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Entertainment & Culture Discussion / Trinidad folklore/Fairy Tales
« on: December 10, 2010, 08:42:45 AM »
Does anyone know of a good collection of Folklore from backhome? I am looking for one as a Christmas gift.
Suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks and Happy Holidays to all.

2010 World Cup - South Africa / adidas Golden Ball nominees
« on: July 09, 2010, 01:32:33 PM »
The FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke and adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer today officially announced the 10 nominees for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ adidas Golden Ball. The adidas Golden Ball is the official FIFA trophy for the “Best Player of the Tournament”. The ten nominated players were selected by the FIFA Technical Study Group and includes football experts such as Kalusha Bwalya, Christian Karembeu, Jomo Sono and Gérard Houllier.

Nominees for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ adidas Golden Ball trophy are: Diego Forlan (URU, shirt #10), Asamoah Gyan (GHA, 3), Andres Iniesta (ESP, 6), Lionel Messi (ARG, 10), Mesut Oezil (GER, 8), Arjen Robben (NED, 11), Bastian Schweinsteiger (GER, 7), Wesley Sneijder (NED, 10), David Villa (ESP, 7), Xavi (ESP, 8)

Accredited media representatives will vote to determine the winners of the adidas Golden, Silver and Bronze ball awards on FIFA.com. The winners will be announced after the final on 11 July.

adidas Golden Ball past winners:
1982 FIFA World Cup™ Spain: Paolo Rossi (Italy)
1986 FIFA World Cup™ Mexico: Diego Maradona (Argentina)
1990 FIFA World Cup™ Italy: Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)
1994 FIFA World Cup™ USA: Romario (Brazil)
1998 FIFA World Cup™ France: Ronaldo (Brazil
2002 FIFA World Cup™ Korea / Japan: Oliver Kahn (Germany)
2006 FIFA World Cup™ Germany: Zinedine Zidane (France)

FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG)
The FIFA Technical Study Group is headed up by Jean-Paul Brigger . Further prominent members of the TSG are Christian Karembeu, Humberto Grondona, Gérard Houllier, Holger Osieck, Leodegar Tenga, Gabriel Calderon, Alvin Corneal, Kwok Ka-Ming, Kalusha Bwalya, Ephraim Matsilele ‘Jomo’ Sono and Jim Selby.

The characteristics of the ten best players for the adidas Golden Ball as identified by the FIFA Technical Study Group (in alphabetical order):

Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
Architect of the team’s attack, very influential, great impact for his team, provider of quality final passes, goal scorer, set pieces/shots from long range

Asamoah Gyan (Ghana)
Huge work rate, efficient, good dribbler, creates problems to each defence, good goal scorer

Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Very fine ball-playing attacking midfielder, a star for the team, impressive dribbling ability

Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Outstanding in his pace and creativity for his team, dribbling, shooting, passing – spectacular and efficient

Mesut Oezil (Germany)
A real talent for the present and the future, quick feet and great vision, good final and decisive passes

Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
Very good pace and dribbling skills, wonderful ability to cut inside from the right, effective to his team

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)
Impressive by his first pass (forward and accurate), very good passer, has moments of individual brilliance, ball-winner

Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
A maestro in midfield, exceptional work rate, the engine of Netherland’s attacks, excellent passer and scorer

David Villa (Spain)
Top scorer; quick, two footed, very good on one-on-one situations, provides good final passes, excellent finisher

Xavi (Spain)
The metronome and the engine of the Spanish team, very influential in the passing style of the game, one of the finest midfielders in the tournament


My vote goes to Forlan the stand out player of the tournament for me.

General Discussion / Trinidad-born is new baroness
« on: July 01, 2010, 03:33:36 AM »
Lady Floella Benjamin takes seat in House of Lords

Children's TV presenter Floella Benjamin has taken her seat in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat peer.

Her official title is Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham in Kent but she will go by the simpler Baroness or Lady Benjamin.

The 60-year-old TV veteran was one of 56 new peers created by the Government last month.

Lady Benjamin is best known for hosting shows like Play Away but works with a number of UK charities.

In a statement on her website, she pledged to devote "much energy to the well being of children and young people" during her time in the House of Lords.

Cultural ambassador
Born in Trinidad, Lady Benjamin's family emigrated to the UK when she was 10.

She hosted children's television shows including Play School and Play Away and was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting in 2001.

She has also served as chairman of Bafta Television and, in 2006, became Chancellor of the University of Exeter.

In recent years, she has played a recurring role in the Doctor Who spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures on BBC One, and created several children's television programmes through her self-named company.

Lady Benjamin currently works with Action for Children and Barnardo's and is a cultural ambassador for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

At yesterday's ceremony, Lady Benjamin swore allegiance to the Queen while dressed in traditional ermine.

General Discussion / The rules of speech crime
« on: June 30, 2010, 10:23:43 AM »
Calling someone a "coconut" might sound harmless but it has landed one woman with a criminal conviction. So what qualifies as a speech crime?

Councillor Shirley Brown has been at the heart of Bristol's multi-cultural community for 15 years, but in February 2009 she found herself at the centre of an unintended controversy.

While taking part in a debate in the city council she called a female Asian councillor, Jay Jethwa, a "coconut". The word is used to describe someone who is brown on the outside, but "white" on the inside. In other words, someone who is said to have disregarded their cultural roots.

Brown used the word in a debate about the funding of black and ethnic groups in the city, and was upset that Ms Jethwa was advocating cuts. The whole incident was filmed and can be viewed on YouTube (see internet links, right).

Speaking before the trial, Brown explained why she used the word. "I must admit, I was angry because I thought it was an absolute insult, because she is of Asian background. I was thinking how could you cut funding that is going to impact so many people. So the first thing that came to mind, instead of saying 'you idiot', I said 'you coconut'."

Although she apologised a few days after the comment, and on several occasions, the matter went to a local and then a national standards hearing.


'Coconut' row councillor guilty 
Brown was reprimanded, briefly suspended from the council and then reinstated. But months later the case escalated when she was charged under the Public Order Act with using "threatening, abusive or insulting words, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress".

It's a serious charge which comes with the threat of a criminal record.

But why, given Brown's numerous apologies, was it necessary to turn this into a criminal prosecution?

In a statement released before Brown's trial, the Crown Prosecution Service defended its approach as being "in the public interest... because it alleged an offence where the suspect demonstrated hostility towards the victim based on discrimination against the victim's ethnic origin".

On Monday Brown was convicted, given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs.

The judgement is an important development in what might be called "speech crime".

But what can and can't people say?

Thatcher gibe

The case re-opens the debate on political correctness and freedom of speech which last flared up so publicly when TV presenter Carol Thatcher used the word "golliwog" in the green room of the BBC One programme The One Show.

Oreo biscuits and bananas are used in the same way
Ms Thatcher was dismissed from the show, but not prosecuted for the use of the word.

So while "coconut" can be a speech crime, is "golliwog" more acceptable in the eyes of the law?

Although there are clear differences between the two incidents, Brown's case seems to establish that anyone directing the word "coconut" at a black or Asian person is liable to be prosecuted, in spite of any subsequent apology.

Had the impulsive councillor said something along the lines of "you have disregarded your cultural roots", she would almost certainly not have been prosecuted. It was the use of the word "coconut" to convey that sense which resulted in her facing trial.

And coconut is not the only word used to signify that a person has disregarded their cultural roots.

Others include "Oreo", the biscuit which is black on the outside and white on the middle, and "banana" which has been used in the Chinese community to signify "yellow on the outside, white on the inside".

Heart of identity

Such words are now hugely charged and it would be difficult for the Crown Prosecution Service to fail to prosecute in cases where they are used against an individual from the racial or cultural group concerned.

Carol Thatcher was sacked by the BBC for saying "golliwog" 
Courts trying such cases however face considerable difficulties.

The words and the level of "threat, abuse or insult" which they convey is very subjective. Some people regard the word "coconut" as highly derogatory. It can be seen as going to the very heart of a person's cultural identity and amount to an accusation of betrayal.

Bristol's multi-cultural community were clearly hurt and concerned by the comment from an elected councillor.

To one prominent member of that community, at least, coconut has only one legitimate meaning.

"It's not acceptable, unless you're talking about a fruit on a palm tree," says Amarjit Singh, who manages an Asian day centre in a suburb of the city. "Otherwise it is a racist comment. They should know better, they're the policy makers. They're the ones that promote community cohesion."

Others take the view that the word is only mildly abusive, whilst some do not find it threatening or abusive at all. The way in which it is said, the context and reaction of the person at whom it is directed will all be important factors in considering a prosecution.

