Friday, December 16th, 2005
We’re winding down the year here, then going on vacation. It’s been a ride. It feels like this year has been historic. I really can’t remember as tumultuous a year in over a decade. Not even last year.
In any case, barring something big–like we sign Frank Thomas or I actually get my act together and do a year-end best-of before January 1st–this will be the last thread of the year. It’ll expand with more and more links and stuff. If it gets too big, I’ll start topic headers. Anyway…
Best wishes for a peaceful 2006.
+ Jordan Flaherty’s latest piece: “Death, Abundance and New Orleans”.
+ Clear Channel sells a news center’s name to a bank. “‘Now reporting from the Amcore Bank News Center, here’s WIBA’s Jennifer Miller.’” (Link courtesy Rock & Rap Confidential e-list.) I’m gonna start branding my own properties in 2006. Now sh-tting from my Amcore Bank Asshole…
+ Michael Krikorian on Raymond Washington, founder of the Crips.
+ Junichi’s “Everything I Need To Know About Men and Women, I Learned From The Hit Songs of 2005.
+The FBI spied on Patsy Mink, and questioned her citizenship.
+ Ishmael Reed on Richard Pryor and “getting over”.
+ A great NOLA music blog for anyone who isn’t already convinced that New Orleans did it all, and anyone who believes it ought to continue to do it. Thank you, Steve Kiviat.
+ No Miggy for Manny, but Johnny is now Judas. Bosux fans sound off:
In what has become a sports rivalry of biblical proportions, do you find it ironic that Johnny Damon, aka Jesus, turned out to be, in fact, Judas? Can this rivalry between New York and Boston get any bigger? I know you can’t bear to think of it but the only logical countermove by Red Sox management is to sign Clemens and instigate a brawl by having him bean Damon.
– J. Wood, Natick, MA
Remember the SNL skit from the 90′s labeled “Steroid Olympics” and that guy tries to dead lift 900lbs and as he jerks up, both arms rip clean off his shoulders and are still attached to the barbell on the floor and blood is spurting out everywhere from his shoulder sockets … I hope Damon’s arm comes flying off while he is trying to make a throw home and his hand and arm are still attached to the ball as it weekly (sic) lands in front of A-Rods foot and then A-Rod vomits and passes out and Joe Torre has to come out and give mouth to mouth to A-Rods bloated purple lips … That would ease the pain of this trade
– Mark Faselle, Dallas, TX
Friday, December 16th, 2005
Hey all you hip-hop producers/criminal sampling thieves/free culture frontline warriors/future Dangermouse industry pariahs, whatever you call yourself…
The idea is to make a 4-minute song from sound in the movie. Samples from the film include voiceovers from De La Soul, DJ Qbert, members of Public Enemy, Matmos, Coldcut, members of Negativland, and others. The best overall winner will be included prominently in the film and the top 11 other entries are to be included on a companion CD.
Slice and dice!
Monday, December 12th, 2005
In both cases, execution was the verdict.
The Terminator issued a statement today denying Stanley Tookie Williams request for clemency.
“It is impossible to separate Williams’ claim of innocence from his claim of redemption,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his statement. “Based on the cumulative weight of the evidence, there is no reason to second guess the jury’s decision of guilt or raise significant doubts or serious reservatons about Williams’ convictions and death sentence.”
But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to rewrite the history of San Quentin in the late 60s and early 70s. And here’s where he steps over the line.
I oppose the death penalty. But I have been an ambivalent supporter of clemency for Tookie Williams.
But in this statement, Schwarzenegger makes it clear that Williams is being executed for much more than the facts of the case. He is being taken for George Jackson’s sins.
Rejecting Williams’ efforts to end gang violence, Schwarzenegger practically blames Williams for it: “…(T)he continued pervasiveness of gang violence leads one to question the efficacy of Williams’ message.”
In the most telling paragraph, he notes that Williams dedicates his book to “Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Geronima Ji Jaga Pratt, Ramona Africa, John Africa, Leonard Peltier, Dhoruba Al-Mujahid, George Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and countless other men, women and youths who have to endure the hellish oppression of living behind bars.”
