So much for class moves: ... apparently it's all about *ss moves. And don't any editors watch BET, like, ever?


Partial playlist, pt. 2: ... Nappy or Not beauty parlor, 423 E. 18th St, Oakland, from 6:50 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
Sade, Lovers Rock
Musiq SoulChild, Aijuswanaseing
Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!: ... the definitive breakdown on the notorious MMC phenomenon, courtesy of writer/poet Joanne Bealy.
Another film that does that, albeit via a completely different route, is Spike Lee's latest film, Bamboozled. While triggering plenty of controversy and charges of racism, it is, in fact, an excellent testament to the way TV uses and misuses African-American images. Katherine Monk, film critic for the Vancouver Sun, had it right when she wrote that with Bamboozled, Spike Lee was "destined to set the record straight about what he really thinks about race, power, the entertainment industry, and the human condition in general." Many people think he went too far, that to use blackface, even satirically, is too charged and too wounding. But how long can we tiptoe around the hard issues and watch as nothing substantive changes?

Case in point: The November 12 issue of the New York Times Magazine was devoted to Hollywood. In 145 pages of photos, there was one person of color, blaxploitation film icon Pam Grier. Even the Republican party knows enough to at least have more token minorities in the public eye. What the New York Times Magazine clearly demonstrated is that Hollywood is still snowblind white.

And perhaps that's why films like Bamboozled are necessary, and why more stories like the one told in Men of Honor�true stories about honorable lives�need to be produced. I don't believe most people, particularly most white people, think too often about how Hollywood is or isn't depicting the races, or how Hollywood's view may or may not be reflected in the real world. We put blinders on rather than acknowledge the kind of prejudice and bigotry that allows some to succeed at the expense of others. We don't understand how much we all stand to gain by eliminating racism and embracing the pluralism of the world. If we did, we would be fighting tooth and nail to eradicate inequalities and our seeming inability to even notice them. Each day we choose separateness is a day we miss out on the world "as a carousel of color, color, color" (as The Wonderful World of Disney theme song used to say) that this white woman in Georgia, helped along by Hollywood, steadily denies.

No West London ghetto: ... or that's Modaji hopes doesn't happen.
Do you think that there's a danger that you guys will become ghettoised in West London?

That's something I've always tried to fight against, the notion of West London and 'broken beats' and such. I think that when people give us those sorts of labels they tend to make us look a bit parochial. It just makes us look like we're a clique and we're not really about that. We're taking it from Berlin to Japan, from Milan to LA - all over the place. We're all Djing all over the world now and trying to represent the music in that environment. In terms of the music, I think all of the producers and musicians that work in this circle are all very talented and they've all got their own sounds and I don't really think that you could say that our music is generic in that sort of sense. If you listen to my music and compare it to Phil Asher's or Orin Walters' or IG Culture's or Dego's or Alex Attias', it's all very different.

Green is the color: ... of some politicians' votes. Now, see, this is what I was meaning over here.
Meritocrat or valuecrat?: Taken the test? Scored 20m, 4v -- 1a 2b 3a 4a 5bc 6b 7b 8c 9a 10a, if you must know.


The most promising of the Next Medium-Sized Things: ... IMHO, and if y'don't concur, tell me who else is making beautiful noise like what Simon Reynolds documented here almost three months ago, please.

A.k.a.: nu-jazz, broken beats -- semantic profusion is a hallmark of the Next Medium-Sized Thing; the slighter the claims to novelty, the more names there'll be for the alleged genre.

* Artists:
IG Culture/Likwid Biskit/New Sector Movements, Phil Asher, Patrick Forge, Modaji, Bugz in the Attic, Alex Attias/Mustang/Plutonia, Domu

* Labels:
People, Visons Inc., Main Squeeze, Laws of Motion, 2000 Black, Bitasweet.

* What is it exactly?
An Afrodelic boogie wonderland where Alice Coltrane, Airto Moreira & Flora Purim, Rotary Connection and Fela Kuti mingle with 4 Hero, Masters at Work and Carl Craig. In other words, a fusion of old-school fusion ('70s stuff) with '90s fusion (arty drum & bass, deepest house, the jazzier side of Detroit techno) to produce a brand nu skool of fusion. There's so much fusing going on it's getting confusing. Phusion hallmarks include a passion for time signatures other than four-to-the-floor, a mix of acoustic, analog and digital textures, and a quality of hands-on feel and fluency to the music even when it's computerized. West London connoisseur sh--, dig.

* What the skeptics will say:
It's just acid jazz with samplers.


Thinner my *ss: Who's David E. Kelley think he's foolin', anyway? (link courtesy of pearls that are his eyes)
"It may be that actors are just thinner than other people," the great man himself once told a reporter with a straight face while munching on a repast of salad and Diet Coke.

So, I have to link to this: ... 'cause it's the New York Times, and where would I be if I wasn't linking to NYT content (as I do so often)? Also 'cause it's about blogs, and G-d knows I've missed out on other blog-chroniclin' articles and movements like that Blogma 2001 manifesto and the "kill your weblog" test (my score? 49 percent, or "quite boring"). Most of all, I like the idea of a parallel Web, a consensual hallucination of sensoriums en masse. If I link to the dream you're having, m'darling, will you link to mine? (I know, I know, I'm acting like a d-ck.) Sorry. Here.
Overheard on BBC's Radio One: ... on the "brekkie" show with Sara Cox: "Inner Smile" by Texas, and "No Good 4 Me," by Oxide + Neutrino (featuring Megaman). News: Snow in London, 6 inches worth -- the first in four years -- and a racist attack on a Turkish man. Counselors in Liverpool are considering banning kids playing footie on the streets. Back to the music: "Love Don't Cost A Thing," by Jennifer Lopez, "Seven Days" by Craig David, "American Beauty" by an outfit that sounds like ... Jakarta? (help a brother out to nail this down, please?) ... plus "Stan" by Eminem, "What's My Age Again?" by Blink 182 and "Porcelain" by Moby.

So, like, can you tell I haven't listened to the radio in a while? 'Cause this was all I used to do mornings back in Silver Spring when I was 11 and 12 -- sit by the radio with a pen and pad, listen to songs on WAVA 105-FM and Q107 and take notes (especially during the weekend countdown shows, like Casey Kasem's "American Top 40" and whatnot). Darn the Internet for blowing up, like, years after my adolescence ended. Still, never too late to have a happy childhood, they say.

