February 23, 2006

Dead Homies With No Props

Bol takes 'em to task, and some of his commenters keep it real too.

Granted, 2Pac is arguably the most talented rapper on this list, but you have to admit the dude was cruising for a bruising. Shooting at cops, butt-raping chicks, pretending to be a gang banger; it was only a matter of time.

I've never heard of any but two of those. But I'm getting the idea that 'Weed Carrier' is a real job description in the hiphop world. What kind of fool would... Oh. Nevermind.

Posted by mbowen at 07:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 16, 2006

My Sucky Canon

My Canon A75 just went belly up. I have the dreaded E18 error.

My problem first appeared in December of 2005 when my camera was just over a year old. I purchased it at the end of October 2004. I had used it for a short time one morning and the batteries ran out very quickly. So I replaced them and began shooting pictures. Without warning, the camera failed. I got the E18 error message. The camera was no good all day.

That evening I looked up the problem on the web and saw material suggesting it might be related to a stuck lens. I blew dust off it with some compressed air and manually jiggled the lens. I put in fresh batteries and the camera worked again.

I had no problems until the past few weeks. It has started to run through batteries very quickly - I can barely get through 30 flash pictures before it asks to replace batteries. Yesterday it went E18 again and is completely out of commission.

You'll find many complaints like mine here. It looks like class action to me.

Posted by mbowen at 10:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 14, 2006

BDS Meme: Cheneygate

It didn't take long for the latest BDS Meme to raise its ugly head and start spewing all over the 'sphere. But before I punch the carriers of this latest virus in the nose, I'd like to be thoughtful for a moment.

I take the Left to task more and more these days because if they get too stupid, we'll vote ourselves into straightjackets. The reason Hitler won was because his opposition was simply too stupid. Since we are a two party system, we can't really afford for the Democrats to get too stupid. I'm still in favor of a third party. But here's the thing that hit me this morning. It was Fishbone.

Way back in 1986 or so, Fishbone's kicking album was called 'In Your Face'. So I played it this morning in the car and there was a great song on it called 'Give It Up'. From the moment the song came on, you knew it was a spirited upbeat celebratory song. And while the the political principle was simpleminded at least it was joyful and humorous. Maybe my mind is haunted with the wrong ghosts, but I think that the Left has not only gone bonkers, but it has lost its sense of joyfulness.

In pursuit of this Cheney scandal, you get the feeling that the Left really wishes poor Mr. Whittington dead. Not only that, you really have to wonder about people who want to report that Cheney hadn't paid a 7 dollar hunting fee. That this is considered multi-day newsworthy is just another thing to wrinkle my brow.

Considering all the ghastly details that are coming out of FEMA's mouth over the death of New Orleans, you'd think some sense of perspective would be in order from Democrats - like maybe the message "we could do a better job, here's how". Nope. They're just savaging the VP. It's like Vince Foster all over again. When will people get stuff through their thick heads that democracy is not about petty jealousy?

Posted by mbowen at 12:42 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 27, 2006

Half-Assed Demography: Racial Traffic in Surveys

There is nothing that gets me quite as riled up as when I read about surveys like this one over matters of Katrina. It almost doesn't matter what the subject is, but researchers are guilty of trumping up racial differences without any proof that they are racial differences. It is a constant source of annoyance.

I understand that there are certain things that people are drawn to say when they take a boring academic subject and need to sex it up for a press release. Hell, 'Half-Assed Demography' is a hot line. But you would think that there would be some detailed breakout of the survey results available to the general public. But no, it will go out like this and the radio talkshows will take it from there, using the imprimatur of the University to back up whatever crazy racial theories they are ready to spout off.

When it came to OJ, I wrote a poem. A stanza from that:

but in the courtroom race itself
as a flashpoint ito denied
outside the courtroom pollsters pushed
a classic racialist divide.
they said those that believe in simpson
patently are black
and whites of course think otherwise
(and yes, we've got their back)
few pundits dared to bridge the rift
no pollster cared to split the diff
by education, party line
geography, zodiac sign
religion, history of crime,
orientation or other kind
of simple demographic
not age nor sex but racial traffic

(if i must name one, dominick dunne)

I'm not Ward Connorly and I'm happy that people have the nerve to consider race, but if that's all we are given to consider, what the hell difference does it make? Race can't be changed.

Posted by mbowen at 10:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 26, 2006

50 Black Entertainers More Talented Than Jamie Foxx

In case you wondered.

Sinbad, Omar Epps, Cedric, Sanaa Lathan, Will Smith, Chris Rock, Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre, Jada Pinkett, Vivica Fox, Blair Underwood, Queen Latifa, Orlando Jones, Eddie Griffin, Bernie Mac, Vanessa Williams, Marc John Jefferies, Damon Wayans, Steve White, Wendell Pierce, Mykelti Williamson, Ice Cube, André Benjamin, Mos Def, N'Bushe Wright, Wesley Snipes, CCH Pounder, Jesse Martin, Eriq LaSalle, Ving Rhames, Taye Diggs, LL Cool J, Martin Lawrence, Regina King, Angela Bassett, Dennis Haysbert, Alfre Woodard, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeffrey Wright, Lynne Thigpen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Bill Duke, Andre Braugher, Larry Fishburn, Seal, Harold Perrineau, Chris Tucker, John Witherspoon, Mekhi Phifer, Cuba Gooding Jr & Damon Wayons.

And people I put at around the same (marginal) level of talent.

Gabrielle Union, Nick Cannon, Tyrese Gibson, Bill Bellamy, Larenz Tate, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Tisha Campbell, Michael Beach, Wood Harris, Erika Badu,Theresa Randle, Marlon Wayans.

Who is he better than? Just about everybody else, but chances are his fans know more of those people than I do. But off the top of my head? Tiny Lister, Joe Torry, Mike Epps, Faizon Love, Lela Rochon, Charlie Murphy, Kid & Play...

Posted by mbowen at 01:40 AM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

December 22, 2005

Sony Must Think We're Stupid

This is the last straw.

"News.com is reporting that the Texas attorney general is expanding the allegations against Sony. It seems the software would install even if users declined the EULA. From the article: 'The Texas attorney general said on Wednesday that he added a new claim to a lawsuit charging Sony BMG Music Entertainment with violating the state's laws on deceptive trade practices by hiding 'spyware' on its compact discs ... The new charges brought by Abbott contend that MediaMax software used by Sony BMG to thwart illegal copying of music on CDs violated state laws because it was downloaded even if users rejected a license agreement.'"

Did they think nobody would ever find out? If you haven't heard, Sony has landed in a heap of trouble with us in the IT and software industry over its spyware. It just violates so much of the culture of us programmers. It's one thing to put in DRM but a rootkit? That's spit in the face.

It's going to be a very long time before I put any trust in Sony content or software on the computer side.

Posted by mbowen at 09:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

I Wish You Ill

Then again, some of you are the same people who idolize Suge Knight, so I suppose you already believe that Death Row is supposed to be a place to chill. I wish you ill.

This was something I was about to post to Bomani Jones' website, but I know he doesn't deserve it. It's just that I'm having a hard time reconciling the ignorant influence of the Coaltion of the Damned with intelligent blackfolks.

Now for those of you who don't know, the Coalition of the Damned are those various misfits, commies, sympathizers, idiot conspiracy theorists, paranoids, devils advocates, ne'er do wells and otherwise trifling individuals who have nothing better to do with their political rights in America, than to badmouth police and the justice system. Whenever there's an opportunity to trump up charges of police brutality of systematic injustice, they show up like cockroaches in a bag of grits.

  • You may recall their outrage at the arrest of Stanley Miller, the car thief who got popped upside the head with an LAPD flashlight. They were out for cops' blood, except that Stanley Miller shed none.

  • They also attached themselves like flies over the body of Devin Brown, the 14 year old car theif who was fatally shot by the LAPD after a car chase at 3am in the morning.

  • They pretend to be lamenting the fate of black men who die violent deaths, but were nowhere to be found around Tommy Edward Scott's funeral.

  • When an ex-drug soldier for a South American cartel held his daughter hostage and shot at police in LA this year, the Coalition made sure that the story was spun against the cops.
  • The Coalition of the Damned is entirely predictable. The problem is that they stand in the way of common sense and justice. It's not that citizens don't have gripes, its that these citizens have nothing but ill will for the very people and system that is put in place to protect them. But we already know where they're coming from, they're ignorant, apolitical and an embarrassment because they're the idiots who get on the tube as 'representing the community'. Yeah right. The real problem here is how the most egregious of this reactionary nonsense, with a whiff of ideology perverts the judgement of otherwise reputable and solid citizens. And I'm not talking about Snoop Dogg.

    I can't say that there is anyone with a reputation worth much, outside of Larry Fishburne, who has shown up on the Crip side of this equation. We're never going to get his side of the story in the blogosphere so there's no use barking up that tree. But we may come to recognize a few notables who deserve a bit more of our righteous wrath. And we should reserve special nuggets of it for those who claim to be protecting all that is black.

    What is making me fell ill and feisty are those who partake of the fruits of jackleg literature. I am thinking specifically of those fans of Jawanza Kunjufu, who made a small pile of chips bilking college students out of their hard earned dollars with his lectures on 'The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys'. So I challenge anyone today who portrays themselves as a defender of black communities, as I challenge any who would heed such individuals to take note of which side of this battle they line up on.

    Let us recall Chesterton's wisdom:

    "In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."

    So anyone who defends Tookie on the principle of opposition to the death penalty, I would hope you merely recuse yourself from discussion. If your principle is indeed sound, you would defend the life of the man who tortured your mother. That kind of sheepishness really has no place in the discussion of hard-core gangbangers. Go watch Teletubbies or something, but really - STFU. You don't have a dog in this fight. Understand that we will elbow you aside in our pursuit of rough justice. This kitchen is too hot for you.

    There is a persistent thread underlying the Coalition's allies in this fight which is that the Prison Industrial Complex is a place for black men to become model citizens. They make no distinction from the tale of Tookie and the tale of Rubin Carter or Malcolm X or Geronimo Pratt. It's just innocent black man, evil system. No distinctions made. Search for the keywords 'Amerikkka' and 'just us'. For those who believe there is a permanent focus of African American life on jailtime Tookie must indeed be a hero. He's at the top of the pyramid, Death Row. They'll believe that his children's books are the only thing that can spare innocent black boys from a life of... well what is it a life of? Not exactly crime, because all black people are 'criminals' seeing that we all get into that system. We're not really criminals but we end up there anyway because that's what the system does - scours the country for black boys and men to incarcerate, right?. The best we can do is grow up in jail, right?

    Ack. Sounds like something out of a bizzarro version of The Green Mile. Tookie Williams, magic Negro. Heal us oh benighted one!

    I'm sick of this trope in the lowbrow culture of black America. Stakes is high, and nobody over here is convinced by this baggy-pants logic. So once again I'm taking The Hard Case and letting the devil take the hindmost. Who writes black history? Black history professors, not convicts, nor even bloggers. But let it be known that in two thousand and five, there were some of us who stood up and said that the great Tookie, Grand Wizard of the Crip Clux Clan should be destroyed. On the other side was the Coalition of the Damned, may they rot in the dustbin of black history. The Old School Hard Case goes a little something like this:

    Are the people at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean black? If they survived the Middle Passage, would they consider us black? I raise this provocative question in the context of the perennial topic of The Survival of the Black Race. Presuming that this is a difficult and worthwhile outcome, who gets to decide? It sounds like an ignorant question but I think not. The answer, inevitably, is that the successful get to decide.

    Every man's death diminishes me, but for Tookie, not much at all. God forgive me but some days I wish he could take his supporters with him.

    Posted by mbowen at 10:48 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

    November 18, 2005

    Thirty Million?

    Robert Blake got his ass handed to him today in a civil trial.

    Eight months after Robert Blake was acquitted at a criminal trial of murdering his wife, a civil jury decided Friday the tough-guy actor was behind the slaying and ordered him to pay Bonny Lee Bakley's children $30 million.

    The jury deliberated eight days before ruling in a 10-2 vote that the former "Baretta" star "intentionally caused the death" of Bakley, who was gunned down in 2001 in the actor's car outside a restaurant where the couple had just dined.

    OK, so here's the deal. If you're going to have somebody offed, there has to be a smarter way than asking Hollywood stuntmen, and there has got to be a cheaper way than $30 million. Evidently Blake hasn't gotten around as much as someone worth $30 million should - not that he has it. Anyway, whose life is worth that much? Please. Nobody like loser Blake or his deranged target. If I paid AIG $3,800 a month for 20 years my heirs would only get 10 million when I croak, if their attorneys could extract it.

    I suppose he'll be hanging out with OJ and perhaps now Dominick Dunne can get some sleep. Where are all the whitefolks jumping for joy now that 'justice' has been served? Hell, I want $30 million bucks. What dumbass celeberity can I get to kill my mother, and where can I find such an innumerate civil jury? You know I understand that there are lawyers who can construe all this as a good thing, but is it just me or is something radically wrong here? Since when has the death of a celebrity blackmailer become such a lucrative sinecure?

    My vote? I say Blake should get medieval on somebody and then find a nice South Pacific island to die on. At least he'd have the peace of mind that the murderous dirt he did a half-assed job of had some measure of completion. Go ahead, kill the kids. Get the full satisfaction of revenge.

    Of course he's going to punk out, write a book and go live in the OJ zone. And that's the name of that tune.

    Posted by mbowen at 04:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 18, 2005


    It's the battle of the Jesses!

    Jesse Lee Peterson, et al., v. Jesse Jackson, et al. (BC 266505) will go to trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court after a ruling last week by Judge George H. Wu. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit against Jackson, his son Jonathan, and others on behalf of Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, who was the victim of a physical and verbal assault at an event hosted by Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. in December 2001.

    I know there is a God and that he has a sense of humor. He put these two against each other for our amusement.

    Posted by mbowen at 03:16 PM | TrackBack

    October 17, 2005

    Bono's Double Standard

    Check this out:

    The Irish rock star, Bono, has been angered by Senator Hillary Clinton’s use of a U2 concert this week to raise funds for her political campaign coffers—even though he is a good friend of her husband, Bill.

    “U2 concerts are categorically not fund-raisers for any politician. They are rock concerts for U2 fans,” said his close associate, Jamie Drummond, who runs Data, the Third World advocacy group set up by Bono with Sir Bob Geldof.

    “If any political fund-raising events take place at a U2 concert, it is without the involvement or knowledge of Data, U2 or Bono.”

    Mrs Clinton, the frontrunner to be the Democrat candidate for the White House in 2008, is charging 18 guests $2,500 (£1,400) a head to join her in a luxury box for the sold out show in Washington on Wednesday. Despite U2’s public criticism, she is pressing on with the fund-raiser, which will bring in $45,000 for an outlay of about $7,000 on the box, and her staff are unapologetic.

    So let me see if I have this right, if you make millions with lyrics like "There are no Russians and there ain't no yanks / Just corporate criminals playing with tanks."; then your concerts can't possibly be a place for politics? When in life have I ever heard anything so hypocritical? Never.

    I couldn't invent this.

    Oh God I hope this becomes a trend. What I wouldn't give to see some political opportunism become so wedded to Hollywood that actors start saying things like "Hey I'm just entertainer, I don't want to be involved with party politics in any way." It would be a dream come true. And to think, it took somebody like Hillary Clinton, the scapegoat of first resort, to kick it off. I watch people burst blood vessels over Clinton with bemused befuddlement, but this has got to be the first time I really like what she's done.

    Crank up the volume. Garafolo standup is next.

    Posted by mbowen at 03:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 15, 2005

    Harriet Miers and the Triumph of Identity Politics

    Are you a Christian? Are you doing what Christ wants you to do? Are you going to do that in the Supreme Court? Are you a woman? Are you going to act in the best interests of women?

    This is the line of idiotic questioning that seems to be driving the entire controversy over Harriet Miers. We seem to have lost the ability to understand or recognize that people are anything but fixed vessels capable of adaptation. The fixedness of litmus tests and identity tests is the problem, and unless and until we can nail a character to a type, we're unable to make any clear decisions.

    What is lacking here, of course, is a clear understanding of what is required of a candidate for the job. It's entirely a matter of political horse-trading, and therefore anything at all can become an 'issue'. To evade that problem, the White House or the Congress or the Press will have to dig deep and get beneath the surface characteristics of judicial nominations. But it's not in their interests to do so? You lose numbers, eyes glaze over.

    Posted by mbowen at 10:12 AM | TrackBack

    October 10, 2005

    Nevermind the Humans

    I picked up the following from Slashdot:

    dylanduck writes "How do you defend a ship against torpedoes? According to the US Navy, you line the hull with loudspeakers and blast the incoming missile with such a devastating blast of sounds that it explodes." When asked about the possible ecological effects on marine life the military had no comment.

    Sometimes no comment is the best answer. Of course, some people need to be reminded in terms that their own tiny minds recognize. Ie that when you sink a battleship or a nuclear sub, it might take some plankton with it.

    Posted by mbowen at 06:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 01, 2005

    Decline and Fall

    If you let your children watch this. Please keep them away from mine.

    Posted by mbowen at 03:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 30, 2005

    Return of the Plonk

    A long long time ago in a USENET group far away, blackfolks were under attack.

    And me and the boys who had it up to here with the trolling and idiocy determined that we wouldn't be distracted by knuckleheads who didn't contribute constructively. But that didn't stop them from posting trash all over the place. It turns out that trolls have found their way here and so they must be dealt with. So for a few of you it's too late, but for those of you who would dare, here's fair warning.

    I don't delete comments unless they're spam. I've made only one exception to that rule since day one. That's about 1 in 5000 comments grotesque enough to get on my last nerve. But if you want to test me, here are the guidelines.

    Say something really stupid, foul and insulting that defies logic, common sense and restraint.
    Make all kinds of spelling mistakes.
    Have no real email address.
    Do this about three times.

    When you hear the sound of a PLONK! That is a troll being dropped off the face of my planet.

    I'm trying to run a grownup show here. Go find another wall for your tags.