He writes, “The mix of individuals on this list is curious. Most have violent pasts and some have been convicted of committing heinous murders, including the killing of law enforcement. But the inclusion of George Jackson on this list defies reason and is a significant indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he still sees violence and lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal problems.”
Where did this come from?
It’s an attempt to turn Williams’ execution into an ideological attack on the broad-based movement to question the prison-industrial complex and push for more progressive approaches to rehabilitation.
Schwarzenegger won’t just lose one on this decision.
Download Schwarzenegger’s statement here.
Schwarzenegger was in such a rush to make an ideological point that he apparently didn’t even try to get the facts of George Jackson’s case correct. Here’s the SF Chronicle:
“The governor’s statement contained misstatements about Jackson, implying in a footnote that Jackson had been present and an accomplice during a 1970 court hearing when his brother stormed the courtroom with a machine gun and took hostages. Jackson was not at the hearing, and the administration later issued a correction.
And here is the original statement with the lying footnote on page 5.
Saturday, December 10th, 2005
“God made me funny.”
December 1, 1940-December 10, 2005
Rest In Peace.
+ Mel Watkins in the New York Times.
+ Lynell George in the Los Angeles Times.
+ Lee Ballinger from the October 2000 issue of Rock and Rap Confidential:
“You should not even get on stage and attempt to be funny,” Chris Rock said recently, “unless you realize you’re never going to be as funny as Richard Pryor.”
Anyone who doubts the truth of that statement is referred to …And It’s Deep Too! The Complete Richard Pryor Warner Brothers Recordings (1968-1992), a nine-CD box set just out on Rhino. Especially on the three complete concerts included, Pryor is revealed as not just the funniest man who ever lived, but an actor, a mimic, and a student of American history with few peers as well.
All of this only partially explains why millions of people love Richard Pryor so much. The rest of the answer lies in Pryor’s love of humanity, which he sends out both as explicit valentines and in the way he pokes savage fun at human foibles, always beginning with himself. If a guy as cool as Richard Pryor can be so fucked up and still love himself, that makes it possible for the rest of us to walk through that door with confidence, knowing that whatever private party our demons want to throw for us, Pryor will be there with us in spirit.
What gets lost in all the hoopla about Pryor’s brilliant routines about sex and drugs is that he’s also the most incisive political entertainer we’ve ever had. He started out as a Cosby clone, a regular guest on Ed Sullivan (thankfully, none of his early material is included on the boxed set) and was having considerable success until he decided that he was tired of being irrelevant in a world that was going up in flames.
Unlike today’s phony “political” comedians like Bill Maher, Richard Pryor took sides. He was always with the poor against the rich. Above all, he hated the police, whom he saw as inherently vile and brutal. He could sum up complicated realities in a heartbeat: “The Japanese sent people to UCLA and UC Berkeley. There wouldn’t have been no Pearl Harbor if they had sent people to the University of Alabama or the University of Mississippi.”
Pryor’s relentless spotlight on hypocrisy was presented as a challenge to be met, not just cynical poking in an open wound. On a disc of outtakes here, That African-American’s Crazy: Good Shit From the Vaults, Pryor tells in hushed tones of a conversation with God, who has asked to see Emmitt Till. Pryor has to tell God that Till was lynched in 1957. God gasps, takes a step back, and murmurs, “But he was such a good young man.”
“Well, then,” God finally says, “I’d like to see my son. How’s my kid doing?”
Whatever the subject, Richard Pryor told the truth. As he wrote in his autobiography, Pryor Convictions, “You start telling the truth to people and people are going to look at you like you was askin’ to fuck their mama or somethin’. The truth is gonna be funny, but it’s gonna scare the shit out of folks.”
Saturday, December 10th, 2005
Get me out of here!
The work continues, so the linkage continues… this will be an ongoing thread.
+ Miggy for Manny? I might have to start cheering for the Bosux.
+ Hip-hop journalist-turned-sports analyst Scoop Jackson waxes wise on R. Kelly’s steppifyin’ national anthem.