But in the age of speech crime, a prosecution for the use of the word can now never be discounted

Entertainment & Culture Discussion / DJ Earworm MAsh up
« on: June 11, 2010, 05:25:28 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/cYQJ_SIVUVE" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/cYQJ_SIVUVE</a>

A bit dated but I have to admit AK lost some points after reading this.

Swizz Beatz’ estranged wife Mashonda is going public with her husband’s alleged affair with Alicia Keys. The R&B singer has written an open letter to the “Superwoman” on Twitter. The couple, who filed for divorce, have a two-and-a-half-year-old son together.

The following letter from Mashonda was issued in response to Keys’ tweet on Friday night: “Having a heated debate n the studio. Question is…N love is it better to go 4 the choice that is ‘SMART’ or the choice that has ‘SPARK’??”

After having a great evening with my son and enjoying some fun twit chat, I decided to sign off and get some work done. However, a few hours later I was advised that I should check @aliciakeys twit page. I’ve never reached out to her on twitter before. I feel our issues are a lot more serious than a website conversation. Not to mention that I’ve reached out to her many times in the beginning of this whole thing, as any wife would do. Unfortunately, I never succeeded in getting a response. The 1st time I meet AK, my husband introduced us to each other at an event. ( I have no choice but to call him my husband, until he is not anymore) In the messages that I sent to her (AK), I made it very clear that on the contrary of what she might be hearing, I am still married to my husband, living with him and just had a child. Its been two years and I still have not received a response. What I do receive, is constant displays of selfishness and disconcern to me and my son.

I was a fan of AK’s last album, we were both signed to J Records and I always checked up on her projects. I sang her songs and admired her for creating Superwoman and Karma, I would never deny her, her talent. I believed in her until I found out she was possibly sleeping with my husband. The affair was denied by both, until it was finally admitted months later.

Already I can hear some of you saying ” why are u blaming her, You cant make someone leave their wife, You cant break something thats broken”. Well, my marriage was not broken, as far as I knew we were celebrating our sons birth and getting ready to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary . Call it blind love, whatever. I call it being a devoted wife.. As far as me blaming her and not blaming him, thats false. Me and my husband have worked out our differences. We are in a good place as people and as parents. I accept his choices and I am comfortable enough with myself to move on. I am so very blessed in many ways.

My concern with AK is no longer the fact that she assisted in destroying a family but that she has the audacity to make these selfish comments about love and wanting to be with someone, even after knowing their situation. How is this the same Superwoman that I sang out loud with in my truck? I ask myself sometimes.

If you are reading this Alicia, let me start by saying, you know what you did. You know the role you played and you know how you contributed to the ending of my marriage. You know that I asked you to step back and let me handle my family issues. Issues that you helped to create.

Im not saying everything was perfect all the time but no relationship is perfect. We made a vow to God and I believe you should have respected that, as a woman. I know you owe me or my son nothing but I just wish you would’ve handled things more carefully. I’m not judging you, I put you and the whole situation in the hands of God, the Higher Power. Just know that as a woman, I expected so much more from you. I never had intentions on reaching out to you this way but after reading your twits tonight, and the constant disregard, you left me no choice. I feel that after 1 and a half years of you hiding this affair and acting like it doesnt exist, that now is the time to confront it, since you talk so openly about it now

This is not a publicity stunt, I dont have a record coming out. I just need to close this chapter in my life and that means confronting our issues. There is a small child involved. His dad loves him to death and he wants to spend more time with him but hes afraid because he knows we don’t have a relationship. This is my main concern. My son NEEDS his dad and I NEED to be comfortable with you. For him!

I know many will see my point and many will not be able to look into what’s real because they only want to see Alicia Keys the celebrity, not the human. This is not for the “people”, this is for you. Like I said I was left no choice but to reach out to you this way. By now, Im sure you want to find a balance in this as well.

I read your tweets tonight and I felt they were very insensitive. You have no idea how much pain I was caused because of this affair. Its baffling to me that you don’t understand what I might have gone through with this situation. I dont consider myself a victim anymore, Ive learned alot from this! I just ask you to try and be a bit more realistic and delicate to the situation, at least until my divorce is final. I felt me attending the party would have been a starting point for us, since you shook my hand after I offered it, but I suppose I was wrong.

If its so, that you and my husband are meant to be together, then God bless you both and I hope you never have to deal with what I did. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. If you two being together forever is the case, its more of a reason for us to get along, because I’m not going anywhere. Theres a child to be raised.

To answer your tweet, choose smart over spark. Sparks burn everyone, be smart! Its simple actually, just think of the shoe being on the other foot.

Stay blessed and lets work this thing out with respect and dignity.

Entertainment & Culture Discussion / Earth Day
« on: April 22, 2010, 01:53:31 PM »
in observation of earth day, I thought I would remind fellow forumnites of a classic song that I believe is the perfect earth day song from a trini perspective. Not sure if she can live up to the commitment.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/OH-C7jP5hOs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/OH-C7jP5hOs</a>

LIAT pilots threaten strike action

Liat's Pilots Association says it will stage immediate industrial action if the airline goes ahead with plans to base its crew in the Trinidad capital Port-of-Spain.

In a statement Thursday, Liat said it is considering the move after recent research to asses the costs involved.

The airline said it is currently spending over US$1 million every year to accommodate crew members over-nighting in hotels in Port-of-Spain.

But the chairman of Liat's Pilots Association, Michael Blackburn, told BBC Caribbean his members are concerned about the risk factors - especially crime - of being based in Trinidad, and will take action against the move.


Football / Epic Failure.
« on: April 08, 2010, 01:30:38 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/UC6kq9m12Mw" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/UC6kq9m12Mw</a>

General Discussion / NAPA Thread.
« on: March 15, 2010, 06:37:56 AM »
80 million to correct flaws in the design of the National Academy

IT COULD TAKE as much as $80 million to correct flaws in the design of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain, the interim President of the Artists Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) Rubadiri Victor, estimated yesterday.

While Prime Minister Patrick Manning last week praised the NAPA as being “world class,” Victor yesterday begged to differ, saying the facility is plagued with technical problems and argued that it does not compare in any form with Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.

Discussing a dossier on the NAPA prepared by the ACTT which has been circulating on the internet this month, Victor, a multi-media artist, said, “$80 million is a realistic estimate of the costs that would be involved to correct the defects.”

“It appears as though the firm which built and designed the facility (Shanghai Construction Group) may not have been experienced in building facilities of this kind,” he said.

The ACTT in their dossier, entitled, “The Tragedy and Hidden History of the NAPA”, the coalition of artists also estimate that maintenance of the building like the NAPA, which has an estimated budget of about $500 million, can approach as much as ten per cent of building cost. Architects, though, noted that maintenance costs are difficult to estimate due to the variables involved, such as the quality of original materials used.

Among the defects noted in the ACTT dossier are:

There is no loading area for the main stage;

The stage is “ill-matched” to the 1,500 seating capacity of the hall;

The orchestra pit is defective;

The light and sound boards are analogue and not digital (the industry standard for the last decade);

There are “hundreds of problems with lighting and sound fixtures and equipment” The stage floor is “ribbed and is not a sprung floor so is ill-suited for dancing and thus will damage dancers”.

Dance studios are flawed;

There are “no costume rooms, no set construction rooms and no warehousing rooms”;

One architect not involved in the ACTT report, who has been inside the NAPA yesterday confirmed the flaws identified in the report and added, “the floors are laminated and they have begun to chip already. Because of materials used, there are also creases on the stage, which will be a challenge for dancer.”

“A loading area’s dimensions are normally about 16 feet x 10 feet- NAPA has a normal door! This means that sets, costumes of a certain size, certain musical instruments (hint- one of them is our national one) cannot fit through NAPA’s doors to get backstage!” the report, compiled from a site visit and other sources, notes.

“The two rooms that have been trumpeted as the two smaller theatres are in fact just two rooms. Flat rooms with no seats. It would cost tens of millions of dollars to convert these rooms into theatres.”

“All the light and sound boards are analogue not digital. They are also mid-standard and not high-end,” the report continues. “Most of the fixtures are completely wrong: There are literally hundreds of problems with lighting and sound fixtures and equipment. Some may sound small to laypeople but they mean everything to the technicians entrusted to make sure shows go on.”

“For instance: the bars that the hundreds of light fixtures are on are square and not round. This means that lights can only be pointed in four directions (two of them up to the roof!) and not in gradated choice as on a round bar.”