    Posted by mbowen at 07:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 05, 2005

    The Checkered Past

    Beginning today, I don't want to hear another word about the 'checkered past' of the Republican Party. I'm so sick to death of the excuse-making and whinging and fear and distrust. I'm fed up with the conspiracy theories and demonization. I've had it up to here with the empty threats and loudmouth posturing.

    Any African American who lives in fear of the Republican Party needs to seriously check themselves and determine if they are living under the proper rule of law, because the door of exodus is open. Put Marley on the box and roll to Expedia.com. See, now I'm breathing quickly. I'm not trying to stifle debate or expression, I've just run out of patience with the defensiveness and the excruciating lengths to which people will go to 'prove' that Republican interests are inimical to black progress.

    The Republican Party's checkered past is *spit* compared to the checkered past of Mississippi and Alabama. I don't want to hear another word about the Republican's chekered past until you can convince every black person in Mississippi and Alabama to leave. Republicans aren't the problem. The problem is Alabama.

    Am I picking on Alabama? No because I think that folks in Alabama are quite happy to be in Alabama, and those that aren't hop on the bus and leave. As of the 2000 Census there were still 1,158,925 souls of African American (self-reported) decent there. It seems to me that should be an adequate number of people to save from the soul-crushing racial hostility of Alabama. Please direct further insults to the GOP to those remaining in Alabaman captivity. By any objective measure, they need your help more than the rest of us.

    But then, that would be reality-based action wouldn't it?

    Posted by mbowen at 11:18 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    June 27, 2005

    Cosmic Justice for Terri McMillan

    Back in the early 90s when I was singlehandedly trying to engineer a black writers collective in NYC, the bane of my existence was Terri McMillan. Fresh from the Multicultural Wars, I and others like me were trying to explain to the world that there was more to black literature than Baldwin and Wright. For a quick moment, it looked like there might be a new flourish of creativity at a deep, black level. But..

    But 'Terri McWriter' as we derisively called her, was sucking up all the oxygen in the black literary movement, and it wasn't helping that all the poetry slams in the world were getting covered most by MTV. Gangsta Rap was going bigtime and soon it became clear that highbrow black literature was most definitely going to take a back seat in the new world of black cultural production. I can't tell you how we used to whine and moan down at Nkiru Books in Brooklyn.

    To add insult to injury, McMillan was blockin' a brother bigtime. All of her sorry-excuse-for-a-man characters became the new stereotype, adding to Gloria Naylor's Brewster Place complaints and the rest that old nonsense. (It's been a long time since I was single so I don't hold a grudge, but dayum!)

    McMillan made McMillions on the backs of us non-dysfunctional brothers very much the same way Jerry Springer did. So there was some comfort in not having to take her seriously even though, if a white woman had written the same things, her head would be on a pike. You would think that the non-dysfunctionals would benefit, but in the end all she did was lower women's standards by showing them literary love despite their trifling men. Hmm. Maybe these wounds are getting fresher by the moment. At any rate, by the time Stella and her infamous Groove made the big screen, I had totally dismissed McMillan and paid her work no mind.

    Isn't it rather funny to hear that was all based on a true story? And who's to blame? McMillan of course, for believing her own hype and that of her sob-sister readership, by saying there are no good black men out there. But it gets worse.

    There's nothing much to do but suck your teeth and roll your eyes. Poor Terri. A victim of low expectations.

    Posted by mbowen at 07:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    June 21, 2005

    Morgan Spurlock, Idiot for Hire

    It's kinda fun and kinda tedious to identify how sensible values are inverted in popular culture. Take this bonehead Morgan Spurlock who volunteers for an idiotic venture, eat the worst food you can for a month and makes a movie about it. Well, that's made him a hero among the Prius Pansies and they've bankrolled him a series. I hear he's going to pretend to be poor so he can whine at another American institution for not taking better care of him.

    Of course these complaints are legitimate. After all, he is an idiot.

    Fortunately for you, I have discovered Soso Whaley whose new documentary 'Debunk the Junk' shows how a person who takes responsibility and uses her brain can eat at McDonalds, lose weight and lower their cholesterol. Spread the word.

    Like Wal-Mart, I almost believe that McDonalds was invented to serve poor people. They're both so cheap, ubiquitous and convenient. It's no surprise that they are co-located. Oh but wait, they are evil. Yeah, for idiots.

    BTW, the new WalMart opened on 190th and Vermont last week. I went by there Saturday to pickup a graduation gift. It was absolutely packed, and they had a bouncer in the parking lot with Tupac music playing in the background. What a grand opening!

    While I'm being provocative, I suppose I should go the whole nine and suggest that we return to putting Home Ec in high school curricula. The sooner we get to Borkies the better. If there's a problem with McDonalds, it's that people are too stupid to know how to eat. That's a withering criticism of our society.

    Posted by mbowen at 12:12 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

    June 07, 2005

    Black Googlewhack

    A couple years or so ago, I got twists. It took me about 9 months to grow my hair out. My wife thinks that I'm insane. I'm one of those guys who could grow a foot of hair out of my head but I shave my head. A complete waste of talent, says she. At the time I figured I'd go all the way to dreads.

    The reason I'm bald today is because of the dearth of information I could get about locking and so forth. I liked the way my twists looked, but I was basically told that I couldn't wash my hair. What!? After about 3 weeks of itching out of my skull I went back to level zero, and I've pretty much been there ever since with a few one or two month exceptions.

    Part of the dearth of information had a lot to do with what Google was then. I can tell you without question that the searching has gotten better, but not good enough. I put in half a dozen searches for black men's hair care and the only thing you could get off Google when you put it 'black men' was porno. I'm talking about Google Images here. People can say what they want about hair, but it doesn't mean anything if you can't see what it looks like. Well I've got news for you, you still can't - not from Google. It's nice to know that they've put a porno filter on, but there are no pictures.

    Do you remember that picture that used to be on the wall of your barbershop in the hood? The one with all the crazy afro styles that nobody in their right mind would get - well in the days before Kwame. Well, you're never going to find that on Google. At least not today. It's easy to find just about anything you want on Google, except pictures of black men that aren't porno.

    Your best bet? Find a name that sounds like the name of a black man, like say 'Kwame' and then search that. 'Leroy' works. 'DAndre' does not. 'Nigga' works. 'Homey' does not.

    I'm not particularly disturbed about this Googlewhack fact. I'm very happy with my head the way it is, and I actually do know what black men look like. Besides, there's always Wikipedia.

    By the way, some of y'all need to do something about Wikipedia's blank spots. Are there or are there not 10 thousand Black Studies grad students out there? Tsk!

    Posted by mbowen at 08:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    May 06, 2005

    Teh Ghey Reality Check

    One of the downsides of being somewhat serious and rather intellectual is that you tend to organize your many thoughts into something sensible. And if one does this with patience and discipline something resembling a system of knowledge emerges. All such systems are a bit hermetic, and certainly mine is. Why is this not good? Because it isolates you often enough from the flow of the real world. So in order to counterbalance that, you need to take a reality check. Generally when you do, you find that the people in that flow harbor ideas that are strange and, relative to your logical edifice, bizarre, unhealthy and straight fricken wack.

    It is with such jaundice that I approach the world of hiphop criticism despite the obvious dedication and wit of its mavens. All I can say is let's see how they spit when they turn 40. Needless to say, sooner or later I'm going to have to read Can't Stop Won't Stop, which is being hailed as the reference. Until then let us come to terms with the latest terms out there in the non-hermetic world.

    Gay, as much as I can tell, has been transmuted into 'teh ghey'. I don't know how to pronounce that because I don't hang around people who are likely to use it in conversation. Truth be told, I haven't been on XBox Live in about 6 weeks, thanks to my busted machine and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory. So my exposure to the dudes has been limited. No Homo.

    What? No Homo? Yes this is the other term of art now being promulgated amongst the proletariat. Any time a male expresses some bit of admiration for another, the phrase must be appended, just in case somebody gets the wrong idea. It's rather a reversal of Seinfeld's 'not that there's anything wrong with that'.

    For me, homosexuality is not wrong, just thoroughly distasteful, yet not offensively so. And gayness is neither threat nor menace, it's just damned annoying. And so as I approach these new new appellations I wonder if they might be substantial enough to support my own sentiments in the area. But I can already tell you that I won't use them, not the least because I already have my own hermetic system of knowledge and I don't need to borrow the terms. Still, I might hold out some ray of hope that those who do use them are not as homophobic as they sound, or perhaps the liberalization of our culture requires such terms in common conversation because we are called upon more often to voice our particular angles on the gay life.

    I have a feeling, according to the weblinks I blinked at Google that no such subtlety is connoted - that these terms are as simpleminded and hostile as they first appear. And I think there's a significant difference between distaste, disgust and hostility.

    Anyway. Now you know.

    Posted by mbowen at 06:21 AM | TrackBack

    May 01, 2005

    Fools Being Fooled by Foolishness

    My gut instinct was to file this under the heading 'Stupid White People' but sometimes my gut gives more than just me indigestion. Nevertheless there are several stupid whitefolks involved in two stories that I happened to be bombarded by over the past week.

    Stupid the First
    Three stooges, as reported by CNN found about $100k in old dollar bills buried under a tree in their backyard. The story was all over Headline News, 24/7. Every 30 minutes I heard the story. That's part of the pain of being on the road and not having a wide variety of progams to view on cable. Three days later, the men are arrested. It turns out that they just stole the money from the attic of some people they were supposedly working for.

    Stupid the Second
    250 dupes, as repored by CNN could not find anywhere in their Atlanta neighborhoods, a bride who was to be married. The local police official mumbled into the waiting cameras that foul play was suspected, and as was often reported every 30 minutes on CNN, the bride to be did not have 'cold feet'. Three days later, the bride is found in New Mexico taking a personal time-out. She said she was kidnapped, but that was just a lie.

    Today is not a good day to be an editor at CNN.

    But why bring up the whitefolks angle? Aside from the fact that I feel the distinct necessity of speaking from the gut, this series of unfortunate events can be seen through the lenses of racial equality, most clearly for the second story, but also for the first. To my way of seeing things, this says a great deal about access to the media and who gets what kind of attention for what reasons.

    Call the Annenberg Center, but my guess is that over the past year you can count the number of human interest stories involving non-white, non-celebrity weddings on your thumb. And when is the last time you saw a story about some lucky chinese kids? I'm not the one to answer these questions because, thank God, I don't have to watch CNN that often. Pray for those who do, what a whitified world they must bear.

    Posted by mbowen at 10:22 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    March 29, 2005

    NPR's Tech Idiocy

    If you are within smelling range of an NPR affiliate, hold your nose. They are blowing a lot of gassy wind today.

    Stinker #1.
    Their coverage of the Grokster case is mischaracterizing it as idiot collegian music thieves vs rationality & the music industry's protection of artists. The critical thing that's going on here is potential destruction of the Betamax Shield. Basically, this is a product liability case. Can software firms be held liable for the abuse of the tools they create? The burden seems to be put on the software manufacturers to prove that their product cannot be abused, and by abused they mean subverting what is, in effect, a distribution oligarchy.

    The way to keep your head through all of this is to remember that software are tools. Professionals like me need these tools to be able to do anything at all and manufacturers of these tools need to have the confidence that they can build uncompromised industrial strength tools. If they can't, that industry will go overseas.

    As I mentioned earlier Mark Cuban makes a strong case as a content provider for Grokster's case. He gets it. Such a person is almost inconceivable in the way NPR and others have framed it. Here is someone who makes movies and he wants P2P technology to flourish. When you understand the real issues it makes you want to smack NPR. I guess today is just a smacky day.

    Brain Fart #2
    In the EU's settlement with MSFT, the Windows Media Player has been removed from the OS. NPR trots out a complete idiot who says that the more stuff you stuff into the operating system the better. The real scoop is that the more stuff you stuff into the operating system, the more unstable & unsecure it becomes. If NPR even breathes the word 'Linux' it should have enough sense to know this.

    Posted by mbowen at 02:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Tivo Pulls a Fast One

    Well, it's finally happened. Tivo has gotten on my nerves, and suddenly that new Sean Penn movie that I was thinking about going to see is not so attractive any longer. You see, they've put in an advertisment when I was trying to avoid advertisements.

    I watching '24' last night, a fairly good episode in which the bitching between Edgar and Chloe was top notch, and during the first commercial break I started my usual fast forward. (I started watching the show about 45 minutes behind schedule). An ad for 'The Translator' comes up and I see a green thumb, but I just scroll through it. Next thing I know, my Tivo has a popup ad!

    So in the foreground of my screen is a video still for this movie and the ads are still fast forwarding in the background. No they didn't! And if that's not bad enough, the damned thing is still there for the next commercial break. I hate it, I absolutely hate it, and Tivo is going to hear from me. I don't mind the suggestions, I don't mind the special messages, I don't mind the featured previews and I don't mind the popup thumb indexed to particular movie ads. I didn't even mind their clumsy and crippled Tivo to Go, which is too damned slow but this goes way too far. This breaks the interface.

    It is bad enough that the networks have shifted their time schedules off by one minute to throw off Tivo but this is ridiculous. I think it's time for some blog activism.

    PVR Blog found a workaround. Bullet only halfway dodged.

    Posted by mbowen at 11:25 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    March 07, 2005

    The Mile High Club (Not)

    Sex at Boeing: Outlawed

    The Boeing Company said today that its president and chief executive officer, Harry C. Stonecipher, had resigned at the request of the board of directors because a personal relationship he had with a female executive in the company violated its code of conduct.

    Mr. Stonecipher is the second chief executive to resign from the company on matters related to conduct since he succeeded Philip M. Condit, who stepped down in December 2003, in the wake of a scandal involving a fuel-tanker contract with the Pentagon.

    A Boeing press statement said that the company's board asked Mr. Stonecipher on March 6 to resign after it concluded from an investigation that his relationship with the woman, who did not report directly to him, was "inconsistent" with the company's rules on behavior for its employees. It did not name her.

    "The Board concluded that the facts reflected poorly on Harry's judgment and would impair his ability to lead the company," said the chairman of the board, Lew Platt, in the statement that was posted on the company's Web site.

    "The resignation was in no way related to the company's operational performance or financial condition, both of which remain strong. However, the CEO must set the standard for unimpeachable professional and personal behavior, and the Board determined that this was the right and necessary decision under the circumstances," he said.

    The Puritan Ethic is alive and well in America. Long live Chastity! Sheesh.

    We at Cobb really believe that this is a front and a scam and that deeper problems exist. It's not as high on the smellometer as the Skilling retirement, but it's up there.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:31 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    February 18, 2005

    Pitchfork for Mr. Hume

    The blogosphere is becoming more of an obtuse spheroid every day now some of its more egotistical members are beginning to become obsessed with their own power. Such is the typical workings of the human mind. I believe that this constitutes a twofer among the seven deadly sins, pride and greed.

    I hear that Al Franken is one of the ringleaders of this latest blog mob, but like much else at Air America, the website isn't functioning properly. So let's drop it on the head of Oliver Willis. The story:

    Brit Hume is the anchor of Fox News Channel's prime time news report, Special Report with Brit Hume, and he makes things up. On February 3rd, Hume intentionally manipulated the words of the 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to make it appear as if FDR supported privatization of social security. This is a brazen falsehood. President Roosevelt's grandson, James Roosevelt Jr., describes Hume's journalistic malfeasance as an "an outrageous distortion". We agree.

    The blogosphere has found its rope, now everything is a hanging offense. Methinks, somebody is about to get fisked or even sued, and it will be a blogger. Stay tuned.

    Posted by mbowen at 10:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    January 30, 2005

    Ozone Alert

    My old buddy Jerb sent me this warning I'll pass along to you.

    I almost bought one of these Living Air systems a year ago, and was just about to buy one now. I went online and started to do some research and discovered some scary things. If you own one of these (or any ozone generating air purification device like SpringAir or Biozone) or are contemplating buying one, you should read some of the following:

  • California Air Resources Board (California E.P.A.): -- this article was published on January 21, 2005.
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • American Lung Association
  • The gist of it is that ozone creates free radicals (it's the definitive "oxidant"), which many of us attempt to counteract through vitamins and minerals, etc... (anti-oxidants). Also, these devices which intentionally generate ozone are recommended against by the agencies listed above, and many others -- particularly for homes with children, elderly persons, or anyone suffering from asthma or any lung/throat/respiratory problems. If you own such a device and have been told that the "laundry/bleach smell" shows that it's working -- read up -- the smell indicates an unhealthy concentration of ozone.

    The California E.P.A. has concluded that running these devices can create a 24/7 First Stage Smog Alert condition in your home. If you do any exercise or semi-strenuous activity in close proximity to an operating ozone-generating device, you should beware of lung/throat irritations or respiratory infections. The ozone generator may be the cause.

    And the worst part is, when running in a safe (low ozone-emitting) manner, it is questionable whether the devices actually provide any beneficial air cleaning effects. If it seems too good to be true, I guess it is, right? As a final word of caution, the Living Air is only sold via Multi-Level-Marketing methods (try to find one at Home Depot or Sear's). Although negative ion producing devices (like the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze) are safer, there are still cautions regarding these, as they apparently create high ozone levels in living beings which are in close proximity to them. Several studies that attempted to prove the benefits of negative ions ended up killing rats. If you're looking for air-cleaning alternatives, the American Lung Association recommends using 3M Filtrete allergen-reducing central air filters (to be replaced every 3 months), and running your central air fan as much as possible. The filters cost about $50 - $80 a year, depending on size. I'm going to buy one at Home Depot and see if there's any noticeable air improvement.
    Posted by mbowen at 03:13 PM | TrackBack

    Cats: Spawn of the Devil

    Oh those evangelicals. You gotta love 'em. Check this out.

    There are numerous reasons why a loyal dedicated servant of God should use his Bible-trained conscience to arrive at a proper understanding of why cats are not advisable as pets or companions for Christians. Consider, then, the following facts:

    It was a common practice in ancient Egypt to worship or idolize cats as 'gods'. Indeed, after death many cats were mummified, venerated and sacrifices were made to them. As Christians we observe not only the Mosaic Law, but also the 'necessary things,' identified by the Apostles at Jerusalem, to include the following edict: '(1) Abstain from sacrifices to idols'. We are to 'guard ourselves from idols' and 'worship no other gods'. Such feline influence could lead to idolatry and thereby 'grieve Jehovah's Spirit' with tragic consequences. May we never take for granted Jehovah's wise and generous counsel brought to you by your spiritual brothers in the pages of this magazine!

