Friday, April 27, 2007

Ex-C.I.A. Chief Points The Finger

Sadly as I was reading this article the lyrics to a Tanya Tucker song kept coming to mind.  Mr Tenet, " it's a little too late to do the right thing now."
According to a CNN count, to date there have been 3,604 coalition deaths -- 3,334 Americans, two Australians, 145 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, six Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, one Hungarian, 32 Italians, one Kazakh, three Latvian, 19 Poles, two Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians.   The number of Iraqi troops and civilians is unconfirmed but surely in the thousands.   The cost has exceeded 420 trillion and counting.  So much for Mr Bush's "footnote in history".
If this isn't grounds for impeachment, what is? 
P.S. It's ironic that George Tenet will probably make millions in book sales.  Can we rally all of those that protested OJ's "If I Did It"?
Ex-C.I.A. Chief, in Book, Assails Cheney on Iraq - New York Times
Published: April 27, 2007
WASHINGTON, April 26 --- George J. Tenet, the former director of central intelligence, has lashed out against Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials in a new book, saying they pushed the country to war in Iraq without ever conducting a "serious debate" about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States.

The 549-page book, "At the Center of the Storm," is to be published by HarperCollins on Monday.  By turns accusatory, defensive, and modestly self-critical, it is the first detailed account by a member of the president's inner circle of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the decision to invade Iraq and the failure to find the unconventional weapons that were a major justification for the war.

"There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat," Mr. Tenet writes in a devastating judgment that is likely to be debated for many years.  Nor, he adds, "was there ever a significant discussion" about the possibility of containing Iraq without an invasion.

Mr. Tenet admits that he made his famous "slam dunk" remark about the evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But he argues that the quote was taken out of context and that it had little impact on President Bush's decision to go to war.

He also makes clear his bitter view that the administration made him a scapegoat for the Iraq war.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

'Evil twin' Wi-Fi access points proliferate

The moral of this story:  Watch where and to whom you're connecting.
If you have any information on your laptop that you don't want to share you may want to avoid free Wi-Fi altogether.   This include cafes, hotels and public parks.  Your best bet when traveling is to use your own internet aircard or connect to the internet via a wired connection.   And of course, make sure that you are using good firewall, anti-virus and anti-spam software.  If you have any shared folders or drives on your laptop make sure that they are password protected.
Beware of spoofed Wi-Fi access points in public places, scamming users and harvesting passwords.

by Jeremy Kirk
PC World
Wednesday, April 25, 2007; 12:32 PM
The next time you splurge on a double latte and sip it while browsing the Internet via the cafe's Wi-Fi, beware of the "evil twin."  That's the term for a Wi-Fi access point that appears to be a legitimate one offered on the premises, but actually has been set up by a hacker to eavesdrop on wireless communications among Internet surfers.

With the growth in wireless networks, the "evil twin" type of attack is on the rise, said Phil Cracknell, president of the U.K. branch of the Information Systems Security Association.

Such attacks are much easier than others seeking logins or passwords, such as phishing, which involves setting up a fraudulent Web site and luring people there, Cracknell said.  A rogue Wi-Fi connection can be set up on a laptop with a bit of simple programming and a special USB (Universal Serial Bus) thumb drive that acts as an access point.

The growth in the number of Wi-Fi networks poses increasing opportunities for hackers, who can make their networks appear to be legitimate by simply giving their access point a similar name to the Wi-Fi network on the premises.  The hacker's computer can be configured to pass the person through to the legitimate access point while monitoring the traffic of the victim.  "You are going to harvest some incredible information in a short span of time with a rogue hot spot," Cracknell said.

Corporate users can protect themselves by using VPN (virtual private network) when logging into company servers, Cracknell said.  But consumers are at a particular disadvantage, since they are likely not using VPN and will access free Web e-mail applications that could send passwords in clear text.

Wi-Fi hot spot owners tend to be "absolutely ignorant" of the attack, although they should regularly monitor their network for rogue access points, Cracknell said.

Another problem is reporting: victims may not even know how their information was pinched, and those who run the hot spot may be reluctant to reveal that hackers exploited their network.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer


EPA Relaxes Air Pollution Rules For Oil Industry

Agency Rejects Petition for Controls on North Slope and Extends Ruling Nationally

WASHINGTON - In a major victory for the oil industry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has adopted looser air pollution limits for sprawling petroleum production and exploration operations, according to an agency order released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). As a result, petroleum facilities will be allowed to emit additional tons of hydrocarbons each day.