Tellingly, signage for technical parts of the building is in Chinese, an indication that the design—heavily trumped as being inspired by the Chaconia flower—may not have been original to Trinidad and Tobago.

Additionally, “There are no dressing rooms within reach of the backstage, and no clothing racks, showers and a host of other amenities in the dressing rooms that do exist. This probably can be rectified but it will cost.”

“There are no monitors for backstage and for the stage manager. This probably too can be rectified — but it will cost.”

“The stage-floor is ribbed and is not a sprung floor so is ill-suited for dancing and thus will damage dancers. Theatrical floors are ‘rigged’ so that dancers can dance on then — they have a bounce to absorb and cushion dancers — otherwise it’s like you are dancing on concrete.”

“The dance studios are completely unsuited for dance. The dance-rooms have concrete and terrazzo floors; have dance bars too high; and have mirrors on both walls creating a circus infinite-mirror effect. This means there are effectively no dance studio spaces in NAPA. New properly constructed dance floors will have to be built, one mirrored wall will have to come down and all the dance bars taken down and re-hung.

To add to the litany of complaints, “there are no costume rooms, no set construction rooms and no warehousing rooms.”

Members of the ACTT include Fabien Alphonso, president of the Recording Industry Association of Trinidad and Tobago (RIATT) and Andre Reyes, president of the Artist Teachers Association.

“I don’t know how it could be that the firm that got the contract has a competency in building a performing arts centre,” Victor, who appeared before the Uff Commission of Inquiry into Udecott, the state corporation that built the facility, said. “This is a tragedy of an immense proportion.”

President of the Joint Consultative Council of the local construction industry Winston Riley yesterday noted that aside from functional problems, there have been concerns about the construction materials used for the project.

“There are serious concerns about it as an academy,” he noted, “but we have been concerned about the use of mild steel in the building which we believe would put the building under risk.”

The NAPA was reportedly built pursuant to a Government to Government agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and China, at an estimated budget of about $500 million. There was no competitive tender for the project which was handed to the Shanghai Construction Group, the same company that built the Prime Minister’s Residence and Diplomatic Centre. Efforts to contact SCG were unsuccessful.

When Manning, who had come under fire for his constant defence of Udecott in the face of compelling evidence of corruption at the state enterprise, opened the building last November, he called it, “a masterpiece owned by the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

At a press briefing last week in London for Commonwealth observances, Manning, the chairman of the Commonwealth, noted that the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) took place at NAPA. “All in all my dear friends, I think that we were pleased with the outcome. Of course, we were able to expose to the international community a new facility in Port-of-Spain: a National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) which as everybody saw, we believe is acknowledged to be a world class facility in a small developing country, seeking and striving to take its place among the great countries of the world,” Manning said. Udecott has blocked attempts to have an open media tour of the project.

“Taxpayers are going to have to live with this,” Victor said yesterday.


I really hope this article is more sensationalism, but I highly doubt it .

General Discussion / Petrotrin Thread
« on: March 02, 2010, 09:19:13 AM »
Petrotrin sued for $12b
Francis Joseph
Published: 2 Mar 2010
Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.
Francis Joseph
In what can be regarded as the biggest lawsuit against a T&T company, a New York firm has filed a breach of contract case against the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin) in the US Federal Court in Manhattan, New York, seeking no less than $12 billion for their losses over the collapse of a joint venture project.

World GTL Incorporated and its subsidiary, World GTL (St Lucia), filed the lawsuit in the US District, Southern District of New York, on February 23. The case has been put on the docket of 77-year-old Judge Lawrence McKenna, one of the senior judges of the court. The action arose out of the alleged wrongful taking and expropriation of a nearly-completed $3 billion gas-to-liquid plant, being constructed inside the Petrotrin refinery, Pointe-a-Pierre. The lawsuit was filed by Manhattan law firm, Thompson and Knight, whose address is listed as 919 Third Avenue, New York.

Petrotrin has 21 days from the date of service to respond, failing which World GTL would enter a default judgment, with a demand for the compensation. No one could say with any certainty if Petrotrin was served with the US court documents. In the lawsuit, World GTL and its subsidiary are seeking compensation against Petrotrin for alleged fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, negligence and expropriation (take from the owner for public use or benefit).

According to the documents filed in court, in May 2004, World GTL and Petrotrin entered into a memorandum of understanding to build a gas-to-liquid plant and four months later, a project agreement for the plant to be built at Pointe-a-Pierre. World GTL (Trinidad) was in charge of the project. The plaintiffs said at the behest of Petrotrin, Credit Suisse, was among the financial institutions approached to provide funding, largely because a former T&T Finance Minister was at Credit Suisse. The financial institution agreed to provide a US $125 million credit facility and on January 12, 2007, the plaintiffs and Petrotrin entered certain financial agreements.

Two months later, all construction was suspended as a result of sulfur emissions from the Petrotrin refinery. According to the documents, the plant was emitting sulfur dioxide and contaminating the entire facility. World GTL said despite Petrotrin’s plans to correct the situation, there continued to be plant evacuations and shutdowns. It contended that one worker died and the autopsy report listed the cause of death as, “acute respiratory distress syndrome due to toxic fumes inhalation.”

But World GTL experienced problems with their loan facility with Credit Suisse, and Petrotrin moved to acquire the loan to expropriate the gas-to-liquid facility, the plaintiffs added. According to World GTL, the facility was worth $3 billion. They claimed Petrotrin was able to acquire the plant by paying off the Credit Suisse loan, which it had jointly and severally guaranteed, and making a $100 million “make-whole’ payment. According to the plaintiffs, “it became clear during these negotiations, that Petrotrin wanted total control, even to the extent of not being willing to enter into a viable management agreement with World GTL, who had been managing the construction of the project since its inception.” On September 25, 2009, Petrotrin appointed a receiver for WGTL-Trinidad, who took control of the facility at Pointe-a-Pierre.

World GTL Trinidad Limited, a joint venture between World GTL Incorporated and the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin), the Government wholly-owned integrated petroleum company, is constructing the first commercial gas-to-liquid facility in the Americas. The plant was expected to be fully operational in 2008.

Lawrence McKenna, 77, Judge, US District Court, Southern District of New York, Manhattan. Nominated by then President George W Bush on January 24, 1990, to a seat vacated by William C Conner. Confirmed by the Senate on April 27, 1990, and received commission on April 30, 1990. Assumed senior status on May 24, 2002.

What about Track & Field / WHY DO JAMAICANS RUN SO FAST
« on: September 20, 2009, 02:18:27 PM »

« on: September 02, 2009, 09:02:17 AM »
A guy goes into a bar and there is a robot bartender. The robot says,
“What will you have?” The guy says “Martini.” The robot brings back
the best martini ever and says to the man, “What’s your IQ?” The guy
says, “168.” The robot then proceeds to talk about physics, space
exploration and medical technology.

The guy leaves, but he is curious, so he goes back into the bar. The
robot bartender says, "What will you have?" The guy says, "Martini".
Again, the robot makes a great martini, gives it to the man and says,
"What's your IQ?" The guy says, "100." The robot then starts to talk
about Nascar, Budweiser and John Deere tractors.

The guy leaves, but finds it very interesting, so he thinks he will
try it one more time. He goes back into the bar. The robot says, "What
will you have?" The guy says, "Martini", and the robot brings him
another great martini. The robot then says, "What's your IQ? " The guy
says, "Uh, about 75."

The robot leans in real close and says, "So... you people still happy
you voted for Obama?"

What about Track & Field / What makes Usain Bolt tick?
« on: May 14, 2009, 10:10:16 AM »

By Leon Mann

The Beijing Olympics could not have asked for a more captivating character than Usain Bolt.

Three gold medals, three world records and some memorably exuberant celebrations provided a potent cocktail of athletic excellence and uninhibited emotion that just blew us away.

Most people know that Bolt hates training - and loves fast food and late-night partying. But as he gets his 2009 outdoor season under way, does anyone know what really makes him tick?

After spending the best part of a week with the triple Olympic champion in Jamaica recently, meeting his friends and family, I got a chance to find out.

On the dance floor with Usain Bolt
Music is a big part of Jamaican culture and perhaps unsurprisingly, Bolt was at his most relaxed at The Quad nightclub in Kingston.

To say the 22-year-old was in his element is an understatement. With his sunglasses perched on top of his head, singing along to his favourite tracks and calling out for a "reload!", he could not have been happier.

And it's fair to say that Bolt takes his dancing almost as seriously as his sprinting!

While he is travelling the world competing he practises his moves in the mirror, listening to the latest reggae dancehall tracks on his iPod, sent to him by his brother.