    Hmm. I always thought cat lovers were godless pagans, or at least impersonators of Dr. Evil. It seems that we have biblical confirmation.

    (Note that the last sentence should be said in a stentorian voice as if it were an engineer at NASA Houston.)

    Posted by mbowen at 09:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    January 21, 2005

    That's Why They Pay Us the Big Bucks

    I'm sorry. I haven't had to punch anybody in the nose for a while, but this project deserves that and a swift kick. Actually, the kick should go to whomever is supposedly watching the budget around there.

    Since I'm in a kicking mood, I'm going to speculate that this is the kind of expanding economy champions of offshoring are talking about. What a mixed bag that is.

    Anyway, cutting to the chase, here is a solution to a problem. Open up Query Analyzer and type in the following two lines of code:


    or hire Armen to write you a wizard like this. The documentation of this project alone, while stellar and comprehensive, must have taken at least a week.

    Shocking ain't it?

    Posted by mbowen at 05:23 PM | TrackBack

    January 05, 2005

    BCS BS

    I enjoyed the football game last night. I've always been a faithful fan of USC football, not always a big fan, but whenever they play a big game, I'm in their corner. Last night was no exception, and I take a bit of pleasure at having ribbed some Sooners last week.

    But it seems to me that it's extremely arrogant that we have a situation in which journalists are deciding who is the number one college football team in the nation. This is a horrible injustice and a slap in the face of American values. I don't want glib commentators to decide, I want the players, teams and coaches to decide. Not the bowl game sponsors. Not the college regents. It's all about the game.

    Have a playoff. Until there is a real playoff in Division one, every national champion should have an asterisk next to their name. Except USC.

    Posted by mbowen at 12:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    January 03, 2005

    The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    Yes, I know it sounds like the name of a very bad all-girl band. But it is the now the new name of that baseball team.

    Ordinarily, I simply wouldn't care about something like this. However, this is such a preposterously bad name, I have to speak. I have heard the marketingspeak rationale for this, and it sounds like the logic of 1940s film noir bad guys -- the kind of stuff that motivated thousands of idiots. Perhaps that's what the Angels' new owner intends to do. Good frickin' luck.

    Posted by mbowen at 12:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    November 19, 2004

    I Know Black People

    No you don't.


    Posted by mbowen at 11:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 16, 2004

    Drama & Trauma

    Joe Hicks was on the radio last night. He basically expressed his disgust at the people putting people on the streets in mindless protest over the reforms being carried out at King Hospital. The LA City Council is behind this fulmination. I've ditched concern over the issue and I'm convinced that Hicks is correct. Then again everybody has a right to go out in the street and yell. Too bad they look like such idiots.

    What's wrong with liberal black politics? It is married to drama, and trauma. Too often, public interest doesn't go much beyond the noise.

    Posted by mbowen at 07:26 AM | TrackBack

    November 15, 2004

    Yeah But..

    The NYT Reports:

    NASA plans to try to set a world speed record for jets on Monday with the flight of a pilotless vehicle that culminates a decades-long research program into hypersonic flight.

    The craft, the X-43A, is powered by a rocket booster dropped from a modified B-52 bomber. In a short dash above the Pacific, it is to use its experimental scramjet engine, which is expected to push the craft to almost 7,000 miles an hour, or 10 times the speed of sound.

    Yes but this aircraft is only as big as a kayak.

    Posted by mbowen at 03:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 10, 2004

    Why I'm Not A Democrat

    Perusing JPB's site can be a very cool experience. Check this out from 'T'.

    According to The New York Times, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, reflecting on her party's recent losses in the presidential, Senate and House elections, asked: "How did a party that is filled with people with values -- and I am a person with values -- get tagged as the party without values?"

    As one who was raised a Democrat and became a Republican only 10 years ago, I would like to answer Gov. Napolitano's question as honestly as she posed it.

    Gov. Napolitano, your party does indeed have very many people with values in it. But the Democratic Party is no more representative of the average Democrat's values than the National Council of Churches is of the average Protestant's values. Both are far to the left of their membership.

    Here is the Democratic Party as most Americans, including this John F. Kennedy liberal -- a New York City born and raised, Jewish, Ivy League-educated intellectual who lives in Los Angeles -- see it.

    To most Americans, Michael Moore is a Marxist who has utter contempt for most of his fellow Americans, who goes abroad and tells huge audiences how stupid and venal his country is, and in his dishonest propaganda film, portrays the American military as callous buffoons. Yet, this radical was given the most honored seat at the Democratic Party convention in Boston, next to former President Jimmy Carter.

    To most Americans, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are race-baiting demagogues. Yet they are heroes to the Democratic Party. Most Americans do not see their country as the bigoted and racist nation regularly depicted by both black and white Democratic leaders.

    To most Americans, a man who wears women's clothing to work is a pathetic person in need of psychotherapy. To the Democratic Party, he is a man whose cross-dressing is merely another expression of multiculturalism. The California legislature, which is entirely controlled by Democrats, passed a law prohibiting any employer from firing a man who shows up to work wearing women's clothing.

    To most Americans, Eminem is a vulgar nihilist who poisons young Americans' minds. To John Kerry he was a man whose anti-Bush hate video was worthy of endorsement.

    To most Americans, obscenity-filled evenings should be restricted to R-rated films or a Las Vegas comedy act, not a major party's fund raiser attended by its candidates for president of the United States. To Democrats, those who object to such evenings are regarded as judgmental, hypocritical and narrow minded.

    To most Americans, Hollywood stars are regarded as terrific to watch in films but also as narcissistic ingrates when, between private jet trips to Cuba and Cannes, they express their contempt for traditional America. That the Democrats have a veritable monopoly on support from folks like Sean Penn and Robert "Castro-is-a-great-leader" Redford may give Democrats a heady feeling, but for tens of millions of Americans it merely reinforces their belief that the Democratic Party shares Hollywood's values. Even The New York Times, in a post-election analysis, wrote of "the possibility that activist entertainers' fervent endorsements might have cost Mr. Kerry the election."

    To most Americans, the American military is not only heroic; it is regarded as more important to safeguarding freedom than any other human institution, including the ACLU, the United Nations or the university, to cite three major Democratic Party affiliates. To virtually the entire Left, which includes the Democratic Party, the military is, at best, a necessary evil. Otherwise, the overriding doctrine is "Make love, not war." That is why Harvard still refuses to allow ROTC training -- and it is unlikely that either of the Massachusetts senators even finds that wrong, let alone as reprehensible as most Americans do.

    To most Americans, gays are fellow Americans who happen to be homosexual and who should be accorded the same respect any fellow American is accorded. But most Americans also believe that America should retain the millennia-old definition of marriage as man-woman. They regard liberal judges who take it upon themselves to redefine marriage with contempt. And these judges are identified with the Democrats.

    Whatever their views on abortion and abortion rights, the vast majority of Americans view the abortion of a viable fetus/baby (partial-birth abortion) as immoral. The Democratic candidate and his fellow Democrats repeatedly voted against a ban on this practice.

    Gov. Napolitano, I hope that this short list answers your question about how it is that your party has gotten tagged as "the party without values." Indeed, the real question, as this observer sees it, is how has this party retained so many people who have traditional American values?

    Posted by mbowen at 04:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    September 22, 2004

    Trial of Tears

    The pantywaists who shackled themselves to a tree seven years ago are going to kill yet another piece of woods as they appeal for the third time.

    You remember these fainthearted protestors who got hostile about the fact that police officers applied pepper spray to them when they refused to unshackle themselves. Of course it wasn't the normal application of a good squirt from the sprayer, but a light dose with q-tips. So far, two different juries have failed to render any judgements against the officers' tactics. But our protestors are undaunted and will take up more years of their lives in pursuit of cosmic justice, generating another ton of paperwork.

    Nice going.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:28 PM | TrackBack

    September 16, 2004

    Blog Ho

    I just now found out about the Blog Ho. Maybe I am too serious.

    I don't know why anybody should bother to wonder where exactly America is going because homechick doesn't represent. After all, she's just a dumbshit white girl with nice legs on vacation from reality. With that in mind I'll cut this entry short. She got her 15 minutes.

    Posted by mbowen at 09:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 02, 2004

    Annoying Stupidity About Race

    I sure am glad that I know a few things, because if I didn't, I'd probably be symbolizing up a storm about a sissyfight between Oliver Willis and Dean Esmay.

    As far as I can see, it got started because Dean dared to ask whitefolks if they found blackfolks annoying, which is of course an annoying question in and of itself. But it's also a somewhat clever way of getting people to air their frustrations about an annoying topic that a lot of people are mad about because they can't find much neutral ground.

    As you might imagine. This little dustup has caused a small black hole in the blogosphere and attracted all kinds of extraneous junk from the surrounding space-time continuum. I found it while pissing on P6 who was passing comments about something or other I've already forgotten about. See - even thinking about this is making me stupid.

    Oh wait. Heres the trick. Since Dean is Repub and Oliver is Donkey, the spew from this catfight had to spill over into why black conservatives and Republicans are stupid, why Dave Chappelle isn't funny, why Harold Ford is a 'pampered little bitch', and why Zell Miller is a racist. That's why this annoying conversation went over into stupidity. Chappelle is hilarious, Miller is a genuine ass-kicker without a dishonest bone, Ford is uppity and classy like me and black conservatives are [generally] brilliant. Plus, even a homeboy from my hometown dissed my Brotherhood mate LaShawn as not representative of most blackfolks. (Duh, she has a blog!).

    So I'll view this as an opportunity to attract attention to myself because I am above all the nonsense and have the proper perspective on racism. This is most clearly an episode of Class Three. (Namecalling & disrespect). But it also illustrates how a little racial tension goes a long way in political discussions, even when they descend into utter sputtering madness. Maybe I'll keep the black modifyer on Republican for 18 months instead of just 12.

    My trackback exerpt (An honest to God black Republican defends Dean Esmay's annoying question.) is a lie, because I don't think Dean's question is particularly useful, insightful or pertinent to any issues of concern other than generating some more traffic among people who think they know everything about race, blackfolks or conservatives. I am happy to have such individuals frequent Cobb, even if by accident or trackback trolling.

    I will say this of Dean Esmay though. He's not trying to be anything he ain't and he steps up and says what he means. That's why the blogosphere remains interesting, and at turns annoying.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:40 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    September 01, 2004

    Ivan Get Your Dragunov

    This is the last straw. Chechan rebels have taken schoolchildren hostage in Ossetia. It would be so hard for me not to go to the army surplus and pick up a sniper rifle if my kid was in that school.

    This has got me thinking about what practical kinds of things we ought to be working on with regards to Homeland Security, which is probably a lot simpler than most experts are saying.

    Posted by mbowen at 01:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Kayne West: Whatever To That

    Jesus Walks.
    Through the Wire.
    Overnight Celebrity.
    Love You Better.
    All Falls Down.

    Weird, Wack, Weak. Another waste of time and typical noise. Don't say I never gave you a chance. The last song has some potential, but it's all retread. Am I missing anything?

    Posted by mbowen at 07:25 AM | TrackBack

    August 31, 2004

    PETA Abuses Free Speech

    These days, free speech is often theatre. You would think that we'd have better theatre, instead we get 'Real World' shenanigans dressed up as 'politics'.

    Members of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were arrested and charged with indecency and disturbing the peace after a chilly rally in March near Harvard University where they stripped to their skivvies and staged a nearly naked pillow fight to protest against fur.

    At least they weren't wearing leather shoes.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:26 AM | TrackBack

    August 26, 2004

    Good Boy

    Noted without comment.

    "I had my fun in 2000 and I made a lot of people angry," Williams said. "It's not fun when you're making people angry at the same time. I learned how to do it right."

    OK one comment. You will note how they put "gentlemen" in quotes. Blow me.

    Posted by mbowen at 03:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 16, 2004

    The Man In The Mirror

    If you want to make the world a better place
    Take a look at yourself and make a change.

    -- Michael Jackson

    If this is what Michael Jackson considers a mirror, then he's truly desparate.

    Jackson made a surprise visit to Los Angeles' pre-eminent black church on Sunday, which legal experts said was an effort to boost his reputation ahead of the showdown with the Santa Barbara County prosecutor.

    With all the flack that I've been lightheartedly taking about what Republicans do or don't know about black people, you've got to admit that anybody off the boat could do a better job than Michael Jackson's handlers. First he hires the NOI for security, now he's at FAME. Jeez.

    Now you know what's going to happen. Jackson is going to do time and a bunch of black hack flacks are going to try to compare him to Martha Stewart and pick through the newspapers to find out which other criminals got off light. They're going to say it's a racial thing and try that self-fulfilling prophesy. Certainly there are complications that make this an interesting story, but the racial sideshow blurs those distinctions. So for my part, I'm going to focus on the two protagonists, and I think Sneddon has the upper hand. The fact of the matter is that Tom Sneddon wants Jackson's neck and he's going to use all of his wiles to get it, since Jackson slipped through Sneddon's net last time.

    Understand that Sneddon and Jackson are deadly enemies and that you can view Michael's latest works completely (at least I do now) through the lens of this particular fight. He's bleeding all over the page - why else would he hire Biggie Smalls to rap with him? Check out the lyrics from 'Unbreakable' off the 'Invincable' album. WTF?

    Now I'm just wondering why you think
    That you can get to me with anything
    Seems like you'd know by now, when and how I get down
    And with all that I've been through, I'm still around

    Don't you ever make no mistake
    Baby I've got what it takes
    And there's no way you'll ever get to me
    Why can't you see that you'll never ever hurt me
    'Cause I won't let it be, I'm too much for you baby

    You can't believe it, you can't concieve it
    And you can't touch me, 'cause I'm untouchable
    And I know you hate it, and you can't take it
    You'll never break me, 'cause I'm unbreakable.

    Can you believe this? I'm a big fan of the bogard, but this fool is in over his head. The fundamental difference between the Gloved One and the rappers he fronts with is that Jackson cannot survive outside of a multi-million dollar bubble. He'll never be able to go incognegro and that is his great weakness. It will undo him. When people say that you're a hypocrite just for going to church, you know you're in trouble.

    I believe that Michael Jackson thinks that he's so special that he can push the boundaries of adult/child affection. He must think that his kind of love is beyond reproach. He comes from an effed up family and was clearly unable to create a normal one. So all of that purity and affection he might have had, he tries to overcompensate for with other people's hearts and other people's children. But it's too late. He's an old man and this crap doesn't work any more. Now he is faced with the kind of power that doesn't respect his money, state prosecutorial power. It must be rocking Jackson's world.

    One more thing, looking into the future. If Jackson's estate survives, you can look forward to watching his kids blowing millions on the fast life. Golddiggers take note, there are some marks to be taken.

    Posted by mbowen at 11:57 AM | TrackBack

    August 07, 2004

    Mad Army

    I am writing this post to remind all concerned that I still bust out laughing whenever I hear that American Forces slaughtered Al Sadr's militiamen by the hodload. I know it doesn't gain me any points with the Great Spirit, but I must assume that if we are made in the image of God, then God must have a sense of the absurdly funny.

    What else can one do in the face of the futility of illiterates who pick up their pitchforks to do battle with the battle hardened Marines, but laugh? Somehow, someway the lesson may get over to me in my electronic ghetto, but I still say that Sadr's militia defies all dimensions of reason and exists only to prove that martyrdom for it's own sake is what Iraqi boys have to look forward to. They are doing exactly what it is they want to do, die for their cause. And who are we to begrudge them the honor?

    If I had the power, I'd get a giant vacuum cleaner and suck up all of the human debris from Najaf and empty the bag on the Bikini Atoll. At least they'd have the opportunity there to watch each other die slowly. They might have a chance to congratulate each other on their bravery and fidelity for the sake of that big wanker Moqtada Al Sadr. They could sit around the campfire and trade stories of their brave battles against the beater bar and suction vortex. They could revel in tales about their dusty captivity on the other side of the Great Satan's HEPA filter. They could marvel about how they survived the Emptying of the Bag and give thanks to Allah for what awaits them as their hair falls out.

    I just thought you should know.

    Posted by mbowen at 10:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 29, 2004

    Debunking Black Socialism: Part Two


    Cosby's dressing down of black youth and his suggestions for their
    uplift reveals the bankruptcy of the black bourgeoisie and their
    outright subservience to their capitalist masters. Viewpoints on
    what is success and how to go about achieving success are always
    stamped with the brand of a particular class.

    Ever since the black masses stepped up from slavery, the black
    bourgeoisie has made the quest for education the centerpiece of its
    program to uplift the race. No doubt, this was tempered by the white-
    supremacist denial of education for the black masses on the one
    hand, and the great and glorious desire and struggle of the Afro-
    American masses to learn by any means necessary. Our history is
    replete with gallant efforts to learn to read and educate ourselves,
    even though illegal and often in the face of death and torture by
    our white supremacist oppressors. And still we rise!

    No clear thinking person has ever advocated that the Afro-American
    masses cannot use education in the sense of basic tools of learning
    and discourse. No clear thinking person will ever deny that
    education can be a powerful weapon in our struggle for justice. On
    the other hand, education is also a weapon to maintain our
    exploitation and oppression when it is used to keep us within the
    limits proscribed by our exploiters. As demonstrated by Cosby and
    Colin Powell, our history is checkered with educated black's whose
    main function (consciously or unconsciously) is to keep us confused
    and subservient to capitalism.

    Interesting twist, and certainly true, but let me suggest a clear dichotomy between justice and education. Certainly education can be used as a tactic for justice, dumb folks get had. But education can be valuable in and of itself regardless of its service to justice. Socialists are always directing education towards the purposes of social justice and Capitalists are always directing education towards the purposes of commerce. Why don't we just leave education towards the purposes of enlightenment and say that it's good for its own sake?

    So the question is not are we for education? The question is how do
    we define success? This is where the black working class departs
    from the black bourgeoisie.