At issue is a regulatory rule called "aggregation" which prevents polluters from avoiding air pollution permit limits by breaking their operations down into smaller units, each with its own pollution cap

In an order signed April 20, 2007, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson rejected a petition filed by PEER and a former Alaska state environmental engineer, Bill MacClarence, demanding that EPA veto a permit issued by the state of Alaska in 2003 for facilities at a massive British Petroleum complex on the North Slope. Contrary to previous EPA guidance, this new facility was classified as a stand-alone operation and not included within or aggregated into its existing permit.

"The North Slope currently produces as much as a fifth of the nation's oil supply, so the volume of pollution released is immense," stated Bill MacClarence, who had protested the permit both when he served as the supervisor of its air permit program for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and after he retired. "North Slope oil operations are already emitting as much nitrogen oxides as the entire Washington, DC metropolitan area and it is going to get a lot worse."

In an action that presaged its decision on the PEER petition, on January 12, 2007, EPA issued new national guidance that forbade applying aggregation principles to reduce pollution at oil facilities that are physically separated even though operationally linked. Oil and gas developments typically consist of many pieces of equipment, sometimes thousands in big developments, often connected by pipelines. This new guidance means that oil companies can treat equipment clusters as separate facilities, each with its own pollution allowances. The guidance directive was signed by William Wehrum, whose nomination to be EPA Assistant Administrator for Air was recently withdrawn by President Bush.

"Besides the negative public health effects, the last best places in our country will soon become as smog-choked as our big cities," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting the rapid proliferation of oil and gas drilling in the Rocky Mountains and offshore. "This case was also a golden opportunity for the Bush administration to take its first baby steps to stop venting gases that contribute to global warming."

MacClarence, a 20-year environmental engineer, had persuaded the State of Alaska to require aggregation in the BP permit, but under intense lobbying from the Alaska Oil & Gas Association, the state reversed its stand in July 2003. Initially, EPA echoed those concerns but eventually also reversed its position. In the order, EPA Administrator Johnson denied that his agency "altered its position on aggregation ...because of aggressive lobbying by the Alaska oil and gas industry…" but admitted that "EPA did meet with the applicant, at the applicant's request, on two occasions to discuss aggregation…"


CONTACT: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What If?

courtesy of the American Progress newsletters.

US Sales of Municipal Water Systems To Multinational Interests?

If this article doesn't alarm you, I don't know what will.   
Sadly, this can be seen as an example of chickens coming home to roost.  The US has promoted the privatization of public utilities by US corporations around the globe for some time on the premise that corporations could manage the infrastructure and delivery systems better than local governments.   Of course, in many nations that argument is not without merit.  But not always.
What are we thinking?  With a government that promotes the selling of municipal water systems to multinational corporations that have no national allegiance,  who needs to worry about fighting terrorists here or there?  What happens if a foreign-based entity purchases a municipal water system and then we find ourselves at war with that nation?
Is no one asking this question?
an excerpt from
Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water
By Tara Lohan, AlterNet. Posted April 25, 2007.

All across the United States, municipal water systems are being bought up by multinational corporations, turning one of our last remaining public commons and our most vital resource into a commodity.

The Bush administration is actively working to loosen the hold that cities and towns have over public water, enabling corporations to own the very thing we depend on for survival.

The effects of the federal government's actions are being felt all the way down to Conference of Mayors, which has become a "feeding frenzy" for corporations looking to make sure that nothing is left in the public's hands, including clean, affordable water.

Documentary filmmakers Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman recently teamed up with author Michael Fox to write "Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water" (Wiley, 2007).  The three followed water privatization battles across the United States -- from California to Massachusetts and from Georgia to Wisconsin, documenting the rise of public opposition to corporate control of water resources.  They found that the issue of privatization ran deep.

"We came to see that the conflicts over water are really about fundamental questions of democracy itself: Who will make the decisions that affect our future, and who will be excluded?"  "And if citizens no longer control their most basic resource, their water, do they really control anything at all?"

As the effects of climate change are being felt around the world, including decreasing snowpacks and rainfall, water is quickly becoming the market's new holy grail.

Mayor Gary Podesto, in his State of the City address to his constituents in 2003, sang the praises of privatization to his community, located in California's Central Valley.  "It's time that Stockton enter the 21st century in its delivery of services and think of our citizens as customers," he said. 
And there is the crux of the issue -- privatization means transforming citizens into customers.  Or, in other words, making people engaged in a democratic process into consumers looking to get the best deal.  It is also means taking our most important resource and putting it at the whims of the market.

Currently, water systems are controlled publicly in 90 percent of communities across the world and 85 percent in the United States, but that number is changing rapidly, the authors report in "Thirst."
In 1990, 50 million people worldwide got their water services from private companies, but by 2002 it was 300 million and growing.

There are a number of reasons to be concerned.

"Globally, corporations are promoting water privatization under the guise of efficiency, but the fact is that they are not paying the full cost of public infrastructure, environmental damage, or healthcare for those they hurt," said Ashley Schaeffer of Corporate Accountability International. "Water is a human right and not a privilege."