It helps him relax away from the rigours of training and intense competition. Bolt is a man who values downtime.

The partying doesn't bother those closest to him. His manager and mentor Norman Peart could not help but smile broadly as he told me: "He partied a lot last year and look at the success!

 He arrives at the club at 2am and leaves at 5am - so it's not like 10 hours wild partying or anything

Manager and mentor Norman Peart 
"I guess it works for him. He arrives at the club at two in the morning and leaves at five - so it's not like 10 hours wild partying or anything."

Few know Bolt as well as Peart. It seems like he's the cog that holds the Bolt engine together. A full-time government tax auditor, he's very much been an unsung hero in the world-record holder's story.

Peart has mentored Bolt since the age of 15, helping him with his studies as well as his training. He always knew Bolt had a gift, although there were times he questioned his application.

But after seeing his young protégé run 20.25 seconds in the 200m final of the Jamaican High School Championships in 2003, he began to plan out a strategy.

"After that 20.25 you dream big and I thought he needed a certain structure around him. We kept it small but effective," Peart enthused.

The plans certainly paid dividends. His strategy has seen disciplinarian coach Glen Mills take charge of Bolt's training and PACE Sports Management's Ricky Simms become the young star's competition agent.

Bolt 'will continue being humble'
Bolt was born with scoliosis - a condition in which the spine is curved from side to side and something that has led to a series of injuries in his career.

Peart paid particular attention to addressing the problem and keeping Bolt's engine well oiled.

A masseuse never leaves the sprinter's side, travelling all over the world with him, warming him up before and after training and at every race.

"We don't let anyone else touch him, and to keep on top of [the condition] he has two or three check-ups a year with a specialist in Germany," said Peart.

Before Peart took on a young Usain he insisted on meeting with his parents to get a measure of where the youngster was coming from. I travelled back to where that first meeting took place, the Bolt family home.

 606: DEBATE
Where does Bolt rank among the best sprinters of all time? 
Outside the house there are signs of their son's success. An extension is being finished off, doubling the size of the house, and a new wall is being built by the road.

Inside, the house is modest with Usain's trophies and medals won as a youngster taking pride of place beside the television.

His mother, Jennifer, recalled her earliest memories of Usain.

"He was very strong", she beamed. "At three weeks old he fell off the bed when I had left the room, and by the time I got back he was pushing himself around the place. It was from there that we noticed he was hyperactive!"

Down the road at the family's grocery shop his father, Wellesley, sported a President Obama baseball cap and, between serving customers rice, vegetables and fish, told me his son's hyperactivity as a child was a cause for concern.

"Once I had to take him to the doctor because I did not realise what was happening.

 The doctor reassured me that he was just hyperactive and I should be careful with him by the road

Wellesley Bolt, Usain's father
"But the doctor reassured me that he was just hyperactive and I should be careful with him by the road."

Bolt regularly goes home to Sherwood Content in Trelawny to visit his parents and confesses it's one of the places he can "just go and be himself".

They are humble people from the countryside - respect, good manners and honesty are important to them.

The post-race showboating doesn't worry his parents. He earned the right to be a little flashy - and guess who taught him how to dance so well...

The influence of his parents is clear. He manages to succeed where so many sportsmen and women fail, combining confidence with a courteous manner.

The only cause for concern to those who know him best is his need for speed. Not on the track, but on the road.

Peart and Simms were so worried that they insisted Bolt took specialist driving lessons in Germany to learn how to handle a powerful BMW.

Despite this, those fears were realised last month when the man known to Jamaican taxi drivers as 'lead foot' had a narrow escape from a serious car accident. The BMW is no more.

Bolt 'taught to respect people'
Since Beijing, Bolt has become a national treasure and the Jamaican government have even assigned two undercover policemen to be by his side at all times.

The softly spoken officers, both the same age as Bolt, wear trainers, jeans and baggy T-shirts.

They told me no-one would dare trouble Bolt; the people love him too much.

The bulk of their work is making sure his fans don't get too excited when they see him and ensuring Bolt doesn't spend too much time signing autographs.

In many ways Bolt is the archetypal 20-something, finding his way in life while having a good time so, given his position of fame, it makes the roles of those around him that much more important.

The talents he possesses are a combination of fortune and hard work. But essentially it is the combination of the individuals around him that have kept him on track.

From his parents and mentor to his agent and coach they've all played a part in keeping Bolt ticking.

Watch Usain Bolt run in the Bupa Great Manchester 150 on Sunday at 1820 BST, live on BBC Two.


General Discussion / Trade dispute brewing
« on: May 01, 2009, 06:34:11 AM »
A trade dispute is brewing between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

The government in Kingston says it has been informed by a local company that the manufacturing concern was denied the right to set up shop in the twin isle republic.
Parliament told about possible trade dispute

Industry Minister Karl Samuda made the disclosure in his contribution to the budget debate in Parliament.

Mr. Samuda said the manufacturing company concerned wanted to export its products to Trinidad, but was denied permission to do so.

General Discussion / Child Star for sale
« on: April 29, 2009, 06:23:53 PM »
Deal alleged involving 'Slumdog Millionaire' star Rubina Ali and her father

The father of “Slumdog Millionaire” child star Rubina Ali is reportedly trying to sell his beautiful little daughter for £200,000, or roughly $300,000.

According to News of the World, the father offered the shocking deal to an undercover fake sheik this week, explaining, "I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future."

As he tried to arrange the illegal adoption deal, her real-life slum dweller dad also slammed the filmmakers, "We've got nothing out of this film."

Her uncle told NOTW, "The child is special now. This is NOT an ordinary child. This is an Oscar child!"

Creepy, if it’s true. Watch the video here and decide.

Hey, Madonna? Want an Oscar child with a built-in Hollywood film resume?

Might be a better bargain than Mercy.

Photo: Rubina Ali and her "Slumdog" costar Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail at an Oscar party.

General Discussion / KFC we like it
« on: January 28, 2009, 03:45:30 PM »
Look thing,

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/6f0c9auWweg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/6f0c9auWweg</a>

General Discussion / T dot tourist sites.
« on: September 16, 2008, 08:19:11 PM »
Looking for suggestion for family oriented activities in  T dot. In T dot for the weekend suggestion greatly appreciated ?

General Discussion / Nigerian man to divorce 82 wives
« on: September 03, 2008, 09:57:29 AM »
A Nigerian religious leader with 86 wives has accepted an Islamic decree ordering him to divorce all but four of them, local authorities say.

A spokesman for the emir of Bida told the BBC that Mohammadu Bello Abubakar, 84, agreed on Saturday to comply with the decree.

Last week one of Nigeria's top Islamic bodies, the Jamatu Nasril Islam, sentenced him to death.

The sentence was lifted but he was threatened with eviction from his home.

Earlier, Mr Abubakar had challenged Islamic scholars, saying there was no punishment stated in the Koran for having more than four wives.

"I have not contravened any established law that would warrant my being banished from the land... There is no law that says one must not marry more than four wives," the AFP news agency reported him as saying.

Many of the wives live three to a room, some have seven children

"All my wives are with children and some of these are people I have married and stayed with for over 30 years. How can they expect me to leave them within two days?" he reportedly told local newspapers.

The former teacher and Islamic preacher lives in Niger State with his wives and at least 170 children.

Niger is one of the Muslim majority states to have reintroduced Sharia punishments since 2000.

Several people have been sentenced to death for adultery by Sharia courts but none of these sentences have been carried out.


In 1960, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago entered a joint team known as the British West Indies Federation (BWI).
The team won two bronzes for the 800m and the men's 4 x 400m relay.

With the formation of the West Indies Federation in 1958, the West Indian Olympic Association was established.

Recent talks of a political union between the OECS and T&T. raises the question of a possible unified Caribbean team.

My personal opinion is NO!. A precedent has already been establish by the European union which continues to send separate delegates to the games.  .

have your say http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2008/08/080808_olympic_interactive_windies.shtml

General Discussion / Ames is 'Trini to the Bone'
« on: August 13, 2008, 10:43:33 PM »
Stephen Ames may no longer reside in this country, but he still sees himself as 100 per cent 'Trini to the bone'.

Ames, the "best golfer in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean"-as labelled by long-time friend and St Andrew's Golf Course manager Maria Nunes at the launch of the Stephen Ames Cup yesterday- Â said the only thing that changed is his country of residence.

"She's (my wife) Canadian, my kids are Canadian, and that's my home now," Ames told the Express yesterday at the Moka venue. "Plus it's easier with the commute rather than moving backward and forward all the time.