Partial playlist: ... Radio, 435 13th Street, from 10:30 p.m. to 11:40 p.m.
"Let's Spend The Night Together," Rolling Stones
"Dazzle," by Siouxsie and the Banshees
"With Or Without You," U2
"Talk Dirty to Me," Cinderella
"All Lit Up," Buckcherry
"You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)," Dead Or Alive
"Stripped," Rammstein (Depeche Mode cover)
"Girls on Film," Duran Duran
"She Sells Sanctuary," The Cult


New York's governor gets off a good 'un: Ooh!
As Pataki, who flew to Florida to defend Bush in the election recount impasse earlier this month, appointed Raymond Martinez as Department of Motor Vehicle Commissioner, a reporter asked if his choice ever had been ticketed for speeding or drunk driving.

Martinez replied, "Yes, I have a DWI from 1989, and also a speeding ticket from 1997." DWI is shorthand for a "driving while intoxicated'' offense.

"I guess that qualifies you to be President of the United States then," Pataki said.

'Other' California: This is what passes for affordable housing over here, in the east East Bay. When I worked as a reporter and copy editor in Pleasanton, I saw the listings in the paper every day for houses, properties and developments. I love Oakland, but I'm not crazy about renting forever. The one-bedroom apartment we pay $900 for looks pretty lousy compared to a " four-bedroom house with a pool for $829 a month" in Tracy. I'd love to buy a house, but if this keeps up, it ain't even going to happen here for us.
The average length of a one-way commute over the pass is 58.3 miles, according to a recent survey co sponsored by the San Joaquin group. The extreme distances to work are spurred by housing prices that fan out like aftershocks from the epicenter � Silicon Valley and San Francisco. In San Carlos, for instance, in Silicon Valley, where the median home price is $680,000, the mayor recently said he was leaving because he could not afford a home. Every mile east of San Francisco roughly equals a $5,000 reduction in housing costs, Mr. Locke said. The median price in Tracy is $225,000; in Manteca, 15 miles farther east, it is $161,000.

"I look at it as I'm paying myself half a million to commute," said Jeff Essex, 28, who recently moved from Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge, to Patterson, 15 miles south of Tracy, where he commutes via the commuter train to Sunnyvale.

"The Central Valley was always `the other California,' isolated and distinct," said Carol Whiteside, president of the Great Valley Center, a public-policy organization in Modesto. "Tracy is the intersection where two worlds collide."

Sex and *nix and rock 'n' roll: ... is very good, indeed.
A backgrounder on black churches: ... and a little insight into the role they may play down the line once they begin to flex their political (and not just economic) clout. (via Black Electorate -- which has a lot of articles in its left column discussing the wisdom, folly and implications of last week's Bush/pastors meeting)
No holiday season can be complete: ... without remembering the sad times that our glad times together allow us to enjoy all the more. (Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Eid, Hannukah, Boxing Day, Christmas and (again) Solstice, y'all. (link courtesy of a convo with Cecily)
As to why I would discuss lynching photographs during religious and festive holidays: if such holidays mean anything, it is because these celebrations mean taking questions of brutality, sacrifice and redemption seriously. And as visual evidence and testimony, "Reflections in Black" helps repudiate once again the awful lies and obsessions that created lynching.

The images in "Without Sanctuary" (Twin Palms Press) belong to several genres. Like the pictures of Cambodian prisoners taken by their interrogators and torturers, they record what we can call civil war crimes. The lynching pictures were taken by local or traveling photographers who made a killing (pun intended) selling them to the citizens. The images are also what the historian Leon F. Litwack calls, in his introduction, race pornography: they were often made into picture postcards that were mailed, with curt, gleeful or venomous messages to friends and foes with nary a peep.


Whole latte love: ... steaming hot and frothy. Dig that aroma!
Metaforage rocks: ... not just 'cause he was considerate enough to respond to some of my earlier remarks on the black church -- he's right about their centrality; I'm less than optimistic about their efficacy -- and Merritt Bakery, but 'cause he finds stuff like this, which led me to this (you'll want to scroll down to the end).
From Elvis to Moby, the beat goes on: ... or so says Marshall Jefferson in an S.F. Bay Guardian interview by Amanda Nowinski, a consistently enjoyable writer.
BG: Does it bother you that someone like Moby gets more props in the mainstream than the innovators? I've heard writers call him the "king of techno." It's an insult and grossly inaccurate.

MJ: Well, he's the most famous, so everybody's going to believe him. When I see somebody come from my field and they get famous, I say, more power to them. I'm not going to give them shit and say, "I taught them everything." Eventually he's going to pull other people up with him. He'll get all the money and then look at the other people that built the bridges and see them broken down, and he's going to feel a little guilty about it. That's what happened with the Beatles � they went and got all the old blues guys and put them onstage with them.

BG: But then dance and rock wrongly become perceived as white-originated music.

MJ: I just want someone to get really big, or nobody's going to remember me at all. Where would rock and roll be if Bill Haley and the Comets hadn't cleaned it up and brought it to the masses? Or Elvis, where would rock be without guys like that? The majority of the people are white, 11 to 1. So if you make a record, you want to make it for white people so you make more money. The white kids are financing the music right now.

Seven years in the life: A remembrance of the Beatles' impact, what with the anthology and a new No. 1 album out. (via Robot Wisdom)
Kerosene: Celia W. Dugger documents the insanity in India.


Now that's a taxi!: These Beantown cabs get mo' digital. Now if they only offered access during the ride ...
The Vert system is linked to the Internet via a wireless modem, as well as to databases and a global positioning system that uses satellites to identify a taxi's location. Two of the ads were created specifically for Vert to take advantage of the system's real-time capabilities. One has the "Top 10" stock quotes from Nasdaq, and the other reports the weather.
No new tuxes for Dubya: ... and nothing black, not even the tie -- just white tie and tails. G-d forbid that too much style should call attention to his WASPy, overclass-from-birth status.
While White House entertaining and state dinners demand formal dress at times, Washington can expect the new president to lean more toward casual evenings and events.

Among the 1,500 formally attired guests at a dazzling champagne and black-tie salute from fellow Republicans in Washington this spring, Bush was tuxedo-less.

