Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kwanzaa



Kwanzaa is a fake holiday created by a misdirected lunatic in order to draw attention away from the real Holidays that take place in late December. An inflammatory statement? Perhaps, but I'm completely prepared to back it up.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by an African-American scholar and social activist named Ronald McKinley Everett. It is a week-long holiday celebrated primarily in the United States honoring African heritage. The purpose of Kwanzaa according to Everett is to celebrate "The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa," or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba - "The Seven Principles of Blackness"). Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. Seems like a pretty straight up holiday so far right? Here's where things start to get dicey.

First off Holiday originally meant Holy Day. There is nothing Holy about Kwanzaa so it should not be referred to as a Holiday at all. Everett said his goal in creating Kwanzaa was to "...give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society." A celebration, sure. But a Holiday, no way.

Secondly in order to learn more about the Kwanzaa "holiday" one should take a closer look at its founder. At the beginning of the 1960's, Ronald McKinley Everett met Malcolm X and began to embrace black nationalism. Following the Watts riots in 1965, he interrupted his doctoral studies at UCLA and joined the Black Power movement. During this time he changed his name from Ronald McKinley Everett to Maulana Karenga. "Maulana" is Swahili for "master teacher" and "lord". "Karenga" means "nationalist." Earlier, Everett had called himself Ron Ndabezitha Everett-Karenga. Ndabezitha is Zulu for "your majesty." Hmmm... sounds like somebody's got a God complex.

Everett says his greatest influence was Malcolm X. To honor Malcolm X and carry on his legacy Everett founded the US Organization, an outspoken Black nationalist group which was considered more radical than the rival Black Panther Party. More radical than the Black Panthers? That's a little scary. In 1969, the Black Panthers and the United Slaves Organization (US Organization) disagreed over who should head the new Afro-American Studies Center at UCLA. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Everett and his supporters backed one candidate, the Panthers another. The Black Student Union set up a coalition to try to bring peace between the groups, which ended when two members of the Black Panthers, John Jerome Huggins and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter were shot dead in an altercation. Two groups fighting for basically the same thing and killing each other in the process. That makes sense.

In addition to creating a fake holiday and founding a murdering black power cult, Everett also committed felonious assault and false imprisonment. In 1971, Everett, Louis Smith, and Luz Maria Tamayo were convicted of felony assault and false imprisonment for assaulting and torturing over a two day period two women from the US organization, Deborah Jones and Gail Davis. A May 14, 1971 article in the Los Angeles Times described the testimony of one of the women: "Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Ms. Davis's mouth and placed against Ms. Davis's face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Everett also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said. Whoa, torturing an African queen? Isn't that a bit counterproductive to the cause? But who am I to judge.

At Everett's trial, the question of his sanity arose. A psychiatrist's report stated the following: "This man now represents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and illusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment." The psychiatrist reportedly observed that Everett talked to his blanket and imaginary persons, and believed he'd been attacked by dive-bombers. Crazy anyone?

What I'm getting at with all this is that if a holiday is only as good as its founder, one must seriously question the validity of Kwanzaa.

Lastly I find it very interesting that Everett chose December 26 - January 1 to celebrate Kwanzaa. According to Everett Kwanzaa is a harvest celebration. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits" in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language. If Everett truly wanted to celebrate the meaning of Kwanzaa as it was meant to be and not simply draw attention away from Christmas and Hanukkah, he would have popularized the celebration in the fall when the the harvest actually takes place.

In summary I have no problem with the ideals behind Kwanzaa. The purpose of the celebration is just and the principles which it promotes are admirable (even though its founder is straight fucking crazy). I do however have a big problem with people calling Kwanzaa a Holiday and putting it in the same category as Christmas and Hanukkah. Go ahead and celebrate whatever or whoever you want to, that's your God given right. Just please recognize your celebration for what it is and stop trying to make it something that it's not.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Woman gives birth to 18th child



Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Tontitown, Ark., had their eighteenth child Thursday –Jordyn-Grace Makiya, who joins the rest of her J-named siblings. (A dude from Arkansas named Jim Bob - there's a shocker.)

"Mother and baby are resting and doing well," says a rep for the Duggar family, whose crowded house is featured on the TLC network show 17 Kids & Counting. Hmmm... more kids = better television ratings. Now I'm starting to understand.

The newest Duggar has a lot of names to keep straight. The other kids – who range in age from 20 years to 17 months – are Joshua, twins John-David and Jana, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, twins Jeremiah and Jedidiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah and Jennifer. Something tells me that Jinger, Josiah, Jeremiah, and Jedidiah are going to grow up with serious chips on their shoulders. 14 normal names and you had to go and name us this? Thanks a lot for nothing Mom & Dad.