+ My man Paul called me about this story early this week. The surfing world has been rocked by the closure of Clark Foam, the biggest manufacturer of the blanks that are used to make surfboards. There’s a huge run on boards developing, just at the moment big-surf season is starting. Owner Gordon Clark, who invented the polyurethane blank in the 1950s with Hobie Alter and transformed the sport, claims environmental regulations and workers’ comp issues drove him out of business. Puzzled EPA officials say he’s had a clean bill for over a year. Sounds like the O.C. cavemen right-wingers got to him.
UPDATE: OK. Sometimes complexity escapes me. So please read Ben Marcus of the LA Weekly on Grubby Clark’s 7-page faxifesto and the environmental issues.
Friday, December 9th, 2005
Gimme that shit!
Usually I’m too cool–naw, just straight too cold–for this kind of stuff. But hell, when your boy gets nominated for a Grammy, forget all that. You can’t front. Even if he doesn’t win, we’ll pop some corks. Whoo hah!
Wednesday, December 7th, 2005
While I’m consumed with launching a new book project, tracking A’s trade rumors, and obsessing over the Meters, James Brown, hip-hop, the breakbeat, and the clavé for a longish, semi-smartish essay I’m working on, here’s some other fun reading…
The list will grow the deeper all of the above gets:
+ For something completely different, check Josh Clover on the genius of The Jaz and some guy he used to work with. They used to call themselves thuggita-the, the originators, word.
+ Our homie Jeff Yang–no relation!–breaks the story on the end of AZN TV. Here’s his piece on the doomed Asian American themed network.
+ Juvie is like the opposite of PE. Remember how, early on, PE rapped about black nationalism and then put dark-lit pictures of their posse on the covers? Juvie always offers up progressive, subversive messages in his images (peep the videos for “Ha” and “Slow Motion” if you don’t believe me) and then keeps it strictly gangsta in the music. I think that’s why a lot of hip-hop progressives don’t get him. How can you be political and gangsta if you’re not Dead Prez? Ask David Banner. Topic for discussion: Folks have been talking about whether there’s a generational rift within the hip-hop generation over this debate around rap images. But is there also a Northern, East Coast bias in the “anti-bling” movement, just as there was after NWA came out?
+ We killed rockists two years ago. But aren’t you tired of highly intelligent critics acting dumber than they really are when they get the Billboard pop charts on Monday? We have new slogans for Oh-Sex: Down with relativism and post-relativism! Down with popists and post-popists! (Me loving “Laffy Taffy” doesn’t count!) Anyway, here’s Hua Hsu on Fergie’s Heffalumps. An Awesomely Great essay (that will probably be excluded from the Da Capo Best of 2006 Music Writing–OK wait…we will not go back there) on a Horrifically Bad pop song. Great commentary from O-Dub and friends here. While you’re there, check out O-dub’s little bumper for the Great Day In Atlanta special coming up on MTV2.
Monday, December 5th, 2005
Here’s what you can do immediately…help get hurricane survivors to the meeting through the following efforts being organized by the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition, KatrinaAction.org, and the Youth Media Council:
Shout Out for Hurricane Survivors’ Right to Return
Media Call-In Action
1. Mobilize hurricane survivors and those who care about racism and poverty in the south to participate in the Peoples Hurricane Fund December 9th National People’s Assembly in Jackson, Miss. and Dec. 10th March for Human Rights in New Orleans, LA.
2. Echo displaced survivors’ right to return and rebuild in targeted areas of the U.S.
Primary Audience: Hurricane survivors, poor people, people of color, and other affected groups in Atlanta, GA, Jackson and Biloxi Mississippi, Baton Rouge, LA, and Alabama.
Secondary Audience: Displaced hurricane survivors in Texas, Los Angles, and Chicago
Press List: 2-3 radio live call-in shows per target area (approx. 20), websites reaching folks in targeted areas.
We will reach people through email and websites in targeted areas who care about the right of Katrina survivors to return to and rebuild their home. We’ll ask them to make 1 shout out per day for 4 days to local radio stations with live call-in shows. We will ask callers to hit us back at a central email address to get a rudimentary count of how many calls were made. We will ask local orgs to monitor the stations so we can get a sense of the effectiveness of the action.
Sunday, December 4th, 2005
Luny Tunes Sez: “¡En Billy confiamos en!”
