Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Amy Winehouse...

This young sassy brit has got my ear right now...Her attitude and her writing shine through in every song I've heard her sing. She's like Billie Holiday meets Ella Fitzgerald meets Etta James meets Macy Gray meets Wu-Tang...She has issues, but what great artist doesn't?

Amy Jade Winehouse (born September 14, 1983) is an English jazz/soul singer and songwriter. Her debut album, Frank (released in 2003) was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and she won an Ivor Novello award in 2004 for her debut single "Stronger Than Me". In 2006, after appearing in the British press for multiple alcohol-related incidents, she released her second album, Back to Black.
During the promotional phase of the album, Winehouse appeared repeatedly in the British press over personal issues. In September 2006, Winehouse was reported to have dropped four dress sizes because of comments made to her about her size.[16] In an interview in The Daily Telegraph Magazine (September 16, 2006), when asked if this was the cause she replied "No. No. I don't listen to anyone except my ... inner child anyway. If someone had said to me, Amy, lose a stone - which they wouldn't - I don't think I would have listened anyway."

In the same month, The Independent published Winehouse is a clinically diagnosed manic depressive who refuses to take medication. In October 2006, Winehouse admitted to have previously been affected by eating disorders. "A little bit of anorexia, a little bit of bulimia. I'm not totally OK now but I don't think any woman is."

Over the next two months, Winehouse made multiple appearances in the British tabloids over alleged alcohol-induced behaviour. This included a 'drunken' appearance on The Charlotte Church Show (which appeared on YouTube),heckling U2 member Bono during an acceptance speech at the Q Awards, and incidents where she allegedly assaulted a fan after a concert and an attendee at her album launch party. When questioned during an interview about being violent when drunk, Winehouse responded “I have a really good time some nights, but then I push it over the edge and ruin my boyfriend’s night. I’m an ugly dickhead drunk, I really am.”

On November 16, 2006 she appeared on Never Mind The Buzzcocks and faced repeated comments from host Simon Amstell that she should get a grip on what he claimed were her alcohol and drug problems. On January 7, 2007 Winehouse ended a gig at G-A-Y part way through her first song after vomiting, reportedly as a result of being intoxicated.

Monday, January 22, 2007


JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Allegations that Sen. Barack Obama was educated in a radical Muslim school known as a "madrassa" are not accurate, according to CNN reporting.

Insight Magazine, which is owned by the same company as The Washington Times, reported on its Web site last week that associates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, had unearthed information the Illinois Democrat and likely presidential candidate attended a Muslim religious school known for teaching the most fundamentalist form of Islam.

Obama lived in Indonesia as a child, from 1967 to 1971, with his mother and step-father and has acknowledged attending a Muslim school, but an aide said it was not a madrassa.

Insight attributed the information in its article to an unnamed source, who said it was discovered by "researchers connected to Senator Clinton." A spokesman for Clinton, who is also weighing a White House bid, denied that the campaign was the source of the Obama claim.

He called the story "an obvious right-wing hit job."

Insight stood by its story in a response posted on its Web site Monday afternoon.

The Insight article was cited several times Friday on Fox News and was also referenced by the New York Post, The Glenn Beck program on CNN Headline News and a number of political blogs.
School not a madrassa

But reporting by CNN in Jakarta, Indonesia and Washington, D.C., shows the allegations that Obama attended a madrassa to be false. CNN dispatched Senior International Correspondent John Vause to Jakarta to investigate.

He visited the Basuki school, which Obama attended from 1969 to 1971.

"This is a public school. We don't focus on religion," Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the Basuki school, told Vause. "In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment."

Vause reported he saw boys and girls dressed in neat school uniforms playing outside the school, while teachers were dressed in Western-style clothes.

"I came here to Barack Obama's elementary school in Jakarta looking for what some are calling an Islamic madrassa ... like the ones that teach hate and violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan," Vause said on the "Situation Room" Monday. "I've been to those madrassas in Pakistan ... this school is nothing like that."

Vause also interviewed one of Obama's Basuki classmates, Bandug Winadijanto, who claims that not a lot has changed at the school since the two men were pupils. Insight reported that Obama's political opponents believed the school promoted Wahhabism, a fundamentalist form of Islam, "and are seeking to prove it."