There are also significant environmental considerations -- with private corporations, sustainability can be tossed out the window.

"Climate change is a warning that uncontrolled abuse of the earth's natural resources is leading toward planetary catastrophe," the authors write in "Thirst."  "Who is to set the necessary limits to the abuse of the environment?  Private companies fighting for market share are incapable of doing so."

Privatization has been pushed aggressively at the federal level for decades, but especially so in the last six years.  "There is a kind of fire sale of everything in the public sector right now," said Alan Snitow.  "Water, we think, is the line in the sand -- when your water is actually a profit mechanism, people really react negatively to that."

"Thirst" beautifully documents the coalitions that are forming in communities that are fighting back.  But the battles are not easy: They must confront massive political muscle and unlimited financial resources of multinational corporations, not to mention our society's religious belief in the power of the marketplace.

Privatizing municipal water systems is globalization come home, said Deborah Kaufman.

In 2000 Bechtel privatized water in Cochabamba, Bolivia, with such miserable consequences that it was shortly driven out of the country in an incredible feat of cross-class organizing.  But just a few years later, it was awarded a $680 million contract to "fix" Iraq's ruined water systems.

"We view the privatization of water in the United States as the World Bank come home -- the third-worldization of America and American communities."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day 2007 -- Sunday April 22nd

Prayer For The Planet
by Marianne Williamson from Illuminata

Please bless and protect this sacred jewel

Our vulnerable planet so besieged.

May the rivers and the oceans the sky and the land

All be repaired somehow, Dear Lord

May the barbarism end, which threatens to destroy our precious treasure.

For surely the earth has been our home.

The home of our parents unto all generations.

For the sake of our children, Lord

Save this earth.

Place in all minds a greater awe before her mysteries.

Shield her and heal her wounds,

Restore her to her former glory,

Save her, Lord, from us.


Earth Day 2007

Here are a few videos courtesy of the YouTube community that will hopefully inspire you to appreciate this gift called Planet Earth.

Happy Earth Day!

Pictures from A New York Gardener

Este video promociona un especial de 3 horas del documental Planeta Tierra que saldra el 22 de abril, Dia Mundial de la Tierra en Discovery en Espanol.

... and finally

Saturday, April 21, 2007

'Global warming messages' blanket unveiled for Earth Day

By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 21 April 2007 2155 hrs

SINGAPORE: A blanket featuring students' comments on global warming has been unveiled to mark Earth Day, which is on Sunday. Conveyed through eye-catching colours, the message is loud and clear - Save The Earth!

It took about one week to put the messages together as a blanket. About 600 students from primary schools to junior colleges submitted their messages.

The aim is to promote awareness about global warming, its consequences and how students can do their part for the environment.

The messages are set to travel to various schools as an exhibition over one year.


Democracy's Dangerous Impostors

If you are a person that is serious about making a positive difference in the world this may be one of the most important articles that you will ever read.   plk

Democracy's Dangerous Impostors

By Moisés Naím
Saturday, April 21, 2007; Page A17
The Myanmar Women's Affairs Federation is a gongo. So is Nashi, a Russian youth group, and the Sudanese Human Rights Organization.  Kyrgyzstan's Association of Non-commercial and Nongovernmental Organizations is also a gongo, as is Chongryon, the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.  Gongos are sprouting everywhere; they're in China, Cuba, France, Tunisia and even the United States.

Gongos are government-organized nongovernmental organizations. Behind this contradictory and almost laughable tongue twister lies an important and growing global trend that deserves more scrutiny: Governments are funding and controlling nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), often stealthily.

Some gongos are benign, others irrelevant.  But many, including those I mentioned, are dangerous.  Some act as the thuggish arm of repressive governments.  Others use the practices of democracy to subtly undermine democracy at home.  Abroad, the gongos of repressive regimes lobby the United Nations and other international institutions, often posing as representatives of citizen groups with lofty aims when, in fact, they are nothing but agents of the governments that fund them.

Some governments embed their gongos deep in the societies of other countries and use them to advance their interests abroad.  That is the case, for example, of Chongryon, a vast group of pro-North Korean "civil society" organizations active in Japan.  It is the de facto representative of the North Korean regime.  Japanese authorities have accused several of its member organizations of smuggling weapons technology, trafficking in pharmaceutical products, and funneling hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as orchestrating a massive propaganda operation on Pyongyang's behalf.

For decades, "civil society" groups in a variety of countries have stridently defended Cuba's human rights record at U.N. conferences and have regularly joined the efforts aimed at watering down resolutions concerning Cuba's well-documented violations.

