Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Pictured: John Quidor, 1801–81, The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, 1858, oil, 26 7/8 x 33 7/8 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum

Sleepy Hollow is the small burg in Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was a short story written by Washington Irving, one of America's earliest authors who also wrote "Rip Van Winkle." Both of these stories took place in colonial upstate New York.

Plot Summary from Wikipedia:
The story is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarrytown, New York, in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a priggish schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, daughter of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel home on an autumn night, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who lost his head during "some nameless battle" of the American Revolutionary War and who "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head." Crane disappears from town, leaving Katrina to marry Brom Bones, who was "to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related."

"Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast; dinner-hour came, but no Ichabod.… An inquiry was set on foot, and after diligent investigation they came upon his traces. In one part of the road leading to the church was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of horses' hoofs deeply dented in the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and black, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin. The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster was not to be discovered."
— Washington Irving
A reading of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

duration: 83 minutes

plez sez: I grew up in Sleepy Hollow (the name of the town was changed from North Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow in 1996), which is a small town about 20 miles north of New York City. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was trotted out every Halloween to scare the bejesus out of us in elementary school; what better way to get a good fright than to actually live and go Trick or Treating by the Old Dutch Church or near the old wooden bridge where Icabod Crane met his fateful end at the hand (or pumpkin) of the Headless Horseman.

The ability to see and walk upon the actual sites in the legend made the story so much scarier to a young 7- or 8-year old kid while tagging along with my older brothers on Halloween night. Imagine being able to walk by the Old Dutch Church (which still stands), or Van Tassel, or the Tappan Zee Bridge, or Phillipsburg Manor (where my mother worked as a hostess). The name of the high school is Sleepy Hollow and their mascot is - you got it - the Headless Horseman (complete with pumpkin in hand). I attended Washington Irving Junior High School and Washington Irving's home (Sunnyside) was just up the road in Irvington, New York.

Many a Halloween night, I could hear the Headless Horseman's steed's galloping hooves as they crossed the wooden bridge by the Old Dutch Church. I hope you enjoy the scare as much as I did.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

plezWorld Phone Post

Virtual Fish Tank on plezWorld PC
(courtesy of plezWorld Treo 680)

plez sez: if i am going to post a blog a day for the entire month of november - as part of NaBloPoMo - i will need some help in being able to post blogs away from my PC (i'll be out of town during the first two weekends in november and probably during thanksgiving).

i will be able to post consistently from my Treo 680.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Genarlow Wilson Released from Prison

BREAKING NEWS: On October 26, 2007, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Georgia Supreme Court had ordered his release, calling his 10-year prison sentence "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Georgia state and federal constitutions.

Over four months after a judge ordered that Genarlow Wilson be freed from prison, where he had spent more than two years for receiving consensual oral sex from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17, the Georgia Supreme Court finally gets him out of prison.

Read the entire Atlanta Journal-Constitution article here.

plez sez: several plezWorld blog posts have touched on this story in the past couple of months, like this one and this one.

all along i have contended that i did not like the law with which he convicted; it was a miscarriage of justice to charge this boy with such a heinous crime. the punishment seemed to far exceed the crime and this poor boy lost over 2 years of his life for nothing.

i now hope that Genarlow can work to get his life back on track (he was planning to attend college when he was convicted), i pray that his family can heal the wounds of this horrible ordeal, and i hope the next time that i see this young man's name in the news, that the news will be GOOD NEWS!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

WTF? - Contraceptives in Middle School

Yes, the title of this post is correct. The health center in King Middle School in Portland, Maine can now dispense birth control pills to girls... without parental consent!

On October 17, 2007, the Portland School Committee in Portland, Maine voted to allow the health center at the King Middle School in Portland, Maine, to offer birth control prescriptions to its students, who range in age from 10 to 15.

Excerpts from the ABC News report follows:
The Portland School Committee voted 7 to 2 last night to allow the health center at the King Middle School in Portland, Maine, to offer birth control prescriptions to its students, who range in age from 10 to 15. Dr. Pat Patterson, the medical director of School-Based Health Services in Portland said she was "thrilled" with the vote.

Proponents of the proposal tacked up black-and-white posters of a baby, contrasting the cost of raising a child with the cost of birth control, while several opponents bowed their heads in prayer. National and local media jostled for positions at the front of the room.

Mary Ibrahim, another Portland resident, said that just because kids may be having sex doesn't mean they should be having sex. And offering birth control services is a form of encouragement. "Let's be leaders. Let's be parents. Let's be grownups," said Ibrahim.

Amanda Rowe, the head nurse in Portland's school health centers, emphasized that students must have a signed parental permission slip to use the student health center. Although, by state law, if a student requests confidentiality, health care workers must honor it. Meaning birth control pills could be prescribed without a parent knowing.

Rowe said that patients fill out an 18-point health history form and risk questionnaire. If a student indicates that they are having sexual relations, the "discussion begins and includes a strong counseling component" said Rowe.