    Good. They ought to.

    Who is Cosby admonishing? The vast majority of black youth (although
    influenced by it to some degree) do not exhibit the worse features
    of reactionary bourgeois culture. The vast majority of black youth
    do go to school, do attempt to learn to read, write and speak the
    king's English, do listen to adults around them to get a good
    education, and when able, do go to work 9-5. And despite this, black
    youth are still the special targets of the repressive state
    apparatus, suffer disproportionate incarceration and become ensnared
    in the justice system, suffer mad unemployment, suffer bad schools,
    housing and health-care. enough to make you wanna holler. Where has
    the striving for bourgeois respectability gotten black youth and the
    Afro-American people? And dont black youth see the hypocrisy and
    lying of the racist-capitalist system? Of course they do. No wonder
    they are so rebellious! The problem is they suffer bad political
    leadership. Their rebellious spirit is not being channeled into
    righteous struggle against the system of oppression.

    Here Washington repeats himself for emphasis. But he adds the point about one more horrible bit of suffering - bad political leadership. Meaning what? Bad for whom?

    Since Cosby is not admonishing the majority of black youth, and in
    effect telling us something that we already know and have been
    concerned about, the main effect of Cosbys dissin is to smuggle in
    the black bourgeois outlook and program on the direction of the
    black liberation movement. Cosbys berates a small segment of black
    youth because he knows that the more backward elements in the black
    community and those who cannot see through his thoroughly bourgeois
    ass will be giving him right-ons. But the class conscious black
    worker is not fooled.

    First of all, liberation is not an issue. If you are working class then you are already liberated. If you can afford the luxury of a union and a steady paycheck, oppression is not your problem. If you buy clothes that you expect expresses your personality, then you are middle class. Liberation is a matter of concern when there are human rights violations at hand. Enfranchisement is a matter of establishing and maintaining civil rights. Empowerment is what comes next. That means the politics of social power - meaning beneficiaries are already liberated and enfranchised. Affirmative Action is an empowerment strategy. It means you can survive without it, but you want to climb higher.

    Because the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie's relationship to the
    means of production is individual, they inevitably see their
    advancement as an individual struggle, accomplishment and or
    failure. Consequently this gives rise to individualism as their
    world-outlook. They make it or break it based upon their individual

    For example, take the small lawyer or any other professional. They
    succeed or fail mainly on their own individual effort. If they fail
    to become big-time lawyers it's because they were not smart enough,
    did not have the right connections, did not study enough, etc. Their
    success or failure is viewed as an individual thing. Since their
    relationship to the means of production is primarily individual,
    their outlook is essentially individualistic. They suffer from what
    we call the bourgeois or petty-bourgeois individualistic world
    outlook. Success is an individual endeavor.

    Contrast them with the working class. Our conditions of life are
    such that our relationship to the means of production (how we go
    about making our living, earning our subsistence) is social, not
    individual. Since our conditions of work are social, that is, we
    work collectively with other workers to earn our keep, we develop a
    more collective outlook on how to achieve success.

    Workers develop whatever outlook suits them. In any case, they are more likely to be indoctrinated directly or indirectly by the actions of management since they voluntarily subject themselves to collectivism. If they would start being more human instead of just being a 'worker' then they would come to understand the reponsibilities of management as well. They might come to appreciate what it means to be on the generating side of payroll than simply on the consuming side. But theirs is a voluntary indenture to the collective which they will never escape until they assume the burdens of enterprise.

    So long as people see it in their self-interest to do so, they will. But that doesn't invalidated individualism. We support multiple classes in America. If individuals in the working class choose to renounce their individualism, it's their individual choice. Washington suggests that African Americans don't have that choice.

    The days are gone when we as a worker labored in our own homes or
    shop to produce our keep. The days of the individual producer are
    long gone. There was a time when you worked in your own home or shop
    producing shoes. As an independent shoe-maker, or weaver, or
    spinner, etc., your success appeared to be based upon your own
    individual effort. Capitalism put an end to that state of affairs.
    By running the independent producer out of business, gathering them
    all under one roof, and implementing a division of labor, the
    capitalist system has made production social in character as opposed
    to individual. Now the former peasant who used to farm his own plot,
    or the former shoe maker, who used to make the whole shoe, now makes
    only the tongue, along-side another worker who makes the heel, etc.
    Capitalist owners, expropriated the small producer, gathered them
    all under one roof, put us an assembly line, and now world-wide
    production is social in character. Nothing is produced individually
    anymore neither cars, telephones, shoes, furniture, nor computers.
    This social character of work, this collective work, forces the
    worker to think collectively. The outlook of the working class is
    fundamentally collective in nature unlike the conditions of the
    petty-bourgeois our life conditions forces us to think collectively.

    Obviously Mr. Washington has absolutely no clue about the nature of the software industry, or publishing or the role of the entrepreneur for that matter. Pshaw.

    Why is this important? Just like success to the black petty-
    bourgeois and black bourgeoisie is determined by their class
    position, success to black workers is determined by our class
    position. Because our conditions of work, and therefore of life
    (since work and how you go about achieving your means to get by is
    the most fundamental aspect of your life), are collective and social
    in nature, our success can only be collective and social in nature.

    Just so long as you qualify that 'we', then 'we' don't have a problem with this.

    For example, if a worker wants to increase his or her standard of
    living, he must get more wages, more vacation time, more health
    benefits, etc. from his employer. Any individual worker who walks
    into a bosses€™ office can either beg for more or demand more.
    any rate, they will probably be laughed out of the office, because
    the bosses have no fear of an individual worker in a workplace of
    many. The worker can only advance his own interests by uniting with
    other workers and making the struggle a collective or social one.
    This eventually gives rise to, necessitates and promotes a more
    collective or social world outlook. This is why we say that the
    outlook of the working class is collective because we can only
    advance our individual interests in a collective manner. This is the
    experience of workers the world over. This is the material basis for
    the working class to form trade-unions, engage in strikes, and
    bargain collectively, for only by collectively confronting our enemy
    employers can we advance our individual interests. The workers sink
    or swim as a class. Not as individuals. Success for the working
    class must be viewed collectively.

    This is very likely to be the case for relatively low-skilled positions. And it has been the dominant paradigm for generations. What labor collectivists are having extraordinary difficulty with are several important changes. The first is that management in a number of industries is much more advanced and responsive in every way. And yet there remain some industries where no change has occurred or that no change is possible. I could speak at length about this but I'll summarize it thusly. Nobody who works at Amazon.com wants a union, that's because the management there is loved. Washington's worldview only makes sense in the retarded industries where management is hated. This is a shrinking world, and his inability to see or recognize that all labor that isn't collectivized isn't managed by the same kind of retards he is accustomed to.

    Do the workers have petty-bourgeois and bourgeois outlooks and
    ideas? Of course they do. But these ideas are alien to our class
    interests and needs. And when the workers do act individually and
    selfishly they are not acting in their own class interests.

    The question is whether Mr. Washington will chain them in place in the working class or let them be free to get uppity.

    The workers are bombarded daily by the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois
    world outlook. The newspapers, the movies, the television, the
    schools and universities, the churches, the music, etc, are of
    course owned and controlled by the bourgeoisie and are their sources
    to bombard the working class with their backward ideas and
    ideology. In addition, the working class is not walled off from the
    petty-bourgeois in society. They are all around us. The brother or
    aunt who made it; friends and old school-mates; even the worker
    right beside you that had a couple of years of college and got
    steeped in the petty-bourgeois ideal and now brings that outlook to
    the job. The most glaring example of the worker infected with the
    petty-bourgeois individualist outlook is the one who doesn't want to
    join the union, who will the cross the picket line, and who will
    snitch on his co-workers in the hope of currying favor from the

    Class mobility has always been frightening to people who cannot handle change.

    While the black bourgeoisie calls on us to get a good education, act
    proper and maybe one day we can make it, the reality is otherwise.
    Black youth and the black working class can only rise as a class.
    Only by building a revolutionary black youth and black workers
    movement aimed at the fight for socialism can we advance the
    interests of the vast majority of us. Success for black workers and
    black youth is not an individual thing. That kind of thinking and
    program would have us still drinking from colored only fountains and
    will keep us tied to the Democratic Party and oppressed by the
    system of capitalism forever.

    And there it is. You are black forever, you are working class forever, you cannot be bourgie unless you were born bourgie and the racist-capitalists won't let you become anything else but part of the black working class masses. Even though Washington admits that Cosby is giving his best advice, the advice that works for Cosby, to blacks down the economic ladder, Washington would have them ignore it. Why? Because it can't work for the masses! He rejects upward mobility through individual initiative and insists that it must take place through collective rebellion.

    This is why the black bourgeoisie with the support of their white
    capitalist masters keep forcing the respectable bourgeois positive
    role model down the throats of the masses. Every time that we turn
    around some knee-grow lawyer, entertainer or athlete is being pushed
    in our faces as someone to be like. They especially love to promote
    black athletes and entertainers to our impressionable youth. As
    someone said, we dont need their positive role models, we need
    revolutionary role models.

    Of course you need them. There are none around. There's a good reason for this.

    The capitalist system will always allow for an individual here and
    there, to blow up and make it. We are bombarded daily with the
    success stories of Colin Powell or Puff Diddy. BET devotes a whole
    program to the worship of entertainers who made it How I'm Livin?But
    the reality for the vast majority is always different. The interest
    of the vast majority can only be advanced in a collective struggle
    demanding the strongest unity and organization. Like the lottery,
    one winner is always necessary to keep the masses losing. The
    masses can only advance by keeping our eye on the prize, not by star-

    This is babbling. The difference between 38k a year and 75k a year is significant. The difference between 75k a year and 110k a year is significant. The difference between 110k and 160k a year is significant. None of those brackets are rich. Bourgie advice can make the difference, collective action will never make the difference.

    Success for black youth and the black working class will only come
    as a result of a unified and determined struggle against the system
    of exploitation, which in the end, is the only way that our hopes,
    dreams and aspirations, for a life made possible by the best that
    technology, the human spirit and our labor can produce. The
    individualistic, careerist outlook of the black bourgeoisie must be
    thoroughly defeated. No one has €œmade it€ if the rest
    of us are
    catching hell.

    It is a hell Washington is determined to maintain a padlock on with as many blacks as possible locked in. He conceptualizes the economy in fixed, zero-sum terms and fails to deal with the improvement of management, the birth of new industries and business models, class and geographic mobility, the expansion of the middle class and the role aggregated intelligence plays in the shape of both the labor market and new demands of it. He is dumbing down workers and forcing an ideological divide between employees and their genuine understanding of the rules by which their companies operate.

    Worse yet he assigns a permanent working class status to blacks and steers them away from the kinds of advice that could raise their standards of living for the sake of a bogus revolutionary posture. He is leading his masses to devalue themselves as individual actors in a dynamic market by fixing their hopes and values for their families outside of their own families and into the hands of those like himself.

    If he doesn't realize what he's doing, it's a disgrace. If he does, it's a crime.

    Posted by mbowen at 02:14 AM | TrackBack

    July 28, 2004

    Gods of Rap

    I can remember when rappers played on the radio called each other 'gods'. Gods of the earth. Do you remember that? It was just a trend.

    Posted by mbowen at 10:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 26, 2004

    The Bullet Test

    I thought I would take a moment to remind would be radical leftists about the nature of the country in which we live. This is the country where millions of people will spend money to be entertained by spy fantasies but won't spy. Why? Because we're happy.

    This morning I was reminded about the great sacrifices made by Fred Hampton and Mary Clark. One of them was a Black Panther some decades ago. The other fails to register in my rogues gallery of minor celebrity. Nothing annoys leftist radicals so much as the failure of the masses to take up their torches and pitchforks to evict whomever the revolutionary vanguard depicts as public enemy number one. Today it's the cops. They remain aghast that cops get to push civilians around, but that civilians don't push back.

    I propose to all would be revolutionaries that you henceforth apply The Bullet Test. In the spirit of Malcolm X, you can vote with your mind or with your gun. The choice is yours.

    Cops know better than anybody that they can easily be shot. It doesn't take a whole lot to outnumber police. It happens every day here in Southern California, at the airports, at the beaches, at the parks, and especially during the summertime. But as often as cops are outnumbered and outgunned, they remain in control. Why? Because conditions are insufficient to sustain violent rebellion.

    This is something leftists don't seem to understand. Americans are happy. They are quite happy to go to a movie or out to dinner. They stand in line in orderly fashion. They have no reason to revolt and nobody can gin up any that stand the bullet test.

    There are no progressive forces, there are only progressive fantasies. Nobody knows, or cares enough about Fred Hampton or Mary Clark to shoot one cop. Nowhere in America will you find anyone bold enough, or dedicated enough. That's how ridiculous and irrelevant Fred Hampton and Mary Clark are. They might be worth a couple dozen emails, or maybe even a freshman seminar. But they're not worth one bullet.

    Rapper Chi Ali went to jail for the murder of some kid who owed him $300. In my book that's random idiocy. In any society as large as ours, there will be some number of deaths attributable to freak accidents and random idiocy. Check the Darwin Awards. Left radical militants in this country have no conditions sufficient to raise their profile and threat to the status quo over that of lightning strikes or death by shark attack. I'm more afraid of my bathtub than the threat posed by left militants. So go on ahead with your Geronimo Pratt and Mumia. Spiderman is more real.

    In the meantime we have families to protect from random idiots like Chi Ali. Isn't it nice that we have nice cozy jails for them? Meanwhile, we sustain a continual, if tiring dialog with the literary mau-maus who are desparate for their own army - as if they had the leadership skills to maintain control over anything more dangerous than a weinie dog.

    Viva Democracy!

    Posted by mbowen at 08:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 25, 2004

    Debunking Black Socialism: Part One

    Perhaps some of this is coherent, but it represents the kind of nonsense that is out there. I can't assume that it is as self-evidently wrongheaded to everyone as it is to me, so I guess I'll have to take it apart bit by bit here. My counter is in bold.

    A Reply to Bill Cosby: Only Socialism Can Save Black Youth



    by Ron Slim Washington

    Black Telephone Workers for Justice

    The arrogance of the black bourgeoisie was on display again as Bill
    Cosby utilized the PUSH platform (co-signed by Jesse Jackson and
    Judge Greg Mathis!) to continue his condemnation and criticism of
    black youth. Refusing to bow to public criticism of his prior
    statements on black youth at the NAACP Brown v. Board of Education
    anniversary function, Cosby, puffed out his chest and took it to
    black youth again€accusing them of not being able to read or
    write, cursing, calling each other niggers and going nowhere. Cosby,
    a chief spokesman for the black bourgeoisie, called on us to stop
    blaming the white man for our own anti-social behavior.

    What makes this story interesting is the struggle to find the truth
    in the phenomena. Anyone with eyes open can describe social
    phenomena. What is difficult is to grasp the context that shapes the
    phenomena and in which the phenomena plays out.

    One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see the phenomena: the
    negative, anti-social and self-hating characteristics of many black
    youth. Though not the principal aspect of black youth culture, it's
    all around us. So all around us, that it can be described as
    systemic. Cosby's description of the most negative cultural and
    political aspects of black youth culture is nothing new, and in
    fact, something that is talked about in every barber-shop, diner,
    work place and community, everyday. It is something that our
    community has been talking about and trying to deal with for a long
    time. In almost every community one can find community activists of
    all sorts attempting to interface with black youth and searching to
    find the ways and means to channel black youth's frustrations and
    anxieties in a positive direction. From little league and sports
    programs, mentoring and afro-centric after school programs, to
    numerous stay in school and stop the violence and anti-gang
    initiatives, the black community is trying to deal with our youth.
    But, of course, divorced from the black community as most black
    bourgeoisie are, these positive efforts aren't recognized.

    These positive efforts are singly unable to rid the country of this behavior. Only maturity and force handle the anti-social nature of some kids. One can't be rushed, the other can't be unilaterally initiated. So society basically waits for kids to grow up or screw up. This is actually sufficient but it doesn't handle the sentiment that we want black kids to do well. Some may go as far as to say that the 'suvival of the race' depends upon charitable intervention, but the problem is actually not out of control. I can't say how pervasive it is, because I'm bourgie and I don't live in the 'hood. It's not pervasive in my America.

    The key question in this debate sparked by Cosby and raging in the
    black community (was Cosby right?), is not whether the phenomena
    Cosby described is correct, but wherein lies the cause of the
    phenomena and where must our principal blows be directed? Should we
    blame the system or blame the victim?

    The arrogant black bourgeoisie has further revealed its defense of
    the capitalist system and counter-revolutionary program in blaming
    black youth, the victim. Note that as a reflection of his outright
    support for capitalism, Cosby poses the problem as blaming the white-
    man. By not posing the problem as blaming the system, he effectively
    lets the capitalist system off the hook and like a pulling-guard
    runs interference for it.

    I will inject at this point that a socialist has a vested interest in blaming capitalism. I will defend capitalism as a capitalist, but keep in mind that not everything that is wrong with dysfunctional youth is economic in origin. Socialist countries have laws against theft too. So what is it that lands bad kids in jail? These are offenses against their own communities which cannot be labeled as agents of the capitalist system. (I haven't read this thing to the end, I can just smell it coming.)

    The class conscious black worker recognizes that the current and
    historical anti-social and negative aspects of black culture in
    general and black youth culture in particular is a result of
    capitalist exploitation and national oppression. The system is the
    principal cause of our misery and how we respond to that misery. No
    matter how repulsive and negative the anti social behavior may
    appear, they can only be resolved by the destruction of the system
    causing the behavior, that is, the capitalist system itself. Any
    other view is hopelessly utopian and ultimately serves to throw dust
    in our eyes as to what our principal task must be. In addition, the
    negative aspects of our culture can only be transformed in struggle
    against the system of exploitation. As will be shown later, black
    youth overcome reactionary bourgeois culture and forge a new culture
    only in the fight against the system. Only the complete overthrow of
    the capitalist bourgeoisie, its expropriation and the rule of the US
    multi-national working class can bring an end to the suffering and
    anti-social behavior of black youth. Only socialism can save black

    OK so there it is. Youth automatically rebel against The System. True enough, but they rebel against any and every system. This adolescent rebellion is not world historical and its impulse is not born of wisdom but confusion. This is why youth only lead youth, not adults.