Bolivarian Circles, citizen groups that support Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, are sprouting throughout Latin America, the United States and Canada.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and other wealthy governments in the Middle East are known to be generous -- and often the sole -- benefactors of NGOs that advance their religious agenda worldwide.

But the most dangerous gongos grow at home, not abroad.  They have become the tool of choice for undemocratic governments to manage their domestic politics while appearing democratic.

In many countries of the former Soviet Union, government-backed NGOs are crowding out and muddling the voices of the country's legitimate civil society. In Kyrgyzstan, for example, the Association of Non-commercial and Nongovernmental Organizations is an enthusiastic fan of former president Askar Akayev.  It ran a national petition drive in 2003 asking Akayev, who had been in power since 1991, to run for reelection.

Likewise, the Myanmar Women's Affairs Federation is a harsh critic of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition leader who has spent much of the past 18 years under house arrest. The federation is run by the wives of the Burmese military junta's top generals.

Democratic governments have their own gongos, too.

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private nonprofit organization created in 1983 to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. It is also a gongo funded by the U.S. government. In several countries, receiving money from the NED is considered a crime.

For the sake of full disclosure, it's important to note that I serve on the NED board of directors. I, therefore, disagree that its activities are criminal, immoral or a tool of the White House. Its programs, decisions and sources of revenue and expenditures are transparent, and its directors, who serve without pay, are independent.

But why should you believe me?

Ideally, there should be an independent and credible source that helps you decide whether the NED or other gongos, backed by, say, the Canadian or Dutch governments, belong in the same category as Chongryon or Nashi. The world needs a rating system for NGOs that does for civil society what independent credit rating agencies do for the global financial system. The credit rating agencies play an indispensable role in facilitating the borrowing and lending that takes place every day by providing investors with information about the financial conditions of corporations, government agencies and individuals. These independent and professional assessments of borrowers' creditworthiness allow major transactions to take place faster and cheaper. Ultimately, lenders make decisions within a market in which a company that always meets its obligations is less likely to be confused with one that pays its creditors only after a court orders it to do so.

The globalization and effectiveness of nongovernmental organizations will suffer if we don't find reliable ways of distinguishing between organizations that represent democratic civil society and those that are tools of uncivil, undemocratic governments.

Moisés Naím is editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine and the author of "Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy." This essay will appear in the May/June issue of Foreign Policy.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Bill Moyer Discusses Why The Media Bought Into the Iraq War Hype

Bill Moyers Journal: Buying the War Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 9 PM on PBS (check local listings)

As I've indicated in several previous posts, there is no one in media that I respect more than Bill Moyers. In fact, when Molly Ivins suggested that we encourage Bill Moyers to run for President in '08, I couldn't have agreed more. So now I highly recommend that anyone with an interest in journalism and/or US politics or for that matter the state of society should try to watch this broadcast. plk

From the director:

How the administration marketed the war to the American people has been well covered, but critical questions remain: How and why did the press buy it, and what does it say about the role of journalists in helping the public sort out fact from propaganda?

In this clip from the premiere of Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Bob Simon of 60 Minutes, who was based in the Middle East, talks about the reporting he was seeing and reading out of the beltway, and John Walcott and Warren Strobel of Knight Ridder newspapers (now The McClatchy Company), discuss their work burrowing deep into the intelligence agencies to determine whether there was any evidence for the Bush Administration's case for war.

More from Bill Moyers:

Moyers on America: Capitol Crimes

A Parable For Our Times

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Protect Your Right to Alternative Medicine

On April 30, 2007 the FDA will close the public comment period on a "Guidance" which will classify every alternative practice as medicine so that only licensed physicians can carry out the procedure AND vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc., will suddenly become "untested drugs" which will be forbidden.

Docket No. 2006D-0480, CAM Guidance

# # # # #

Dear Friends,

There was a time when men and women ( especially women) were labeled as witches, workers of iniquity, or in league with the devil simply for practicing herbal medicine. Yes, simply posessing a knowledge of the curative use of herbs, berries, barks etc. could get an individual excommuncated, tortured or even burned at the stake. Worse yet, many people died from treatments like blood letting and leeches that might have otherwise lived.

Barbaric, right?

Why did this happen? It happened because those that practiced herbal medicine went against the medical establishment of their time.

Today there are no witch hunts or inquisitions but the pharmaceutical and insurance industries want to take away your right and access to alternative medicine. They would rather have you purchase outrageously expensive prescription drugs with numerous side effects than try alternative treatments that have been used for thousands of years.

Please don't let this happen!

Please sign this petition and then tell all you know to do the same:

When your life is on the line you deserve to have every option available to you.