"It's not (an) Islamic school. It's general," Winadijanto said. "There is a lot of Christians, Buddhists, also Confucian. ... So that's a mixed school."

The Obama aide described Fox News' broadcasting of the Insight story "appallingly irresponsible."

Fox News executive Bill Shine told CNN "Reliable Sources" anchor Howard Kurtz that some of the network's hosts were simply expressing their opinions and repeatedly cited Insight as the source of the allegations.

Obama has noted in his two books, "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope," that he spent two years in a Muslim school and another two years in a Catholic school while living in Indonesia from age 6 to 10.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- A clutch of modern pagans honored Zeus at a 1,800-year-old temple in the heart of Athens on Sunday -- the first known ceremony of its kind held there since the ancient Greek religion was outlawed by the Roman Empire in the fourth century.

Watched by curious onlookers, some 20 worshippers gathered next to the ruins of the temple for a celebration organized by Ellinais, a year-old Athens-based group that is campaigning to revive old religious practices from the era when Greece was a fount of education and philosophy.

The group ignored a ban by the Culture Ministry, which declared the site off limits to any kind of organized activity to protect the monument.

But participants did not try to enter the temple itself, which is closed to everyone, and no officials sought to stop the ceremony.

Dressed in ancient costumes, worshippers standing near the temple's imposing Corinthian columns recited hymns calling on the Olympian Zeus, "King of the gods and the mover of things," to bring peace to the world.

"Our message is world peace and an ecological way of life in which everyone has the right to education," said Kostas Stathopoulos, one of three "high priests" overseeing the event, which celebrated the nuptials of Zeus and Hera, the goddess of love and marriage.

To the Greeks, ecological awareness was fundamental, Stathopoulos said after a priestess, with arms raised to the sky, called on Zeus "to bring rain to the planet."

A herald holding a metal staff topped with two snake heads proclaimed the beginning of the ceremony before priests in blue and red robes released two white doves as symbols of peace. A priest poured libations of wine and incense burned on a tiny copper tripod while a choir of men and women chanted hymns.

"Our hymns stress the brotherhood of man and do not single out nations," said priest Giorgos Alexelis.
More than a mere re-creation

For the organizers, who follow a calendar marking time from the first Olympiad in 776 B.C., the ceremony was far more than a simple re-creation.

"We are Greeks and we demand from the government the right to use our temples," said high priestess Doreta Peppa.

Ellinais was founded last year and has 34 official members, mainly academics, lawyers and other professionals. It won a court battle for state recognition of the ancient Greek religion and is demanding the government register its offices as a place of worship, a move that could allow the group to perform weddings and other rites.

Christianity rose to prominence in Greece in the fourth century after Roman Emperor Constantine's conversion. Emperor Theodosius wiped out the last vestige of the Olympian gods when he abolished the Olympic Games in A.D. 394.

Several isolated pockets of pagan worship lingered as late as the ninth century.

"The Christians shut down our schools and destroyed our temples," said Yiannis Panagidis, a 36-year-old accountant at the ceremony.

Most Greeks are baptized Orthodox Christians, and the church rejects ancient religious practices as pagan. Church officials have refused to attend flame ceremony re-enactments at Olympia before the Olympic Games because Apollo, the ancient god of light, is invoked.

Unlike the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the old religion lacked written ethical guidelines, but its gods were said to strike down mortals who displayed excessive pride or "hubris" -- a recurring theme in the tragedies of Euripides and other ancient writers.

"We do not believe in dogmas and decrees, as the other religions do. We believe in freedom of thought," Stathopoulos said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Be Your Own King...

Behind all the Kumbaya-ism in this federal holiday is a prophetic preacher who talked not just about race, but about war and poverty.

"We cannot remain silent as our nation engages in one of history's most cruel and senseless wars. During these days of human travail we must encourage creative dissenters. We need them because the thunder of their fearless voices will be the only sound stronger than the blasts of bombs and the clamor of war hysteria." - Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: A paid federal feel-good holiday in which America congratulates itself on how "far" we've come since the good ol' days of unchallenged white supremacy, traditionally celebrated with "Keep the Dream Alive" exhortations and Negro spirituals.

Though King's dream speech is recognized as a watershed moment in the history of U.S. race relations, the post-King era, in which my generation (and today's youngins) came of age, has made its own unwitting contributions: hip hop and 9/11 political rage, which is inextricably linked to the xenophobia swirling around the "illegal immigrant debate."