"But my heart is here, yes, definitely it is. I may [live] there, but this will always be home," he explained.

Ames is in T&T to support the Stephen Ames Cup, part of the Stephen Ames Foundation initiative to assist youngsters with an affinity for the sport, and aid the development of the game locally.

Yesterday, young T&T juniors lined up against their Canadian counterparts for the three-day tournament, which started yesterday with the better ball format.

Today, they will face off with 'alternate shot' play, and finally match play tomorrow. The team amassing the most points will be the 2008 Stephen Ames Cup winner.

The competition alternates between T&T and Canadian venues every year. Since its inception in 2005, Canada have won it twice, while the only other time T&T hosted, they were winners. They have a chance to win at home, and tie their number of wins.

During yesterday's opening ceremony, acting British High Commissioner Simon Wade praised Ames for his contributions to the sport in Canada and T&T.

"What we've been able to do is miniscule compared to what Stephen Ames has done for junior golf in T&T," Wade declared.

Every year, Ames teams up with Nike to provide golfing equipment for T&T juniors.

The First Citizens Sports Foundation also took the time to honour Ames, with Foundation chairman Hayden Newallo formally presenting the Sportsman of the Year award to the golfer. Ames was rather happy to receive it.

"It's great. Just the fact that they are acknowledging golf with sportsman of the year (award), and the T&T Golf Association have been named Association of the year, both the sport and organisation should be looked at, the fact that we've been doing so well " Ames said.

He was also proud of the local junior golfers' improvement in recent years.

"I think it's telling us that the direction we are moving in is the right one. I think overall, the golf in Trinidad is at its peak right now."


General Discussion / Bill Cosby Thread
« on: August 07, 2008, 07:51:23 AM »
This was reference in the guardian today,


Ladies and gentlemen, I really have to ask you to seriously consider what you’ve heard, and now this is the end of the evening so to speak. I heard a prize fight manager say to his fellow who was losing badly, “David, listen to me. It’s not what’s he’s doing to you. It’s what you’re not doing."

Ladies and gentlemen, these people set -- they opened the doors, they gave us the right, and today, ladies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have 50% drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child.

Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. In the old days, you couldn’t hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye. And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from. Parents don’t know that today.

I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?

The church is only open on Sunday. And you can’t keep asking Jesus to ask doing things for you. You can’t keep asking that God will find a way. God is tired of you. God was there when they won all those cases -- fifty in a row. That’s where God was because these people were doing something. And God said, “I’m going to find a way.” I wasn’t there when God said it -- I’m making this up. But it sounds like what God would do.

We cannot blame white people. White people -- White people don’t live over there. They close up the shop early. The Korean ones still don’t know us as well -- they stay open 24 hours.

I’m looking and I see a man named Kenneth Clark, he and his wife Mamie. Kenneth’s still alive. I have to apologize to him for these people because Kenneth said it straight. He said you have to strengthen yourselves, and we’ve got to have that black doll. And everybody said it. Julian Bond said it. Dick Gregory said it. All these lawyers said it. And you wouldn’t know that anybody had done a damned thing.

Fifty percent drop out rate, I’m telling you, and people in jail, and women having children by five, six different men. Under what excuse? I want somebody to love me. And as soon as you have it, you forget to parent. Grandmother, mother, and great grandmother in the same room, raising children, and the child knows nothing about love or respect of any one of the three of them. All this child knows is “gimme, gimme, gimme.” These people want to buy the friendship of a child, and the child couldn’t care less. Those of us sitting out here who have gone on to some college or whatever we’ve done, we still fear our parents. And these people are not parenting. They’re buying things for the kid -- $500 sneakers -- for what? They won’t buy or spend $250 on Hooked on Phonics.

Kenneth Clark, somewhere in his home in upstate New York -- just looking ahead. Thank God he doesn’t know what’s going on. Thank God. But these people -- the ones up here in the balcony fought so hard. Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged: “The cops shouldn’t have shot him.” What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand? I wanted a piece of pound cake just as bad as anybody else. And I looked at it and I had no money. And something called parenting said if you get caught with it you’re going to embarrass your mother." Not, "You’re going to get your butt kicked." No. "You’re going to embarrass your mother." "You’re going to embarrass your family." If you knock that girl up, you’re going to have to run away because it’s going to be too embarrassing for your family. In the old days, a girl getting pregnant had to go down South, and then her mother would go down to get her. But the mother had the baby. I said the mother had the baby. The girl didn’t have a baby. The mother had the baby in two weeks. We are not parenting.

Ladies and gentlemen, listen to these people. They are showing you what’s wrong. People putting their clothes on backwards. Isn’t that a sign of something going on wrong? Are you not paying attention? People with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack -- and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body. What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a damned thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail. (When we give these kinds names to our children, we give them the strength and inspiration in the meaning of those names. What’s the point of giving them strong names if there is not parenting and values backing it up).

Brown versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem. We’ve got to take the neighborhood back. We’ve got to go in there. Just forget telling your child to go to the Peace Corps. It’s right around the corner. It’s standing on the corner. It can’t speak English. It doesn’t want to speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk: “Why you ain’t where you is go, ra.” I don’t know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. Then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house. You used to talk a certain way on the corner and you got into the house and switched to English. Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t land a plane with, “Why you ain’t…” You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. There is no Bible that has that kind of language. Where did these people get the idea that they’re moving ahead on this. Well, they know they’re not; they’re just hanging out in the same place, five or six generations sitting in the projects when you’re just supposed to stay there long enough to get a job and move out.

Now, look, I’m telling you. It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing. 50 percent drop out. Look, we’re raising our own ingrown immigrants. These people are fighting hard to be ignorant. There’s no English being spoken, and they’re walking and they’re angry. Oh God, they’re angry and they have pistols and they shoot and they do stupid things. And after they kill somebody, they don’t have a plan. Just murder somebody. Boom. Over what? A pizza? And then run to the poor cousin’s house.

They sit there and the cousin says, “What are you doing here?”

“I just killed somebody, man.”


“I just killed somebody; I’ve got to stay here.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Well, give me some money, I’ll go….”

 “Where are you going?”

“North Carolina.”

Everybody wanted to go to North Carolina. But the police know where you’re going because your cousin has a record.

Five or six different children -- same woman, eight, ten different husbands or whatever. Pretty soon you’re going to have to have DNA cards so you can tell who you’re making love to. You don’t who this is. It might be your grandmother. I’m telling you, they’re young enough. Hey, you have a baby when you’re twelve. Your baby turns thirteen and has a baby, how old are you? Huh? Grandmother. By the time you’re twelve, you could have sex with your grandmother, you keep those numbers coming. I’m just predicting.

I’m saying Brown versus the Board of Education. We’ve got to hit the streets, ladies and gentlemen. I’m winding up, now -- no more applause. I’m saying, look at the Black Muslims. There are Black Muslims standing on the street corners and they say so forth and so on, and we’re laughing at them because they have bean pies and all that, but you don’t read, “Black Muslim gunned down while chastising drug dealer.” You don’t read that. They don’t shoot down Black Muslims. You understand me. Muslims tell you to get out of the neighborhood. When you want to clear your neighborhood out, first thing you do is go get the Black Muslims, bean pies and all. And your neighborhood is then clear. The police can’t do it.

I’m telling you Christians, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you hit the streets? Why can’t you clean it out yourselves? It’s our time now, ladies and gentlemen. It is our time. And I’ve got good news for you. It’s not about money. It’s about you doing something ordinarily that we do -- get in somebody else’s business. It’s time for you to not accept the language that these people are speaking, which will take them nowhere. What the hell good is Brown V. Board of Education if nobody wants it?

What is it with young girls getting after some girl who wants to still remain a virgin. Who are these sick black people and where did they come from and why haven’t they been parented to shut up? To go up to girls and try to get a club where “you are nobody....” This is a sickness, ladies and gentlemen, and we are not paying attention to these children. These are children. They don’t know anything. They don’t have anything. They’re homeless people. All they know how to do is beg. And you give it to them, trying to win their friendship. And what are they good for? And then they stand there in an orange suit and you drop to your knees: “He didn’t do anything. He didn’t do anything.” Yes, he did do it. And you need to have an orange suit on, too.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for the award -- and giving me an opportunity to speak because, I mean, this is the future, and all of these people who lined up and done -- they’ve got to be wondering what the hell happened. Brown V. Board of Education -- these people who marched and were hit in the face with rocks and punched in the face to get an education and we got these knuckleheads walking around who don’t want to learn English. I know that you all know it. I just want to get you as angry that you ought to be. When you walk around the neighborhood and you see this stuff, that stuff’s not funny. These people are not funny anymore. And that‘s not my brother. And that’s not my sister. They’re faking and they’re dragging me way down because the state, the city, and all these people have to pick up the tab on them because they don’t want to accept that they have to study to get an education.