Overall, over the past four years, there were a total of 17 pregnancies at Portland's three middle schools. And that's why the caregivers felt so strongly that offering birth control prescriptions would fill a desperate need. "Many parents are not being honest with themselves. They just don't realize the extent of risky behaviors these kids are engaged in," said Amanda Rowe.
Read the entire ABC News article and view the accompanying video here.
And read the AJC article here.

plez sez:


maybe i'm just stuck in the 70's, but since when has schools been in the business of "planned parenting"?!? i believe that sex ed should be part of the school curriculum, but i am four square against this asinine reasoning for providing 12-, 13-, and 14-year old girls with birth control pills. if the school finds out that little mary jane is playing hide the ding-dong with the little boys at her school, she shouldn't be given a month's supply of contraceptives and sent back to the boys' locker room... i would think that little mary jane's parents (or legal guardian) should be notified and sexual education counseling would be necessary for the entire family.

by allowing youngsters to circumvent the authority of their parents and exercising "their privacy rights" without parental consent is WRONG! this practice shouldn't be done in high schools and it damn well shouldn't be done in middle schools. who would expect a 13-year old girl with the hots for some horny jock on the football team to make a reasonable and level-headed decision about whether to engage in sexual intercourse with that boy? much less decide whether or not she should be popping birth control pills so that she doesn't get pregnant... UGH! this story has made me ill.

if the parents have to be notified if the school nurse gives your child an aspirin, they surely should notify the parents if they are dispensing hormone-altering drugs! this is flat out wrong and those board members who voted for this provision should be removed from office.

and with the free pills, these kids will now think they have free reign to be sexually active and promiscuous... i have no doubt that the rate of STD's will climb dramatically in this community.


NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month

For the entire month of November, plezWorld will be participating in National Blog Posting Month. I was pulled into this "thing" by Anali, she keeps doing this to me.

The premise is pretty simple: create a blog post for every day during the month of November to participate in NaBloPoMo. I'm not going to vouch for the quality of my blog entries for the month, but it should be fun trying to triple or even quadruple (depending on the month) my blog output.

Click here to view a BlogRoll of all NaBloPoMo blogs.

There is also a blog directory that will my aggregate content daily if I get enough votes. Click here to support plezWorld so that my daily post in the month of November will be read by others.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

plezWorld in Action: Offensive KFC Commercial

KFC Commercial (family sans father)

KFC Commercial (family with father)

plez sez: i posted about this offensive commercial (Black family without a father at dinner) last week (Issue with KFC Commercial). despite the great comments and dialogue that the post inspired, i am feeling no better about the situation if this commercial is still being broadcast by KFC.

so i have decided to take some action. it may not change anything, but at least i did something.

i called the KFC Comment Line and logged a complaint about the commercial. the customer service rep that i spoke with was well aware of the issue (there have been a number of calls about this commercial) and she logged my complaint into their customer feedback system.
U.S. Customer Satisfaction - 1-800-225-5532
Canada Customer Satisfaction - 1-866-664-5696

next, i posted the following letter on the KFC Online Customer Comment Form and the Yum! Brands Feedback site (Yum! Brands owns KFC):
About one month ago, I viewed the "Single Mother" KFC commercial while watching television with my wife and daughter. Where was the father? Why wasn't there at least another chair at the table for their father? Why was there no mention of a father?

As an African-American, a husband, and a father, I find this commercial to be offensive because it perpetrates and glorifies a negative aspect of the African-American family.

I am offended that it is possible that because of your commercial, my young daughter will think that it is acceptable that she can be happy and have a family of 3 kids without a responsible husband.

As such, I've decided that my family will no longer patronize KFC's restaurants until this offensive and degrading commercial is removed from your rotation.

I have also called KFC Customer Satisfaction and logged a complaint about this offensive commercial.

i have no idea whether my actions will make a difference, but i feel a lot better about my decision to do so. if you have the time and the inclination to do so, i encourage you to call and/or e-mail KFC with your concerns.
For Your Information:
KFC's Corporate Address for Comments
P.O. Box 725489
Atlanta, GA 31139

KFC Online Customer Comment Form:

Customer Satisfaction:
U.S. - 1-800-225-5532
Canada - 1-866-664-5696

Blog Update - 10-24-2007:
i received the following letter in response to my complaints to KFC. as you can see, KFC continues to stand behind the commercial "and looks forward to serving [me] again soon."
October 23, 2007

Dear plezWorld:
Thank you for contacting KFC regarding our recent advertising. The opinions of our customers are very important to us. KFC is a fan of the American family and we celebrate those who make dinner time their family time. We also understand that sometimes work or other schedule issues prevent the entire family from dining together. Whether all the family members are present at dinner -- or just some of them -- KFC is proud to be a part of family time, as depicted in this commercial.

We thank you for voicing your opinion. Please be assured we value your patronage and look forward to serving you again soon.


KFC Guest Satisfaction Department
WRONG ANSWER! they may stand behind that commercial, but they will never (and i repeat, NEVER) have to worry about plezWorld, or the family of, ever darkening the threshold of one of their restaurants again! my money and my integrity means far more to me than a bucket of their greasy, salty chicken.

the letter from KFC implies that the father is simply missing this dinner with his family, but when i called KFC, the customer service rep specifically referred to the "single mother" commercial! plus, i've looked at the commercial numerous times, there are several shots where the mother IS NOT wearing a wedding ring.

i haven't bought gasoline at a Texaco in over 10 years and it's been almost that long since i've dined in a Denny's, so abstaining from KFC will be a piece of cake. this is my PERSONAL BOYCOTT of KFC... and it will continue.

i guess i would've felt better if i had been contacted by The Colonel.