Like Bush, Steinbrenner loves deficit spending.
Truth be told: if the financials in this article are on point, I guess, so do us small-market teams.
Thanks for being an idiot, George! (Boy I’ve been saying that a lot this year.)
The Flunkees–like the Republicans–are having such a pathetic offseason going into Winter Meetings that I feel confident putting money on this right now–they win less games than they won this year, lose more money than they lost this year, and end up firing Joe Torre, the smartest man in the organization.
You heard it hear first!
Saturday, December 3rd, 2005
Our area has been abuzz with the trashing, burning and looting of two Muslim-owned liquor stores in West Oakland. First, twelve people–resembling members of the Nation of Islam because of their bowtie-and-suit dress–came into San Pablo Liquor and trashed the shelves with baseball bats. They told the owners it was not right for a Muslim to sell liquor. They did the same at New York Market.
The surveillance video from the San Pablo liquor store incident made headlines across the country. The owner of New York Market was allegedly then kidnapped and held while the store was burned down and looted. Two men of Yusef Bey’s local Black Muslim organization–one his son, the other a longtime associate–have turned themselves in, and four more are sought.
(For the record, the late Bey separated from the Nation of Islam amidst some nasty allegations. His organization has no formal relationship with the Nation.)
As a Muslim convert I feel that there is no legitimate reason that Muslim Arabs from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Palestine or Jordan should be selling products to black people that they would never try to sell in their own countries. However, I also feel that to vandalize and burn down these stores also reflects badly on Islam. The Muslim shopkeepers, vandals, arsonists, and kidnappers have all done wrong by their neighbors and by Islam.
Somewhere between tearing the building apart and doing nothing lies a non-violent solution that can be enacted by the community. The time for peace is now. However, unless and until the issue of liquor-store infestations of black ghettos are properly addressed, I fear we may see more of the opposite.
From my point of view, living not too far from where it all went down, the immediate trigger to last week’s incidents probably had less to do with a political agenda than with some street-type business.
But if we want to go back to the early 90s in South Central Los Angeles as a model for lessons to draw, here’s what I can say:
The lack of access to inexpensive, quality food in the inner city is an important part of the context for the fostering of immigrant-owned liquor-stores.
I wrote this in Can’t Stop Won’t Stop:
The bigger problem for the community was that liquor stores were poor substitutes for grocery stores. Since the 1965 Watts Riots, very few supermarkets had reopened, and even fewer were built in the area. Vons had three hundred stores in the region, but only two in South Central. Worse, study after study found that supermarkets in South Central were the most expensive in the county, with grocery prices up to 20 to 30 percent higher than those in the suburbs and exurbs. Politicians would not do anything about it. It was as if they figured liquor was more important to inner-city residents than food. Immigrant liquor-store entrepreneurs did not provide what people really needed, but they still filled a void that no one else was willing to.
As for public policy fixes, I think Karen Bass’ work with the Community Coalition to create a multiracial front to convert liquor stores into other businesses and bring in real supermarkets was more empowering and community-building than Danny Bakewell’s efforts to get the Korean American and Arab American storeowners simply to sell their stores to African American owners. One tried to push for businesses that the community needed, the other simply tried to change the face behind the counter.
In the end, however, the liquor store conversion push failed because the LA City Council allocated much less than a million dollars to resolve the problem. This, out of a promised $4 billion public-private Rebuild LA effort. Less than a dozen stores were actually converted–in most cases to laundromats. Nothing added up to anything like a real economic development plan.
In that regard, here’s a good description of the community efforts going on Oakland around liquor-store closure. Still, there’s little talk of conversion going on.
- Who We Be + N+1=Summer Reading For You
- “I Gotta Be Able To Counterattack” : Los Angeles Rap and The Riots
- Me in LARB + Who We Be Update
- In Defense Of Libraries
- The Latest On DJ Kool Herc
- Support DJ Kool Herc
- A History Of Hate: Political Violence In Arizona
- Culture Before Politics :: Why Progressives Need Cultural Strategy
- It’s Bigger Than Politics :: My Thoughts On The 2010 Elections
- New In The Reader: WHO WE BE PREVIEW + Uncle Jamm’s Army
- DJ Nu-Mark :: Take Me With You
DJ Nu-Mark remixes the diaspora…party ensues!