We have to begin to build in the neighborhood, have restaurants, have cleaners, have pharmacies, have real estate, have medical buildings instead of trying to rob them all. And so, ladies and gentlemen, please, Dorothy Height, where ever she’s sitting, she didn’t do all that stuff so that she could hear somebody say “I can’t stand algebra, I can’t stand…" and “what you is.” It’s horrible.

Basketball players -- multimillionaires can’t write a paragraph. Football players, multimillionaires, can’t read. Yes. Multimillionaires. Well, Brown v. Board of Education, where are we today? It’s there. They paved the way. What did we do with it? The White Man, he’s laughing -- got to be laughing. 50 percent drop out -- rest of them in prison.

You got to tell me that if there was parenting -- help me -- if there was parenting, he wouldn’t have picked up the Coca Cola bottle and walked out with it to get shot in the back of the head. He wouldn’t have. Not if he loved his parents. And not if they were parenting! Not if the father would come home. Not if the boy hadn’t dropped the sperm cell inside of the girl and the girl had said, “No, you have to come back here and be the father of this child.” Not ..“I don’t have to.”

Therefore, you have the pile up of these sweet beautiful things born by nature -- raised by no one. Give them presents. You’re raising pimps. That’s what a pimp is. A pimp will act nasty to you so you have to go out and get them something. And then you bring it back and maybe he or she hugs you. And that’s why pimp is so famous. They’ve got a drink called the “Pimp-something.” You all wonder what that’s about, don’t you? Well, you’re probably going to let Jesus figure it out for you. Well, I’ve got something to tell you about Jesus. When you go to the church, look at the stained glass things of Jesus. Look at them. Is Jesus smiling? Not in one picture. So, tell your friends. Let’s try to do something. Let’s try to make Jesus smile. Let’s start parenting. Thank you, thank you.



Is Bill Cosby Right or Is the Black Middle Class Out of Touch?

Talk of the Nation, May 3, 2005 · A year ago, Bill Cosby set off a national debate in a speech to the NAACP where he criticized poor blacks in sometimes harsh language. Cosby emphasized personal responsibility, or the lack of it. In a new book, Michael Eric Dyson describes Cosby's remarks as a vicious attack on the most vulnerable among us.


Michael Eric Dyson, author, Is Bill Cosby Right? Professor of Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Read an Excerpt from the Book

"Do you view Bill Cosby as a race traitor?" journalist Paula Zahn bluntly asked me on her nighttime television show.

Zahn was referring to the broadside the entertainer had launched against irresponsible black parents who are poor and their delinquent children. Cosby's rebuke came in a May 2004 speech on the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. Not content with a one-off tirade, Cosby since then has bitterly and visibly crusaded against the declining morality and bad behavior of poor blacks. Six months into his battle, Zahn snagged the comic legend turned cultural warrior for his first in-depth interview. Cosby clarified his comments and reinforced his position. No, he wasn't wrong to air the black community's dirty laundry. Yes, he would ratchet up the noise and pace of his racial offensive. And he surely didn't give a damn about what white folk thought about his campaign or what nefarious uses they might make of his public diatribe. One could see it on Cosby's face: This is war, the stakes are high and being polite or politically correct simply won't do.

Since I was one of the few blacks to publicly disagree with Cosby, I ended up in numerous media outlets arguing in snippets, sound bites, or ripostes to contrary points of view. In The New York Times a few days after his remarks, I offered that Cosby's comments "betray classist, elitist viewpoints rooted in generational warfare," that he was "ill-informed on the critical and complex issues that shape people's lives," and that his words only "reinforce suspicions about black humanity."

Still, I don't consider Cosby a traitor, and I said so to Zahn. In fact, I defended his right to speak his mind in full public view. After all, I'd been similarly stung by claims of racial disloyalty when I wrote my controversial book on Martin Luther King, Jr. I also said that while Cosby is right to emphasize personal behavior (a lesson, by the way, that many wealthy people should bone up on), we must never lose sight of the big social forces that make it difficult for poor parents to do their best jobs and for poor children to prosper. Before going on Zahn's show, I'd already decided to write a book in response to Cosby's relentless assault. But my appearances in the media, and the frustrating fragmentation of voice that one risks in such venues, pushed me to gain a bigger say in the issues Cosby has desperately if clumsily grabbed hold of. This book is my attempt to unpack those issues with the clarity and complexity they demand.

Of course, the ink and applause Cosby has won rest largely on a faulty assumption: that he is the first black figure to stare down the "pathology" that plagues poor blacks. But to believe that ignores how figures from black intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois to civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, in varying contexts, with differing results, have spoken controversially about the black poor. Equally intriguing is the leap of faith one must make in granting Cosby revered status as a racial spokesman and critic. He has famously demurred in his duties as a racial representative. He has flatly refused over the years to deal with blackness and color in his comedy. Cosby was defensive, even defiant, in his views, as prickly a racial avoider as one might imagine for a man who traded so brilliantly on dimensions of black culture in his comedy. While Cosby took full advantage of the civil rights struggle, he resolutely denied it a seat at his artistic table. Thus it's hard to swallow Cosby's flailing away at youth for neglecting their history, and overlooking the gains paid for by the blood of their ancestors, when he reneged on its service when it beckoned at his door. It is ironic that Cosby has finally answered the call to racial leadership forty years after it might have made a constructive difference. But it is downright tragic that he should use his perch to lob rhetorical bombs at the poor.

For those who overlook the uneven history of black engagement with the race's social dislocations and moral struggles—and who conveniently ignore Cosby's Johnny-come-lately standing as a racial critic—Cosby is an ethical pioneer, a racial hero. In this view, Cosby is brave to admit that "lower economic people" are "not parenting" and are failing the civil rights movement by "not holding up their end in this deal." Single mothers are no longer "embarrassed because they're pregnant without a husband." A single father is no longer "considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father" of his child. And what do we make of their criminal children? Cosby's "courage" does not fail. "In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison.... I'm talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don't know he had a pistol?" Before he is finished, Cosby beats up on the black poor for their horrible education, their style of dress, the names they give their children, their backward speech and their consumptive habits. As a cruel coda, Cosby even suggests to the black poor that "God is tired of you."

It is not remarkable that such sentiments exist. Similar comments can be heard in countless black spaces: barbershops and beauty shops; pulpits and pavement platforms; street corners and suite hallways; and civil rights conventions and political conferences. These cultural settings give such ideas an interpretive context that they often lack when they bleed beyond ghetto walls and comfortable black meeting places and homes into the wider world. Cosby bypassed, or, more accurately, short-circuited, the policing mechanism the black elite—the Afristocracy—habitually use to keep such thoughts from public view (This is done not so much to spare the poor but to save the black elite from further embarrassment. And no matter how you judge Cosby's comments, you can't help but believe that a great deal of his consternation with the poor stems from his desire to remove the shame he feels in their presence and about their activity in the world.)

Usually the sort of bile that Cosby spilled is more expertly contained, or at least poured on its targets in ways that escape white notice. Cosby's remarks betray seething class warfare in black America that has finally boiled over to the general public. It is that general public, especially white social critics and other prophets of black ethical erosion, that has been eager for Cosby's dispatches from the tortured front of black class war. Cosby's comments let many of these whites off the hook. If what Cosby says is true, then critics who have said the same, but who courted charges of racism, are vindicated. There's nothing like a formerly poor black multimillionaire bashing poor blacks to lend credence to the ancient assaults they've endured from the dominant culture.

Cosby's overemphasis on personal responsibility, not structural features, wrongly locates the source of poor black suffering—and by implication its remedy—in the lives of the poor. When you think the problems are personal, you think the solutions are the same. If only the poor were willing to work harder, act better, get educated, stay out of jail and parent more effectively, their problems would go away. It's hard to argue against any of these things in the abstract; in principle such suggestions sound just fine. But one could do all of these things and still be in bad shape at home, work or school. For instance, Cosby completely ignores shifts in the economy that give value to some work while other work, in the words of William Julius Wilson, "disappears." In our high-tech, high-skilled economy where low-skilled work is being scaled back, phased out, exported, or severely under-compensated, all the right behavior in the world won't create better jobs with more pay. And without such support, all the goals that Cosby expresses for the black poor are not likely to become reality. If the rigidly segregated educational system continues to miserably fail poor blacks by failing to prepare their children for the world of work, then admonitions to "stay in school" may ring hollow.