The Duggar parents married when Michelle was 17 and Jim Bob was 19. (Her mother had to officially sign permission - which is apparently common practice in the state of Arkansas - another shocker I know) After birth-control pills were blamed for a miscarriage, the couple decided to throw them out. They had their first baby when Michelle was 21, she's now 42. This means that Mrs. Duggar pushes out a new baby every 14 months on the dot (to be fair she has had two sets of twins so this math isn't entirely accurate). Here's some math that is accurate though: 16 pregnancies x 9 months = 12 years of being pregnant in a span of 21 years, which means Mrs. Duggar has spent approximately 57% of her adult life being knocked up. Damn - I sure would hate to have to see what she looks like naked. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that Jim Bob really likes his booze (can anyone say beer goggles?).

Here is perhaps the worst part of this story: Mr. Duggar says the newborn may not be the last for him and his 42-year-old wife. "We both would love to have more," he told the Associated Press. Dude - enough with the babies already. We get it Jim Bob - you're a very fertile man - now give it a rest while you can still fit your family into a single zip code.

After reading this story I was curious as to why a family would decide to have 18 children so I did a little reseach on the Duggars. Turns out they are conservative Baptists who endorse the "Quiverfull" movement and the teachings of Bill Gothard.

The "Quiverfull" is a movement among conservative evangelical Protestant Christian couples chiefly in the United States (more specifically in the southern United States - I know another shocker), and its viewpoint is to eagerly receive children as blessings from God, eschewing all forms of birth control, including natural family planning and sterilization. Well there's a responsible movement. Let's fuck like rabbits all the time with no regard for anything and if you get pregnant that's cool - it'll just be another gift from God. Not surprisingly the Duggars raise their children using the buddy system, in which an older sibling assists the younger sibling in daily tasks. In other words the Duggar parents spend their days locked in the bedroom while their 18 children basically fend for themselves.

As for the teachings of Bill Gothard here's where things start to get really wacky. William W. Gothard is an American speaker and writer who founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) in 1961 to promote his Christian teachings. On his website he states "the goal of my teaching is to provide Biblical principles and concepts of life to guide people in their choices." Among other things Gothard discourages listening to any "un-Christian" music, including all popular and contemporary Christian music, encourages homeschooling; IBLP publishes its own homeschool material; and claims borrowing money for any reason, even a home mortgage, is wrong. Gothard has also discouraged the use of any kind of contraceptives or other family planning. So let me get this straight. Listening to mainstream music, attending school outside of the house, and taking on any form of debt are sinful activities. But fucking willy nilly and popping out insane amounts of offspring are completely acceptable behaviors. Solid principles nut job. Let me ask you this Bill: If you don't get a proper education you won't be able to make much money, and if you're not allowed to take on any debt how the hell are you supposed to support 18 children? Sounds to me like you've got a few holes in your master plan. Not surprisingly critics of the IBLP say Gothard and his followers exhibit a "cult-like" mentality. Gee - ya think? Gothard has also been accused by some of being hypocritical for not practicing what he preaches with regard to his "Quiverfull" teachings, given that Gothard himself is unmarried and childless, even into his 70s. Memo to brainwashed Gothard cult members - you might want to seriously consider keeping your kids away from this creepy, old pervert.

This next part's really cute. When asked what they want to be when they grow up the elder Duggar children came back with the following responses: midwife, missionary, mom, chef, carpenter, Quiverfull mother (yes - one of them actually said this), nurse, father, artist, fireman, policeman, and construction worker. Glad to see the brain washing is paying off. Sounds to me like the Duggar children are preparing to start their own Duggar village - let the inbreeding begin.

Like me you're probably wondering - what do the Duggars do for money anyway? Must be pretty expensive feeding 21 mouths every month, not to mention clothing, toys, toiletries, etc. Mr. Duggar must have a pretty good job, right? Wrong - even though Jim Bob and Michelle are both licensed real estate agents neither one of them is currently employed. They say their income is derived from the commercial properties they own. They also claim to live debt-free which Jim Bob has said is “the fruit of Jim Sammons' Financial Freedom Seminar” he attended years ago. (Can't these people ever think for themselves?) The last real job for either of the Duggars came in 1999 - 2002, when Mr. Duggar was a state legislator who served in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Hey Arkansas - not sure if there were any budget shortfalls in the late 90's or early 2000's but you might want to check your books from 1999-2002, given that the Duggars reportedly spend $4300 a month on food, live in a 7000 square foot mansion with no mortgage, and currently don't work. I'm not saying the Duggars are crooks but something smells a little rotten in Denmark, don't ya think?

