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.