children. Many feel that this effortless form of cloning may encourage people to start to engineer their babies. This threat is very real.

According to Dr. Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of American biotechnology company- Advanced Cell Technology, "Cloning isn't here now, but with this new technique we have the technology that can actually produce a child. If this was applied to humans it would be enormously important and troublesome...It's unethical and unsafe, but someone may be doing it today."

Ironically, according to "The Independent," this perilous cloning technique has been endorsed by President George Bush and the Catholic Church, "as a morally acceptable way of producing embryonic stem cells." Dr. Lanza weighs in on this shocking endorsement by stating: "At this point there are no laws or regulations for this kind of thing and the bizarre thing is that the Catholic Church and other traditional stem-cell opponents think this technology is great when in reality, it could in the end become one of their biggest nightmares...It is quite possible that the real legacy of this whole new programming technology is that it will be introducing the era of designer babies."

[Source: The Independent]

Quote Of The Day

"A man without decision of character can never be said to belong to himself...He belongs to whatever can make captive of him." -John Foster; Author

Friday, April 11, 2008

BOOK EXCERPT OF THE WEEK: From, "Acts Of Faith" By: Iyanla Vanzant

"There is a natural, universal force called the law of correspondence. According to this law, you will attract to you that which you are. The law is activated by your dominant thought patterns. The purpose of this law is to show where you are in your consciousness and to give you an opportunity to lift yourself to where you want to be. You can do any good thing you want to do with the right adjustment of your thoughts and actions. If you want prosperity and success, you must change your thoughts to reflect the things you want. Many people live and die never experiencing anything greater than what is handed down to them. If you are born amidst lack, failure, struggle and limitation, you do not have to stay there. Do not claim inherited limitations. The law of correspondence can and will move you to the heights of your consciousness. You cannot attract better, however, until you can better lift your thoughts. Lift your expectations. Lift yourself. Train yourself to mentally look for the good things you want and the good will respond."

Quote Of The Day

"I know this now. Every man gives his life to what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and so they give their lives to little or nothing." - Joan of Arc

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"Is your cucumber bitter? Throw it away. Are there briars in your path? Turn aside. That is enough. Do not go on and ay, 'Why were things of this sort ever brought into the world?'" -Marcus Aurelius

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Yes, All The New Technology Is Cool, But...Isn't This How The Matrix Started?

Facebook, the second leading internet social interaction network, is currently launching a new feature. The website, which reportedly trails Myspace in user popularity, is now offering its users an instant messaging feature. This feature is already offered by Myspace; and other companies, like AOL and Google. America Online's instant messenger, AIM, is currently the industry leader. Facebook hopes to solidify its position among the IM giants, with its newly introduced Facebook Chat.

With so many online networks providing "virtual friendships," is face-to-face social interaction becoming passe? While these tools of communication offer people easy access to each other, these IM interfaces may also become the catalyst for a "social dumbing down." Important parts of a conversation are lost when it comes to this type of online communication. Words aren't as emotionally impactful when voice inflection and body language is subtracted. For future generations who are born into a world where E-mail, IM, and text messages are the standard of social outreach, the effects could be dulled intuition and a lack of command for even basic verbiage.

I personally love technology, and new gadgets. However, I think that new technological devices: should be secondary to human interaction, shouldn't dull the senses, and should be a tool- not an all-encompassing distraction.

If Henry David Thoreau was correct in stating, "Lo! Men have become the tools of their tools!"; then, we only have to watch The Matrix and The Terminator trilogies to get a glimpse of our future. We've been forewarned- dependency on machines can not lead to a good outcome.

Quote Of The Day

"Where there is no vision the people perish." -Proverbs 29:18

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress." -Anwar El-Sadat

Monday, April 7, 2008

NYC's Proposed Congestion Tax Is Dead!

According To NY1, Mayor Bloomberg's proposed congestion tax is dead in the water. This is reportedly due to him not gaining timely support for the tax in the State Assembly. NY1 is stating that NY's mayor needed to garner support by midnight tonight, in order to get millions in federal funding for his idea. Failing to do so, the plan for the tax has been currently nixed.