Monday, October 22, 2007

ANTM9 - A Guilty Pleasure in plezWorld

They're ba-a-a-ck! Cycle 9 of America's Next Top Model kicked off a few weeks ago and my Wednesday nights are now complete. After my weekly football fix (all day Saturday with SEC & ACC teams, boo-hoo'ing with the Dirty Birds on Sunday, up half the night on Monday night, and then Thursday Night College Football), I can always count on Hump Day to bring out my appreciation of the fairer sex. The premise of the show is easy: ex-Super Model Tyra Banks and her cast of characters takes 13 young women from around America and transforms them into super models by the end of the show. Using weekly photo shoot competitions and a final runway show, the last contestant standing is crowned America's Next Top Model (ANTM); she gets a photo spread in Seventeen magazine, a modeling contract, and all the Maybelline cosmetics she can stuff in an overnight bag.

As is my custom, I've been following Cycle 9 with interest. This time around, I picked my top three a few weeks ago and I tune in on a weekly basis to make sure that they don't get sent home. It's been kind of rough, because all three have been in the bottom two and risked elimination. Without further ado, my top three are:
  • Saleisha - She's an excellent model and is almost too cute (even though, I'm not crazy about her hair style after the makeover)!
  • Lisa - Long, lean, and FINE!
  • Ambreal - Understated elegance, slamming body, and a brilliant mind!

  • And this is plezWorld's Guilty Pleasure!

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Issue with KFC Commercial (2007)

    KFC Commercial (Family sans Father)

    plez sez: it was about a month ago that i saw this commercial while watching television with my wife and daughter. we have a DVR, so i went back and watched it a few times... each time i saw the commercial, i got angrier and angrier: where was the father? why was there no mention of the father? why wasn't there at least another chair at the table for their father? since the theme of the commercial was "best part of the day," why wasn't there a mention of having the family together for dinner, even though the father couldn't be there, was the best part of their day?

    at first, i thought that it was a case of trying to find hidden racism under every rock... but everytime i see this damn commercial, something just boils in my stomach.

    i know that at least 70% of the households in our Black communities are headed by a Black woman. it is a sad reality. but is that a reality that needs to be justified, no, glorified by KFC? they are selling fried chicken, for Christ sakes, i don't want them making something that should be abnormal seem like it is normal. a family, regardless of race, should have a loving mother and a nurturing father. there will be cases when this is not possible - gay couples, ne'er-do-well spouse abandons the family, children raised by other family members, etc - but this should be the exception, not the rule!

    call me old fashioned. call me disillusioned. call me a Republican (HA HA HA)! i don't want my 6-year old daughter growing up thinking that it is okay for her to raise 2 or 3 kids without a husband. and i don't want some damn KFC commercials telling her that either!

    the issue surrounding this commercial has cropped up on some other blogs that i frequent. what follows is my reaction on those blogs.

    plez on African American Dad:
    My wife and I saw the same commercial a few weeks ago; we actually paused the program we were watching and replayed the commercial two or three times! I’ve only seen it that one time, but we were taken aback by the “hidden racism” that is so prevalent in so many aspects of the media! Like you, I tried to find it on YouTube, because I had planned to post it on my blog.

    I have started a personal BOYCOTT of KFC as a result… that commercial had me steaming! I will have to be one HUNGRY Negro to EVER cross the threshold or buck up in the drive-thru of another KFC, for as long as I live (or until this offensive commercial is retired.

    How in the HELL is KFC going to air/broadcast such an offensive and racially biased commercial of a Black family without a father! I still cannot get over the fact that in 2007, I am seeing negative images of Black families shown on prime time television! How many WHITE and BLACK families have seen that commercial and thought in the back of their minds how NORMAL that must be in our community… I am sick!!!

    plez on Booker Rising:
    shay, thanks for sharing the commercial, i looked for it on YouTube a few weeks ago and couldn't find it.

    i don't like the commercial. the first time i saw the commercial, i wondered out loud to my wife about the absence of the father in the scene. i don't want KFC making social commentary via their commercials about the "situation" of Black single parent households while slingin' fried chicken to the masses!

    and if i read the comments above correctly, many of you within the Black community are fine with the preponderance of fatherless households in the US and don't mind KFC legitimizing it in their commercials. i don't like it and i feel that this commercial by KFC is a deliberate and offensive attempt to portray our Black families in a negative light!

    i don't want my daughter to view even ONE ad that says her family of 3 kids can be HAPPY without a responsible father in the picture. as such, i've decided that i will no longer patronize KFC's restaurants.

    for me, it's not right... and it's not okay!
    emphasis was added for this article

    hat tip: African American Dad & Booker Rising

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Quote of the Day - October 16, 2007

    "No flash, no bang."
    - Atlanta-based Rapper T.I. upon receipt of machine guns and silencers from his bodyguard while under surveillance by ATF agents.