Dressed in a dark suit, he prefaced his remarks with a joke about the apparent sartorial faux pas, one that parodied the infamous "no new taxes" pledge of his father, former President George Bush, ending with the punch line, "No new tuxes."

But in truth it turned out he didn't want to be photographed in a tuxedo because, as he said later, he believes black tie symbolizes a kind of elitism that did not sit well with his campaign as a different kind of Republican.

Indeed, only once during his 18-month run for the presidency was Bush pictured in formal dress and the occasion demanded white tie and tails.

"The kid is in rare form tonight": ... and no, I do not refer to Prince, but a cool white guy (if his taste in music's anything to go by). Andrew Hicks' review gives me a little window into the Purple One's fall "Hit 'N' Run" tour. The injustice of a Bud Light costing more than the minimum wage, the joys of having a toke and a smile and his wry observations at regular intervals made reading it well worth my time.
"I can't believe all this entire audience knows the words to 'Lodi Dodi," said the friend to my right.

"Come on," I replied, "you know all these white bastards own a copy of 'Doggystyle' just like you."

You can't hear me, Dubya, but I'm screaming: ... and my reason would be this.
Radio One digs up black gold: ... and profits from its audience.


How the Yinch stole Christmas!: I've been nailed. Or outed. Or, er, something like that.
Someday we'll all be free: ... free of desks, buildings, wires and cubes. Joel is there (with an encouraging tale of taking Manhattan, if not the Bronx and Staten), and Dansays will get there in the sweet bye and bye (maybe mid-2001? I just hope Portland, Oregon's in the mix for Ricochet by then)...
You better work, girlfriend!: For a Beltway outsider, President-elect George W. Bush sure is a fast learner as to how the Washington game is played:
Mr. Bush arched his eyebrows more than once when describing Senator John Ashcroft's qualifications for attorney general. Mr. Bush stretched out the word "in-teg-rity" more than once, to let it settle in. He worked the facial expressions again when he suggested Mr. Ashcroft's Justice Department would "follow the truth."

Jack London Inn vs. Merritt Bakery: Used to eat a lot more regularly at the former, back in '94 through '97. All I'd order, day or night, was the Jack London Breakfast Special (two eggs any way you want 'em, bacon or sausage, a short stack of pancakes with a pat of butter that could choke a horse and syrup like drowning in quicksand -- all that and a bottomless cup of coffee). Open 24 hours a day, it was known as Mrs. Kelley's and run by -- surprise -- Mrs. Kelley herself. Next door to Moe's, which I wished would just cool out, have people play the killer jukebox and not be full of drunk people at all hours. Now it's run by an Eritrean family, I think. Its proximity to the train station, the clubs, the Barnes and Noble superstore, the movie multiplex, Yoshi's and the fruit-shipping warehouses means it draws a unusual mix -- truckers, some club kids, security guards, tourists, folks wanting to put on calories after a stint at Moe's, loud and annoying clumps of refugees from The Oak Tree on Friday nights. Merritt's crowd is different, more laidback and hail-fellow-well-met. The food's better (the shakes, curly fries and grilled cheese sandwiches -- the chicken's better, surprisingly, at Jack London, as are the burgers), but there are cops parked out front and sitting nearby at all hours. It's great to look out the window and see the lake and the city skyline across the water. You get a different mix of faces too: I've seen Jerry Brown at Jack London at least twice, but never at Merritt's; I've seen Shannon Reeves at Merritt's -- never at Jack London. Merritt's has goatee'd indie boys and the dyed-mop chix who luv'em, pomoafroboho slam poets from Mambo Mambo late on Thursdays, done-up Christian soldiers in suits and shined shoes and dresses and hats "puttin' in work" in churches all around the city at all hours, geeks cuddling up to PHP scripting manuals over hot plates, seniors from the hills and families from Fruitvale. Bummer is having it close nowadays at 1 a.m. -- that ain't no good when the wife gets out of work, I pick her up and we're both hungry, kna mean? Plus they don't allow laptops, which is some serious full-on foolishness.


Colorstruck: I have Eatonweb to thank (as well as someone named Dylan) for the chance to think about the Red Queen Color Theory. This site started out using the only pre-set combination in Netscape Communicator's Composer that I could bear: blue background, white text and yellow links. I went to an all-white background after finally figuring out what to change. It was two parts failing to RTFM and master the art of the tweak, and one part "KISS."
It's just rappin' Rodney: ... puttin' in work on Apple, George Clinton and whatnot.
A trip to the pharmacy? Slow torture!: ... oh, no, that would be her, not me. As it happens, I did go to the pharmacy today. But that wasn't for me, either. Oh, well.
There is no future: ... Remember: your secrets are our secrets.


So, yes, I'm really, really glad this week's over: Why do you ask?
Are you on EST (Easy-viewing Standards Track)?: I'm not, but it's something I could probably shoot for, with a little help from Bobby.
Makes grown women cry: ... Cruising by Chocolate Chaos (who got her holiday e-mail from Chocolate Boy Wonder, same as I did), I clicked on her link to Makes Grown Men Cry and discovered a treasure trove of links, the most immediately noteworthy of which jumped right out at me.
Teach The Children's Place well: If they're not going to do right, then they should pizzay up the wizzazoo.
Now, THAT'S a playlist: ... that should leave Cecily and Rik fit to be tied.