However, the shadow that this proposed tax casted, should be a lesson to us all. Look how quickly a maneuver can be made to implement a tax that would be a great economic strain on average citizens. We have to be better prepared for the next go around. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. [SIDEBAR: This might have just been a dry run for that oxygen tax (see the title for the post below)...but for tonight (and maybe just tonight), thanks NYC for letting me breathe in your polluted liters of oxygen for free...SMH].

What's Next, An Oxygen Tax For Breathing?

New York City is in the throes of implementing an European-like congestion tax. New York is looking to charge commuters who drive into the city during peak hours- $14. According to, this is the same price as the congestion tax in London. Using London as a frame of reference, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, released a report stating that NYC's economy would be severely injured if they decided to implement the congestion tax.

According to The Queens Chamber of Commerce, a congestion tax would result in 28% of New York's drivers being deterred from coming into the city. The commerce group is predicting that this would result in an annual reduced spending of $1.89 billion. When the lost of jobs, and other economic spending is factored in, New York's economic loss could reach up to $2.7 Billion.

The question that I ask is: Why do New York City's officials seem so insistent on making NYC too expensive for working class citizens to have a residency there? After all, they are planning to implement a tax that has proven to be a money loser for other localities. Between the sharp increases in housing costs, costs for basic living, and taxes; many middle class and working class citizens are being economically pressured to move out of New York.

In my opinion, the congestion tax seems to be another case of New York's strategy to destroy and rebuild. This seems to be a tactic to make New York into the living quarters, and playground for the wealthy. What do you think?

Quote Of The Day

"The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him." — Niccolo Machiavelli

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"It is not enough to have great qualities; we should also have the management of them." -La Rochefoucauld

Friday, April 4, 2008

BOOK EXCERPT OF THE WEEK: From, "Acts Of Faith" By: Iyanla Vanzant

"We come together in relationships to grow, not to live in misery. Our relationships should be sustaining, energizing, and growth-supporting. When they are not, our growth is stunted, our energy is depleted, and our personality is distorted. A solid, loving, supportive relationship is like a shot of life. It is a source of inspiration, it provides a spark of motivation to encourage you onto the highest evolution of your selfhood."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." — Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Gentrification In New York = Marion Jones, Rebuilding In New Orleans = A 3-Legged Horse

The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the breaking of New Orleans' levees, has yet to be rectified. Three years after one of America's most tragic disasters in history, thousands upon thousands of families are still displaced. Reuters' reports that the U.S. top disaster official has stated: "nearly 40,000 families are still living in vulnerable mobile homes and trailers across the U.S. Gulf Coast- with another hurricane season just two months away." [Please note that this statistic does not account for the numerous other families, scattered across the U.S. landscape. The statistics are even more stirring when we consider the total number of people who still have not regained their economic, social, and psychological footing after experiencing the wrath of Katrina and the broken levees].

A Katrina survivor and New Orleans resident, poignantly tells of the ineffective way in which officials have been handling New Orleans' reconstruction. In a New York Times article, Mrs. White states: "They come up with these plans that look great and sound great. They give people hope. Then, they fall into the background. Promises are made, and they are not kept."

I find the delays in rebuilding New Orleans appalling. American citizens who have endured such enormous adversities due to trauma and displacement should be treated with urgency, kindness, and consideration. There is no excuse for delays in construction when you consider the recent rapidity in which expensive real estate has been popping up in major cities. If the American economy and real estate industry can bear building swanky residential properties by the millions of square-footage, in New York alone; surely New Orleans' residents can be expeditiously relived of their squalid-to-nonexistent living conditions.

Maybe we should send the cast of "Extreme Home Makeover" down to The Big Easy. I bet you Ty and the crew would have this mess cleaned up in no time. SMH.

Quote Of The Day

"Never go to the second thing first." - German Saying

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Castro Might Want To Re-Think This Whole Cellphone Thing

Raul Castro, Fidel Castro's brother and successor, has recently decided to lift the ban on cellphones for civilians on the island.

Ironically, this comes in the wake of an unrelated study recently done to determine the danger of cellphone use. The study was done by Dr. Vini Khurana, a noteworthy award-winning neurosurgeon.