    While Clifford "T.I." Harris should have been preparing for the BET Hip Hop Awards on Saturday evening, he was being booked into jail by ATF agents for purchasing three 9mm machine guns and two 9mm silencers. As a convicted felon (drug trafficking and distribution charges), T.I. is not allowed to own or possess firearms. Special permits are necessary to own semi-automatic weapons, and silencers are illegal.

    T.I. has a bond hearing scheduled for Friday, October 19th.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution details the timeline leading to the rapper's arrest on Saturday based on documents released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF):
  • Oct. 2: Harris' bodyguard asks a licensed gun dealer about buying a machine gun without registering it, as required by law. The dealer reports the incident to ATF agents, who give the dealer the cell phone number of an undercover ATF agent, posing as a machine gun dealer, to pass along to the bodyguard. The bodyguard calls the number within hours.
  • Oct. 10: Harris arranges for the bodyguard to pick up $12,000 in cash from his bank on Northside Parkway to buy the weapons. Later, the bodyguard meets with the undercover agent at a K-Mart store, 5997 Buford Highway, Doraville. The bodyguard gives the agent $2,200 and a .223-caliber pistol in exchange for three 9mm machine guns and two 9mm silencers. The bodyguard is then arrested. He tells agents he was buying the guns for Harris. He also says he has purchased about 25 firearms over the past 18 months for Harris and others. ATF agents confirm the purchases.
  • Oct. 11: After agreeing to cooperate with the ATF, the bodyguard makes a monitored phone call to Harris. He tells Harris that he has "everything for you."
  • Oct. 12: Harris calls his bodyguard and arranges for him to deliver the firearms the next day.
  • Oct. 13, approx. 12:45 p.m.: Harris calls the bodyguard and asks him to bring the items to a recording studio. At the direction of ATF agents, the bodyguard suggests that they instead meet at a shopping center parking lot at the corner of Piedmont and North avenues in Atlanta.
  • Oct. 13, 2:22 p.m.: Harris arrives at the parking lot. The bodyguard gets into Harris' vehicle and shows him the machine guns and silencers. When the bodyguard explains the function of one silencer, Harris says, "No flash, no bang." Harris also asks about ammunition, the capacity of the magazine and about "change left over" from the $12,000. Authorities then move in and arrest Harris without incident. A search of his vehicle uncovers three firearms, including one tucked between the driver's seat and the center console.
  • Oct. 13, 2:40 p.m.: ATF agents begin searching Harris's home in College Park, GA. They find three rifles, two pistols and a revolver in a walk-in closet in his bedroom. Five of the firearms are loaded.
  • Oct. 15: Harris, held in federal custody over the weekend, makes his first appearance in federal court on two felony charges: possession of unregistered machine guns and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.
  • Read the entire story about rapper T.I.'s rise to fame and fall from grace here.

    plez sez: i've seen his pictures on the news the last few days... i don't know any of his music [sic]. this story has little or no interest to me, t.i. can spend the rest of his days rotting in a prison somewhere for all i care, but here is another case of a relatively high-profile, successful(?), Black man in the ATL who is stealing the headlines and basically tarnishing the reputation of Atlanta.

    this t.i. (or t.i.p.) character is either the dumbest m.f. in college park OR the ATF agents arrested the wrong guy (and have the wrong guy on surveillance tape talking about the purchase of machine guns and silencers in direct violation of the terms of his release on felony drug charges). i'll stick with him being the dumbest guy around!

    WTF! what is a high profile rapper who is up for numerous hip hop awards doing in a drug store parking lot completing the transaction for high powered semi-automatic guns and silencers when he should've been at home polishing the BLING that he'd planned to wear later that night to the awards show?

    the level of stupidity of these people never ceases to amaze me. if nothing else, he should get 20 years for being the dumbest muthaf**** in metro Atlanta! and after reading more about him, you will see that he is little more than a two-bit thug who probably relishes the thought of more jail time. i'm saddened, again!

    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Quote of the Day - October 11, 2007

    "He killed himself. Hip-hoppers do not kill themselves. They walk away."
    - John Gibson on the October 10 edition of Fox News Radio's The John Gibson Show after learning that the high school shooter in Cleveland, Ohio was not Black.

    Excerpts of transcripts of the show are provided by Media Matters:
    GIBSON: Well, we have an inside look at the production of The John Gibson Show today because there was big news out in Cleveland, Ohio, and I teed it up saying, "What we have here is another example of hip-hop culture bringing murder and mayhem into the rest of our society."

    Now, this was a terrible incident out in a school near Cleveland. It's called "SuccessTech." It's one of those alternative schools. Eighty-five percent African-American. Eighty-five percent. First thing you see when you see the pictures today is a whole bunch of black kids. Three teachers -- did it turn out to be three teachers or two?

    ANGRY RICH: Three.

    GIBSON: And three students shot. Now, all of the teachers and students that were shot were -- survive. The wounds are not serious. Well, I guess there's one of the teachers is in surgery and so forth, but they're all expected to live. The shooter committed suicide. This is one of the students who was shot in the elbow and, you know, was not seriously hurt, although he was shot.

    GIBSON: Now why would there be guns in schools?