So it's NOT just me: ... the Magical Mystical Coon thing is real. Andrew O'Hehir notices it's a balanced part of your yearly holiday movie consumption.
After Jack clumsily tries to intervene in a Christmas Eve racial incident at his neighborhood convenience store, a homeboy angel named Cash (Don Cheadle) decides to show him what his maxed-out life is lacking. (If I had a dollar for every movie in which a black person serves as a white person's font of magic and wisdom, I could start my own damn studio.)
Forget the details, yo, the devil is everywhere: ... Metaphorage is right to express concern about this being Bush's first initiative. It's inappropriate for government money to go to "faith-based initiatives." The last thing the government needs to be mucking around in is this. Churches' declining role in African-American communities? I think it's about an increase in other institutions' roles: media, for one (though five minutes spent watching some late-night BET could make me change my mind on that). I would humbly submit that African-Americans are suffering from a lot of problems, but church isn't necessarily a solution to any of them -- and anyone who insists on pounding a square peg into a round hole needs to quit while he's ahead. If someone doesn't keep a close eye on this, it could turn into an "under the collection plate" cash-for-favors debacle. (paging Ed Rollins ... )
Happy winter solstice: ... I hope it's magic for y'all.
New year, next mag: ... so this is what Vanguarde Media folded Emerge to create -- a lifestyle magazine. Even with a Gabrielle Union cover (note: don't ever cop to an ambition to open up a chain of Popeye's -- it WILL come back to haunt you) and a Walter Mosley series in installments (not to mention a brief follow-up on "Black Genius"), I'm reserving my judgment. I'd prefer to see (read: run!) a biweekly/weekly newsmag for folks of color. Maybe the Web site will be deeper eventually.
Two deans, two journeymen: ... and it hasn't been "the day(s) the music died," but it's felt a little like that to me. Probably the first song I managed to get down on acoustic guitar was 10,000 Maniacs' "What's The Matter Here?" It was sobering to hear of Robert Buck's passing at 42. Pops Staples, 84, was just this gorgeous trebly guitar sound and this quavery, clear voice on a big stack of platters that matter. Singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl, 41, was starting to do what may have been some of her best work on top of a thing or two I'd previously enjoyed from her. All of these folks' deaths just puts the words of jazz bassist, photographer and all-around griot Milt Hinton, 90, in my head all the more strongly ...
"I was pretty young when I realized that music involves more than playing an instrument ... It's really about cohesiveness and sharing. All my life, I've felt obliged to try and teach anyone who would listen. I've always believed you don't truly know something yourself until you can take it from your mind and put it in someone else's."


A simple, subliminable message: ... I don't believe it even if you do, W. It's simply not so, even if there is an inauguration in the works! To put it another way, I disagree.
randomWalks turns one: Go check 'em out, whydon'tcha? I know I do regularly and will in future.
So, yeah ... : I'm still employed. But, hey, enough about my day. No, really, it's a typical Wednesday. Don't mind me.
I'd take bets on this: ... but what do I know? I'm just a no 'count so-and-so.


Sooner or later: ... you hit the deck, you get found out/save it for later/don't run away run away let me down ...
Walkin' in a Dubya Wonderland: So this (or rather, the picture that came with it) got my toe a-tappin' ... (xtra thanks for the 10th line, a Babygrrl contribution.)
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
In D.C., snow is glistening
A worrisome sight, he's happy tonight
Walkin' in a Dubya wonderland

Gone away is the Gore-bird
Here to stay (on fast forward)
A bunch of old clucks -- it's Reagan redux!
Walkin' in a Dubya wonderland

In the winter George can build a Cabinet
Making sure one-fourth of it is brown

We'll say, "Are you worried?" He'll say, "No man --
My GOP peeps think I'm really down!"

Later on aides'll conspire
(As he dreams by the fire)
To brew unafraid
Injustice in spades
Walkin' in a Dubya wonderland.

Memo to the other George: First off, meeting with a bunch of black ministers to talk up faith-based initiatives and woo them re: other plans you have in mind ain't cool, not so soon after last week.

You spent your entire campaign being as conservative about your compassion as you had to be in order to win, and now here you come looking for support? I don't think the 90 percent of people who didn't vote for you are feelin' you on those issues you're pushing.

Certainly education and economic growth transcend racial politics, but you didn't run on (or win on) those issues with blacks. You'll only get but so far in pushing "church-based issues" with the preachers, 'cause you think taking care of Sunday makes things fine -- but you're leaving out the other six days of the week, including the work week (where blacks are supposed to roll over and let you abolish affirmative action) and school classes (where blacks are supposed to fall for the okeydoke, accept a pittance in taxpayer money to enroll in charter schools and parochial institutions and ignore the public schools' growing needs).

Handpicked though they may be, these preachers aren't blind, either: I should hope they're well aware that you're trying to go 'round Robin Hood's barnyard to avoid meeting with anybody with sense who would strenuously call you out, a.k.a. those "civil rights leaders."

There's what you say that you believe in, and then there's what you do and what that shows you truly believe in.

Follow-up questions: In what world are you making "extraordinary efforts" to reach out to African-Americans by appointing Colin and Condoleezza to be your global spear-carriers? Their hires have been telegraphed plainly for months now, and it's more a part of your strategy to make much ado out of it than for it to be of any benefit to the black community.

Indian names for white people and a girl's hangover tips: ... it's worrisome in spots (could just as easily be my brown-skinned self in the mix) and saddening in whole regions (because that's just what stuff like this does to me). courtesy, via girlinblack
A Winterson's Tale: ... or the latest version of one, anyway, can be found here, if you don't mind a giggle or two about America and TV.
There are so many things I like about America and Americans - openness, enthusiasm, curiosity, directness, but I can�t stand the wall to wall TV. I made it my mission to switch off as many televisions as possible. There is something weird about walking into an empty hotel gym at six in the morning and finding the TV blaring out some talk show. I like my own company. I like peace. I like to look out of the window while I�m on the running machine and watch the world go by. It�s a lot more interesting than the canned version. As other people came into the gym, they�d say "Something wrong with the TV?" and I�d explain that I had turned it off. Immediately I was regarded with suspicion. Then I explained that I am British. This seemed to cover a multitude of mental illnesses and nobody messed with me. One lady, looking dolefully at the blank screen, finally confessed, �I don�t like the silence. It�s kinda quiet.�


Shelby and Debra call a spade (ahem!) a spade: ... Over here, Mr. Steele says something that makes sense, for once ...
Black leaders keep making Democratic party affiliation a test of the black identity itself. This may get out the vote, but it makes blacks the easiest group in American life for both parties to take for granted. As Mr. Gore made clear by separating himself from Jesse Jackson's claim of racial injustice in Florida voting, black Democrats are an afterthought even to Democrats.
... and Ms. Dickerson makes the strongest case about what should be at the top of Dubya's "oughta" list.
He needn't aver that racism scuttled Florida's black vote. He needn't promise to put a new and improved VoteMeister 10.0 in every precinct. He must simply take the claims seriously, research them thoroughly, put the facts before America and demand that it care.

Either that or his minions had better spend the next four years practicing a stealth suppression of the black vote. We always knew it was still happening. Now the whole world does, too.


