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June 30, 2005


Burritoeater: "Is it as fun as skimming rocks on a frozen lake? If you imagine that the rocks are burritos and the lake is our systematic, fully thawed engine of analysis, then yes, it is."

afrocentric hip-hop is a big shrug

"My audience has gone from being over 95 percent Black 10 years ago to over 95 percent white today," laments Boots Riley of the Coup. "We jokingly refer to our tour as the Cotton Club," he says — a reference to the 1920s and '30s Harlem jazz spot where Black musicians played to whites-only audiences.


"I love Boots Riley's music, but in general people in the 'hood are not checking for the Coup," says Brother Ali, part owner of the Minneapolis-based hip-hop collective Rhymesayers Entertainment. "It's hard enough to get some of our people to go to a Kweli show. It has a lot to do with the fact that the emphasis on the culture has been taken away. It's just the industry now and it's sold back to us — it's not ours anymore. It used to be anti-establishment, off the radar, counterculture. People in the streets are now being told what hip-hop is and what it looks like by TV."

Village Voice: The Cotton Club by Bakari Kitwana .

June 29, 2005

RIP Alexander Supertramp

I struggled to imagine the emotional currents that had carried people here to this bus, so far from their homes, to honor his memory. Later, a friend who had been born in Alaska and exiled to Maryland for five years tried to explain the overwhelming smallness and sameness of life on the suburban East Coast, where lawn care excites great interest; no wonder someone like Christopher McCandless seems adventurous and spiritual and inspiring, despite being dead.


For many Alaskans, the problem is not necessarily that Christopher McCandless attempted what he did — most of us came here in search of something, didn’t we? Haven’t we made our own embarrassing mistakes? But we can’t afford to take his story seriously because it doesn’t say much a careful person doesn’t already know about desire and survival. The lessons are so obvious as to be laughable: Look at a map. Take some food. Know where you are. Listen to people who are smarter than you. Be humble. Go on out there — but it won’t mean much unless you come back.

The Anchorage Press: : I Want To Ride In The Bus Chris Died In.

cultureblind psychiatry is racist

This thing called psychiatry -- it is a European-American invention, and it largely has no respect for nonwhite philosophies of mental health and how people function.

Washington Post: Patients' Diversity Is Often Discounted.

June 28, 2005

colorblind medicine is racist

If you have an African American patient presenting with elevated paranoia, that has been referred to in some quarters as healthy paranoia based on how they perceive society. If you base your diagnosis on that symptom, you can be misled.

Washington Post: Racial Disparities Found in Pinpointing Mental Illness.

June 23, 2005

vitamins up close

Extraordinary photomicrographs of vitamins and beer (photos taken through a microscope), via Kolbász Bajnok ("sausage champion"), an excellent Hungarian blog all about sausage.

June 18, 2005

the function of journalism is not to toady to those in power but to challenge them

Big Bird is not in favor of affirmative action. Bert and Ernie are not gay. Miss Piggy is not a feminist. "The Three Tenors," "Antiques Roadshow," "Masterpiece Theater," "Wall Street Week" and nature programs do not have a political agenda. "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" is biased in favor of boring, old, white guys who appear on painfully well-balanced panels. "Washington Week in Review" is a showcase for "Inside the Beltway," conventional wisdom, power-parroting, political-geekhead, Establishment journalism -- there is nothing liberal about it.

But there is a plot to politicize public broadcasting. It is plain as a pikestaff, and it is coming from the Right.

Molly Ivins: Destroying PBS

June 16, 2005

I'll believe it when I eat it

The time feels right to me. My spirit’s ready for it.

Bodo's Bagels is open on the Corner after many lifetimes of anticipation.

June 14, 2005

Velocity Girl - It's Alright By Me

Excellent Online: Flirt

Yes, first of all, this is *the* Velocity Girl. No, this isn't a track that's been locked in a vault for years, it's brand new. May we introduce you to the new Velocity Girl? Hey, wait a minute... it's exactly like the V Girl that disbanded in 1996! That's right, all members have reformed and resurrected what was perhaps THE janglepop band of the 90s. Pop sensibility and catchy hooks are back. This track, recorded earlier this year in the DC area, features the never-ending talents of Archie Moore, Brian Nelson, Kelly Riles, Jim Spellman and Sarah Shannon. If for some reason you lived under a rock and don't remember their first go-round, Velocity Girl are the band that gave the indieworld sugarpop and brilliance whilst the rest of the alterna-world was moshing in flannel. By the mid-90s they had the #2 selling album on Sub Pop of all time ('Copacetic' was #2 behind Nirvana's 'Bleach'). You have *no idea* how excited we are to debut to you new material from them...

Holy fucking... moly, randomWalks is pleased as punch to point you to a newish Velocity Girl mp3.

Also: Whither Velocity Girl?

June 10, 2005

The 2200

Apparently, 2,200 journalists have been issued credentials for the Michael Jackson trial.

As a frame of reference, at the height of combat in Iraq, there were 800 embedded reporters.

So on one hand, we have 2,200 journalists covering the trial of one man. On the other, we had 800 journalists covering a war in a nation with a population of 24.5 million--though that's only counting the ones "embedded" with the U.S. military. Seems reasonable.

The big question, of course, is whether things look like this because this reflects the interest of news consumers, or does it look like this because the corporate media and U.S. culture pushes the cult of celebrity as a distraction.

One sign of hope: Despite the shitty-ass coverage, the a majority of Americans are now against the war and Bush's approval ratings suck.

originally posted by zagg

June 7, 2005

DRM in the chip

One aspect of this transition that could prove interesting, in all positive and negative connotations of the word, is the so-called "trusted computing" capabilities of Intel's CPUs. Little has been done with them yet, but as we understand these capabilities, they're designed to work with a Microsoft digital rights management (DRM) system. There's no telling if or how they may play into Apple's existing music or future video plans.

TidBITS points out an underexamined factor in the Apple/Intel announcement.

June 3, 2005

Mothers Against Closed Source Software?

Orlando Sentinel: Technicality springs DUI defendants

What's going on in Seminole is unusual. Nowhere else are judges throwing out virtually every breath test that comes before them.

That's because all four Seminole County criminal judges now use the same standard: If a DUI defendant asks for a key piece of information about how the machine works -- its software source code -- and the state can't provide it, the breath test is rejected.

Seminole judges are all following the lead of Seminole County Judge Donald Marblestone, who in January ruled, though the information may be a trade secret and controlled by a private contractor, defendants are entitled to it.

mecca the ladybug changing like seasons

"It was important for me to be an 'at-home' mom," she explains. "I kept the kids close by; they came with me to record and I home-schooled them up until recently. I was very close to my parents; I always wanted to have my children close to me. It's difficult now that they're going to be with a nanny on this tour."

Ottawa Sun Online: TODAY - Ladybug and pals buzz into town