    The anti-social behavior, worship of the most reactionary features
    of bourgeois culture and the internal contradictions amongst the
    people are nothing new to Afro-American people. Throughout our
    history in the US, in every period of our history, certain sections
    of our community, particularly the most exploited and oppressed
    workers, poor farmers and share-croppers have exhibited anti-social
    behavior born of oppression. Remember how back in the day, the black
    bourgeoisie castigated black workers and poor farmers for gambling,
    drinking, fighting and fornicating on Friday nights in the most
    dangerous sections of the black community. Remember how the black
    bourgeoisie, striving for respectability in the eyes of white-folk
    dissed black workers and country folk for not being a credit to our
    race, and blamed them for bringing down the race. This modern day
    Cosby/Jackson black bourgeoisie is singing the same old tune. E.
    Franklin Frazier (The Black Bourgeoisie) where are you when we need

    This is a sketchy proof but I'll allow it. Sure every group exhibits anti-social behavior, but is it born of oppression? Is it a conscious decision? You have to ask the basic question are poor people anti-social because they are poor or because they are anti-social? You would have to establish a benchmark, I think, against those who have bought into the dominant system. If you argue that the System is corrupt is it because the system, you have to prove that it's not the fault of anti-social people running the System. See? Suge Knight is a crook whether he's the head of Death Row Records, or just another brother on lockdown. Similarly Skip Gates is a sweet guy whether he's teaching at Harvard or a skinny kid from the Piedmont. Does buying into Capitalism (or Socialism for that matter) as an economic system necessitate a change in moral character. I say no. Washington says yes. Socialists aren't necessarily immoral, they're just stupid.

    What is key to understand, is that not only the Afro-American
    people, but all people who suffer exploitation and oppression
    develop anti-social traits specific to their historical situation.
    We can look at the history of the oppressed Cuban people and what
    went on in some to the worst sections of Havana; the history of the
    oppressed Algerian people and what went on in the Casbah, described
    in the writings of Frantz Fanon and illustrated in the Battle of
    Algiers; the history of the negative anti-social behavior that
    existed in Soweto and Johannesburg; and in the poorest sections of
    Shanghai prior to the Chinese revolution. What is important to
    understand is that it is the system of oppression and exploitation
    that breeds the anti-social behavior, and only in the fight for
    national liberation and socialism can the behavior be changed and
    the new man/woman be forged. Survey the literature on the history of
    white workers in the US, and you will find that some of the most
    vehement bourgeois criticism was heaped upon the anti-social and
    negative social behavior of Irish and Italian workers when they
    first migrated to this country and were forced into the Irish and
    Italian ghettos.

    Yeah yeah yeah.

    When we look at the situation in the US, the negative aspects of
    reactionary bourgeois culture amongst black youth are not accidental
    nor an aberration. What you find in LA is what you find in Detroit.
    What you find in Atlanta is what you find in NYC. What you find in
    Newark is what you find in Birmingham. In short its systematic. And
    if the anti-social behavior is systematic then it stands to reason
    that it must have a systematic cause. For us, the question is
    whether the systematic cause is the system of capitalism or
    own failings as a people as our enemies would have us believe, and
    which is now being trumpeted by the black bourgeoisie. Our enemies,
    from day one, from apologists for slavery to apologist for
    capitalism have always claimed that our lack of morality, our lack
    of a desire to work, our laziness, our failure to value education
    and hard-work, our single-parent house-holds, our bad grammar, etc.,
    are the reasons for the conditions that we find ourselves in. From
    Moynihan to Cosby, this is the same old song, sung to defend the
    system of exploitation. The class conscious black worker rejects
    this propaganda.

    A clever conflation. If you are capitalist, then you are racist and vice versal. Washington's inability to distinguish the critiques don't make his point.

    Overcoming the worst features of reactionary bourgeois culture for
    black youth and the Afro-American people in general will come as a
    result of bringing the youth and workers into revolutionary struggle
    against the system of oppression and exploitation. Unity, a thirst
    for knowledge, compassion and respect for our people (the vast
    majority of workers), will come as a result of struggle to transform
    the system. Only in this way will we transform ourselves.

    Or you could go to college.

    This is the third time I've let this 'reactionary bourgeois culture' slide by unidentified. It would be nice to have an example of this so we could all gasp in horror. What is this? The guy who puts spinning rims on his SUV and talks about the guy with ordinary rims? Are we in a struggle against the capitalism of Sprewell?

    Just looking back at our most recent history proves the above point.
    When we look back nostalgically at the 60's as a high point in the
    struggle for unity in our community, we remember it was a time when
    we called each other brother and sister, spoke of serving and
    defending our community, and fought for respect for every member of
    our community. The fight against the remnants of Jim Crow, police
    brutality, unemployment and all of the other ills that were
    manifestations of racism and capitalist oppression brought millions
    of black youth into struggle. It was in the course of struggle
    against the system that black youth began to leave the street
    corners and the negative life-style and take up the fight against
    bourgeois individualism and the dog-eat-dog pursuit of capitalist
    materialism. How to serve the black community and black people?
    became the call to which black youth responded. In many communities,
    former gang members became political. Thousands of black youth
    joined the Black Panther Party, the Simba's, revolutionary high
    school and college organizations, and thousands of local community
    organizations. In the course they began to develop a new black
    community that had not existed since Reconstruction and the Harlem
    Renaissance. Thousands of black youth selflessly quit colleges and
    universities and went south to develop the black liberation struggle
    or took up the struggle in their local communities. Black youth
    remade themselves in the course of attempting to remake the world.
    In the course of active participation in the black liberation
    movement they helped to remake many black communities that for a
    brief period served as hotbeds of political activity and models for
    our future. Black youth developed a new attitude toward black women,
    and began to refer to them as sisters and comrades in struggle.
    Motivated by fighters such as Malcolm X, the struggle even went so
    far in many political circles as to place the Black woman on a
    pedestal as the Mother of Civilization.

    There's a big fat nostalgic paragraph. It's more true that folks like my father and Ron Karenga were in a battle for the vanguard against Negroes, specifically those Christian Negroes who were considered anti-intellectual and 'counter-revolutionary'. The revolutionary consciousness they attempted to created was a challenge. It wasn't so much a gracious agenda as it is said in retrospect - it was more like 'join or die'. Like all radicals, everyone looked forward to some apocalypse that would divide the righteous from the rabble. The apocalypse never came, and 'brothers and sisters' accepted ony the more reasonable aspects of the new consciousness. I was a Simba, and there weren't even dozens of us. We black youth followed not because our inherent rebellion recognized the perfect parallel with the Struggle, we simply followed what our parents told us to do.

    Black youth in thousands of communities across the country began to
    put community and serving the people first, and going for self
    second. The popular model of emulation in the black community, the
    numbers running, Cadillac driving, conk-headed, immaculately
    dressed, drug dealing, diamond on the pinkie, womanizing pimp began
    to be rejected as a model for black youth and was considered played
    out. We all remember the merciless criticism leveled at that life-
    style by Malcolm X and the NOI. We all remember the call by forces
    from every section of the black liberation movement to clean up our
    communities. Swept up in the upsurge of the black liberation
    movement, black youth began to re-define their world-outlook and
    value system. Thirsty for knowledge, black youth began to study in
    order to take part in the community discussions on fighting the
    system. Black youth (many coming home from the racist-imperialist
    war against the Vietnamese people) began to develop ritual
    handshakes as a way of expressing the new found unity and sense of
    brotherhood in the black community. Black Panthers and Simba's in
    the black community, the Young Lord's in the Puerto Rican community,
    the Brown Beret in the Chicano community, swept up in the fight
    against racism and capitalism posed a direct challenge to the anti-
    social behavior of the pimp and pimp culture. The movement became
    cool to black youth. The influence was so great the even Superfly
    now had to find a way to justify his anti-social behavior as serving
    the community and fighting the MAN.

    If you say so.

    With the setbacks in the popular movement and the all around
    fragmentation of the revolutionary movement, black youth are once
    again without revolutionary leadership and consequently subject to
    being won over to the worst influences of reactionary bourgeois
    culture. In the absence of a revolutionary movement and a
    revolutionary role models, Snoop-Doggie-Dog (Superfly 2000) and
    Nellie (Pimp Juice) have set black youth back twenty years. But even
    these popularly recognized backward role models don't do as much
    damage to the black liberation movement as that done by the
    bourgeois and petty-bourgeois role models promoted by the Cosby/
    Jackson capitalist collaborators. Only a revolutionary youth
    movement aimed at the fight for socialism and national liberation
    can bring a halt to the current state of affairs.

    The Boy Scouts of America fight against Nelly and Snoop Dog. So do Catholic Alter boys, Christian camp counselors, and church youth of all stripes. So do high school football teams, cheerleading squads, Four H clubs, Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls. The fight for socialism is not the sole font of decent morals, righetousness, and good citizenship. At the public elementary school my kids attend, everybody understands that Character Counts. It's hardly revolutionary and not even socialist. But if we have (finally) come to describe this 'reactionary bourgeois culture' as best exemplified by Snoop and Nelly, why didn't you say so 2000 words ago?


    Black youth have a great and glorious history of rebelling against
    the system of exploitation and oppression and consequently have been
    special targets for capitalist repression both political and

    It's not great and glorious. Further, their is nothing so special about youth culture that makes it a target of capitalists except for the disposable income they spend. Military? You must be smoking.

    Though not the main or leading force, black youth have always played
    an important and at times a vanguard role in the fight for black

    Following their parents.

    Historically denied access to education and work, humiliated by
    white chauvinism and racism, targeted for police repression, etc.,
    black youth in every historical period have rebelled against the
    system. Could it be any other way?

    How about we leave the crypto-socialist codewords out and say that black people have always struggled to improve their position in society? No, it could not be any other way. We have the example of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman who struggled for freedom and justice long before there was any such idea as Marxism

    Black labor has been an essential need of the capitalist system.
    It's widely understood that the slave trade was one of the essential
    components of the development of the capitalist system throughout
    the world. And it's even more widely understood that slavery in the
    US was essential to building the wealth of the US that we know
    today. The need and drive for cheap black labor, the super-
    exploitation of black labor, has been and continues to be the major
    factor determining the fate and situation of black people in
    America. Last hired and first fired; relegated to the cheapest and
    dirtiest of jobs, forced to live in the most used and dilapidated
    housing and communities; having our history distorted and our
    culture denigrated; and subject to extreme forms of legal and
    illegal repression and incarceration, are the necessary results of a
    systematic attempt to maintain the majority of black people as a
    source of cheap labor for this capitalist machine.

    I resist the temptation to break this paragraph up, but it betrays a determined ignorance of markets and attribution of willfullness to a centrally controlled 'System' which is directed by racist principles. There is no centrally directed capitalist machine.

    Black youth are exceptionally vulnerable to the rapaciousness of
    capitalism. For example, unemployment is a permanent and inevitable
    feature of capitalism. You can't have capitalism without
    unemployment! And it doesn't matter what your educational and skill
    level may be. Capitalism cannot employ everyone because the very
    nature of capitalist accumulation makes many workers superfluous on
    the one hand, and the existence of a large surplus of workers
    without jobs and willing to work for anything is a weapon to hold
    down the wage levels of those that are working. Many of us are
    familiar with the history of capitalists attempting to use
    unemployed black workers to break strikes of white workers back in
    the day. All of us are familiar with our bosses€™ daily threats
    us to act right or he will hire someone off the street that will
    gladly take less than what he is paying us.

    You can't have unemployment without a minimum wage. But we are deep into socialist fundamentalist territory. I dont' have the time to unwind all of that thinking, even in this massive post.

    Black workers always suffer the worst effects of unemployment.
    Whatever the unemployment rate for white workers you can almost
    double it to find the rate for black workers. For black youth, the
    rate is sometimes four or five times the normal rate. We joke in the
    black community about not knowing full employment since slavery. The
    cause is the system.

    An old canard. For someone so class conscious, you'd think Washington would break down something as simple as unemployment figures by class and education level. Blacks with the same educational achievements as non-blacks have unemployment levels which are comparable. Neither of us brings stats to this.

    Since the effects of capitalist exploitation falls heavily on black
    youth, we all know that without a job, you gon do crime. Without a
    job black youth are forced into extra legal activity and anti-social
    behavior. In addition, as a focus of police repression, black youth
    are often the most rebellious element in the black community and are
    the focus of tremendous police repression. The cause is the system.
    It's no accident that the Black Panther Party captured the sentiment
    of the black masses by standing up to the police. It's no mystery
    that the black rebellions of the recent past were heavily influenced
    by revolutionary minded and unemployed black youth. The system is
    the cause.

    If this were constant across the generations, the appeal of the Black Panthers would be as strong today as it was 30 years ago. But look how clearly, simply and easily he asserts that blacks who are unemployed will be criminals. Tsk. My bet says there are many more 20 year-old losers still mooching off their parents, than on the streets doing crimes to eat.

    As part of the capitalist response to rebellious black youth and the
    urban rebellions of the recent past, it is widely understood that
    the capitalist flooded the black community with drugs. The racially
    discriminatory drug laws are the direct cause of the present large
    numbers of black youth and men incarcerated or €œcaught up in
    system. This capitalist response served the system well. Imagine how
    much more volatile the black community would be if all the young
    black men currently in jail were on the street without jobs. The
    60's would only have been a dress rehearsal for even greater
    contemporary rebellions.

    Oh this is a real gem. Supply without demand. The capitalist system also floods the ghetto with Japanese automobiles, Florida orange juice, Chinese cotton, African Kente clothe, plastic toys made in Hong Kong, music from Hollywood, food from Mexico and the list goes on forever. Why? Because people in the ghetto have the money to buy it. If they didn't, nobody would give it away for free. Explain that.

    The incarceration of black youth and the army serve to cover up the
    real character of unemployment amongst black youth. Add the number
    of black youth in prison and in the army to the official
    unemployment statistics and the picture becomes a horror. The real
    question is why aren't black youth more rebellious? given their
    treatment by the capitalist system. And the system's response to the
    threat of rebellious black youth: prison, army and the promotion of
    reactionary anti-social behavior. Could it be any other way? The
    system is the problem. The problem with the spineless Cosbyite black
    bourgeoisie is that they want capitalism without its horrors .an

    The reason black youth aren't more rebellious is because the conditions do not support revolution. This is the singular fact that all of the trumped up rhetoric of Washington fails to acknowledge. The ghetto functions, albiet strangely, with the efficiency it does because it exists within the greater context of the markets of America. It is permeated by and co-exists with the broad mainstream. It is never too far away from the goods of America. The electricity stays on, the phones always work, the gas pump doesn't run dry, the shelves at the markets are in better shape than any third world country and better than many in the second world. It may be a ghetto, but it is an American ghetto - and that means conditions never get so bad that riots are the order of the day. If they were, then the people would riot, like they did in Los Angeles in 91, like they did in Detroit in 68. But the conditions are not that bad. Repeat. The conditions are not bad enough to sustain open rebellion against society.

    The essential irrationality of capitalism is reflected by poverty in
    the midst of plenty. You can't have capitalism without the horrors
    that result from a system based upon the pursuit of profit above the
    pursuit of people's needs. You can't have capitalism without horrors
    that come as a result of the ownership of all of society's wealth by
    a small hand-full of capitalists whose soul is driven by the pursuit
    of profit. You can't have capitalism without unemployment. You can't
    have capitalism without war. You can't have capitalism without
    exploitation. And given the particular history of US capitalism, you
    can't have capitalism without racism and the oppression of the black

    Nonsense. American capitalism is sustained by the consumer economy. 2/3 of the GDP is all about the goods and services that go into the average American home. Light bills, phone bills, gasoline, car payments, groceries, insurance, doctor bills, and all that ordinary stuff. Coming from the 'Black Telephone Workers for Justice' Washington ought to know how much capitalism is all about people talking to each other on the phone. Ooh exploitive!

    The entire history of capitalism has demonstrated that the
    systematic exploitation it exacts upon the toiling masses, always
    bludgeons, beats down, alienates and kills the spirit of the weakest
    sections of the working class and oppressed masses. This is an
    inevitable horror of the capitalist system. You can't have
    capitalism without its horrors.

    Which is why we need extraordinary leaders like Washington to remind us of these horrors.
    The most disgraceful and reactionary character of the mis-leadership
    of the black bourgeoisie is that it attempts to mis-lead the black
    masses of working people into believing that our justice can be
    achieved within the context of the capitalist system. Hence, Cosby's
    attempt to sell black youth the myth, that by dressing correctly,
    speaking correctly and black bourgeoisie's sacred cow €œgetting
    good education, black youth will achieve liberation. Only
    revolutionary struggle aimed at overthrowing the capitalist system
    and the building of socialism with save black youth. Anything else
    amounts to throwing dust in the eyes of the youth and amounts to
    wishing for capitalism, without its horrors. As Malcolm said, that
    won't even happen in Hollywood! Capitalism without exploitation and
    oppression is like night without day or a hit by Harold Melvin
    without the Blue-Notes. It's the system, baby!

    Only revolutionary leaders need education. They will direct the black masses to the proper revolutionary consciousness. Freedom requires the destruction of capitalism. This is a recipe for disaster, not that most people are big enough suckers to believe it.

    There's more of this garbage to sift through, but I've had enough for this morning. It's truly sad that the people for whom this tripe is directed may not have a good number of alternatives. We can only hope they check out this website...

    Posted by mbowen at 10:18 AM | TrackBack

    July 19, 2004


    I heard a story on the radio about a drug scandal and Marion Jones. I read a story in the paper about a drug scandal and Marion Jones comparing her to Martha Stewart, the convict. I read a third story at MSNBC about several other people being investigated who have relationships with Jones. Why not just throw her in Gitmo until the Games are over?

    Somebody show me the money, because I don't see it. All I see is a disgusting whispering campaign. This is how we treat our own best athletes?

