Friday, February 29, 2008

Piss Poor Chemistry

From the Los Angeles Times

When we talk about chemistry, many consider it a snoozer. Most peeps would prefer to think of it as something they did in high school or perhaps college if they couldn't use anthropology or a psych class to get out of their general requirements. So you know, the L.A. Times is reporting that Deborah Rice was kicked off a federal evaluation panel. Why should you give a shit? The panel is for assessing the dangers of a chemical compound whose environmental and biological toxicity is being determined for use in everyday products. Deborah Rice is an expert on this particular compound (deca) and her extensive research noted the long-term danger to consumers. She was kicked off the panel because of these views. Do you see the problem? One more thing - it was the CHEMICAL INDUSTRY (people who would strictly profit from use of this chemical compound) who told the people over the panel that she was "biased." Wait for it. Well who's over the panel? The ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. However the EPA has NO problem letting employees and paid associates of the chemical industry sit on panels. Just research it (we know you won't). This shows how the EPA often lives up to the "A", but not the "EP" in its title. More importantly, this is an example of how lobbyists blatantly control decisions government (or rather not-for-profit players) should be making. You want Exxon Mobile employees and associates to decide the public safety level of certain types of chemicals in their gasoline? Too late. They already did. We're just giving you a word of warning. Wouldn't you want to go back in time and tell people that aerosol products containing lead were, well, NOT good for them?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hmmmm....A New Take on Politics

Left to Right: Anon, Odinga, Kekwete, and Kibaki

Word on the street is that folks, specifically black folks, are tired of getting nothing but bad and scary news about the continent that birthed us all. Many tuned out when violence irrupted in Kenya over the presidential election, especially since those who have done no research of the country and consider it only good for safaris thought of it as having absolutely no ethnic or political tensions. News sources from all over have confirmed that in a remarkable move, rivals Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga hammered out an agreement urged by Former U.N. Secretary Kofi Anon, that results in changing the fundamental structure of federal government. WHAT? A President and a Prime Minister? A cabinet split 50/50 among rival loyalties! This CAN'T work people say. Many Kenyans (and their opinion matters most) are extremely skeptical of how things will proceed, but proceed they will. Our point is that someone, somewhere is willing to go through the trouble of amending a country's constitution in order to restore peace and cease bloodshed (along with bad press). We're not advocating violence and death as a means to protest an election, but we don't really advocate watching ballots being purposely miscounted/discredited and sitting back while the candidate with the least votes waltzes his lying self into office. We're sure there's some midpoint between the Kenyan and American extremes.

Apparently a LOT of folks are in jail...Who Knew

The New York Times is running what people in certain circles of society would call one of the most unsurprising headlines of the century. The focus is on about 1% of the entire United States population being incarcerated. We are talking about "behind bars", not probation and parole. The "newsflash" of course breaks out the stats on who is disproportionately represented in this survey of the caged. Guess who tops the list? To over-summarize the article (that is part of a blogger's job after all), we are in piss poor shape. With 1 in 15 black adults in prison, the percentages for black men and women under 40 provides an indicator of where the landscape of freedom is headed within the next generation. We won't say in the toilet, because that would be bleak and not take into consideration the progress of many African Americans. We'll say in the gutter. How did it get this way? Here's our shameless, yet relevant plug:

Dig Deeper:
Onyx has Common Sense Interview the Criminal Justice System:

Money, Drugs and...Death in China

From the Los Angeles Times
This story was worth sharing with all five of our devoted readers. What would you do if an ATM gave you money? We'll rephrase. What would you do if the fee-happy mega bank you belong to only charged your account 14 cents for every $1 you withdrew? Well, proving himself all too human, a man in China "took advantage" (read: used) the ATM repeatedly and ultimately withdrew $24,000. There are a lot of details we'll skim over, but he wasn't caught until he tried to rejoin society via a job and was arrested through an identification check. What do you think happened to the guy? Well, he was sentenced in federal court - TO LIFE IN PRISON. He was charged with "bank robbery." You're feelin' the absurdity, right? Just so you know, the bank was refunded the money by the ATM manufacturer. This brought up issues for the Chinese and world public since some ATMs over there give people counterfeit money or test paper and they can't get their money back. So that's the "Money" part. In terms of "Drugs", we figure that's what Chinese courts are on to give such a harsh sentence for a customer taking advantage of a bank (Lord knows it never happens the other way around). Here's the bigger shocker for anyone that knows ANYTHING about how the Chinese government runs its country. He's getting a retrial, largely due to public sentiment and outrage. Are we witnessing the "Death" of the ludicrous jail sentences for non-lethal crimes in China? Survey says...Hell no. But we will be watching for the ultimate verdict.

A Test of the Congressional Dems - NOT G.W.

To the surprise of no one who has been awake since our September 11th (other countries have experienced mass death on that day), old G.W. is once again "takin' it to the streets." By "it" we mean pressing to legally invade the American public's privacy through Hoover-style eavesdropping (as in J. Edgar - not the West Coast gang). And by "the streets" we mean Congress because that's as close to the "real guy" as he gets outside of staged town hall meetings. Bush's determination to collude with telecommunications corporations to dig through our bidness is nothing new. He's just living down to expectations. What WE want to know is what will this slim Democratic-majority Congress do about his request? If they go according to the public wave of pissivity and frustration that got them elected, they won't let him get away with it. If they do what cynics like us believe politicians ultimately do...Well we won't have to tell you because AT&T/Sprint/T-Mobile/Verizon will.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Complicating the Uncomplicated

Hostages being released is a good thing, right? Seems like a rhetorical question, but it isn't. Case in point, the release of four hostages from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (Farc) who have hundreds more. People who were held against their will are now free, thanks to negotiations by Venezuelan President, Hugh Chavez. "That's that," you say. Except that it isn't. What does their release really mean? Farc is labeled a terrorist organization by the United States and current right-wing Columbian government (which is so cool on Chavez). They have hostages, so they must be terrorists, right? Well, to others they are known as a left-wing insurgency forced to use violent tactics in railing against the repressive Columbian government that some would call a U.S. backed dictatorship. To-may-toe/To-mah-toe. Those who are fans of Chavez are more sympathetic to Farc, but a left-wing President who shuts down all viable media opposition raises his own set of questions. And according to the BBC News, Farc just wants more media attention, thus the trickling release of certain hostages. So what does the release of four hostages among many over the course of a 4o+ year civil war mean? We wish we could tell you what the answer is for the world or even Latin America, but we'll just go with a sense of relief for their family and friends. That'll have to be enough for now.

Hillary - What of it?

It's so "run of the mill" for a blog post to be about the presidential primary election.

That said...

We noticed several people enraged by Hillary Clinton's more aggressive and accusatory addressing of her opponent, Barack Obama. We have a question - how exactly is she supposed to behave? One of our staff members stated what many seem to be thinking. "She was just out of pocket and out of line. She seems pretty desperate, because now she's getting rude and making unnecessarily negative comments about Obama even when she's unprompted."

Hmmmm.....That kind of sounds as if she's a politician involved in a political race. Lately, Hillary has been losing primaries like Giuliani and we're wondering why she wouldn't be desperate at this point. I think some feel as though she should be a graceful "loser". Maybe she will, but for now, she's still in the race. What's wrong with running harder? If it means she trips and loses her momentum - that's her bad. But expecting her to hang back and just trot along is kind of...shit what's the word...unrealistic.

Want to dig deeper?:
Onyx's Take on Obama:
Onyx's Take on Clinton:

So We'll Try This

Here's the deal,

We decided to do a "blogger edition" of our website ( due to the demands (well, they were actually suggestions) by some of our regular readers who enjoy our (often lengthily) articles and wanted a daily version that was more spontaneous.


A quick and dirty version of our commentary on topics. We'd go into further detail, but you know what a blog is.

We'll Holla.