Pamela Lyn

# # # # #
Public outcry can stop this assault on your health and your freedom.

Spread the word! Tell everyone in your Circle of Influence, professionals, alternative practitioners, nutrient and herb companies, everyone!
Let them know how important their participation is to make sure the FDA backs off from this repressive course.

Please share this link with them and urge them to take action:

Yours in health and freedom,
Rima E. Laibow, MD
Medical Director
Natural Solutions Foundation

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Online child abuse complaints up

BBC NEWS | Technology | Online child abuse complaints up

Online child abuse complaints up Reports of websites that contain images of child abuse have continued to climb in the last year, a report has shown.

In 2006, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) investigated more than 31,000 reports of sites that contained alleged images, an increase of 34% since 2005. More than 10,000 of the reported pages on more than 3,000 websites were found to contain illegal child abuse content.

The increase was in part due to greater awareness of the IWF and its reporting procedures, the organisation said.

As well as outlining the numbers of web pages and sites containing images, the IWF annual report also revealed the increasing severity of content held on the sites. More than 3,000 web pages contained images depicting the most severe abuse, such as penetrative and sadistic sexual activity, the report said. Most children involved were under the age of 12

As well as outlining the numbers of web pages and sites containing images, the IWF annual report also revealed the increasing severity of content held on the sites.  "The images we are seeing are predominantly prepubescent, young children," said Peter Robbins, chief executive of the IWF.The report also highlighted how paedophiles had become more tech-savvy in attempts to avoid detection.

The report also revealed how photo sharing websites are also being exploited to trade and view images.  It also highlighted which countries appeared to be the worst offenders for hosting child abuse content.

The IWF is funded by the EU and UK internet industry, including ISPs, mobile operators, internet search providers and telecommunications and software companies.

IWF 2006 Annual and Charity Report [1.2MB]

Key Figures 2006

  • 31,776 reports processed by IWF 'Hotline' (34% increase on 2005)
  • Less than 1% of all child abuse content hosted in the UK since 2003
Victim details
  • 80% victims in all the URLs (individual images) confirmed to be abusive are female
  • 91% of victims in URLs confirmed to be abusive appear to be under 12 years old
  • Child abuse images (commercial and non-commercial) of levels 4 and 5 (the most severe) increased from 7% in 2003 to 29% in 2006, of all confirmed abusive URLs
  • 57% of commercial child abuse domains known to IWF contain image level 4 and 5 in 2006
  • 94 commercial websites reported by IWF to relevant authorities in 2006 have been actively selling child abuse images since 2005, 33 live since 2004, 32 live since before 2004
  • 10,656 individual URLs containing child abuse content (74% increase on 2005)
  • 3,077 domains account for all these URLs
  • 1,667 of these domains were commercial websites
  • 10.5% of all URLs with child abuse content in 2006 were on photo album websites
Regions – commercial child abuse domains:
  • 62% of commercial child abuse domains hosted in US
  • 28% commercial child abuse domains hosted in Russia
Police intelligence
  • In 2006 IWF provided 11 evidential statements supporting UK police enquiries
  • Gave evidence given at 5 UK trials
  • 42 reports from IWF still under investigation


Remembering Those Lost At Virginia Tech

My thoughts and prayers are with the Virginia Tech community.

Joy and Sorrow chapter VIII

by Kahlil Gibran

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the self same well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at stand still and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Black America Needs To Clean Our Own Backyard

Today's Oprah Winfrey broadcast discussing the role of the hip-hop/rap industry in the perpetuation of misogyny in music and videos pointed out several sad ironies in our society.

First, asking the hip-hop industry to fix the problem is like asking the the oil industry to fight US dependency on fossil fuels. Don't hold your breath. It's all about the $$$$. As long as the top industry execs are getting rich they have little motivation to change a thing.

Two, we as African Americans need to stop making excuses for bad behavior. Just because a young hip-hop artist grew up in a broken home, or in poverty, or is uneducated is not an excuse for producing what is tantamount to hate speech -- self hate at that.

It is crazy for the African American community to accept that our musicians and comedians can use the language of misogyny and self denigration and then get offended when a member of another race does the same.

Three, we all need to stop blaming things on "society" as if "society" is "them", "society" is us -- everyone one of us.

During Oprah's show Russell Simmons, Kevin Liles and Benjamin Chavis patted themselves on their efforts to mentor hip-hop artists and hailed young hip-hop artists as today's poets, yet not one of them explained why it's acceptable for a hip-hop artist to refer to black women as bitches and hos but when a white person ( outside of the hip-hop community) does the same he/she should be fired. No one discussed the fact that the record industry spends billions of dollars promoting the culture of misogyny and black denigration to an audience that is at least 60% white. And no one dared discuss why the record industry spends several times more promoting an Alicia Keys than an India Arie.