In this light, the imprisonment of black people takes on political consequence. Cosby may be right that most black folk in jail are not "political prisoners," but it doesn't mean that their imprisonment has not been politicized. Given the vicious way blacks have been targeted for incarceration, Cosby's comments about poor blacks who end up in jail are dangerously naïve and empirically wrong. Cosby's critique of criminal behavior among poor blacks neglects the massive body of work that catalogs the unjust imprisonment of young blacks. This is not to suggest an apologia for black thugs; instead, it suggests that a disproportionate number of black (men) are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. Moreover, Cosby seems to offer justification for the police killing a young black for a trivial offense (the theft of a Coca-Cola or pound cake), neglecting the heinous injustices of the police against blacks across the land. Further, Cosby neglects to mention that crime occurs in all classes and races, though it is not equally judged and prosecuted.

Cosby also slights the economic, social, political and other structural barriers that poor black parents are up against: welfare reform, dwindling resources, export of jobs and ongoing racial stigma. And then there are the problems of the working poor: folk who rise up early every day and often work more than forty hours a week, and yet barely, if ever, make it above the poverty level. We must acknowledge the plight of both poor black (single) mothers and poor black fathers, and the lack of social support they confront. Hence, it is incredibly difficult to spend as much time with children as poor black parents might like, especially since they will be demonized if they fail to provide for their children's basic needs. But doing so deflects critical attention and time from child-rearing duties—duties that are difficult enough for two-parent, two-income, intact middle-class families. The characteristics Cosby cites are typical of all families that confront poverty the world over. They are not indigenous to the black poor; they are symptomatic of the predicament of poor people in general. And Cosby's mean-spirited characterizations of the black poor as licentious, sexually promiscuous, materialistic and wantonly irresponsible can be made of all classes in the nation. (Paris Hilton, after all, is a huge star for just these reasons.) Moreover, Cosby's own problems—particularly the affair he had that led to the very public charge that he may have fathered a child—suggest that not only poor people do desperate things. In fact, as we reflect on his family troubles over the years, we get a glimpse of the unavoidable pain and contradictions that plague all families, rich and poor.

Cosby's views on education have in some respects changed for the worse. His earlier take on the prospects of schooling for the poor was more humane and balanced. In his 1976 dissertation, Cosby argued against "institutional racism" and maintained that school systems failed the poorest and most vulnerable black students. It is necessary as well to acknowledge the resegregation of American education (when in truth it was hardly desegregated to begin with). The failure of Brown v. Board to instigate sufficient change in the nation's schools suggests that the greatest burden—and responsibility—should be on crumbling educational infrastructures. In suburban neighborhoods, there are $60-million schools with state-of-the-art technology, while inner city schools fight desperately for funding for their students. And anti-intellectualism, despite Cosby's claims, is hardly a black phenomenon; it is endemic to the culture. Cosby also spies the critical deficiency of the black poor in their linguistic habits, displaying his ignorance about "black English" and "Ebonics." But the intent of Ebonics, according to its advocates, is to help poor black youth speak "standard" English while retaining an appreciation for their dialects and "native tongues." All of this suggests that structural barriers, much more than personal desire, shape the educational experiences of poor blacks. In fact, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Cosby's lauded '70s television cartoon series, won greater acceptance for a new cast of black identities and vernacular language styles. Cosby has made money and gained further influence from using forms of Black English he now violently detests.

Cosby's comments betray the ugly generational divide in black America. His disregard for the hip-hop generation is not unique, but it is still disheartening. Cosby's poisonous view of young folk who speak a language he can barely parse simmers with hostility and resentment. And yet, some of the engaged critique he seeks to make of black folk—of their materialism, their consumptive desires, their personal choices, their moral aspirations, their social conscience—is broadcast with much more imagination and insight in certain quarters of hip-hop culture. (Think of Kanye West's track, "All Falls Down," which displays a self-critical approach to the link between consumption and the effort to ward off racial degradation.) Cosby detests youth for their hip-hop dress, body piercing and the pseudo-African-sounding names they have. Yet, body piercing and baggy clothes express identity among black youth, and not just beginning with hip-hop culture. Moreover, young black entrepreneurs like Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Russell Simmons have made millions from their clothing lines. There are generational tensions over self-definition; arguments over clothes and body markings reflect class, age and intracultural conflicts as well. I think that, contrary to Cosby's argument, it does have something to do with the African roots of black identity, and perhaps with Cosby's ignorance of and discomfort with those roots. And Cosby's ornery, ill-informed diatribe against black naming is a snapshot of his assault on poor black identity. Names like Shaniqua and Taliqua are meaningful cultural expressions of self-determination and allow relatively powerless blacks to fashion their identities outside the glare of white society. And it didn't just start in this generation. Cosby's inability to discern the difference between Taliqua and Muhammad, an ancient Muslim name, is as remarkable as it is depressing—and bigoted in its rebuff to venerable forms of black identity and culture.

Cosby's comments don't exist in a cultural or political vacuum. His views have traction in conservative (and some liberal) circles because they bolster the belief that less money, political action and societal intervention—and more hard work and personal responsibility—are the key to black success. While Cosby can surely afford to ignore what white folk think, the majority of black folk can't reasonably dismiss whites in influential places. Cosby has said that he's not worried about how the white right wing might use his speech, but it certainly fits nicely with their twisted views of the black poor. The poor folk Cosby has hit the hardest are most vulnerable to the decisions of the powerful groups of which he has demanded the least: public policy makers, the business and social elite, and political activists. Poor black folk cannot gain asylum from the potentially negative effects of Cosby's words on public policy makers and politicians who decide to put into play measures that support Cosby's narrow beliefs.

Cosby also contends that black folk can't blame white folk for our plight. His discounting of structural forces and his exclusive focus on personal responsibility, and black self-help, ignore the persistence of the institutional racism Cosby lamented in his dissertation. To be sure, even when black folk argued for social justice, we never neglected the simultaneous pursuit of personal responsibility and self-help, since that's often the only help we had. In the end, Cosby's views may make white and black liberal fence-sitters unfairly critical of the black poor. Cosby may even convince them that personal behavior will help the poor more than social programs, thus letting white and black elites off the hook. There is a strong counterpoint to Cosby's evasive, and dismissive, racial politics in his own home. I think it is important to recall the famous letter Cosby's wife, Camille, penned in 1998 in USA Today—written in the aftermath of the tragic murder of their son by a Russian immigrant, excoriating America for teaching her son's murderer the bigotry that fueled his lethal act. Unlike Cosby's comments, Camille's essay drew the ire and rebuke of pundits and the political establishment. Camille Cosby was told that America provided the opportunity for her husband to become a rich artist. By contrast, Bill Cosby's remarks were embraced by the same establishment, as Cosby was praised for his self-help strategy of pulling himself up from poverty to plenty. Thus, these critics want it both ways. I think when it comes to the issues at hand, contrasting Camille's letter and Cosby's remarks proves that she is the Cosby with genuine insight into race relations.

It is clear that Cosby has touched a raw nerve of class and generation in black America. What he said—and our response to it—goes far beyond a single speech before a group of blacks who were celebrating the achievements of the past. This story is so powerful and controversial, and continues to resonate in our society, because it goes to the heart of the struggle for the identity of a culture. It also embodies the different visions put forth by older and younger members of the race. In a sense, Cosby is Moses, Elijah and King Lear rolled into one. Like Moses, he has laid down the law, but he is realizing, as we all must at some point, that he may not get the chance to see the Promised Land in his own day. The sweet reward of hard work slips through the hands as easily as water in a rushing stream. But finally, as it says in the book of Hebrews, "these all died in faith not having received the promises." We must all face the reality at some point that the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams is ever in the distance, flung to a horizon that recedes as we march forward, and can only be brought closer in the collective push ahead, and often not through one's own energy but through the efforts of some Joshua—the younger helper of Moses, the one God appointed to lead the people after Moses' great journey came to a close. It's hard to hand over the reins and embrace the transition, but it must be done. This doesn't mean that old prophets and sages are of no use; it means they must learn to coexist with an upcoming phalanx of rebels with new spirits and vision. Even if they wear dreads and baggy pants or speak in ways foreign to the elders.