    Posted by mbowen at 08:02 AM | TrackBack

    July 14, 2004

    A Few Words About Mike Ditka

    No. Wait. Stop. Please. Don't. Aaargh!

    Posted by mbowen at 07:22 AM | TrackBack

    July 10, 2004

    Soul Plane Postmortem

    Those who are convinced of their moral superiority and influence on American Society will no doubt remain lost in their own solopsistic universe, exterior to market realities, but I would like to remind all concerned that the sky did not fall and the state of Black America today is the same as it was six weeks ago.

    $16 Million

    Gross Box Office Reciepts to date:
    $13.9 Million

    Rubbing it in the face of the Great Protectors of Black Images in Hollywood:

    Now happen to know that somebody's going to sell some DVDs to get their money's worth out of those puppies. There will be some spots created for whatever the latest ghetto fabulous program is on MTV, and they'll close the gap and some paneder's kids will get to go to college. That doesn't change the fact that Soul Plane is just another brick in the wall.

    And I bet you hadn't even thought about it this week.

    Posted by mbowen at 03:48 PM | TrackBack

    June 09, 2004


    Not long ago I was talking about rhetorical patronage. Here's an example of the kind of reaction to a failure to get rhetorical patronage.

    "Politically, African-Americans can hardly get past that he started his campaign in Philadelphia, Miss.," said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), referring to the area where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. "It was such a strong statement that the KKK endorsed him on the same day."

    "You can't forget that," Jackson added.

    Well, he's right. You can't forget it if you never knew it. Jackson's failed Rainbow Coalition still stakes its claim over the memories of African Americans, and here he's claiming to represent us by saying we never got over Reagan vis a vis this. Granted, I wasn't paying attention to Reagan at the time, I supported Anderson. But I also wasn't out looking for ways to be offended, much less trying to establish that large swaths of African Americans are offended in retrospect.

    Somebody send the Rev a Hallmark card and a box of tissue.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:49 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    June 08, 2004

    Visualize Industrial Collapse

    Gerard published this beauty. It embodies so much about what unnerves me about lefties, which is their spiteful disregard for the world they refuse to understand. Considering that this heap seems to be in a junkyard, it probably wasn't difficult for its driver to visualize industrial collapse. And like a good socialist, he surely believed that nobody should drive a factory fresh car so long as he lived in his lumbering billboard.

    I just keep wondering about the smell on the inside of that thing. Some combination of weed, patchoulli, sweat and dog.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 07, 2004

    Welcoming Seal

    The ACLU is an example of an organization that is so broadminded that it has become flatheaded. What the hell is up with these people? Too much time on their hands, I suspect.

    What's wrong with this picture? Why it has a cross on it. And some people might be offended by that? According to the ACLU the presence of the Christian icon makes the seal of the County of Los Angeles less welcoming. According to that logic, we might as well change the name of the city. Or why not rename Pico Boulevard to someone other than that outlaw Pio Pico? Or better yet, why not rename the ACLU because in this case they clearly don't have A CLUE.

    Posted by mbowen at 10:07 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    May 24, 2004

    Black Elitists and Community Service

    I don't often rant, but I've got a bug up my ass about something said on Orkut. I'm spending way too much time over there.

    First of all, I wonder if you are familiar with NSBE. Check out nsbe.org. And I say yes it is 'elitist' to study Analytical Geometry (second year calculus) when so many blackfolks struggle to get a 400 math on their SAT. But there are blackfolks who got it goin' on like that. But I would put my foot down on anybody who has beef with this organization. Do they go back to the community? All the time. They say do the math - no excuses. That's why we have black engineers today.

    Now back in the 80s it was my job (and I was elected by black people to do this job, twice) to be in charge of getting money so this organization could survive and do its job. The program I designed and administered brought in over a quarter of a million dollars of corporate money per year. But I could do so only because I had good grades, a part time job and time and energy to do so. As it happens, a brother that pledges Alpha, holds down a 3.5GPA and has a corporate internship needs support too. So I had to look where? UP. So I did, and I found the support I needed. But that also means that there is a black community out there who isn't spending all their effort trying to get gangbangers out of jail or help teenage mothers get off drugs or complaining about Nelly videos.

    That means there are some 'elitist' blacks out there helping other 'elitist' blacks get to the point where 'money aint a thing'. And if you truly believe in the kind of work that takes highschool students who are willing and able to become college students of engineering, or medicine or law, then you have to support that 'elitist' cause. Still, all that was at the level of black students getting money from white owned corporations. Where are the black corporations? Well they are coming, from people like me.

    Now start talking community activism with Democrats and what do you hear? TONS of disrespect for 'elitists' like me and Dr. Cosby who donated $20 million to Spelman. When you talk to Republicans what do you hear? You hear what is it we need to do to help people build small businesses and corporations. That's what you hear. Local politics. So I'm going where I get support? UP.

    When I hear blackfolks complain about Republicans, they have to go all the way to Haiti or Iraq or the White House to start their beef. But when it comes to local politics, they don't know shit and they don't do shit. I've been there and done that with community activism, and it wasn't that hard - I did it while I was still in college with the aid of thousands of dollars. So the bottom line question to people who expect to be effective is where are you going to get the money? Are you going to get it from white liberal charity, or from black owned businesses and corporations? You think on that question a while and tell me who's selling out.

    Posted by mbowen at 11:03 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    May 23, 2004

    Amazing Cool Page

    If you've been getting blogspam, you know this phrase. Are spammers that stupid?

    Posted by mbowen at 01:03 PM | TrackBack

    May 18, 2004

    Who Hates Hiphop? We Hate Hiphop!

    Hate is too strong a term. How about using the terms over at BookerRising? 'We' means African Americans.

    Hip hop influence on kids: 52% negative, 23% neutral, 18% positive

    Ages 18-29: 42% hip hop a negative influence, 28% neutral, 24% positive
    Ages 30-44: 52% hip hop a negative influence, 22% neutral, 20% positive
    Ages 45-54: 55% hip hop a negative influence, 24% neutral, 16% positive
    Ages 55-64: 55% hip hop a negative influence, 17% neutral, 14% positive
    Ages 65+: 58% hip hop a negative influence, 25% neutral, 6% positive

    There's some really fascinating statistical data over that way. Do check it out. Although there's one I find difficult to believe which was that in 1950 only 8% of African Americans had highschool diplomas. Amazing if true.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    May 12, 2004

    What's A Tip-Drill?

    If you know the answer to this question, then perhaps you need a lecture by Jelani Cobb:

    It would be easy to assume that sexist music videos are simple entertainment not the equivalent of a body of myths that have been used to oppress black women, were it not for the fact that the lines between culture and politics are not always that easily distinguishable. Hip hop is now the prevailing global youth culture and, in many instances, the only vision people have of African American life. In a twisted testament to the ubiquity of black culture, a student who spent a semester in China reported back that some of the town residents were fearful of the black male exchange students, having met very few black people, but viewed a great many black-thug music videos.

    If you don't know the answer to this question or if you are still unclear about the concept, then in my estimation you are ahead of the game. But apparently serious people deal with the utter foolishness of MTV. Why? Well Jelani Cobb has an excuse. He has to teach young people who presumeably don't have the will to resist MTV. And while it's admirable to take such an opportunity to bring up historical figures like Ida B. Wells and Ronald Reagan, it's sad that one must combat illiteracy in this fashion.

    I said illiteracy because that is the state of anyone who views a great many black thug videos, be they in Hong Kong, Marbella or Milwaukee. Not long ago, rock & roll and hiphop were passably instructive. One of my favorite songs said

    Fight the Youth
    The Youth with poisoned minds
    ignite the truth
    restore sight to these blind.

    Fight the Youth
    The Youth with poisoned minds
    and if they suffer it's no fault but their own.

    I don't have the patience to be an educator. That's a job for folks like Jelani Cobb and my boy Monroe. I don't envy them a bit, because getting people with a 'legitimated' youth culture to respect and understand civilization is trying work.

    I think it speaks volumes that the personification of black youth is such a battleground these days. There is such a strong and deep tradition of worrying about what 'The Man' thinks of the Negro. It has kept so many knees from going out of the house without Vaseline. It has kept so much dirty laundry in the closet, that many blackfolks still shudder at the prospects of their race in the face of idiots 'representing' out and about. Where I grew up[pity], we had an expression: "I didn't raise 'em." In the face of that race raising tradition, many blackfolks still get grief for abandoning the least of their brothers. While the charitable sentiment is understood and appreciated, lunkhead hiphoppers and their illiterate groupies and supporters need no respect from me. Nor you.

    As the ghetto poet once said: We aint lovin' them whores.

    The 'twisted ubiquity' of 'black culture' needs some differentiation. Everything that passes for culture is not Culture. Everything that's creative isn't Art. People defending thug-hop today for the sake of free expression sound like the same ones who defended the 2 Live Crew in the 80s. Censorship isn't the answer, calling bullshit is. This is what the defenders of Art and Culture are called to do, and I wonder if they are when it is so easy to call this vulgar peasant crap 'black culture'. If it were just black culture, then it would just be blacks, but this is universal because it's gutter, and there are gutters, thugs and whores everywhere.

    Some day in the next twenty years or so, when people get tired of retro 70s afros and little pimp dolls hawking Sprite, some engaging filmmaker is likely to do for hiphop what Steven Speilburg did for gin joints in 'The Color Purple'. Somebody will romanticize all this sloppy shit in the color of nostalgia. Perhaps kids born in 2020 will think of Tupac the way I thought of Bird Parker. Who can tell? But I hope they dig up this blog and know that everyone wasn't fooled.

    Some may think that Nelly's vocabulary reflects poorly on African America and fuels racism worldwide. I think guilt by association works only on those who associate with the guilty. I never heard of a 'tip-drill' and even my imagination doesn't help me figure it out. These aren't people who are fueling a conspiracy of destruction against African America, they're just today's peasants, caught on tape.

    Posted by mbowen at 02:02 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    May 07, 2004

    Repressed Jihadist Wankers

    One of the many things I agree with Christopher Hitchens on is that jihadists like (Muckety) Muqtada are big wankers.

    This was reported in Indybay.com. When I first read it, I thought it was The Onion.

    Dhia al-Shweiri spent several stints in Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, twice under Saddam Hussein's rule and once under American. He prefers Saddam's torture to the humiliation of being stripped naked by his American guards, he said Sunday in an interview with The Associated Press.

    Now the 30-year-old, who used to work in a fabric shop, is a die-hard fighter in the al-Mahdi Army, the fanatic militia of a Shiite Muslim cleric who has vowed to take on the Americans.

    Al-Shweiri said that while jailed by Saddam's regime, he was electrocuted, beaten and hung from the ceiling with his hands tied behind his back.

    ``But that's better than the humiliation of being stripped naked,'' he said. ``Shoot me here,'' he added, pointing between his eyes, ``but don't do this to us.''

    I can't get the idea out of my mind that this attitude is precisely what makes the American war criminals laugh and smile in their pictures. Here are Iraqi men who would presumeably think nothing of the perfidy of shooting at American soldiers from the cover of a mosque, but would rather be shot in the head than be naked in front of a woman.

    Are we Americans totally devolved? No. There are plenty of signs that we're pretty damned vulgar. Nothing quite says it like the reality TV show 'Fear Factor' where young adults compete for cash by drinking milkshakes made from large roaches or worms. So it is not beyond the imagination of the average American to come up with ways to utterly humiliate people. Hell, we do that for entertainment. What HBO viewer of Real Sex or Sex and the City couldn't think of a way to make a jihadist wanker totally freak out? The temptation just oozes.

    Of course that's why ordinary American HBO viewers are not to be put in charge of Iraqi POWs. That's why the military chain of command is so important, so this kind of humiliation for fun doesn't happen. Those rules were broken and now there is a price to pay.


    I understand where this darkness is coming from, and so do you. You know and I know that over here in America, where we put people in jail for smoking weed, that humiliation is part of the game. Don't drop the soap!

    There's something I hate about jihadists and I realize that my willingness to stereotype them and those like them is the first step in dehumanizing the enemy, and that is a mistake of the first order in military conflict. It underestimates them and their capacity to change, which is why defeated racist generals are so completely surprised. But I'm not a military officer, I'm not in Iraq, I haven't sworn an oath to uphold the Geneva Convention, and I'm a patriot. So hose 'em. They're still wankers. Shower the lot of them.

    I got your 72 virgins right here, BIATCH!

    Posted by mbowen at 08:52 AM | TrackBack

    April 09, 2004

    Whatever to Dodd

    It has come to this. Apparently, Chris Dodd (D-CT) uttered 14 words as part of a verbal tongue bath of Robert Byrd which is supposed to make us all loose our bowels over its 'racist' implications.

    I can only hope that serious folks attached to this wispy chain of evidence and courtly commentary will read my thoughts regarding the failures of anti-racism and the post-racial future. As BTD Steve notes, I am not generally in a gracious mood when it comes to going over point by point what I actually know in this regard and it makes me appear to be more intransigent and ignorant than I am. But I have decided that for my own health it's better not to stress over these things.

    As a general example of Americans being manifestly unable to extract competence from their government officials, this charge of racism is a par for the course. While there are more serious folks who will make the proper points, I think they will be lost on the general and partisan public whose mass (if you consider 30% voter turnout to be massive) will decide matters in a binary fashion. It's no wonder that lobbyists have a field day on Capitol Hill, 'everyone else' is a Dolt by comparison.

    Anyway, remark noted.

    Posted by mbowen at 10:01 AM | TrackBack

    March 07, 2004

    Looking For Trouble

    I'm in a snitty mood this evening. This is me today, wearing my grey cutoff shorts, my Trojans football jersey (XXL) my red bandana and my dark Oakley shades biting an Arturo Fuente torpedo with unbrushed teeth. If I would have had a shotglass with Jack to help me hawk up a good brown spit, it would have topped off the day, but there was none of that at my neice's birthday party.

    I was all daddied out from Saturday, and all the babies could tell. Nobody could hand them to me because they all started to scream. Good.

    But all this is just burying the lede of what's really got me steamed. It's the Black Commentator again and all the Black Commentator wannabees. I'd bet a nickel that Baldilocks has already beat me to calling bullshit on Aristide's whining about being 'kidnapped' but I really have to rant on this matter.

    What is up with all this follow the leader crap? I'm upset at myself oftimes for being topical, but can't these people think of anything original? Where oh where was all the outrage about the Haitian condition 4 weeks ago? There can be no doubt that shit is hitting the fan in every crack of the world, not least of all Haiti but not until Bush can be blamed for something do these cockroaches crawl out and party. Can they not pick a country anywhere on the planet and say two things about it without reference to the great white conspiracy + Colin Powell and Condi Rice? Hell no. That would require them to think.

    I'm halfway guilty here. I try to think globally but I realize I can't hold that many nations in my head. I'd like to talk about the government in Cote d'Ivoire and why the French sent troops but the Americans did not, when they were calling for us. I tried. I'd like to talk about the economics of slavery in the Sudan and why we shouldn't try to buy them. I want America to be a proper empire, but my attention span isn't very good in Africa, South America or anywhere else. I just kinda focus on Iraq sometimes. But one thing I don't do is start talking out of my ass when something bad happens without any consideration to what has gone before, specifically I'm willing to listen to people in the blogosphere who study those places.

    So it's really annoying to me that I have to hear this spew about Aristide being kidnapped. It's a stretch from people who just need to connect unconnected dots in their wack proofs of GW Bush as the ultimate evil.

    Anyway this is uncharacteristic of me and I really should find some of that Jack and just mellow the hell out. I'm really not disappointed so much as annoyed. If I keep up this sour attitude against black political commentators, I'll find myself in agreement with people like David Horowitz, a fate worse than death.

    Posted by mbowen at 10:40 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    Shaking The Devil's Hand

    Can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.
    -- They Might Be Giants

    This is the letter that a lot of people hate. People who prefer Arthur Ashe to Muhammed Ali, people who prefer MLK to Malcolm X. This is the letter where the charming well-spoken black man tells them to piss off. You've been warned.

    What I'm talking about is respect. Smash called bullshit on Acidman's rant against people he considers no count niggers. Acidman said he doesn't care who he offends. Today I'm going to agree with him. The reason is simple. If he said anything like that around me, he'd get his ass kicked. You know it, I know it everybody knows it. So when it comes down to it, no real intellectual exercise in explication is necessary. Some whitefolks simply don't respect blackfolks and are looking for opportunities to talk about it. So fucking what? It's not like this isn't America and we've never heard that story before.

    I was so taken for a loop that this cat Ironbear had such respect for me and yet was confused about what to do with his previous respect for Acidman that I began writing a complicated story about respect. Part of that came out in the "Legacy of Slavery" post from this morning. But let me tell you what, this is an old tired assed story and I need to slap myself for thinking twice. "Gee, I think my friend is a racist, but I think he does have a point about black poeple." Here's my answer. Fuck you and your friend. Don't ask me for permission, because I don't want any part of your sorry ass confusion. If your mother didn't raise you right and you hang out with cracker ass crackers, that's your problem. But your problem ends at my doorstep and you know that, that's why you're tiptoeing. I don't have time for this.

    Intellectual clarity is a blessing. So is guts. Don't play around with men with both.

    Now here's the abstract conservative part scavenged from the overlong thing I wasted Saturday writing:

    The better part of wisdom is to know when to stop asking questions. Wisdom is not only a fullness of knowledge but a paucity of foolishness. Lines must be drawn if one is to respect one's own self. You can't engage everyone or consider the validity of everything. No reliable decisiveness comes from endless curiousity, no strength can be maintained without decisivenss. A little bit of everything adds up to a whole lot of nothing. This to me is the essence of conservatism. It isn't that conservatives are always correct, but that they can only be so wrong.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:14 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    February 06, 2004

    Pissing In Public

    Yesterday I was down in Huntington Beach for a patio lunch with some of my business partners. As I was returning to my car in the underground parking structure, I remembered that I forgot to take a leak while I was at the cafe. I know there's no lavatory in the parking structure because I checked when I first parked. I had to go before lunch, now I've got a super sized strawberry lemonade in my system too. The dark corners are looking very inviting.

    But I don't do it. Still, I can imagine myself doing it on one condition. I'm a Vietnam vet.