    [audio clip -- 50 Cent's "Fully Loaded Clip"]

    GIBSON: Well, that's my working theory, but, you know -- and, of course, because the school is very heavily African-American, I did leap to a conclusion.

    ANGY RICH: What was that, John?

    GIBSON: Well, that the shooter might have been African-American. Turns out it's a white guy.

    [audio clip -- "Is Gibson wrong?"]

    GIBSON: Gibson's not wrong. Gibson is not wrong. No, in the -- in years past, in the many of these shooting incidents that I've covered, you've always looked at things like video games, Grand Theft Auto, and desensitizing kids to shooting people and stuff like that, and all I can say is, "Hey, times change. We move on." All of a sudden, you know, the gun violence in the culture is coming at the kids from a different direction.

    [audio clip -- 50 Cent's "Touch The Sky"]

    GIBSON: Well, you know, you can't deny it. I mean, there's a gazillion of those things out there and the kids are listening on their iPods, and the kids listening on their iPods are not all black kids. Some white kids listen too.

    ANGRY RICH: This kid was a Marilyn Manson fan.

    GIBSON: He's a goth type.

    ANGRY RICH: Yes.

    GIBSON: So he wasn't picking up the hip-hop?

    ANGRY RICH: I don't think so, John.


    GIBSON: Angry Rich, you know why I knew that this -- through our afternoon of mystery wondering about the kid that was the shooter, I knew this was not a classic hip-hop shooting.

    ANGRY RICH: How's that John?

    GIBSON: He killed himself. Hip-hoppers do not kill themselves. They walk away. Now, I didn't need to hear the kid was white with blond hair. Once he'd shot himself in the head, no hip-hopper.

    ANGRY RICH: So it's not a classic hip-hop --

    GIBSON: It's not even close. I mean it's whatever he is, and it's clear to me that this gun culture right now primarily promoted by hip-hop music --

    [rap clip]

    GIBSON: "I bought a brand new gun today. I'm gonna shoot you in the face." This culture has even reached the school campus. We're not in the Kip Kinkel era of school shootings anymore; it has changed. Yes, I know the shooter was white. I knew it as soon as he shot himself. Hip-hoppers don't do that. They shoot and move on to shoot again. Triple-8, 788-9910. I know there's a few of you who want to call me racist. But when you do, remind -- let me remind you, African-Americans are dying in major cities because people won't face this problem. Gibson on Fox.


    GIBSON: OK, I thought the kid was a black kid, I'll admit it, until I heard he shot himself. Does that make me a racist?
    Read the entire story about the shooting here.

    plez sez: well, john gibson asks the question, "does thinking the kid was Black until he found out that he shot himself make him a racist?"

    i would answer, "NO!" john gibson has probably said or done other racist things that i would not care to dredge up.

    because i knew the shooter was white: they never showed his picture on television! if you are wondering how i jumped to that conclusion, the news almost never shows WHITE criminals on television, but you can bet that if the Cleveland Shooter had been Black, you would've seen him (or his family members all over the screen). i watched CNN past midnight, and they still didn't have a picture of the shooter. and CNN almost implied the shooter was Black because the school is majority Black and everyone they interviewed was Black, but there was never any mention of a white shooter. maybe john gibson and plezWorld are BOTH racists, but for different reasons.

    and i guess this is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in this country where everything (and i mean EVERYTHING) comes down to a discussion of race. what was the race of that psycho at Virginia Tech? WHEW! thank god, he wasn't Black! what did that white boy say to those Black boys in Jena, LA to warrant such a beat down? with a name like Shaquanda, she has to be Black! michael vick is a thug. hmmmm, they keep talking about this kid who turned the gun on himself after shooting four people at school, i wonder why they don't show his face (or the face of his relatives)... he must be white!

    i am not particularly angry with what john gibson said, but i am more than alittle upset with the continued demonization and violent characterization of Black men in the media. i have no doubt that a Black shooter's face (baby picture or yearbook picture) would have made its way onto our television screens yesterday!

    Friday, October 05, 2007

    Lil' Nupe Steppin'

    Lil' plezWorld Nupe would've wow'd 'em with something like this:

    Shout out to all the Serious Steppin' Nupes: LuciousBlackCeasar, Golden Rod, The DC Gigalo, Bugs Malone, Lord Taylor, Polo, Mr. Smooth, Whip Daddy, Coop the Nupe, Sir Jamelot, Plezure... A Yessir!, Ralph Jr., Freaky Rob, E-Bone, Entertainer, Baby Nupe, Spanky-spo, T-Moore, Suite Dave, G-Rhyme, Derrick from the V.I., A-Train, Andre' D., Larry Luv, Drew from Mu, FaceOff, Gabe, Shimmy'N Sean, Krouching Tiger, J. Lee, J.J., Ant H, L-Boogie, CC, DBohler, Barry G., Kenny Oh!, MemphisMicah, BooGooDoo BOOM, B. Stew, KD, KC, Little Freeman, 11:59... and all those lil' Nupes who're just learning how to swing that cane!

    Throwing up a "YO!" to all of the members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity WORLDWIDE!