So here I've gone and turned a heart-warming story about a loving family who's just welcomed their 21st family member into the world, into a seedy tale about corporate greed, alcoholism, wacky religious principles, sex addiction, cult worship, child molestation, inbreeding, and political corruption. What can I say? It's a gift - you're welcome.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blagojevich is a crook



Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and corrupt governors from Illinois behave like absolute jackasses. FBI agents arrested Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, early Tuesday on federal corruption charges related in part to the selection of President-elect Barack Obama's successor to the Senate, the U.S. attorney's office said. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald declared Tuesday a "sad day for government. Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," he said. "This conduct would make [Abraham] Lincoln roll over in his grave." Lincoln was a congressman from Illinois before becoming president. The great irony (or coincidence) is that the state's last governor, George Ryan, was convicted in April, 2006 on racketeering and fraud charges. Ryan reported to a federal prison in Wisconsin in November, 2007 to serve a 6½-year sentence. Unbelievable, perhaps Ryan and Blagojevich can be cell mates?

In a 76-page affidavit, federal authorities said wiretaps in Blagojevich's campaign office and on his home phone caught Blagojevich conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat in exchange for financial benefits for himself and his wife, Patti. The governor also often weighed the option of appointing himself to the Senate seat, saying he was "stuck" at governor and might have access to more resources as a senator than as a governor, the affidavit says. A Senate seat could also help him remake his image ahead of a possible presidential run in 2016. "If ... they're not going to offer anything of any value, then I might just take it," he said in one conversation. You go Blagojevich. If the bribe's not big enough you take that Senate seat and you make it all the way to the presidency. Then you can orchestrate all the shady financial deals and humidor all the interns you want to. That'll show em.

At times, Blagojevich discussed obtaining a substantial salary for himself at a nonprofit organization or an organization affiliated with labor unions, as well as placing his wife on paid corporate boards where she might make as much as $150,000 a year, the government said. During one recorded conversation, Blagojevich said he needed to consider his family and said he was financially hurting, the affidavit said. "I want to make money," Blagojevich said, according to the affidavit. Oh, well that's different then. He needed money and he recognized an opportunity to make money so he was just being entrepreneurial, and you can't fault a guy for that right? Rod - you are truly a piece of work.

The intercepted phone calls also caught the governor and Harris discussing the possibility of the Tribune Company's obtaining assistance from the Illinois Finance Authority in efforts to sell the Cubs and the financing or sale of Wrigley Field, the government said. The company owns the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs, and Wrigley Field. Tribune Co., announced Monday it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Blagojevich allegedly directed Harris to tell Tribune officials that state assistance would be withheld unless members of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board were fired. The Illinois governor saw them as "driving discussion of his possible impeachment," the affidavit said. "Our recommendation is fire all those [expletive] people, get 'em the [expletive] out of there and get us some editorial support," the governor allegedly said in one phone call. Hell yeah, those mother fuckers were trying to expose you as the corrupt son of a bitch that you actually are. What the fuck were they thinking? Fire those mother fuckers and have them publicly tarred and feathered immediately.

Federal authorities also allege the governor and Harris schemed with others -- including convicted real estate developer Antoin "Tony" Rezko -- to obtain financial benefits for himself, his family and others, including his campaign committee, Friends of Blagojevich. What, corrupt politicians conspiring with corrupt business executives in an effort to make money for themselves? I don't believe it.

U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald went on to say that Blagojevich was looking to pull $8 million in funding for a children's hospital after the hospital's chief executive officer did not give a $50,000 contribution to the governor's campaign. Also, Fitzgerald said, it was expected that Blagojevich would soon sign into law a bill that would direct a percentage of casino revenue to the horse racing industry -- a bill supported by someone who contributed $100,000. Ah, it's good to be the king.

Reports from the Chicago Tribune last week said federal authorities were investigating the governor and were secretly taping his conversations -- with the help of his former congressional chief of staff, John Wyem. What the hell were you thinking Wyem? I wouldn't be surprised a bit if a guy named Vinny is waiting for you in the parking garage with a lead pipe. Ever heard of cooperation in exchange for anonymity you dumb bastard? Hope you don't like your knees too much.

"I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me," Blagojevich told WLS-TV in Chicago on Monday, as he responded to the reports of wiretapping. "I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me." He added, "By the way, I should say if anyone wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I appreciate anybody who wants to tape me openly." Tough talk for now. Just wait until you're in a 3-way with your cell mate George Ryan and a large black man named Bubba. Something tells me you won't be thinking about sunshine when Bubba's balls deep in your ass. (Disgusting imagery I know... sorry I couldn't resist:)

One big question now is whether Blagojevich retains the right to name Obama's successor if he remains in custody or even under indictment. The answer is yes, according to Fitzgerald. Jay Stewart, executive director of Chicago's Better Government Association, agreed. He said Blagojevich retains the right to fill the senate vacancy until he's out of office, which won't happen unless he quits or is removed from office by impeachment. At a press conference Tuesday, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, said he wants the Illinois Legislature to act quickly to pass a law setting a special election to fill Obama's seat, in order to prevent Blagojevich from making a tainted appointment or there being a lengthy vacancy in the Senate. "No appointment by this governor under these circumstances could produce a credible replacement," Durbin said. Oh come on Dick, where's the fun in that? Aren't you at least a little curious to see which philandering ass hat Blagojevich would pick? I know I am.

The governor's office, in an afternoon statement, said the allegations "do nothing to impact the services, duties or function of the state. Our state will continue to ensure health, safety and economic stability for the citizens of Illinois." Well that's reassuring. Afterall Blagojevich has already been the governor for 6 years now and the state budget is in wonderful shape, right? And I'm sure his proposed budget for 2009 contains absolutely no pork barrell spending whatsoever:
http://www.bondbuyer.com/article.html?id=20080512R2DWJPVX

Rod Blagojevich, 52, now serving in his second term as Illinois Governor, is a career politician having previously served as a U.S. Congressman for Illinois' 5th district from 1997 - 2003, according to his on-line biography. Which begs the question: How many career politicians are in it to serve the people and how many are in it to serve themselves? Sadly my guess is that there are many more who fit into the latter category than the former. But then I am a little jaded.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wal-Mart employee trampled to death in Garden City, New York



Just when you start to think there's some amount of good in all people you read a story like this and are reminded there's not. Jdimytai Damour, 34, died of asphyxiation after being crushed early Friday morning by a crowd of bargain hunters entering the Long Island Wal-Mart he worked in. The crowd apparently broke down the store's front doors in frantic pursuit of discounted merchandise. At least four other people were treated at hospitals, including a woman who was eight months pregnant. You're probably thinking that Mr. Damour must have been a tiny man in order to get trampled by the crowd, right? That the people who crushed and killed him must not have realized they were stepping on top of a human being? Well, you'd be wrong. Jdimytai Damour was 6-foot-5, and 270 pounds. Because of his size he was intentionally stationed at the front of the store to assist with crowd control. This means that the hundreds of people who trampled on top of him on their way into the store were well aware that he was down there. Shit - I bet it was a serious struggle to make their way over and around his massive body.

His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Wal-Mart, alleging store ads offering deep discounts "created an atmosphere of competition and anxiety" that led to "crowd craze". The lawsuit alleges that besides failing to provide adequate security for a predawn crowd estimated at 2,000, Wal-Mart "engaged in specific marketing and advertising techniques to specifically attract a large crowd and create an environment of frenzy and mayhem and was otherwise careless, reckless and negligent."

I don't blame the family for lawyering up and I hope Jackie Childs is able to get them millions for their suffering. But what people can't overlook in this story is who the real villain is. Wal-Mart has all the dough so they'll end up writing a check to the family, naturally. But the real villain in this story is not Wal-Mart. No, the real villain is the hundreds of people who carelessly and selfishly trampled a human being to death in order to get first dibs on discounted toaster ovens and toilet paper. Is this what we've come to? A world where we place more value on cheap baby food than we do on human life? Imagine how Jdimytai Damour must have felt at the bottom of that pile fighting for his life. Well here I am at Wal-Mart at five in the fucking morning making eight bucks an hour and getting trampled to death. I didn't even have my fucking coffee yet. When I arrive at the Pearly Gates they'll no doubt ask me how I bought it, and then I'll have to explain that I was killed over low low prices at Wal-Mart. How fucking pathetic is that?

Police are reviewing store video to identify possible suspects in the death, but Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey conceded that criminal charges are unlikely. Well, that's just great. First you trample and murder a man for a bargain price on the George Foreman Grill, and now you get off scott free. Bargain hunting murderers of Long Island listen up. It's pathetic and sad that you woke up before dawn to go to a sale at Wal-Mart. That in itself is bad enough. But the fact that you knowingly and willfully trampled a man to death on your way into the store is deplorable and simply inexcusable. You are all miserable pieces of shit who don't deserve to call yourselves human beings. I hope you are haunted forever by what you did to Jdimytai Damour and I hope you never have a good night's sleep again. I don't care how bad the economy is or how long you've been out of work. Your lack of respect for human life is shameful and for that you shall not be forgiven.