When the young ladies from Spelman College explained that they are often called bitches and hos in public settings, their comments basically went unaddressed by the panelists. So I had to smile when later in the broadcast Kevin Liles became righteously indignant at a comment by a member of the audience that referred to hip-hop execs as clowns. He made a little speech stating that after achieving all that he has accomplished he is offended by being called a clown. How does Mr. Liles think that thousands of equally sucessful black women feel everyday when they are walking down the street and have to listen to a car stereo blasting lyrics far more offensive than "clown"?

I also had to smile when Simmons, Liles & Chavis said that they felt that their entire industry was being attacked. How do they think thousands of young black women feel everyday?

No one is saying that the entire hip-hop industry is the cause of all of the ills in the black community. What we, as black women, are saying is that the first step in improving our cultural neighborhood is for each resident to clean out their own backyard. Once the neighborhood is clean, outsiders will be less likely to drive through and throw their trash on our streets.

# # # # #

I Am Not My Hair Lyrics
by India Arie (feat. Akon)

Is that India.Arie? What happened to her hair? Ha ha ha ha ha
Dat dad a dat da [4x] Dad a ooh

[Verse 1]
Little girl with the press and curl
Age eight I got a Jheri curl
Thirteen I got a relaxer
I was a source of so much laughter
At fifteen when it all broke off
Eighteen and went all natural
February two thousand and two
I went and did
What I had to do
Because it was time to change my life
To become the women that I am inside
Ninety-seven dreadlock all gone
I looked in the mirror
For the first time and saw that HEY....

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

What'd she do to her hair? I don't know it look crazy
I like it. I might do that.
Umm I wouldn't go that far. I know .. ha ha ha ha

[Verse 2]
Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
At the turn of the century
Its time for us to redefine who we be
You can shave it off
Like a South African beauty
Or get it locked
Like Bob Marley
You can rock it straight
Like Oprah Winfrey
It’s not what's on your head
It’s what's underneath and say HEY....


(Whoa, whoa, whoa)
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
(Whoa, whoa, whoa)
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oooh
(Whoa, whoa, whoa)
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?
(Whoa, whoa, whoa)
I am expressing my creativity..
(Whoa, whoa, whoa)

[Verse 3]
Breast Cancer and Chemotherapy
Took away her crown and glory
She promised God if she was to survive
She would enjoy everyday of her life ooh
On national television
Her diamond eyes are sparkling
Bald headed like a full moon shining
Singing out to the whole wide world like HEY...

[Chorus 2x]

[Ad lib]
If I wanna shave it close
Or if I wanna rock locks
That don't take a bit away
From the soul that I got
Dat da da dat da [4x]
If I wanna where it braided
All down my back
I don't see what wrong with that
Dat da da dat da [4x]

Is that India.Arie?
Ooh look she cut her hair!
I like that, its kinda PHAT
I don't know if I could do it.
But it looks sharp, it looks nice on her
She got a nice shaped head
She got an apple head
I know right?
It's perfect.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

PC Security Alert

From:  Rich Buhler
RE: Virus Alert

After a several weeks of quiet, there is a virus warning to be aware of on the Internet right now.

It's not a virus that is destructive to your computer but is one of those that tries to install a file on your computer to use it as part of a network of computers that are unknowingly used to send Spam.

More specifically, this is a variation on what has popularly become known as the Storm Trojan.

The message comes with a subject line that warns of a virus or spyware of some kind such as "Spyware Alert", "Trojan Alert", "Spyware Alert", "Virus Activity Detected", etc.

This is not a new virus but the interesting thing about it is how it tries to avoid detection.

The file is actually compressed into a Zip file, which is not as easily spotted by virus programs.

The attachment that you will actually see in the infected email is a .gif image, but in the image is hidden the password that will open the Zip file that contains the virus.


Make sure you have virus protection installed on your computer and that the virus definitions are up to date.
# # # # #

From:  Symantec Security Response

As of April 12, 2007, Symantec Security Response is monitoring a massive surge of email spam containing the threat Trojan.Peacomm (also known as the Storm Trojan). This spam campaign is one of the largest identified in recent months. This threat was originally discovered in January 2007 but has been repackaged in this particular spam surge. For more information, click here.

To hear more about what the media are saying about the virus, click here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Allowing the Adventure to Happen

an excerpt from Opening Your Mind to the Possibilities of God
By John Paul Jackson

We have to change our thought processes. We have to stop limiting God. Yes, this might be the grandest experience we’ve ever had, but it surely isn’t all that God can do.

However, each of us has a hard time with this admission, and great men and women of God have built denominations on what they thought was the root of Christianity. When we have this mindset and God goes beyond the boundaries we have set, we don’t advance in His plan because we are trying to keep the old anointing alive. When we do this, we are agreeing with the Pharisees: “The old wine skin is good enough. This is supposed to be new wine? It couldn’t be! It’s too bitter to really be wine! It’s not as sweet as what we have!”