- El General + Various Artists :: Mish B3eed : Khalas Mixtape V. 1
The crew at Enough Gaddafi bring the most important mixtape of 2011–the street songs that launched the Tunisian & Egyptian Revolutions…
- J. Period + Black Thought + John Legend :: Wake Up! Radio mixtape
Remixing the classic LP w/towering contributions from Rakim, Q-Tip + Mayda Del Valle
- Lyrics Born :: As U Were
Bright production + winning rhymes in LB’s most accessible set ever
- Model Minority :: The Model Minority Report
The SoCal Asian American rap scene that produced FM keeps surprising…
- Mogwai :: Hardcore Won't Die But You Will
Dare we call it majestic?
- Taura Love Presents :: Picki People Volume One
From LA via Paris with T-Love, the global post-Dilla generation goes for theirs…
- Cormac McCarthy :: Blood Meridian
Read this now before Hollywood f*#ks it up.
- Dave Tompkins :: How To Wreck A Nice Beach
Book of the decade, nuff said.
- Joe Flood :: The Fires
The definitive account of why the Bronx burned
- Mark Fischer :: Capitalist Realism
K-Punk’s philosophical manifesto reads like his blog, snappy and compelling. Just replace pop music with post-post-Marxism. Pair with Josh Clover’s 1989 for the full hundred.
- Nell Irvin Painter :: The History of White People
Well worth a Glenn Beck rant…and everyone’s scholarly attention
- Robin D.G. Kelley :: Thelonious Monk : The Life And Times Of An American Original
Monk as he was meant to be written
- Tim Wise :: Colorblind
Wise’s call for a color-conscious agenda in an era of “post-racial” politics is timely
- Victor Lavalle :: Big Machine
Victor Lavalle does it again!
- ++ Total Chaos
The acclaimed anthology on the hip-hop arts movement
- Asian Law Caucus | Arc of 72
- AWOL Inc Savannah
- B+ | Coleman
- Boggs Center
- Center For Media Justice
- Center For Third World Organzing
- Chinese For Affirmative Action
- Color of Change
- Dan Charnas
- Danyel Smith
- Dave Zirin
- Davey D
- DJ Shadow
- Elizabeth Mendez Berry
- Ferentz Lafargue
- Giant Robot
- Hip-Hop Theater Festival
- Hua Hsu
- Humanity Critic
- Hyphen Magazine
- Jalylah Burrell
- Jay Smooth
- Joe Schloss
- Julianne Shepherd
- League of Young Voters
- Lyrics Born
- Mark Anthony Neal
- Nate Chinen
- Nelson George
- Okay Player
- Oliver Wang + Junichi Semitsu :: Poplicks
- Pop + Politics
- Raquel Cepeda
- Raquel Rivera
- Rob Kenner
- Sasha Frere-Jones
- The Assimilated Negro
- Theme Magazine
- Upper Playground
- Wayne Marshall
- Wiretap Magazine
- Wooster Collective
- Youth Speaks
- No public Twitter messages.
Come follow me now...
- July 2014
- May 2012
- January 2012
- June 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- March 2007
- February 2007
- January 2007
- December 2006
- November 2006
- October 2006
- September 2006
- August 2006
- July 2006
- June 2006
- May 2006
- April 2006
- March 2006
- February 2006
- January 2006
- December 2005
- November 2005
- October 2005
- September 2005
- August 2005
- July 2005
- June 2005
- May 2005
- April 2005
- March 2005
- February 2005
- January 2005
- December 2004
- November 2004
- October 2004
- September 2004
- August 2004
- July 2004
- June 2004
- May 2004
- April 2004
- March 2004
- February 2004
- January 2004
- December 2003
- November 2003
- October 2003
- September 2003
- August 2003
- July 2003
- June 2003
- May 2003
- April 2003
- March 2003
- February 2003
- January 2003
- December 2002
- November 2002
- October 2002
- September 2002
- August 2002
- July 2002
- June 2002
Requests for commercial uses of any content here are welcome: come correct.