Zero-tolerance treats some students like zeroes: ... or so says Judith A. Browne, a senior attorney at the Advancement Project. Browne's opinion piece in the January 2001 issue of Essence magazine's "Backtalk" column (with Kimberly Elise on the cover) -- complete with ancillary URLs (here, here and here) for more information -- makes a cogent case:
Research indicates that race does not determine how children act, but it does determine how they are disciplined. Nationally, Black students represent only 17 percent of public-school enrollment, but 32 percent of suspensions. Twenty-five percent of all Black students were suspended at least once over a four-year period. In San Francisco, African-American students -- 18 percent of enrollment -- are 56 percent of suspensions and expulsions. Black students are regularly put out of school for nonviolent conduct that is termed disrespectful, disruptive or disobedient. These subjective assessments leave room for bias.
The selling of Al Gore: It's a brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand world -- and the veep's aides' work over the last six months tossed in (and ultimately turned on) that assumption about the media and the election.


Gray grout is grounds for divorce: ... I think so, too, Sperare. Nice Christmas layout, by the way!
Unflagging symbolism: ... can be a worrisome issue whether you're down in South Carolina ...
Of course, nations struggling to create a new identity or character are not the only ones where a hummable tune or a colorful scrap of material are endowed with such power.

No issue galvanized South Carolina politics quite as much in recent years as whether the Confederate flag should fly atop the State House in Columbia. Did it symbolize slavery, as many claimed, or was it a piece of benign memorabilia from Southern history, a proud emblem of states' rights, as others insisted? When the state legislature voted to remove it last May, some commentators said it was not because the issue was resolved but because politicians and their constituents had grown weary of the endless debate.

... or down in South Africa.
The end of apartheid in South Africa required a rearrangement of national symbols. A contest was declared but in the end, in keeping with the spirit of a negotiated revolution, a new flag and a new anthem were produced by committee, representing a compromise: the anthem has alternating verses borrowed from the hymn of the liberation movement and from what had been the official hymn, and the flag has six colors.
Mo' soup for you!: ... especially if you live in Manhattan.
New York London Paris Munich: ... are not just four cities, but a pro-pop weblog with links and track-by-track reviews. This recent post mentions two interesting music review sites, Hyperdub and In Review. As Denise Levertov never said, "O click and see!"


C'mon everybody, do the Yahoo! While slurping down a bowl of chicken noodle soup at my favorite Viet noodle joint in downtown Oakland ...

  • I see that Coco Lee is surprised to encounter racism outside of San Francisco ...
    "This is the year 2000. You have people all over the world going into this music scene. For Asian people this shouldn't be a problem,'' she said, adding: "I did encounter some discrimination while I was releasing this album in the States. It was quite difficult.''

    But Lee, a self-proclaimed optimist, quickly brushes aside the specter of racism by saying she was cheered by the support her English album got from Asian fans in the United States.

  • ... that Kurt Elling's philosophical about jazz music's (lack of) popularity ...
    It's a combination of factors. The low expectations that people have of themselves and that culture may have of them. People are more concerned with making money than they are making quality, art or making life a truly more interesting, substantive experience. They are interested more in comforting themselves and luxury and silly buffoonery, cheap laughs and more goods. Coupled with the fact that they are just inundated with sound. You get into an elevator, there's music playing. Dentist office, music playing. Music used to be a special occasion. People didn't just have it around. So when they heard music, their brain activated in a different way. Now, people can't focus to begin with and then you crowd them with information - it's not their fault in a lot of ways. Technology and the culture has accelerated to the point of what? You're going to listen to a record all the way through. Listen to it? Not while you are driving, not while you are doing different things. That's an amount of focus most people don't have time for.

    ... A lot of things are possible. We are in the new century now. It's entirely possible that people will stop asking with a snide look on their face, look at all the stuff that we made. We are beyond it all and look at who we are and what we've been and they'll start saying we are here now and what can we be? And what can we possibly be next? And when people start asking that question, they are going to have to look to art. Art always asks that kind of question. We can do whatever we feel like. Human beings are the most incredible things that have ever existed. That is the majesty that is displayed when a masterful player performs for people. That is the dignity that is brought to bear when Wayne Shorter or Bobby McFerrin or Miles Davis or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform. Look at what people can do. We can do it. It's just that 1.5 percent of the population is interested in buying the damn records that display that dignity.

  • ... And that Radiohead's next album, "Amnesiac," is slated for next spring.
    "I think what we want to do is break the cycle of [where] a band goes on tour for nine months, turns into monsters, then has to sort themselves out and piece together the bits in order to make another [album]. Or the thing about making records in order to go on tour and all that sort of stuff," (lead singer Thom) Yorke said. "Even though I enjoy playing live, I actually enjoy writing and recording more, 'cause that's the stuff that will end up lasting, you know."
    My point, exactly: ... or Jill Matrix's point, to be specific, about the actor shot to death at an L.A. Halloween party -- thrice in the back, once in the back of the head. But don't worry, folks, 'cause Johnnie Cochran's on the case, to the tune of a $100 million lawsuit.
    The happy escalator dance of joy: ... was the move I saw a brother busting about twenty feet ahead of me a couple of minutes ago. We were both coming off the Pittsburg-Bay Point train from The City, getting off at 12th Street-City Center and riding up to the BART entrance in front of DeLauer's 24-Hour Newsstand. He had cornrows, and those little earbud headphones on. He was wearing one of those dark-colored, down-filled bubble jackets. And he was shimmying his shoulders, swimming his spine around and doing this thing where you couldn't tell if it was his head or his neck that was rockin' back and forth.

    I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and ask him what in the hell he was listening to.


    Adventures in black voter suppression, pt. 10 in a series: Tonight's installment also comes from over here, and tots up the numbers in a way that may make this the last installment on this subject for a while. In other words, ColorLines executive editor Bob Wing and Vanessa Daniel of the Applied Research Center (Oaktown, Oaktown!) break it on down so that it will be, now and forevermore, broke. (all underlines are mine)
    The idea that race and racism are central to American politics is not just a theory that harkens back to the days of slavery. It's a current-day lived reality that is particularly evident in this country's biggest and most sacred political event: the presidential pageant.