    I have, you have, we all have been accosted by the obnoxious Vietnam veteran. There he is looking like Grizzly Adams run over by a trash truck. He's a fricking disgusting piss aroma mess. He turns and stares you in the face and says "What the fuck are you looking at, huh? I was in the Delta, I was. Killing fucking gooks, and where were you?" And we turn away and feel sorry for they guy. Worse yet we give them a bit of respect. We let them get away with it. What's wrong with us?

    It seems like there are two things in this country that give you a pass to do fuck all. One is marching with MLK and the other is combat duty in 'Nam. I'm getting really tired of these blank checks. Aren't you?

    This blank check idea really smacked me in the head a couple days ago when I was hearing something on the radio about Iraqi loyalists to the Baath Party and how hard it was for them to undo their culture and values. Why? Because a lot of them were working under some fascist version of an Iraqi GI Bill. They served in the friggen Republican Guard in the War against Iran! Who the fuck are you looking at, Yankee American Dog!

    And suddenly I got this nausea because as long ago as the Iran Iraq War was (what, two, three wars ago?) The Vietnam War was longer ago still. And yet it's dead center of the game of Gotcha in our own presidential election.

    FWIW, I bought into it for John McCain, because at least he talked like someone who'd been in the shit. No political mincy boy rhetoric for him. Of course he was bowled over by the unseen powers that be somewhere dwarfing the miniscule powers of public democratic debate - the powers that annointed GW Bush. And I also bought into it for Max Cleland whom I think is one of the best of the good guys.

    But you know what, if John Kerry starts talking about Hanoi, I don't know which sound from my mouth will be louder, the screaming or the gurgling of vomit. Not that I don't respect him as a candidate. Loyal Cobb readers will know that I predicted this (sorta) a long time ago. It's just that I'm really tired of this as a litmus test on patriotism, just as I am sick of marching with King as a litmus test on race.

    That was another generation. Let it go.

    Posted by mbowen at 11:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 02, 2004

    Two Cents on Kobe Bryant

    It has never mattered how virtuous a woman may or may not be when she claims to be raped. The state and the people should demand justice.

    In the case of Kobe Bryant, there is no question that he will have the best defense that money can buy. Nevertheless, he will face a jury. His attorneys will do their level best to insure that these 'peers' will render judgement in his favor, so knowing all the possible racial arguments ahead of time (duh, even we know what people are going to say and we're not attorneys), there's only so much credit we can give any theories of racist railroading.

    As to honor and virtue, what is ironic here is that Bryant has the most to lose. Whether or not he is found guilty, he has already lost his claims to virtue. No matter how dirty her drawers were, he was still trying to get into them. That's a foul that gets you ejected from the game of honor and virtue.

    Kobe Bryant superstar, ought to know that there are ways around getting slapped around by garden variety bimbos. I offer him one word: Contracts. If an ordinary Joe with an ordinary 300 bucks can afford an ordinary hooker who has ordinary restraint from running away to the cops, somebody like Kobe should be able to find and afford appropriate concubinage.

    Ahh but he's stupid.

    The world won't stop spinning if and when Bryant rots in jail, and it will be entertaining to see the look on the victim's father's face if and when the civil judgement is granted. That's an expensive pair of dirty drawers Kobe. But hey, you can afford it. Black America can too. You've done your part to entertain us. Thank you very much. Next!

    Posted by mbowen at 06:09 PM | TrackBack

    February 01, 2004

    The Freedom of Slaves

    I swear to god that if I, in my entire career ever said anything purposefully or otherwise which was in agreement with one Paul Craig Roberts, I hereby disclaim it, put on my hairshirt and flog myself about the loins with steel nunchucks for 40 days and nights.

    Holy shit, what an asshat.

    With a bit of trepidation, I poked around the website that published this obscenity whose logo I found vaguely familiar. I thought to myself, I've seen this kangaroo looking thing before, which is why I wasn't sure if I might have referenced him in the positive. Then I see that it's Peter Brimelow. OK now I understand whic cadre of heels this one slimed forth from. Whew. That was close. I know I've never has any positive association with that outfit; the loins are safe from self-flaggelation.

    Stay tuned for storms of outrage.
    {Volokh, DeLong}

    Posted by mbowen at 12:25 PM | TrackBack

    January 26, 2004

    The New Retail

    If I were a filmmaker, I'd do this political skit.

    Clerk: Good afternoon sir. My name is Rokesh, how may I help you today?

    Customer: Oh, hi Rakesh, I'm just looking at these dress shirts here.

    Clerk: Excuse me that's Rokesh.

    Customer: Huh?

    Clerk: Rokesh is my name, not Rakesh. Rakesh is an Indian name.

    Customer: I..I'm sorry. Heh, bad pronouciation. So Rokesh, which shirts would you recommend?

    Clerk: Those that you are looking at for $35 are very popular..

    Customer: ..but you would recommend those behind the counter which cost more.

    Clerk: You are very perceptive sir. These fine shirts behind me are of the highest quality American linen.

    Customer: And these out here?

    Clerk: Chinese.

    Customer: Hmm. They look almost identical. I can't really tell the difference.

    Clerk: Allow me to explain. The American shirt is made by English speaking Americans who were born and raised in this country and whose parents were citizens. They are union workers who get full benefits including premium & catastrophic health care, vision & dental flex care, 401k, 529 contribution matching, profit sharing, tuition reimbursement, stock options, free day care, 4 weeks paid vacation, paid medical leave, pregnancy leave for both father and mother and 6 week paid sabbatical after 5 years of employment. They work in buildings that meet stringent environmental standards, get discount passes for public transportation and they have a company-sponsored bowling league.

    Customer: So that's why it costs $85?

    Clerk: No that's why it costs $65.

    Customer: But you're selling it for $85, that's what the price tag says.

    Clerk: Well that's our markup. I thought you were asking about our cost.

    Customer: You mark up 20 bucks for a shirt?

    Clerk: Well retailing is a sophisticated business, sir. This conversation is a perfect example, it's precisely what I was trained for. Our market research says that the Metrosexual demographic wants to know not only the surface qualities of the shirt but the conditions under which it was produced.

    Customer: Yeah well fine. What shirts do you have for about $50?

    Clerk: Here are some fine Italian shirts that I can sell you for $50.

    Customer: It looks exactly the same as the other two. What's the difference?

    Clerk: Are you sure you want to know?

    Customer: Of course I want to know Rokesh, that's why I asked.

    Clerk: Well, I was just required to ask you first. These fine Italian shirts are made from imported Brazilian linen, hand sewn by Algerian expatriots who left France after the crackdown post-9/11. The buttons are Caribbean Mother of Pearl...

    Customer: ..wait wait. You are required to ask me if I really want to know?

    Clerk: Yes, of course sir.

    Customer: Why is that?

    Clerk: Well, sir it is our policy, as a full-service retailer to provide our customers with information sufficient to aid in their haberdashery decision making process. But according to our research, some of this information could be considered tiresome. So we allow you to opt-in.

    Customer: Jesus. I'll just take a blue one.

    Clerk: $55 plus tax, sir. Would you be interested in purchasing an extended warrantee?

    Customer: Wait a minute. You said the Italian shirt was $50.

    Clerk: Yes, but our service contract with the Liberian shipping merchants requires a $5 surcharge.

    Customer: What service contract? What Liberian shipping merchants?

    Clerk: The ones who delivered the buttons from the Dominican Republic to Rome. Under the WTO Treaty we are required to divulge this information, and of course that costs money.

    Customer: Yeah money I don't have to spend. For chrissake it's just a shirt.

    Clerk: No sir, I'm afraid it is not just a shirt. It is the end product of a sophisticated international supply chain regulated by several NGOs and delivered to this retail establishment for the sophisticated consumer.

    Customer: That's a mouthful.

    Clerk: Are you suggesting that I don't know what I'm talking about?

    Customer: Well, if this is not just a shirt, I gather you're not just a clerk.

    Clerk: I have my retail certification from Fashion Institute and I have a Master's degree in Marketing.

    Customer: You have a master's and you work here?

    Clerk: I like people, the hours are good, I don't have to lift more than 40 pounds if I don't want to...

    Customer: I can't believe this conversation, and there's no way I'm going to pay an extra $5 bucks just to be informed about some Liberian longshoreman.

    Clerk: There's no need to get upset, sir. You can always buy the...

    Customer: Forget it. I'm not intersted in any of your 'end-products'. I just have one question.

    Clerk: Shoot.

    Customer: You're wearing a nice shirt, which one of them is it?

    Clerk: Hell, I don't care about any of this fluff. I bought it at Wal-Mart.

    Posted by mbowen at 05:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    The Hazards of IT

    Somebody needs to be slapped about the head and face over the treatment that fellow Bear Flag Leaguer Rob got.

    The solution to this kind of abuse happens to be having a big swinging balls attorneys. I don't trust the ethics of robo-employees. Not anything against them personally, but what they feel empowered to do within the strictures of their employment mandate. It's a fundamental kind of thing certain employees who are not employed to use professional judgement find as a risk of their own employment - aka selling ones soul to the mindless bureacracy. Doubtless none of those weenies had to ever sign a non-disclosure agreement, they're not that independent.

    Somehow as my own business grows, I'm going to try and find a way that I can contribute to a pool, as with health care, that gets me the legal representation of the big ball swinging type. I want a letterhead from an attorney's office that sends a real sphincter puckering chill to those who would cross me. Lawyers with blood-dripping fangs is what I want.

    Now you understand why I'm a part of the problem. I should just be able to slap the shit out of people and be done with it. Too much respect for non-violence, I guess.

    Posted by mbowen at 03:43 PM | TrackBack

    January 21, 2004

    Call Center Hate

    I'm going to be a jerk and suggest a meme. When a call center calls you, ask "How's the weather in Mumbai?" Of course you needn't be so specific, unless the people calling you are THE ASSHOLES FROM PROVIDIAN, who can't seem to leave my nerves alone.

    Yeah I'm a globalist but I expect outsourced CSRs to understand at least the difference between a first name and a last name.

    Posted by mbowen at 09:48 AM | TrackBack

    January 06, 2004

    Pete You Lying Turd!

    I've always given Pete Rose the benefit of the doubt, and I think he has been unfairly hounded by obnoxious sports reporters for far too long. But it turns out that smelly lout has been lying all along. What a dirtbag sack of crap he turned out to be.

    Kick him to the curb.

    Posted by mbowen at 09:51 AM | TrackBack

    December 13, 2003

    Hold the Onion

    Is this a parody or is it not? I'm afraid it's not. I don't hate GWBush, but I think he has ruined Colin Powell.

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell has named James Brown, the so-called "Godfather of Soul", to a new and unusual, but apparently fictitious, senior diplomatic position.

    Spokesman Richard Boucher confirmed that Mr Powell had indeed appointed Mr Brown to be the first US "secretary of soul and foreign minister of funk" but said the job description for the post had not yet been drawn up.

    What a shame.

    Posted by mbowen at 01:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 04, 2003

    Bubble Boy Nominee

    University President John T. Casteen, III issued a statement yesterday responding to allegations that a Medical Center employee used a racial epithet during a conversation at a recent staff meeting, calling the usage ''offensive'' and ''insulting.''
    Howell reported that the offender ''said something like this: 'I can't believe in this day and age that there's a sports team in our nation's capital named the Redskins. That is as derogatory to Indians as having a team called Niggers would be to blacks.' ''
    In response to the alleged remark, the Staff Union at U.Va. is sponsoring a ''Protest Against Racism at U.Va. and the U.Va. Medical Center After a Recent Racial Incident'' today at noon.
    ''It doesn't really matter in what context this word was used,'' Staff Union President Jan Cornell said in a statement ...

    Posted by mbowen at 10:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    November 27, 2003

    Bubble Boy Awards

    The Bubble Boy Award is hereby initiated.

    When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to handle humans so gently that their care and feeding requires extraordinary measures, times are desparate indeed. Our cushy bourgie democracy has created individuals of such mincing sensibilities that they are unable to sustain the merest suggestion of offense, disgrace, or physical discomfort. They are the Delicate.

    But we are not without compassion. We have the technology to isolate them from all harm, and have been [ab]using it to that effect. Unfortunately we have chosen from the wrong arsenal. Instead of using the Law, we should have been using Bubble Technology. That's right, these people's distress cries out for hermetic isolation. We can put them in the perfect environment. Bubble Technology can create an antiseptic, hypoallergenic, distress-free, non-hostile work, play and living environment. No animals will be harmed. No meat will be consumed. No trees will be cut down. Nobody will be oppressed, stressed or have their hair messed. They'll be safe from us and we will be safe from them.

    There are a variety of Bubbles for our candidates. For example there is a Wellness Bubble: The Wellness Bubble provides alternative/holistic/complimentary/integrative and preventative methods of healing: homeopathy, herbs, urine therapy, hydrotherapy, raw foods & juices, therapeutic fasts, healing clays, sunlight, thalassotherapy (seawater), nutrition, naturopathy, biomagnetics healing, aromatherapy, reiki healing, flower essences and more.

    So let us put forth a strenuous effort to seek out those crying out for relief from the pains of the modern world and nomiate them for the Bubble Boy Award. Finalists will qualify for a gentle trip to Bubble Exile in our convenient Greenland facility.


    Posted by mbowen at 09:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 19, 2003

    Fox at the Bar

    My new pal Rob and I have been having drinks every night this week. We meet at his hotel and swap stories. This and last evening, we have been forced to watch Fox News at the only TV in the joint. It's horrid.

    Now I'm the guy who gave up watching network news when Peter Jennings replaced Max Robinson. I was a News Hour devotee until the duo split up, then I went semi-regular. By the time Cokie Roberts, Charlene Hunter-Gault and David Gergen left, there was no reason for me to watch. Which only left Brian Lamb and Charlie Rose to shoulder all the weight of TV. Now for a short time, especially while I spent time on the road I was a junkie of CNBC, specifically Squawk Box which I still watch whenever I'm on the East Coast, and Kudlow & Kramer which I watch whenever I'm too broke to watch Spectravision and there's no good book or blogging to do.

    So sitting for 15 minutes in front of Fox News, especially these two nights with this wall to wall coverage of Gay Marriages and the End of America as we Know It and the Arrest of Michael Jackson and the End of America as we Know It, has been painfully unbearable. I understand what Fox does. It makes you sick and unnerved. It's the mentally upscale equivalent of the local news that leads with blood, instead Fox leads with moral outrage. Outrage sells better than Fear. While that may give the average info consumer a bit of smug satisfaction as compared to the local news, it still turns my stomach, even after two martinis.

    Posted by mbowen at 09:50 PM | TrackBack

    November 14, 2003

    Top of the Food Chain

    Every once in a while, when I have cash in my pocket, I celebrate something too many of us don't, which is the fact that humans are at the top of the food chain. There is nothing that speaks to me of the greatness of this nation and our privilege like the fact of all our various cuisines. Any day of the week we can whip out a piece of plastic and eat Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Cajun, Cuban, Italian, Greek, Ethiopian or French dishes. This is truly a blessing.

    e-Claire reminds us that our cushy life has addled a few brains.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:17 AM | TrackBack

    November 09, 2003

    The Pantywaist Problem

    First of all, for those of you who have sniffed at Evelyn Wood because you read like a demon, digest Winston Smith, the Philosoraptor as he humorously masticates Kim DuToit's renowned rant and spits him into a corner.

    Second, check out my battle over Affirmative Action at Discriminations in which I get riled but spare my verbs.

    For those of you without the inclination nor the time, perhaps you could tell me the perfect Yiddish world for the opposite of a mensch. These are the people who are mucking up our society with their high-pitched grumbling. What's more, they think they have the moral high ground and the irony of that, not to mention the sqealing noise, is really starting to annoy those of us who know better.

    My solution for a great deal of this is A Punch in the Nose which is why I have that category here in the blog. As I come across more examples of this problem, I will propagate them into that area. You heard it here first.

    Posted by mbowen at 02:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    November 05, 2003

    Proof that Howard Dean is an Idiot

    "I want people with Confederate flags on their trucks to put down those flags and vote Democratic because the need for quality health care, jobs and a good education knows no racial boundaries."

    How do you get to be credible with anyone but morons when you stuff so much spin into a sentence? What he really meant was:

    "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks."

    He should stick by his guns. Then again, he probably doesn't have any. Furthermore, it proves that he doesn't know anything about the southern voters he is supposedly wooing. Asshat.

    Posted by mbowen at 06:09 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

    November 04, 2003

    Wussy BS

    Now that we have reached a Hitler Moment, there's nothing else to say.

    Some reporters were surprised at the turn of events. "If Hitler had more friends, CBS wouldn't have aired [its Hitler miniseries] either," Philadelphia Daily News TV critic Ellen Gray grumbled to The TV Column.

    What a bunch of cowards.

    Posted by mbowen at 09:41 AM | TrackBack

    October 08, 2003

    Animal Riots

    Some people are like slinkies. Not particularly offensive but it does make you smile to see them tumble down the stairs. -- Anon

    Every summer for the last 13 years, Timothy Treadwell fled Malibu for the wilds of Alaska, where he lived among dozens of grizzly bears. He photographed the bears, slept near them and crawled into their dens when they were off fishing for salmon.

    In the words of one friend, "he became feral."

    On Monday, Treadwell, 46, and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, 37, both of Malibu, were found dead in the remote Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska, the victims of a bear mauling, according to the National Park Service and Alaska state troopers.

    Posted by mbowen at 08:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 27, 2003

    Spittle and Shit

    Since I am in the mood to be uncharitable, I call upon the demons of the dark to rise and fly away with the souls of Whittle and Schmidt, who have at long last spent the last of their credibility as well as their investor's last dimes.

    Didn't I just tell y'all about this kind of crap?

    So, what supposedly happens is, after years of pounding Happy Valley's tax dollars down this rat hole and getting nothing back but sullen 18-year-olds with pierced tongues and ambitions of someday owning their own Harley-Davidson Fat Boys, the Happy Valley Board of Education rises up in its righteous wrath and says, hey, let's get Edison Schools to turn this operation around (or words to that effect).