This could happen to anyone. It could happen in my church, and it could happen in yours. God could move, and we could think, This is all there is. The buck stops here.

I don’t want God to move in my church and for us to say, “We have arrived!” I don’t want that to happen! I am praying that God moves, and I am also praying that we will have the heart and mind to not say, “This is all there is. Everybody should come here because we have it and nobody else does.” What a tragedy that would be!

Stop Cutting God Short

Whatever God chooses to do in my life and in yours, it will be at the threshold — and only the threshold — of what He could do! It is the entry point. How we respond will determine what He is going to do in the future. We don’t want to cut Him short because we thought we had the best.

From a slightly different perspective, when you are having your quiet time with Jesus, don’t assume that you’ve gone as far as you can go. God is always so much more, and no matter how far we go in Him — the roads we travel, the heights we traverse — we will have only scratched the surface. And that is the true adventure.

© 2007 John Paul Jackson, Streams Ministries International. All rights reserved. This article may be freely distributed electronically as long as no changes whatsoever are made to the contents. Every copy must contain appropriate attribution that includes the Streams Ministries website,

This article and previous Streams e-letter articles can be accessed at


( an excerpt from a message by )
by David Tait

During my early years as a believer, I attended many church programmes designed to make me a better Christian, applying my considerable natural powers of self-discipline and willpower to the task of changing myself into His image. In some things I succeeded, but many areas of my life seemed impervious to change, no matter how hard I tried.

I discovered that most programmes were based upon similar principles to the worldly based, PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) courses that I had enjoyed before finding Jesus. Live life this way and you will be fulfilled, happy, and usually, rich. Sadly, many church programmes are structured along similar lines, making the same promises, although couched in 'religious' or 'spiritual' language. Be blessed! Become healthy and wealthy in spirit and body! Name it and claim it! Give your tithe (and gifts) to the church and you will never be poor again! Do 'this' and you will become or receive, 'that'. Have been there and done that many times! And sorry,it doesn't work, even with my high levels of natural self-motivation and willpower!

It took me many years then, to discover that YOU IN GOD, as generally promoted by the church, simply doesn't work in a radical, life changing way. So why does the church persist, when the programmes they run are known by most to be ineffective, being replaced by others on a regular basis? Is becoming like Jesus impossible? Is the Bible ideal impossible to attain? Surely it must be, if the church itself doesn't know how to do or teach it effectively! Lord, surely there must be another, better way!

And there is!

It is easy, yet so hard! It is known, yet ignored! It is the very opposite of our current approach of 'God-improvement'. It cannot be taught, only experienced. It doesn't need the church to empower it, so for that reason it is set aside. It takes no effort, yet costs us everything. It requires us to empty, not to fill.

Put simply, we need to exchange the usual 'you in God', for GOD IN YOU! I don't need, any more, to strive to 'improve me' - and so often fail! Rather, I need to 'give up on myself' and let God take over my life. What could be simpler, yet what could be more difficult!

The Bible expresses it both succinctly and beautifully.

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

Read this message in its entirety and find out more about David Tait and Walking With Jesus Mnistries at...

Walking With Jesus Ministries

290 Flaxmere Avenue
Flaxmere Hastings New Zealand
Phone: (06) 8799 911 International (+64) 6 8799 911

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Face of the 21st Century Racist

Michael Richards and Don Imus both believe that they are not racist.   Then I ask, Who is a racist?  Do people still think that racists are only those who wear white sheets and burn crosses on lawns?  Or only those that shave their heads and adorn themselves with swastikas?  
These gentleman and many others just don't get it.  They are the faces of the 21st century racist.   The people who 98% of the time hide their thoughts beneath a socially acceptable veneer and then suddenly have an OOPS moment. 
The 21st century racists are the casting people in Hollywood who routinely cast dark skinned African American actresses as prostitutes, drug addicts and welfare moms.  The same casting execs who repeatedly cast Denzel Washington's on screen love interests as  hispanic or caucasian.   The Hollywood marketing and distribution execs who decided that it was appropriate to release Eddie Murphy's movie "Norbit" during Black History Month.   The people who have deep compassion for victims of natural disasters until the majority of victims are poor African Americans. The people who believe that genocide is terrible until the faces are Rwandan or Black Sudanese.   The people who feel a righteous urgency to fight evil dictatorships unless those dictatorships are in Africa.  
So should we condemn Don Imus?  Only if we condemn the majority of gansta rap artists and black comedians.   If we cannot accept the premise that Don Imus was making a joke then why do we accept the humor of Eddie Murphy's  "How to Be A Ho" skit on SNL.  
Don Imus is quoted as saying, " I may be a white man, but I know that these young women and young black women all through that society are demeaned and degraded by their own black men and that they are called that name."   In that statement he is correct.   And I ask where is the public outrage over that?
Pamela Lyn

Imus calls his suspension 'appropriate' - Yahoo! News
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
NEW YORK - Radio host Don Imus, suspended for two weeks for calling the Rutgers female basketball players "nappy-headed hos," called the punishment appropriate Tuesday but stressed, "I am not a racist."  "What I did was make a stupid, idiotic mistake in a comedy context," Imus said on his show Tuesday morning, the final week before his suspension starts.