    According to the Voter News Service exit polls for Election 2000, 90 percent of African Americans voted for Gore, as did 63 percent of Latinos, and 55 percent of Asians. (No exit poll data on the Native American vote is available, but most have historically voted Democratic.) Combined, people of color accounted for almost 30 percent of Gore's total vote, although they were only 19 percent of voters.

    Latinos, the country's fastest growing voting bloc, went heavily Democratic -- even in Texas -- despite extensive efforts by the Republicans to sway them. Most Asians followed suit. People of color are becoming a larger portion both of the U.S. population and of the electorate, and voting largely in concert with each other in presidential elections. On the other hand, whites constituted almost 95 percent of Bush's total vote.

    Conventional electoral wisdom discounts race as a political factor, focusing instead on class, the gender gap, union membership, etc. But, the only demographic groups that had a fairly unified vote -- defined as 60 percent or more for one of the candidates -- were: blacks, Latinos, Jews (81 percent for Gore), union members (62 percent for Gore), residents of large cities (71 percent for Gore), and white males (60 percent for Bush). All but union members and big-city residents are racial or ethnic groups.

    And, the large numbers of people of color in unions (about 25 percent) and big cities largely account for the heavy Democratic vote of those demographic groups. White union members and city dwellers vote to the left of whites who live more racially isolated lives, but they barely tilt Democratic. Similarly, women voted 54-43 for Gore, but white women actually favored Bush by one point. Women of color create the gender gap.

    The same can be said of the poor: although 57 percent of voters with incomes under $15,000 voted for Gore, poor whites -- who make up just under half of eligible voters in this category -- broke slightly for Bush. The income gap in presidential politics is thoroughly racialized. As the sociologist William Form pointed out long ago, if only a bare majority of white working-class people voted consistently Democratic, we could have some kind of social democracy that would provide much more social justice than the conservative regimes we are used to.

    Despite the pronounced color of politics, Ralph Nader (and his multi-hued progressive pundits) blithely dismiss the fact that he received only one percent of the votes of people of color and that the demographics of his supporters mirrored those of the Republicans (except younger). ...

    The good news is that the influence of liberal and progressive voters of color is increasingly being felt in certain states. They have become decisive in the most populous states, all of which went to Gore except Ohio, Texas, and (maybe?) Florida. In California an optimist might even envision a rebirth of Democratic liberalism a couple of elections down the road, based largely on votes of people of color.

    The bad news is that the two-party, winner-take-all, Electoral College system of this country ensures, even requires, that voters of color be marginalized or totally ignored.

    The Electoral College negates the votes of almost half of all people of color. For example, 53 percent of all blacks live in the Southern states, where this year, as usual, they voted ver 90 percent Democratic. However, white Republicans out-voted them in every Southern state (and every border state except Maryland). As a result, every single Southern Electoral College vote was awarded to Bush. While nationally, whites voted 54-42 for Bush, Southern whites, as usual, gave over 70 percent of their votes to him. They thus completely erased the massive Southern black (and Latino and Native American) vote for Gore in that region.

    Since Electoral College votes go entirely to whichever candidate wins the plurality in each state, whether that plurality be by one vote or one million votes, the result was the same as if blacks and other people of color in the South had not voted at all. Similarly negated were the votes of the millions of Native Americans and Latino voters who live in overwhelmingly white Republican states like Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, the Dakotas, Montana -- and Texas. The tyranny of the white majority prevails.

    Further, the impact of the mostly black voters of Washington, D.C., unfairly denied statehood, is undermined by its arbitrary allocation of only three electoral votes. And the peoples of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam -- which are colonies ruled by the U.S. and have greater populations than more than a quarter of the U.S. states -- get no Electoral College votes at all.

    Gore, Bush and the future of the African-American vote: Over here, we have Matt Welch, a truth-belter with a light touch when it comes to the blues that 90 percent of MyPeopleMyPeople are singing at the moment (as well as the show tunes that Black Republicans are probably snapping their fingers to on the 1-and-3, and whatever it is that Nader voters like myself listen to these days):
    One of the theoretically more moving bits in Gore's speech was when he said, convincingly, "I do have one regret: that I didn't get the chance to stay and fight for the American people over the next four years, especially for those who need burdens lifted and barriers removed, especially for those who feel their voices have not been heard. I heard you and I will not forget."

    This was especially poignant given that 90 percent of African-Americans voted for him, and were certainly rooked out of some of their votes in Florida by conservatives who dropped that "compassionate" bit once the gong struck 12.

    But even there, think for a moment: what did Gore actually do, or propose for minorities in this country, beyond agreeing to "mend, not end" affirmative action, and to not ever be a Republican? Last night's speech was probably the first time I didn't gag openly when he launched into that "fight for yeww!" rap. If anything, Gore showed that he would stoop to any level to lock in his Black vote -- smear Bill Bradley as a quasi-racist in Harlem, amp up his Baptist growl to truly laughable levels at every Black church, go on and on about "racial profiling."

    But one inch under the surface there was always trouble. What about those 100,000 new cops he wanted to rush out into the streets of cities like Los Angeles, where green recruits have been committing civil rights atrocities these past eight years? What about that terrible moment in the third debate, where somehow George Bush seemed to win over an angry African-American man who opposed the death penalty, because Al just stood there with his mouth and conscience in a lockbox? What about that Drug War, whose administration has most certainly broken civil rights laws, and exposed Gore as the kind of white hypocrite who never gets caught?

    These sins were not enough to drive away the African-American vote -- Republicans still have too much blood on their hands, and it hasn't all dried. But there's something new happening: Dubya is not an overt racist, and he seems to actually believe in a kind of workaday inclusionism that few of his party have ever contemplated. If he avoids pulling some kind of Bob Jones sop to the Religious Right, and actually manages to shout down his yahoo wing (both big ifs), we may never see any group in this country go 90 percent Democrat again.