    Palm Treo 680 - HotSync Issue

    I owned a Palm Treo 650 for about 3 years until it went belly up right before I left the house for a Super Bowl Party. Before I went to the party, I ran to the Cingular (now AT&T Mobility) store and purchased a shiny new Treo 680. We successfully transferred all of my contacts (over 600 of them), calender entries, memos, and third party software (except I could never get my Ace's Texas Hold'em to work on my new smartphone).

    I went out of town in June for 3 weeks and when I returned home and tried to HotSync, I noticed that the smartphone would hangup when it got to the Calendar conduit. It would cycle for 4-5 minutes and then the Treo 680 would reboot; I would also have to reboot my computer because the Palm Desktop would also be locked. Through trial and error, I learned how to bypass (skip) the Calendar conduit to complete the HotSync function, but I did not have a backup of my Calendar entries since early June 2007.

    For weeks... no, months, my new Palm Treo 680 would not HotSync the Calendar conduit with the Palm Desktop. I posted a plea for help on the Palm Help Forum where I received numerous suggestions, but no solution to my problem.

    I finally broke down and called Palm Support. It took about 2 hours, but the Customer Service Rep and I finally fixed the problem. There was/were bad record(s) in my Calendar and the only way to fix it was to restore my system from an old backup. These are the steps that I followed to fix the issue:
    • Rename Program Files/palmOne to Program Files/palmOne_OLD
    • Go into system and REMOVE the Palm Desktop from your PC
    • COLD RESET the Treo 680 so that it deletes all data (remove battery and hold RED Off button while it boots back up and select YES to delete all records)
    • Use the Palm CD that came with the Treo to re-install the Palm Desktop
    • Go to Palm Desktop and add a new Profile Name
    • Copy files from Program Files/palmOne_OLD to the new Program Files/palmOne
      • Contacts (address\address.bak)
      • Calendar (datebook\datebook.bak)
      • Memos (memopad\memopad.bak)
      • Tasks (todo\todo.bak)
      • Applications from the OldApps directory (yeah, I didn't know it existed either, but it contains all of the 3rd party stuff that you've added over the years)
    • Luckily, I save the pictures to my SD card when I take my pictures
    • HotSync your blank Treo with your updated Palm Desktop (your Treo will not have any of the settings/preferences you had before: color schemes, songs for individuals, etc.)
    All in all, I probably salvaged 95% of my data (save the Calendar posts that have been added since my HotSync went belly up in mid-June).

    The only thing I would do different, is turn off my Calendar conduit and HotSync one time before going through the above procedure. And this underscores the need to do frequent backups of your data.

    Thursday, October 04, 2007

    Call to Override Bush's Veto of SCHIP Bill

    The following issue update was distributed by the Washington Bureau of the NAACP:
    On October 3, 2007, President Bush vetoed legislation expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $35 billion over the next five years. This expansion, which enjoyed bi-partisan support in both the House and the Senate, as well as among groups as diverse as the NAACP and industry groups representing insurers (the American Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP) and doctors (the American Medical Association) would have covered not only the 6 million children already enrolled in SCHIP, but would have allowed almost 6 million more American children to benefit from the program.

    Since 1997, SCHIP has significantly improved American children's access to health care, and has made significant strides in covering racial and ethnic minority children. Initially SCHIP provided $40 billion to states to provide health care coverage to children who lived in families that earned too much to qualify for Medicare but too little to afford private health insurance. Since its adoption, SCHIP has reduced dramatically (by a third) the number of America's uninsured children. Racial and ethnic minority children have especially benefited from this program; since 1997, the rate of uninsured African American children dropped by almost half; from 20% to 12%; the rate of uninsured Asian and Pacific Islander children has also been cut in half, from 17% to 8%. The rate of uninsured Latino children has gone from 30% to 21%. Because of SCHIP, approximately 6 million children currently have access to vital health care services including screening and prevention services that help them stay healthy and grow to be strong and productive adults.

    Despite these successes, there is still work to be done. Nine million children in our nation remain uninsured today; more than 5 million of them are racial or ethnic minorities. Nearly three-quarters of them are eligible for either Medicare or SCHIP, yet they are not enrolled in either program. While enough Senators supported the final version of the bill (67), the House of Representatives fell about 20 votes short of a veto-proof margin (two thirds of those voting, or 289 if all Members are present are needed to override a veto), passing it 265 – 159. Thus we need to encourage all Americans to contact their elected Senators and Representatives as soon as possible and ask them to vote to override the President's veto of this important program.

    The Democratic Party has also issued a call to Congress to override Bush's veto:
    George Bush made a cold political calculation this morning. He could have signed this bi-partisan bill into law, or he could have pandered to conservatives who didn't want to see the Children's Health Insurance Program get the funding it needs.

    He decided to pander -- and millions of kids will suffer for it.

    What makes this veto worse is that George Bush will spend billions of dollars in Iraq, some of it on contractors like Blackwater and Halliburton, while denying millions of children needed doctors' visits or medicine here at home.

    On top of that, all of the Republican candidates for president support his veto.