Hip hop has integrated the cultural landscape that today's youth roam. And 9/11 made Arabs and Muslims America's new niggers -- the target of blanket stereotypes, hypocritical moral scrutiny, and even open attack.

Behind all the Kumbaya-ism is the relevant King -- the prophetic preacher who talked about, not just race, but war and poverty.

Yes, it's true that King apparently pulled a Jayson Blair on a college paper. He wasn't always faithful to his wife and because of his rough, stubbly facial hair, he used shaving lotion that stank so bad, he had to douse himself in Aramis aftershave to make himself smell like a King again.

And have you seen that famous picture of King, taken just moments after he was shot in the neck on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel? Two of his aides are kneeling next to his limp body, pointing in the direction of where they thought the shot had been fired.

If that picture had been taken just a few seconds earlier, it would have captured King with a cigarette in his hand. One of King's aides removed the cigarette before it could be photographed.

While haters point to these things as proof that King is unworthy of adulation, it had the opposite effect on me, similar to my reaction when I discovered Thomas Jefferson owned and fathered slaves. I was inspired because King (and Jefferson) were no longer mythical gods but flawed human beings who achieved greatness. That means ordinary people like me could do extraordinary things, despite fundamental flaws.

One King question I do share with Reagan-Bush admirers, though -- why did Ronald Reagan sign the bill that made King's birthday a federal holiday?

The great African-American preacher Charles "the Harvard Whooper" Adams raised the question during a 1998 sermon at the celebrated Riverside Church.

As Michael Eric Dyson quotes Adams in his very relevant King biography, "I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.," the holiday bill was passed by essentially the same Congress, "and signed by the same President, that had refused to pass a new civil rights bill in the 1980s."

These lawmakers are the same folks, Adams went on to say, that "refused to demand the immediate release of Nelson Mandela; ... devastated the Civil Rights Commission; amputated the legs and arms of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; cut off necessary support systems for the poor ... polluted the air, destroyed jobs; (and) carried on an illegal war in Nicaragua."

"Now why did Ronald Reagan sign that bill? Could it be that Mr. Reagan understood that the ease-ee-est way to get rid of Martin Luther King Jr. is to worship him? To honor him with a holiday that he never would have wanted -- to celebrate his birth and his death, without committing ourselves to his vision and his love. It is easier to praise a dead hero than to recognize and follow a living prophet."

And here's the kicker: "the best way to dismiss any challenge is to exalt and adore the empirical source through which the challenge has come."

Amen, Rev'run Adams. Forget King worship. Be your own King and let them hear the thunder of your fearless voice.

Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff reporter and a syndicated columnist.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Generation Gap....

By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY
The views of young people today on politics, social attitudes and even life goals are far different from those of their baby boomer parents, suggests a new national survey of 18- to 25-year-olds.

More than two-thirds (67%) believe immigrants strengthen American society; a quarter favor increasing legal immigration.

Just 47% of those ages 41-60 say immigrants strengthen society; among those 26 and older, only 16% say immigration should increase.

While young people are split over gay marriage (47% in favor, 46% opposed), those over 25 are not: 64% oppose same-sex marriage; 30% favor it.

"This is a more tolerant generation than its predecessors," says Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center, which surveyed 579 young adults and 922 adults age 26 and older.

The poll also finds that this generation's top life goals are to be rich (81%) and famous. (51%)

"It's their perception," Keeter says. "It's what they're getting from the culture about themselves."

By contrast, a study of college freshmen in 1967 found that 85.8% thought it was essential to "develop a meaningful philosophy of life" while just 41.9% thought it essential to "be very well off financially."

The Pew telephone survey of young people (alternately dubbed Generation Y, "millennials" or echo boomers) asked more than 75 questions on issues from world events to national politics to tattoos and binge drinking. Keeter says the study, which called 130 young people on cellphones because they don't have a landline, is among the most extensive of this age group.

Keeter says he doesn't expect their attitudes on such social issues to become more conservative with time. One can imagine the complexion of these issues changing pretty significantly when this generation is in positions of power and authority," he says.

Among other findings:

32% attend church at least once a week; 20% have no religious affiliation or are atheist or agnostic.