    And that's the thing, 'cause the clock is running (demographically, but not necessarily Democratically).
    Adventures in black voter suppression, part 9 in a series: Yes, I'm just as tired -- most likely, more so -- of seeing that header, but I'm still finding halfway decent summaries about the new elephant and the same old shit. Probably the one story I would recommend to vote-fraud deniers and every-vote-must-counters of every race.
    Trying to wage politics in the US while tiptoing around racism is like sidestepping an elephant. It's dangerous, it's not smart, and it won't work. What suppresses the Black and minority vote suppresses the Democratic and liberal-progressive vote. The majority of white male voters haven't polled Democratic since 1964 and only women of color create the gender gap for Gore. Yet the unequal distribution of resources and bias that created a practically apartheid voting system in Florida was sustained by the Democratic Party - who approved of the process, try as they might to blame the Governor's cronies. And Democratic pro-drug war, pro-death penalty, pro-felon disenfranchisement policies stoked the racist atmosphere in which this election was held.

    The conditions are ripe for a pro-democracy movement. A moment, at least: this is it. Some things have changed in the nation since 1964, and when the public has heard (or seen on CSPAN) the witnesses who gave the NAACP testimony, they have been shocked. Voter protests in Florida have built a multi-racial coalition that is advocating the kind of electoral reform the whole nation could get behind.

    Except that we run the risk of forgetting everything in the rush to "unite" and the desire to get to the good ol' days ahead -- like the bad ol' days that were the foundation for the present abomination.
    In the years after the forced end of slavery, former slave states like Florida imposed those felon-disenfranchisement laws, precisely to disempower freed-but-impoverished Blacks. The political parties crafted the statewide primary system into what amounted to a white-man's private club to keep the newly enfranchised under the old establishment's control. Then came literacy tests and poll taxes - voters had to keep their tax-receipts on file - anything to keep electoral power in white hands. For an idea of what those tackling literacy tests faced, consider: under Jim Crow, Florida required that textbooks used by the public school children of one race be kept separate from those used by the other -- even in storage.

    After the 1965 Act was passed, states did everything they could to dilute Black influence. Winner-take all systems, or absolute majority vote requirements were embraced to keep black candidates from winning over split fields of white candidates in local races - in just the same way as winner-take-all works in the presidential contest. More offices were filled by appointment. Legislative and congressional district lines were redrawn to keep black voting strength submerged.

    None of this requires looking back very far: the same House Speaker, Tom Feeney, who wants the Florida legislature to select a Bush slate of Electors no matter what the vote-counters count, suggested reintroducing literacy tests just two weeks ago: "Voter confusion is not a reason for whining or crying or having a revote," said Feeney. "It may be a reason to require literacy tests." (Palm Beach Post, 11/16.)


    Adventures in black voter supression, pt. 8 in a series: What he said ... and then what she said in response.
    A man, a plan, an e-commerce site -- Or something like that.
    Ain't a one as fine as my wife: ... and besides, Indians are starting to get over that whole beauty pageant thing they've had on lockdown for so long.
    India, in fact, has been gaga over beauty contests since 1994, the year of that first astonishing Miss World- Miss Universe twin triumph. Awakened was something that might be called patriotic vanity. Contests multiplied.

    There are now queens of this city and that city: monsoon queens, summer queens, married queens and junior queens. Indian women, many say, are discovering their sexuality; some are also discovering bulimia and anorexia.

    I say three cheers for that old-fashioned subcontinental sense of beauty ...
    "What wins these international contests is not the traditional Indian conception of beauty," said Patricia Uberoi, a sociologist. "Here, height has not been so much a criterion. It's a more rounded look, wide hips, plenty of bosom. Ten years ago it would have been hard to imagine how many women would be going to slimming parlors."

    And three jeers for the market move that Ankita swears it's really all about (not to mention the same kind of self-esteem issues that led to last year's arms race) ...

    India, of course, is a big and varied place � home to about one in every six of the world's people. Beauty contests are more likely to appeal to the urban middle class, the same segment of the population that has the extra rupees to spend on herbal skin creams.

    Even then, the flaunting of well- proportioned flesh does not fall within every Indian's idea of propriety. ...

    But for most Indians the victories of Indian beauties were a needed boost. The national self-image had been in a droop. In the early 90's, with its economy a mess, India finally veered from Nehru-era socialism and began to open its markets to the world. In came hair tonics, toothpaste and satellite television with titillating soap operas like "Santa Barbara."

    Indians did not approve of everything that was entering their living rooms, but they did enjoy the televised rivalry of radiant women from every nation.

    Worldwide, more than one billion people were said to watch the annual extravaganza. And there was India, able to show off females judged as incomparably beautiful and brainy. Merely to be chosen to compete was to become an instant celebrity here; to be a winner was to become an icon.

    "For so long we've considered ourselves to be losers and second-raters," said the novelist Shoba De. "We crave success at anything at all in the international arena."


    Trouble in Hundred Acre Wood: So don't Pooh-Pooh this learned body's neurodevelopmental assessment of the characters who live there. (courtesy Metafilter)
    Coffee will make you "all that": Because I have books like this and this atop my bookshelves (and have attended a couple of this cat's concerts -- Bimbo's in S.F. in '96 and Detroit's Fox Theater in '97), I'm not surprised about his sartorial splendor. But apparently everyone ain't fully up to speed ...
    Each spring, the publicist Eleanor Lambert convenes a committee of journalists and prominent social people in her Fifth Avenue apartment, and they decide in secret who will be on that year's International Best-Dressed List. It's not exactly democratic. And participants are not always up on the latest celebrities, though they try to be. One year, Andr� Leon Talley, a Vogue editor and occasional committee member, proposed Maxwell, the singer. As Mr. Talley recalled, "A few people in the group said, 'Oh, is that the heir to the Maxwell coffee fortune?'"
    Image control: I like her pictures.
    Media blackout: Deregulation isn't always the answer to a market's problems, and this is just collateral damage.
    While it has long been known that minorities and women face difficulties in a wide range of industries, the five studies to be released on Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission conclude that barriers imposed by both the government and the marketplace have taken a particular toll in telecommunications and the so- called new economy companies, where the lifeblood is the government license to use a part of the airwaves.

    "These studies confirm that small minority and women-owned businesses are encountering significant difficulties in participating in the new economy," said William E. Kennard, chairman of the F.C.C. "With consolidation in the past few years it's clear that it's become harder for any business that is small to participate as an owner of infrastructure, whether it is cable systems or whether it is phones or broadcasting. But this is still a vitally important part of our economy, and we have to make sure that we are creating opportunity for small minority- and women-owned businesses."