    Democrats are in the majority for a reason. Send a message to your Senators and Representative and let them know why that is:

    plez sez: once again, The Great Decider, has made a decision which will affect millions of children nationwide. George Bush has continued to run this country as The Great Divider, choosing politics over children... and this time, even defying a bipartisan approach to a real problem.

    by vetoing the SCHIP bill, Bush has threatened funding of the Georgia insurance plan (Peachcare for Kids). the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (here and here)that there are 265,000 children in Georgia who participate in Peachcare for Kids and there are another 300,000 children in the state with no health insurance of any kind. George Bush talked of middle-class and rich families benefiting from the insurance; in Georgia, the maximum yearly income for a family of four to qualify is less than $49,000 - definitely on the low side of the middle class!

    Georgia had to freeze enrollment in Peachcare for Kids in March for four months when the federal money initially ran out (until Congress approved more money for the program), and now it risks being shut down completely at the end of November.
    PeachCare for Kids is Georgia's version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). It covers children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance. Congress passed a resolution to continue funding the national program through mid-November. Georgia officials say that if Congress and the president can't reach an agreement by then, PeachCare will run out of federal money and cease to exist by the end of that month.

    so this country is fine with spending BILLIONS of dollars per month on war that kills thousands and destroys families, a war where services vendors can overcharge the US government by MILLIONS on no-bid contracts, but will let the "least of these" - our children - go without health insurance? all this over a 61-cent increase in tax on a pack of cigarettes! it would be unconscionable if Congress were to let Bush's veto stand... they must override the veto of SCHIP!

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    Clarence Thomas - The Bitter Justice

    Clarence Thomas is back in the news. Not only has the Supreme Court begun the fall docket, but he has released a new book, "My Grandfather's Son," for sale. Justice Thomas is doing the obligatory book tour to tout the book in hopes that millions of Americans run out to buy it. I haven't read the book, but if his interview on 60 Minutes and other articles on the matter are any indication, this book will be quite a read.

    I ran across a very interesting article on Reason Online entitled "Native Son, Why A Black Supreme Court Justice Has No Rights A White Man Need Respect." It was in 1857 during the Dred Scott case when the question was raised as to whether Blacks were or were not property and therefore if they had or had no rights as a human being. Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney is quoted as saying, "A Negro has no rights which a white man need respect." This article (dated February 1992) gives an in depth analysis as to how Clarence Thomas was the victim of a very old idea called racism:
    One of the major reasons for the persistent problem is that millions of white adult Americans define "racism" as its most pathological manifestations: wearing white gowns and hoods, burning crosses, tarring and feathering blacks, hunting them down with dogs. Because those same millions of white Americans would not dream of committing such atrocities; because they vote for political representatives who pass civil-rights bills; because they applauded Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall; because they respect the changing nomenclature by which certain blacks wish to be addressed, they imagine themselves to be free of racism.

    What they have never learned is that racism is an idea, a very old and intransigent idea. That idea exists on an unbroken continuum -- all the way from a form that is fully conscious to a form that is unconscious. Its manifestations can range from the most grossly offensive and scornful invective to a compulsive noblesse oblige that cannot permit itself to make any criticisms at all. But whatever the degree or kind of racism, it invariably contains a double standard: The racist simply does not treat black individuals the same way he treats whites.

    The effect of stereotypes on blacks is a sense of being unseen, as in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. The effect on whites is the corollary: They do not perceive blacks as real or make the same fine discriminations among blacks that they habitually make among whites. In the last analysis, they do not perceive black individuals; they perceive black skins. And this remains true at every step of the continuum.

    It should not, therefore, come as an insuperable shock that the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court were a racist phenomenon. The "nice" kind; no Simon Legrees or fiery crosses here. But racist nonetheless. Setting aside old segregationist Strom Thurmond, who conscientiously counterfeited a dead man and may, for all I know, actually have been dead, the other senators participated, singly and collectively -- and unwittingly -- in a process that ceaselessly generated negative stereotypes about Thomas.

    The author goes on to lay out the racist stereotypes that were applied Thomas from the day he was nominated by President George Bush (the first) until the day he was confirmed by the Senate:
  • The Nomination President Bush LIED when he told the nation that Clarence Thomas was the "best" candidate and that he was not chosen because he was Black. Everyone knew that there were other candidates as qualified as (or more qualified than) Clarence Thomas and he was only nominated because he was Black. The nomination was an affirmative action move to maintain a Black seat on the Supreme Court by a party who was against affirmative action.
  • The Art of Evasion Supreme Court nominees normally do not answer questions about how they will rule on specific situations that may come before them on the bench (i.e. abortion, affirmative action, death penalty, etc.). This works well for white candidates, but when a Black man is evasive, he comes off as being dumb! This label of being not as well-versed on the issues has dogged Justice Thomas since he took his seat on the bench. To this day, it has been implied (and explicitly expressed) that Thomas is a dim-witted right-wing puppet with no original ideas.
  • The Character Issue Thomas was held up as a clean, obedient, yes-man for the Republican party, he had a "mentor" in Senator John Danforth who had to vouch for Thomas's impeccable credentials as a lawyer and judge. Although, Thomas had a career outside his short time clerking for Danforth, it was essential that he had a white man who could stand for him and "assure" the Senate Committee that this was "a good one"!
  • The Abortion Issue Thomas was asked almost 100 times to explain what his legal and political opinions would be on any upcoming abortion case. Since no Supreme Court nominee would touch that question with a ten foot pole, Thomas ended up taking the Fifth over 100 times... see the Art of Evasion above!
  • Anita Hill The article states that Thomas's favorite book is Richard Wright's Native Son, the story of Bigger Thomas, a young Black man who is wrongly accused of the rape and murder of a white woman in the South in the 1940's. The biggest fear of any Black man during that time was to be accused of even looking a white person in the eye, much less, being accused of a sex crime and murder against a white woman! Any Black man was a dead man. Fast forward to 1991 and imagine the horror (and irony) of Clarence Thomas being accused of a sex crime (harassment), a "he said-she said" crime where he could never ever prove his innocence. As with Bigger Thomas, Clarence Thomas was subjected to a "high tech lynching."