    And in comes Whittle and his sidekicks -- turnaround plans at the ready. Out comes the new, get-smart-quick curriculum, the new computers for the teachers and every kid above the second grade, the new books and study aids and the new "facilities upgrades."

    The IPO registration statement is overflowing with education bafflegab about "family and community partnerships" and that sort of thing. There's talk about "early learning" and "core values" and something called "norm-referenced tests" (beats me what that is). Yet in the entire 275-page document there's only a single paragraph purporting to show that the result of all the effort is really better educated, brighter kids.

    The graph in question says that kids in Edison schools score better on certain unnamed state and national tests than do kids nationwide on other kinds of tests. But the graph goes on to say that the two kinds of tests are not "strictly comparable."

    Heave Ho.

    Posted by mbowen at 11:46 PM | TrackBack

    September 01, 2003


    I'm not going to think this out completely but something someone wrote about the role of corporations and a bunch of other whinging about social safety made me think about the appeal of Tahiti.

    In this vague mish mash of very large ideas, came the phrases 'small government' and 'corporate fuedalism', both attributable to neocons by some liberals. As well in this mix was some blather about California bleeding talent to other states and filling up with sustenance labor (yes you can read race into that).

    So in a flash of inspiration or Jack Daniels I thought about Canada, especially with regards to its apparent oversupply of cheap generic drugs, smallish banks, wood, wheat and other goods and services we Americans restrict. Canada has a much, much smaller government than ours. Carpers from both sides of the aisle should find much to love about the place.

    Maybe Americans wanting an unmortgaged future might take a flyer at Canada, Maybe their government isn't running such a huge deficit as ours. Maybe their military isn't so unilaterally adventurous. Maybe their corporations aren't so rapacious and dishonest. One thing you can say about Canada, they aren't the home to Halliburton, or Nike, or McDonalds, or the CIA or OJ Simpson or any of the other great evils we grow here in the United Snakes of Amerikkka, right?

    And if you really can't stand the idea of America being so large and unaccountable, the best thing to do is take a serious look at the alternatives.

    I'll be the last person to say America, love it or leave it. That could only apply to yuppies with enough scratch to do so. Most Americans aren't responsible for the mess, and couldn't afford to get out of it if they tried. Fortunately, a good number of us are upscaly and skilled enough to take a peek. I say we but I don't mean me. I got a mouth and a taste for the chatting class but I'm on the bottom margin of it. If it weren't for the computer revolutions I'd be little more than your average aerospace industry Dilbert. Well Dogbert. Point being, a lot of this whining is pointless. We're married to this country and we are willing to take this bad marriage to the grave no matter how abusive it gets.

    BTW, let me take a break from my sarcasm to say in all honesty, that I really don't like rich immigrants. I mean Arianna Huffington irks me at a certain level, cruising over here from whereever she came from, marrying into ump-deump millions and having dinner parties with all the top dogs. I do have a problem with the Dinesh D'Souzas of the world who come here, misinterpret and misrepresent our culture and raise the price of real estate. OK enough of that.

    Well, maybe not. See on the right side of the fence I recall a hell of a lot of pissing and moaning about a character named Mark Rich. Remember him? He's everything conservatives and libertarians secretly want to be. Absolutely rich and completely free of government control. He's a taxpayer exactly in the mold that every Reagan Democrat wishes they could be, which is to say the kind of taxpayer that doesn't pay taxes.

    But we do pay taxes and we do have a big hunking military and we do have corporations of all sorts that don't heel and we do have environmental damage and big government and rich immigrants and all sorts of other things that give headaches.

    So do we want to live here or Tahiti?

    Posted by mbowen at 12:17 AM | TrackBack

    August 27, 2003

    Or Just Hire from the Hood

    Read in the local paper:

    The Los Angeles Police Department needs to toughen hiring standards and revamp training to develop consistent policies for arrests and other procedures for an increasingly diverse population, according to a report to be released today by the RAND Corp.

    The report on LAPD training procedures resulted in six primary recommendations. They included developing a program to share lessons learned in the field, standardizing requirements for training programs and instructor qualifications, and underscoring the importance of diversity awareness.

    I used to assume that police were tougher and smarter than they are. I used to assume that they were generally fearless and honest. I also used to assume that in Los Angeles, they were mostly stupid whiteboys who were afraid of most blacks. According to my brother, a black cop in the LAPD, I've been only marginally correct. That is to say cops are not so tough, they are not so smart, they are not so fearless and they are not so honest. One of the white cops in my brother's class didn't even realize that black men with short hair actually used combs and brushes. They are strangers in a strange land.

    Doc is partnered with a woman, and he has told me some anecdotal stuff that resonates with what I've heard. A woman with a badge and a gun who answers a domestic violence call can be hard as nails. A black man with a gun and a badge who pulls over a traffic violator who is also a black man is not so afraid. All told, cops are not so far off from ordinary people. Which brings us to the question of police training.

    I am of the opinion that police training does not, and probably should not teach you how to respect people. It shouldn't tell you how to think about people. And it shouldn't be expected to modify the respect or disrespect you have for people. If community policing were done well, if recruiters could get trainees who lived in the areas they police before they become cops, we could spare ourselves a lot of psychobabble.

    Posted by mbowen at 01:33 PM | TrackBack

    August 05, 2003

    Hollings Reduced to a Soundbite

    'Sharp Tongue'. You heard it here first, unless you heard it on NPR already.

    Posted by mbowen at 03:40 AM | TrackBack

    August 01, 2003

    Which Breed of Uncle Tom Are You?

    I don't generally go out of my way to diss people, but sometimes they deserve it. There's this joke about the man who calls himself and inteleckshul and wonders why he gets no respect. Well, here's a website that could use a little work. OK a lot of work.

    Tsk. And for a moment I thought 'unclet' was kinda cool. You know, like a small uncle? On reflection, I'm rather convinced it has three syllables. Oh well that's what I get for following links from SCAA.

    Posted by mbowen at 12:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 30, 2003

    Wrong Number

    Three times an idiot from Century 21 calls me asking for Rose. I tell him wrong number. So what does he do? He hits the redial button.

    Posted by mbowen at 11:04 AM | TrackBack

    July 27, 2003

    Perfect Knowledge

    I'm at a loss to explain what it is that Congress was trying to prove last week when Schumer, whom I generally like, started making noise. Let me rephrase that and slap around Nancy Pelosi. It has taken them almost two years to come up with this report which is supposed to tell us what went so wrong with our intelligence services that we couldn't predict September 11th. Ahem, the answer is that we cannot see the future. Now go back to your districts and fill some potholes you boneheads.

    What is wrong with this endless hand-wringing and fault finding is that it raises the level of clamor attending the intelligence business while blaming the intelligence agencies for not being better. This is the kind of environment in which the enemies of civil liberties thrive, whether or not any progress is to be made in predictive activities.

    We are demanding to know more and more and more because everything we had up to this point did not deliver us from evil. Well that's going to lead a whole bunch of Ashcroft wannabes into temptation, and we are going to end up knowing less about Osama bin Laden and more about Lacie Peterson and you and me. Mark my words, this is not good.

    Whether or not Wolfowitz knows that he is backing up my point we should listen to him when he says that intelligence about terrorism is inherently murky the United States must be prepared to act on less-than-perfect information. Let's put people in place with good sense and good judgement. Let's not put people in place with extraordinary snooping tools.

    We should all understand that the Saudis are pulling strings here and I agree that information should and will be declassified. But who is prepared to do anything about it anyway? Let's see one Congressman haul a Saudi through the wringer. It's not going to happen. Friggin' hypocrits.

    Posted by mbowen at 01:48 PM | TrackBack

    July 22, 2003

    Doing the Nasty

    Somewhere in this great nation of ours, people are bickering about the future status of Kobe Bryant much the same way they did about the future of a guy named Bill Clinton.

    Elsewhere, however, they are talking about freedom, specifically the freedom of North Koreans. Most of us, I would say, would have a very difficult time understanding the mentality of a people who would make Kim Jong Il into a hero. As a leader of a country, he sucks. Why 2 or 3 million of his people starved to death. That's 1 out of 10. We in America have a tough time dealing with 10% unemployment, imagine if it were 10% starvation. Starvation to death.

    In North Korea, we are told, all of the radios and televisions only tune to government channels. You can't travel anywhere. You must serve in the military whether you want to or not, and above all you cannot say anything derogatory about the government and its primary hero Kim Jong Il. Any misspoken words or illegitimate freedoms will be reported to the authorities by a nation of stooges. In North Korea, you had better watch what you do.

    Americans rightly sneer at such oppression. Who in their right minds would suffer a society where people who exercise basic freedoms are destroyed? Who indeed.

    Over here, we have many freedoms. Perhaps that is why we are so willing to suffer the ignominity of our sexual taboos. Whether we like it or not, the freedom to have sex how we want, with who we want, whenever we want is freedom. But we, like North Korea, have a nation of stooges who cannot wait to destroy the lives of people who exercise that freedom.

    We make fun of Mrs. Bryant and Mrs. Clinton when they defend their wayward spouses, but could it be that they know something about freedom that we don't? Could it be that they among us have learned something about the juggernaut that is unleashed around this unsightly obsession Americans have when somebody famous is a bit too free with their sexuality? I think so.

    We have been given a stark and brilliant lesson by the Supreme Court this year in the matter of bedroom behavior and the public interest. It's none of our business how, when and why people do the nasty. So long as we call it 'the nasty', there will be a familiar and repressive force against sexual freedom in our society. It is at this point that I will try to remind everyone that we are a nation of laws and that we should respect those laws.

    Kobe Bryant is charged with sexual assault, and he is innocent until proven guilty. That's the criminal standard. Americans can and will rightly judge him when that charge is proven or disproven in a court of law. But that is not the nature of the talk in our nation of sexual stooges. People are in a quandary about why somebody who has every advantage our society has to offer its heros should go in this direction.

    Perhaps it is because we are not truly willing to admit that sexual freedom is a real freedom.

    Posted by mbowen at 02:35 PM | TrackBack

    July 19, 2003

    Just Give Me a Reason

    "You are now free to move about the country. Some restrictions apply."
    -- Southwest Airlines

    Wired reports that Southwest Airlines, ever innovative, will be installing videocameras on every plane, recording faces and conversation, and keeping them for 10 years. Just in case. Look at this, they're just trolling for a rationale.

    He conceded the system would not prevent determined terrorists from sabotaging a plane, as the terrorists of the Sept. 11 attacks did. The purpose is to help law enforcement identify criminals and keep track of their whereabouts. Pilots could check the cabin before opening the cockpit door during a flight. And, airlines could use the records to defend themselves in lawsuits over situations like air rage.

    I've got your air rage right here.

    I haven't explained this category of 'A Punch in the Nose' and now that I've got too much time on my hands, I think that I should apropos this vile intrusion. Well, the long and the short of it is that it is an Alexandrian Sword against the Gordian Knot of insurance, litigiousness and other pansy ass evasions of the inevitability of human tragedy and decay. These blasted aging Boomers are smothering us with their frailty and wealth. It's drives me to distraction.

    You know what they are? They are the fuzzy focused 86 year old drivers plowing through the farmers markets of our everyday lives and their power is an oversized, out of control Buick hardtop. It's killing us.

    Posted by mbowen at 07:34 AM | TrackBack

    July 18, 2003

    Unmitigated Gall

    The RIAA has called upon Loyola University to stab its students in the back and turn over their names for prosecution under new laws that make it a crime to eat into their precious profits. Loyola rolled over like a punk pooch.

    Education officials say that while universities are typically under legal obligation to protect student privacy, the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act afford students suspected of copyright infringement no such protection.

    Which is all the more reason to protest the law, as it clearly has no respect for... I'm too incensed to speak, which I will remedy as I get some focus. But I am ashamed of Loyola, and you should be too.

    Posted by mbowen at 01:32 PM | TrackBack

    Moja Transcribes Post War Iraq

    A fascinating journal is here.

    i sit here all night trying to change the world from my lap top...and it's beginning to weigh on me...there is a story here that deserves to be told...there are other sides to this multi faceted goliath...

    Posted by mbowen at 11:45 AM | TrackBack

    July 06, 2003

    Quiet Riot

    I just want to ask one question. Where has all the white hostility gone?

    Now that the Supreme Court has handed down its decision regarding Affirmative Action at the U of M, I am thinking about some of the claims the plaintiffs raised and wonder if everything was wrapped up in the legal claim without any real regard to what continues. That is to say was this always strictly a legal mountain made out of one person's personal molehill, or did it truly represent the kind of injustice worthy of a Supreme Court hearing?

    Remember this?:

    I. The MAS asserts that achieving racial diversity in the university student body can never be a compelling state interest sufficient to justify explicit racial discrimination.

    II. The MAS also asserts that the racially discriminatory admissions systems of the University do not, in any event, substantially advance intellectual diversity, nor do racebased programs contribute to the central aim of the University the pursuit of truth.

    III. The MAS further asserts that, under the Equal Protection Clause, academic freedom does not license or conscience racially discriminatory conduct.

    IV. The MAS contends that the racial preferences of the University are immoral and totally unacceptable in a democratic society.

    V. The MAS concludes that racial preferences in admissions engender tension and racial hostility on the University campus.

    Where are the Friends of Grutter? Have they all stowed their tents and gone home? Have they decided that their colorblindness was possibly wrong? Will they piss on the Supreme Court like Gore supporters? Are they wallowing in self-pity? Are they taking to the streets and throwing trashcans through pizzeria windows?

    Perhaps they just went back to their law offices to scour the country for another uniquely positioned white victim.

    Posted by mbowen at 04:26 PM | TrackBack

    June 29, 2003

    Have You No Decency?

    Somebody didn't get a job. The official reasons are under suspicion, but the applicant got a blunt and accurate reason, unofficially. Here is a case in which a pre-emptive action does not pass the sniff test of politesse, but you've got to admire the chutzpah of someone like Wilkie.

    I for one think Wilkie's simple declaration to be entirely reasonable, if not pleasant or decorous. Whether or not it is an appropriate grounds for barring the door is another matter, and whether or not the fact of the applicant's prior condition of servitude under the Israeli Army merits political emnity is another entirely.

    I think such forthrightness is welcome, but I also think the student should be welcome primarily because I don't see how the student's pursuit of study necessarily contributes to the Israel's abusive policies.

    In my own experience with Israelis, each of them has served. You really don't have a choice. But that service has not blinded them to the realities of injustice on the ground. It doesn't make sense to scapegoat individuals who have not proven themselves to be of the intransigent political opposition.

    Posted by mbowen at 01:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    May 19, 2003

    World Trivia

    Once again NPR lead off this morning with the story of three dead Israelis. Where is heaven's name is their perspective?

    Posted by mbowen at 09:01 PM | TrackBack

    May 15, 2003

    Your Competition

    The other day, some lefty weenie was bleating on NPR (hmmm. this is probably not the best way to open.) Anyway, he was complaining about something I forgot. It may have had something to do with Iraq or not. The point was that it took him just a couple sentences into his rant when he started putting forth arguments about how corporations were being anti-labor by picking places that were anti-union. A few sentences later he was back in the 20s with Eugene Debs moving forward through the depression and the Great Society. I rolled down the window, but I didn't barf.

    I knew a guy who lived in San Diego, operated a drill press, was married with a couple kids, a mortgage and a new car. He was 25 and happy and used to crack jokes about my work in computer science. Since this was the early 80s, drill press operators in the union made more money than computer programmers. He had a point.

    San Diego and the NPR weenie are bourgie brothers. They smirk and crack wise and invite us to be pro-labor in their bourgie brotherhood. This is what human beings ought to be able to expect, they say. Decent job, living wage, health care, mortgage if they have good credit. Raise a family, send them to public school, improve your life. Who could argue with that? Those evil corporations of course, and me.

    Way out in Guangdong Province is the competition. I know about them because there are documentaries that show at midnight on one of my 500 cable channels. They are that close. These people grow their own food, they live in concrete houses, they sew their own clothes, they birth their own babies without hospitals. They live to be 60. What a shame.

    Human beings don't speciate. We are not endangered. We are robust. Everybody lives past the age of procreation. Even in deepest darkest HIV infested jungle slums and favelas, people live to be 25. They have babies. Humans are built to last and we are lasting. Inevitably we all have to compete with each other. The good news is that those of us in the northwest corner of the globe still have volunteer armies who are damned good. We have physical distance, if not economic distance.

    People on the radio and on the cell phone are trying to steer corporations into giving Americans the kind of salaries that allow them to work until they are 60 and then retire for the rest of their life expectancy. Need a dental plan? Of course you do. How else can you get a smiling job in the bourgie brotherhood? That's the kind of jobs we have to have here in America.

    It's not going to last long.

    Posted by mbowen at 07:30 PM | TrackBack

    May 05, 2003

    The Culture of Fear

    I got a flyer in the maill today about my daughter's unique opportunity to go to summer school. I'm trying to decipher the language and figure out if this is good or bad news. I'll let you know.

    In the meantime, I am once again lamenting the sorry state of our culture vis a vis pick up sports. We seem to be wholly incapable of producing the kinds of communities from which we sprang, where houses cost less than $100,000 and 10 year old children could be dropped off at the park and left on their own to play until dusk.

    My wife reminded the kids over our house for the pre-arranged 'play date' that if they wanted to ride their scooters on the sidewalk, they had to wear their helmets or face a $25 fine. I don't know how long this is going to make me scream but there seems no end in sight.

    I am beginning to believe that the only thing that stands between America and common sense is terrorism. Heaven forbid I should say so, but maybe a few more riots and bombings will deflate our senses of invulnerability and we can get real about everyday reality. Instead, we live in a dreamworld which is regulating us away from a shared ability to recognize human nature in its proper perspective and deal with it. I have created a new category for this blog entitled 'A Punch in the Nose' so I can fulminate in a more or less straight line.

    Starting with me, I am learning how to humble myself and run my house on less than $5,000 a month. I realize this is going to take me smashing through any number of cherished American values as exemplified by those dweeb-ass Joneses, but this is a risk I'm going to have to take. In the meantime, I've got a Laker game to catch, I think.

    Posted by mbowen at 09:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack