news from

i thought the news was dead then a friend suggested i visit and watch the daily headlines - he was right, the news is alive and well and amy goodman brings the best in under-covered news. here are three stories i watched this week; i feel all three are the same story...
Luiz Ramirez was beaten to death by a group of highschool students in Shenandoah, PA."The 25-year-old illegal immigrant was beaten over the weekend after an argument with a group of youths, including at least some players on the town's beloved high school football team, police said. Despite witness reports that the attackers yelled ethnic slurs, authorities say the beating wasn't racially motivated." An American citizen for six years, Luiz immigrated to Shenandoah from Mexico and was engaged (to a young white woman.) Read more here.
Police office Scott Nugent tasered 21 year old Baron Pikes to death during arrest on a cocaine charge in Louisiana. "Dr. Randolph Williams, the Winn Parish coroner, told CNN the 21-year-old sawmill worker was jolted so many times by the 50,000-volt Taser that he might have been dead before the last two shocks were delivered." Williams rules the death a homocide and Nugent has been dismissed. Nugent may face charges if the DA pursues the case. "In the year since Winnfield police received Tasers, officers have used them 14 times, according to police records -- with 12 of the instances involving black suspects. Ten of the 14 incidents involved Nugent, who has no public disciplinary record." Baron Pikes is Micheal Bell's (of the Jena 6) first cousin. Read more here.
Private LaVena Johnson's parents continue to call for an investigation into their daughter's death July 19, 2005 in Balad, Iraq. The military claim she committed suicide and pointed to an M-16 wound they describe as self inflicted; Private Johnson's other wounds include a broken nose, two front teeth knocked out, one eye was concave from pressure or force, her gloves were burned onto her hands and acid was poured over her genitals. In addition, the bullet wound was too small for an M-16 and on the wrong side of her head (she was right handed and the bullet was on the left temple.)
Read more here and sign the petition here. Watch her parents on the news here.
i am dismayed
oh lord help us
safety feels so far
fear and hate
here on earth
seems we can't escape
seems hate can
steal your heart
and hate will
murder your love,
or merely commandeer
your right to be
to feel free
right where you be
me, you, we
here, there,
now, then
man, woman
how can we
live, work, breathe
in this arbitrary insecurity?


the noisettes - don't give up


a jihad for love by parvez sharma

i just went to see a jihad for love, a film six years in the making by parvez sharma (film maker's blog). filmed in 12 countries and nine languages, this is the first film about homosexuality in islam - spoken from a devout muslim perspective - fantastic, moving, beautifully shot (though he never used a tripod, filmed in secret with a handheld camera, even spliced footage with tourist style clips to fool customs.)

the transcendent experience across these countries was relayed through the stories of different but similar characters of diverse cultural backgrounds; each man or woman just wants to love Allah and themselves and someone of the same sex but it is a personal struggle, a jihad, and a community's struggle - gay and lesbian muslims in non-secular muslim states wish to be accepted within the islamic community that continues suppress/demonize and criminalize/punish them - an islamic community under attack from the western world - a western world they must flee to as refugees to escape persecution, prison and/or death.

i like this itty bitty story

johnny lee hooker - real talk

sorry for sorry

i am a mess
i cannot tell you this

i hope you find me attractive
as opposed to
desperate and plaintive

i wish you were here
but then i would fear

i'd push you away
i'd tell you not to stay

i'd make up some excuse
then string up my noose

and hang myself again


lessons from rock tha bells in TO,

if i learned anything yesterday at rock the bells it is one must to organize and plan a twelve hour event with your attendees in mind at all times, this means

  1. ensure sufficient bathrooms are available and cleaned regularly
  2. reduce line-ups as much as possible (e.g. DO NOT make a thirsty, hungry, tired person wait in line to get a ticket to wait in line again)
  3. stagger stack shows on two stages if necessary to avoid frustrating wait times
  4. visit the venue you've booked prior and evaluate it for light, seating possibilities and general atmosphere (i found that airport hangers are not as conducive to concerts as they are to raves for example)
  5. allow ins and outs, ESPECIALLY if the show runs longer than six hours
  6. conveniently provide attendees with ample food and water (3$ lukewarm tap water after waiting two lines is unacceptable as is pizza pizza stink permeating your entire venue)
  7. employ quality sound engineers

if the above guidelines are not observed the result is simple and largely unavoidable:

if doesn't matter how much concert goers respect the artists they will leave remembering how poorly planned and organized the event was as opposed to remembering how great each half hour set was.

because de la was fantastic; pharcyde performed like they never broke up; mos basically threw down a helluva reggae set; rakim endured major technical difficulties and finished his set; nas was hype; q tip was full of energy and tribe was tribe - whole and superb.