Asked by NBC "Today" host Matt Lauer if he could clean up his act as he promised on Monday, he said, "Well, perhaps I can't."  But he added, "I have a history of keeping my word."

The radio host tried to shift some of the focus from himself, saying, "that phrase originated in the black community.   ... I may be a white man, but I know that these young women and young black women all through that society are demeaned and degraded by their own black men and that they are called that name."

Imus said his staff had been trying to set up a meeting with the Rutgers players to apologize, but he said he didn't expect forgiveness.  Of the two-week suspension by MSNBC and CBS Radio, he said: "I think it's appropriate, and I am going to try to serve it with some dignity."

MSNBC, which telecasts the radio show, said Imus' expressions of regret and embarrassment, coupled with his stated dedication to changing the show's discourse, made it believe suspension was the appropriate response. "Our future relationship with Imus is contingent on his ability to live up to his word," the network said late Monday.

Imus, who has made a career of cranky insults in the morning, was fighting for his job following the joke that by his own admission went "way too far."

Imus isn't the most popular radio talk-show host --- the trade publication Talkers ranks him the 14th most influential --- but his audience is heavy on the political and media elite that advertisers pay a premium to reach.


Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Life, The Message, The Sacrifice & The Resurrection

Wishing you a Joyous Easter / Resurrection Day weekend.

John 3:16-18
The Message (MSG)

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

John 17:20-26
The Message (MSG)

“I'm praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they'll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you've sent me and loved them
In the same way you've loved me.
Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them. “

"In Debt We Trust" Director Discusses The Film

Danny Schechter discusses his new film " In Debt We Trust" on Democracy Now

Part I

Part II

Video: In Debt We Trust

America is drowning in credit card debt. This trailer for the upcoming feature film 'In Debt We Trust' explores the relationship between Congress and the credit card industry and how it is having an enormously negative impact on the country's financial health

Pure Evil

President Bush states that the situation in Iraq is "pure evil"?   Well, I think many Americans believe that there is a lot of "pure evil" in Washington DC. 
That statement is like the pot calling the kettle black.  For example:
AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK: Bush to recess-appoint Swift-Boat scumbag Fox

In a move that should disgust all and surprise nobody, the White House announced today that George W. Bush will recess-appoint Sam Fox, who gave $50,000 to the Swift Boat Liars to help finance their 2004 smear of John Kerry, to be the new U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.

The nomination was withdrawn last week, when it became clear to Bush that Fox, who was instrumental in derailing Kerry's presidential bid, did not have enough votes in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to be confirmed.

A recess appointment allows a president to fill vacancies while the Congress is on a break, even if the nominee has already been expressly or implicitly rejected by the Senate.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Celebrating The Resurrection

Mark 15:21-47 (The Message)

The Crucifixion

There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus' cross.

The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning "Skull Hill." They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn't take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.

They nailed him up at nine o'clock in the morning. The charge against him—the king of the jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: "You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you're really God's Son, come down from that cross!"

The high priests, along with the religion scholars, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: "He saved others—but he can't save himself! Messiah, is he? King of Israel? Then let him climb down from that cross. We'll all become believers then!" Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery.

At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o'clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

Some of the bystanders who heard him said, "Listen, he's calling for Elijah." Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down."

But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, "This has to be the Son of God!"

Taken to a Tomb

There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem.

Late in the afternoon, since it was the Day of Preparation (that is, Sabbath eve), Joseph of Arimathea, a highly respected member of the Jewish Council, came. He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God. Working up his courage, he went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate questioned whether he could be dead that soon and called for the captain to verify that he was really dead. Assured by the captain, he gave Joseph the corpse.

Having already purchased a linen shroud, Joseph took him down, wrapped him in the shroud, placed him in a tomb that had been cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the opening. Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Joses, watched the burial.

Mark 16:1-6
The Message (MSG)

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, "Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?"

Then they looked up, saw that it had been rolled back—it was a huge stone—and walked right in. They saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished.

He said, "Don't be afraid. I know you're looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He's been raised up; he's here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You'll see him there, exactly as he said."