Like Elijah, Cosby has thrown in the towel and embraced his frustration; like Elijah, he has said, "It is enough!" Elijah felt that he was the only one left to do God's work and that everyone else had sold out to godless hedonism and corrupt morality. But God told Elijah to rest up, since he was exhausted—Cosby, too, has said, "I'm a tired man"—and, after replenishing himself, to recognize God not in the thunder but in the still small voice, in the serenity of inner circumstances that nourish hope. And then God pointed out to Elijah that there were literally thousands more who had a righteous cause and who were not in Elijah's camp. Cosby must accept that others have the truth, too, and that they are working in their own way to make things better—for the race, the culture, the community and our struggle.

And finally, like King Lear, Cosby is at war with his children, feeling their fatal betrayal of his fatherly leadership, saying, as did Lear, that "I am more sinned against than sinning." That, to be sure, is the claim of every generation, of every visionary who feels that the people he has loved and brought along have somehow fatally departed from the path of wisdom and morality when they go their own way. There are undoubtedly lethal circumstances afoot in black America, and we do indeed need the voices of the elders to ring out and the wisdom of the fathers and mothers to resonate loudly. But transition and transformation bring inevitable struggles between generations, or at least between their leading lights, and sometimes the wrestling is bloody and unraveling. We must resist the temptation to take refuge in hurt feelings and raging resentment as we grapple with how our children live, or choose to leave us, or even how we handle our recognition of their betrayals and disaffections. Loyalty to particular figures may not be as important, in the end, as loyalty to the cause of enlarging the hopes of the individual and racial family.

The conversation that Cosby has started endures because the people who must engage him, and the issues he has raised, are likewise enduring. Thus, what Cosby said reflects on the griefs and hopes and losses and pains of an entire generation of noble men and women who nonetheless, like the rest of us, are human and at times frail and misled. We must learn from each other, listen to each other, correct each other and struggle with each other if the destiny of our people is to be secure. And we must fight for the best that is within our reach, even if that means disagreeing with icons and resisting the myopia of mighty men. What Cosby started is left to us to finish.

From the book, Is Bill Cosby Right?, by Michael Eric Dyson; © 2005. Reprinted by arrangement with Basic Civitas, a member of the Perseus Books Group. All rights reserved.

Entertainment & Culture Discussion / The Indo-Caribbean story
« on: July 22, 2008, 07:16:10 AM »
170 years ago, the first group of Indians were brought to the Caribbean.
Indentureship came after the end of slavery.

And workers, mostly from East India, were brought to the Caribbean to replace African slaves on British plantations across what was then the West Indies.

In 1838, the first ships arrived in Guyana, later ships would also being other migrants to the rest of the Caribbean.

Clem Seecheran is the Professor of Caribbean studies at London's Metropolitan University.

Hear part one of Suzanne Lennon's look at the Indo Caribbean contribution

"An overwhelming majority...came from roughy the same culture area - from Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar...traditionaly, the very poor areas," Dr Seecheran told BBC Caribbean.

He added: "There would have been a sprinkling from other areas - the odd Afghan, the odd Punjabi, the odd Bengali."

Brinsley Samaroo is a Trinidadian historian and former politician.

He told BBC Caribbean that between 1838 to 1917 half a million Indians came and settled across the Caribbean.

According to Dr Samaroo, 259,000 to Guyana, 147,000 to Trinidad, 38,000 to Jamaica and smaller amounts distributed across the rest of the Caribbean.

There are several different Indian arrival days across the Caribbean.

Dr Samaroo explained that this is because, after the first two ships arrived in Guyana in 1838, there had been complaints that the first "export" of Indians had not been treated well.

Ships stopped

This led to a delay in the migration in 1838.

When conditions were improved by 1845, the next and larger scale of the export of Indians took place to Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.

The first Indian migrants did not arrive in Suriname until 1873.

Hear part two of Suzanne Lennon's look at the Indo-Caribbean contribution

Dr Samaroo told BBC Caribbean that this was followed by a movement around the islands of newly-arrived Indian.

"Those of them who wished to maintain their Indian Identity...came south and settled either in Trinidad and Tobago or Guyana in which there were larger concentrations of Indians and in which they could practice their Indian culture and Indian heritage," Samaroo said.

"Others who remained (in other territories) became integratred into the larger creole culture."

audio links on parent doc

Jokes / The best traits
« on: June 10, 2008, 05:02:50 PM »
Not the bess but the punch line is makes up


Monkeys have learned to operate a bionic arm by thought alone, in a breakthrough that brings new hope to paralysed people.

In U.S. experiments described as a 'quantum leap' in the search for realistic prosthetic limbs, the animals used the arm to grasp and eat marshmallows and chunks of fruit.

British experts said the experiments, reported in the respected journal Nature, take the human use of brain- controlled bionic limbs 'from the realm of science fiction towards science fact'.

During the research, at the University of Pittsburgh, the monkeys' own arms were restrained at their sides.

The monkey used the mind-controlled arm to grasp and eat marshmallows and chunks of fruit

The bionic arm was postioned next to their shoulders, although not directly attached.

Researchers implanted a grid of tiny electrodes into the animals' brains, in the area which controls movement. They then used sophisticated computer software to pick up and interpret signals from the electrodes.

When the monkeys saw some food they wanted to eat, the computer decoded their brain activity and sent commands to motors in the electronic arm.

The animals quickly learned to use their thoughts to make the hand, or gripper, take pieces of food off a spike.

An article accompanying the report says: "They were able to make the robot reach out to a tasty treat, stop, close the gripper on the treat, remove it from a small peg, bring the gripper back to their mouth and open the gripper to eat the treat, all in one natural-looking motion."

While the results were far from perfect  -  the monkeys missed their mouths around a third of the time  -  the arm offers a greater degree of movement than any artificial limb currently in use.

The device is not the only one under development, although others use nerve grafts rather than electrodes to pick up brain signals.

In time, the technology could be used to create bionic limbs for those who have lost an arm or a leg to injury or disease.

Thought-controlled legs may one day allow people paralysed by spinal cord injuries to walk again.

Researcher Dr Andrew Schwartz said: "Our immediate goal is to make a prosthetic device for people with total paralysis."

Professor Paul Matthews, a clinical neuroscientist at Imperial College-London, said the range of movements of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers  -  twisting and turning, as well as opening and closing  -  made the arm more advanced than anything already available.

He added: "The study shows that fewer than 100 tiny electrical signals generated in the specialised area known as the motor cortex can command even complex hand and arm movements.

"This moves the day when patients disabled after spinal cord injuries or amputations can use brain-controlled bionic limbs from the realm of science fiction towards science fact."

But experts said much work remains to be done, particularly in improving the reliability of the electrodes.

Entertainment & Culture Discussion / Glenn Roopchand is a bess painter
« on: April 21, 2008, 04:54:13 PM »

The rhythmic icons of Roopchand
By ANNE HILTON Monday, April 21 2008

click on pic to zoom in'Parang Sensation'...« prev photo next photo »ONE HAS been so accustomed to the Carnival touches, the beads, the glitter, the fantasy in works exhibited by Glenn Roopchand of late, that “Rhythmic Icons” which opened in Horizons Art Gallery on April 15, appeared dull by comparison . . . until one looked back in the database to “Rhythms of the Oversoul” the first of his exhibitions I saw back in the late 90’s, in what used to be the Gallery

In “ Oversoul” lines and two colours (discounting white) dominated the canvases. In “Icons” Roopchand returns to the flowing lines, near monochromes, yet he is, of necessity, more explicit in his portrayal of the icons of music in his native land.

In his brief “Statement” Roopchand confesses to a perpetual sense of rhythm, beginning with his mother’s heartbeat, through the work of Rudolph Charles and David Rudder to his expression of rhythms in paint.

“Rhythm Boys” is pure percussion and so needs no further exposition. One follows the manic beat of the “Tassa Moon” in the serpentine lines, ovals, circles, hands gripping the sticks.

What else could Parang be but the stark simplicity of chac-chac and cuatro?

“Spheres” is a cornucopia of tambourines, drums, brake drums, a maze of intersecting, flowing lines, of myriad shapes to fascinate those attempting to trace the artist’s brushwork.

We appear to be back with parang in “Vibes” with the repeat of the chac-chac and cuatro but with the addition of the scratcher man.

“Bamboo” goes to the roots of pan and back to Nature while Exodus celebrates the pan orchestra of that name.

I leave readers to fill in the gaps for themselves by visiting Rhythmic Icons in Horizons Art Gallery before Glenn Roopchand’s solo exhibition closes on April 26.

my fav

General Discussion / Dating Black
« on: April 07, 2008, 04:52:14 PM »
"Dating Black" a bbc commentary

requires real media

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