48% identify more with Democrats; 35% with Republicans.

91% are satisfied with their relationships with their parents; 64% say parents have helped them with errands, housework and home repairs and 73% say they parents helped them financially in the past year.

85% are unmarried. Of those singles, 57% say they definitely want to marry and 28% probably do; 12% say they don't. Just over a quarter (27%) already have children. Among the childless, 52% definitely want children and another 34% probably do.

39% say they keep up with the news "a lot," 64% check in "from time to time." Only 34% do watch or listen to news regularly.

81% exercise at least weekly. One in five say they are in excellent physical condition and another 56% say they are in good condition.

But their habits are not all positive. In the seven days prior to being surveyed, 41% say they consumed alcohol; 31% smoked cigarettes and 9% took illegal drugs. Thirty percent believe it is OK to drink a lot of alcohol; 41% believe it's OK to smoke marijuana.

36% got a tattoo and 30% a body piercing in a place other than an ear lobe; 25% have dyed their hair a non-traditional color.

46% said sharing music or video files without paying was OK.

Overall, these young adults are content with their lives and extremely optimistic about the future: 84% say their life is excellent or good; 14% say fair or poor.

Of those who are employed, 70% don't think they make enough money to lead the kind of life they want, but 65% expect to earn enough in the future; 5% expect not to. make enough money.

The poll was conducted Sept. 6- Oct. 2 as part of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions' Generation Next project. USA TODAY is a reporting partner in the project but did not participate in funding the research. Margin of error for the subset of young respondents is plus or minus 5 percentage points; for the overall poll it is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Friday, January 05, 2007

2 Boys Kill Themselves After Saddam's Hanging

(CBS/AP) Police and family members said a 10-year-old boy who died by hanging himself from a bunk bed was apparently mimicking the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Sergio Pelico was found dead Sunday in his apartment bedroom in the Houston-area city of Webster, said Webster police Lt. Tom Claunch. Pelico's mother told police he had previously watched a news report on Saddam's death.

"It appears to be accidental," Claunch said. "Our gut reaction is that he was experimenting."

An autopsy of the fifth-grader's body was pending.

Julio Gustavo, Sergio's uncle, said the boy was a happy and curious child.

He said Sergio had watched TV news with another uncle on Saturday and asked the uncle about Saddam's death.

"His uncle told him it was because Saddam was real bad," Gustavo said. "He (Sergio) said, 'OK.' And that was it."

Sergio's mother, Sara Pelico DeLeon, was at work Sunday while Sergio and other children were under the care of an uncle, Gustavo said. One of the children found Sergio's body in his bedroom.

Police said the boy had tied a slipknot around his neck while on a bunk bed. Police investigators learned that Sergio had been upset about not getting a Christmas gift from his father, but they don't believe the boy intentionally killed himself.

A 9-year-old Pakistani boy also apparently hanged himself re-enacting Hussein's execution with the help of elder sister by tying a rope to a ceiling fan and his neck in his home, Agence France-Presse reported.

The boy's father said his children attempted to imitate the hanging while other family members thought they were playing in another room.

Clinical psychologist Edward Bischof, of California, said children Sergio's age mimic risky behaviors they see on TV — such as wrestling or extreme sports — without realizing the dangers. He said TV appeared to be the stimulant in Sergio's case.

"I would think maybe this kid is trying something that he thinks fun to act out without having the emotional and psychological maturity to think the thing through before he acts on it," Bischof said.

Family members held a memorial for the boy Wednesday in the apartment complex activity center. Gustavo said the family is trying to put together enough money to send Sergio's body to Guatemala for burial.

"I don't think he thought it was real," Gustavo said of Saddam's hanging. "They showed them putting the noose around his neck and everything. Why show that on TV?"

© MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this repo

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Video Of Saddam's Execution....

Warning: This is pretty graphic. At least they could have let him finish his prayer....

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Day Of Remembrance...

This man touched more people than Gerald Ford ever could. James Brown deserves a national holiday. Justin Timberfake and the rest of the wannabees need to pay their respects at the altar of the Godfather....

Hip-Hop, funk, pop, and so many other musical forms have been built on the back of this man's music....The Rolling Stones had to be dragged out of their dressing rooms after this performance...Mick Jagger had to follow THIS! LOL