    G-d help me, I love this so: ... and it's inflammatory, confrontational and a red flag on various levels, but it's just wonderful. Here. (link courtesy Cecily)
    Feed redesigns: And suddenly it's as if a decent, well-meaning content site slips off its po-face and dons an elastic jumpsuit.
    James Cagney, you dirty rat!: I'm looking forward to reading "Ratdroppings" -- his blog -- now that he's got it going.


    My kind of moon: ... is a 'long-night's moon,' and maybe pictures will bear me out.
    This amuses me: ... because I'm sure this isn't what they had in mind.


    A campaign against white-power music: ... will be here eventually. Flash, but not too teeth-gratingly gratuitous, if you know what I mean.
    I don't have one, of course: ... but if I did, I'd like to think I'd've put together something like this, in between, well, you know -- telling people about it (the site, I mean). A couple of pages (here and here) certainly beat the hell out of the stuff I used to read as a youth (this, this and so on) when I was not just horny, but plain ol' curious. link via 12/4 entry at


    Imagine no handgun violence: ... it's easy if you try. In the last paragraphs of a BBC story on the 20th anniversary of John Lennon's death, Yoko Ono does so.
    Lennon's widow has often been criticised for her actions as the keeper of the former Beatle's flame.

    But many think that she got it right this time by using the 20th anniversary of Lennon's death to focus attention on the act of violence that led to her husband's death outside the Dakota.

    She has devised a billboard which stands in Times Square, and in two other American cities, which relays the unsettling news that since Lennon was murdered, 676,000 other people have been killed by guns in the US.

    It is just the kind of agitprop of which John Lennon would have approved.

    Adventures in black voter suppression, pt. 7 in a series: Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe puts in much work in the last two days, laying out the facts and the allegations and (in today's lightning round) speculating on Malcolm X's view of the CNN-ry in the Sunshine State. (latter link via Ghost in the Machine)
    Nostalgia sure ain't what it used to be: So what were you doing at this time last year? Looking for a portal to tell you how you were going to get by when the lights went out?
    Sammy would have been 75: ... if he were alive today.


    The Montreal Massacre: I remember watching Peter Jennings talking about this 12 years ago when I was watching TV news every night for current-events quizzes in class. Checking out Simply Interesting, I followed a link on the side to Spanikopitas, who blogged this essay the other day.
    Supercalistaflockhartissofarfrombodacious: And Phancy apparently concurs.
    Anniversaries: < s a p p i n e s s > This is sweet. It's the sort of passing blip that registered in my head two weeks ago, around the time of my third anniversary. "What," you say, "are you talking about? You've only been married for a year, you idjit! Can't you count?" The answer is yes, I can count (no fuzzy math), and there isn't much more to say about it, really, except that Greg is right, too: The time just flies by, and sometimes I think about there being so much more love than time. But I don't think about it really: As these things are less rational than emotional, I just sort of sit there, lost in wonderment. < / s a p p i n e s s>
    Risk!: It's not just a game; it's a philosophy. So sayeth Frytopia.
    Moby? **ck: Stacey makes me smile.
    Adventures in black voter suppression, pt. 6 in a series: Here.
    Another reason to feel bad about Music To Shop By: Michelle Goldberg calls some of my favorite music this year on the carpet in an unusually tight edition of NOiSE. Read it and peep ...


    I went back to Old Navy: ... and all I got was this stupid business card from the store's loss prevention manager, and a promise that he'd talk to the store's associates -- as well as the 44 members of the San Francisco Police Department working a security detail off-duty -- about the store rules. "'Cause those guys, they've got a job to do. They're just doing their job," he told me this evening.

    Ernie teased me the other day, right? Said I didn't want to look like Lisa Ling, now, did I? True dat. But I don't want to look like a suspect, either. Feel me?

    Are you being server-ed? Yes I am, yes I am, according to my provider's access report logs for November 23 to December 5. Nothing of interest, really. Just a few things ...
  • I have no idea why I drew dozens of hits from one server in New Zealand. Actually, this is something I've been meaning to ask about. If it's just backbone packet-routing arcana, well, then OK. But I don't know think I know anyone in Wellington, Auckland or Christchurch (wonderful, lovely cities I hope to visit one day). The one Enzedder I do know was still in the U.S., last I thought.
  • I'd love to know who's checking me out in Sweden -- a person affiliated with Chalmers University of Technology, and another person surfing through
  • Twenty hits through VIAccess -- hello there, Tim!
  • 2000/12/05

    Bush Blog! Running Red Lights has Dubya locked.
    The job interview, pt. 3: I think I'm just going to leave this person alone. I'm more puzzled than irritated after each interaction:
    mymedia: hello
    Gifford044: uh hi
    mymedia: so i meant to offer a peace branch
    Gifford044: uh ok
    mymedia: and ask if anyone besides you uses this screen name
    Gifford044: no
    Gifford044: they dont
    Gifford044: why
    mymedia: because someone was using it on thanksgiving night
    Gifford044: which was me
    Gifford044: ok no


    SWB -- Shopping While Black: I will never EVER shop in Old Navy again. Some musclebound Goldberg lookalike with a black "Crime Inc." T-shirt is standing just outside the store's front door. He wants to tell his buddy, "I think I'll take a walk around the store," as soon as I set foot in. Forty feet inside the place, I turn around to look and he's right there, arms swinging just as freely as he pleases and his gaze directly centered on my full hands -- venti SBUX latte in one hand; Wall Street Journal (rescued from a BART seat at the Powell station) and Street Spirit ($1; bought off a homeless man) in my other hand. With all that in my mitts and a big-ass backpack on my back, what am I going to snatch and grab? I'd be doing good to leave with the sandwich I came for!
    I love my job ... : and awards like this come close to explaining why.
    "By lowering the barriers to entry, the Web encourages new publications to be born, grow, and thrive, bringing new voices and opinions to public discourse on important issues. No one has succeeded more in this than It covers a broad range of issues -- from politics and business to media and culture -- with authoritative stories and commentaries. It has broken numerous stories. It updates frequently. It is a new magazine for a new medium."


    2000/08   2000/09   2000/10   2000/11   2000/12   2001/01   2001/02   2001/03   2001/04   2001/05   2001/06   2001/07   2001/08   2001/12   2002/12   2003/01   2003/05   2006/08  

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?