  • Black-on-Black Blacks were turned against Clarence Thomas on Day One and he was NEVER given the opportunity of redemption. He was introduced as a conservative, Black Republican, a devotee of Ronald Reagan and everything liberal, Black Democrats were against... so he has carried that House Nigger title without ever being given the benefit of the doubt. To my way of thinking, this is probably the most damning and most egregious form of racism... turning one Black man against another because of politics. This has divided us and conquered us at every turn since our shackled ancestors walked off that very first slave ship.

  • Another article of note is from the Washington Post. As a result of a hard life, Justice Thomas lashes out at just about everyone in his new book. The article states that "Justice Clarence Thomas settles scores in an angry and vivid forthcoming memoir, scathingly condemning the media, the Democratic senators who opposed his nomination to the Supreme Court, and the "mob" of liberal elites and activist groups that he says desecrated his life." The article (and 60 Minutes interview) shed some light on why he is so bitter:
  • Family Life Abandoned by his parents and raised by a stern and authoritarian grandfather, it appears that Thomas never felt loved or wanted by anyone. When he dropped out of seminary school, his grandfather kicked him out.
  • The Segregated South The blatant racism with which he was raised always looms over his relationships with Blacks and whites.
  • Religion Thomas had plans on becoming a priest, but disparaging remarks by priests concerning the MLK assassination made him question his religion and was the impetus of him dropping out of the seminary.
  • Law Degree Although, he received a law degree from Yale, he credits affirmative action for diminishing the value of the degree thus making it difficult for him to find a job after graduation, more than anything, this appears to be the reason why he is against affirmative action and quotas. To this day, people talk about how he was the benefactor of affirmative action, but his counter is the double edged sword that casts doubts on the value or worth of those who benefit from it.
  • Senate Confirmation Hearings Everyone is familiar with him lashing out at the Senators with his "high tech lynching" comment. The process left such a bad taste in his mouth that he credits that process with ruining his life and he frankly hoped that he did not get confirmed.
  • Self Hate It appears that he doesn't understand why every Black person does not get up and work like HELL to uplift the race like the grandfather who raised him. I think he looks out at Black America and sees (by and large) a group of lazy and shiftless niggers! It seems to me that he is ashamed to be a member of this race.

  • View and read the transcript of the 60 Minutes interview here.

    plez sez:I watched 60 Minutes on Sunday evening and discussed the Clarence Thomas interview with my wife. We both agreed that he has to be the most bitter man alive. He is so filled with disgust about his life and how that shred of a life that he had was utterly destroyed during his Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings.

    As a moderate, plezWorld has taken a vastly different approach to Clarence Thomas as evidenced in my Clarence Thomas: American Hero post. For some reason, I've been able to muster up some empathy for the misunderstood and sad man who is Clarence Thomas, only the second Black Supreme Court Justice.

    In his book, Thomas writes of his Senate Confirmation Hearings, "The mob I now faced carried no ropes or guns. Its weapons were smooth-tongued lies spoken into microphones and printed on the front pages of America's newspapers. But it was a mob all the same, and its purpose -- to keep the black man in his place -- was unchanged." It is obvious that he understands that he was a victim of racism, I don't think he understands that the Republicans who propped him up where as racist as the Democrats who attacked him.

    Clarence Thomas is a sad and bitter man who appears to find no joy in being a member of the highest court in the land. In the television interview, he had a difficult time even referring to himself as a Black man. To me that was the saddest revelation of all: he hates life, he hates what life has done to him, and above all, he hates himself. That is sad...

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    Quote of the Day - October 1, 2007

    "Childrens do learn"
    - George W. Bush speaking before the New York City Chancellor of Schools, P.S. 76 principal, teachers, and about 20 students as "the education president" took credit for higher test scores and an appeal to Congress to renew his No Child Left Behind initiative.

    Read the entire Washington Post article here.

    plez sez: no surprise here. this coming from a man who takes great pleasure in his self-deprecating approach to his lack intelligence. i'm just perplexed that Bush was "selected" president not once, but twice!

    and we also have to ask ourselves, had BARACK OBAMA made a similar gaffe, would we just laugh it off? or would he be pilloried in the press? i think you know the answer!

    and speaking of Barack Obama, there is some great news out of Iowa -- Obama is leading in the latest Newsweek poll of likely caucus-goers. Here's the breakdown:

    Obama: 28%
    Clinton: 24%
    Edwards: 22%

    since Iowa is the first true test of the nomination process, it is good to see Barack Obama leading a very tight race.