According to the doctor, using cellphone handsets consistently for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Countries like Germany and France have already reportedly advised their citizens to minimize cellphone use.

According to the news source, "The Independent", Dr. Khurana has concluded from his study that in the future, " Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos." He also says that, "people should avoid using [cellphones] wherever possible...governments and the mobile phone industry must take 'immediate steps' to reduce exposure to their radiation." If this does not occur, doctors like cancer-expert, Dr. Vini Khurana are predicting a sharp rise in cancer deaths in the near future.

Personally, between all of the portable electronic devices that I use on a daily basis; I'll probably be able to glow in the dark by the year 2020. I'm no medical expert; however, I agree that people should try to abide by the minimal cellphone use theory as much as possible. I also recommend using a non-bluetooth, wired earplug when talking on a cellphone. I addition to this, I think that cellphones should be distanced from the body while it is on and/or in use...maybe this can help minimize the radiation exposure??? I would love for a study to be done on this as well.

New Yorkers (And Everybody Else) Be Prepared To Tighten Your Belts

Given New York City's status as an international financial center, the current credit crisis could have an especially deleterious impact on the New York State economy. Though the Division of the Budget is not forecasting a recession at this time, the risk of a recession is substantial.


* The national economic slowdown is expected to continue through the first half of 2008. Real U.S. GDP is projected to grow 2.2 percent for 2008, following growth of about the same magnitude for 2007. This forecast is consistent with major professional forecast vendors.

* The subprime mortgage debacle is still unfolding and the housing market is still searching for a bottom. Corporate profits are soft; financial sector profits are falling. Growth in U.S. corporate profits is projected to slow further to 3.1 percent in 2008, following growth of 3.7 percent in 2007. These growth rates represent a significant decline from average growth of more than 15 percent over the five preceding years. Equity markets have responded accordingly: the S&P 500 has experienced a correction of more than ten percent since its most recent October peak.

* The national labor market has continued to lose momentum, underscored by the December increase in the unemployment rate to 5.0 percent. The Division of the Budget projects nonfarm job growth to slow to 1.0 percent for 2008, following growth of 1.3 percent for 2007. The unemployment rate is projected to rise from 4.6 percent in 2007 to 5.0 percent in 2008.

* Although there has been some improvement in credit market liquidity in recent weeks, markets remain tight, generating a significant drag on both household and business spending. Real household spending is projected to grow only 1.5 percent in the current quarter and 1.9 percent for all of 2008, well below its long-term trend of about 3.0 percent.

* The Division of the Budget projects inflation of 2.7 percent for 2008, roughly equal to its 2007 level of 2.8 percent; however, excessive energy price volatility could push overall price growth still higher, putting downward pressure on household spending and tying the Federal Reserve's hand as it tries to stimulate the economy with lower interest rates.

* Cushioning the current slowdown are solid growth in the global economy and an activist stance on the part of the Federal Reserve, which has already cut its policy target rate by 100 basis points with a further reduction likely, and is taking other action to inject liquidity into credit markets. The Federal government is also likely to take stimulative action.


* Consistent with the slowing of both the national and New York economies, the Division of the Budget projects a decline in State employment growth from 1.1 percent for 2007 to 0.6 percent for 2008.

* As a result of the mortgage-backed security debacle, the Division of the Budget projects a 5.5 percent decline in financial services and insurance sector bonuses for the first quarter of 2008, representing a loss of about $2.1 billion in wages relative to the same period in 2007.

* Wage growth is similarly projected to fall from 7.6 percent in 2007 to 3.3 percent in 2008. Slower growth in both the wage and nonwage components of income will result in total personal income growth of 4.3 percent for 2008, following 7.4 percent growth for 2007.

* The State's housing and commercial real estate markets are in better shape than the nation's but significant risks exist. The dollar volume of New York City commercial real estate transactions appears to have peaked in the first quarter of 2007.

[Source: The New York State Budget website (Click Here For New York State Budget's Website's Home Page). Italics added.

Quote Of The Day

"A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her." -David Brinkley; Newscaster