Former prisoner. Former President. Forever to be respected, admired, loved… now mourned by nations the world over. Pass now from us into eternity, Nelson Mandela. Quite literally, a man who was no myth; but who will remain a legend who lived a life of service to humanity died at his home yesterday. He was 95.
We don’t have the perfect words, Mr. President. But we sincerely offer the two that should certainly be heard forever in association with your name: Thank You! For your struggles, protests, imprisonment, iconification… for your work and triumphs freeing yourself and your people (of every color) from the bonds of man, from the oppression racist institutions, and the entanglements of in-fighting that kept us at war with ourselves… We say THANK YOU, President Mandela.
To be certain, the struggles continue. But it is now our turn to take up the causes we see fit and see them through to the end; to our own ends if necessary. And we cannot say we have not had folks to have shown us the way in our lifetime. Chief among them, Nelson Mandela showed us the way of the warrior suited for his lifelong battle against injustice and for peace on a national/global scale: Not perfect, but not waiting for someone or some perfect time to come along. Not looking for a fight, but willing to risk it all and fight with all he has for as long as he has. And as a result, though not seeking glory as an end, glory followed him to the end and will forevermore.
Rest in peace, Brother Mandela. We got it from here.
Video comments from U.S. President Barack Obama above. After the jump, a favorite clip of mine.
READ: NBC WORLDNEWS’ COVERAGE
Although swinging culture in Atlanta is something I’m told is growing I can readily admit it’s a lifestyle that’s not for me. The racial element to interracial swinging is also one that is not that easy for many to comprehend as well, but in this ‘Vice Guide To Sex’ documentary we ran across featuring a Florida man by the name of Art Hammer, he attempts put into perspective as to why any man would be comfortable with another man having sex with his wife & the racial elments of the lifestyle. VICE reporter Alex Miller covers all the kinky angles for this story for VBS.TV. Although this is a news piece some of the video & content, although blurred out, is still strong & graphic so therefore it may Not be Safe For Work.
“VICE follows Art on a road trip leading up to a ‘Hot Chocolate’ party he’s hosting at a purpose built sex bungalow called the Shangri Lust. Along the way we meet the key players who make up the lifestyle: the insatiable wives and their cuckolded white husbands obsessed with sex with black men, and Art’s A-team, the crème de la crème of [The Florida] Mandingos.”
Arjan Roskam has been breeding some of the most famous marijuana strains in the world — like White Widow, Super Silver Haze, and many others — for over 20 years. In 1992 he opened his first coffee shop in Amsterdam and has since crafted his marijuana-breeding skills into a market-savvy empire known as Green House Seed Company, which rakes in millions of dollars a year. He’s won 38 Cannabis Cups and has dubbed himself the King of Cannabis. VICE joins Arjan and his crew of strain hunters in Colombia to look for three of the country’s rarest types of weed. As the dominoes of criminalization fall throughout the world, Arjan is positioned to be at the forefront of the legitimate international seed trade.
This video has three parts; the first embedded above, with parts 2 & 3 after the jump.
YEAH! McDonald’s worker Nancy Salgado got ‘em so shook they called the cops! Damn shame it has to come to this though.
Great story from NPR’s website. Watch the embedded clip that has gone viral this week, with the help of Fight For 15 – a fast-food workers’ campaign aimed at raising hourly wages to $15. Salgado shouts to Jeff Stratton, president of McDonald’s USA, who was standing at a podium in a ballroom giving a talk:
“It’s really hard for me to feed my two kids and struggle day to day. Do you think this is fair, that I have to be making $8.25 when I have worked for McDonald’s for 10 years?”
“I’ve been there 40 years.”
“We call it Black Bike Week. Whether you’re Black, White, Asian, Chinese, or Japanese, we don’t give a f**k! We ridin’!”
VICE covers the annual Black Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, over Memorial Day weekend. Half a million Black (mostly) bikers and event go-ers gather for several days of riding and partying… and traffic-stopping flossing and bike stunts up and down the seafront strip.
‘Hordes of women—known as “huggers”—also flock to Myrtle Beach for the event, hoping to be picked up for a ride, and maybe something more. A girl will often perform the “pillion clapping” move as a passenger—essentially twerking on the back of the bike. Unfortunately, the combination of partying and biking without a helmet isn’t an especially safe one, and every year there are people who don’t make it home. The event also attracts a ton of prostitutes, but more and more women are starting to ride their own bikes and each year an increasing number of female biker gangs show up for the party.’
Sigh… if there was a seedy side to this week of debauchery, you know VICE would expose it. Let’s watch and learn… about that ‘clapping’ thing, too.
Former Angola Prisoner Herman Wallace, Denied A Fair Trial For 41 Years, Dies Just 3 Days After Being Freed (Audio)
Herman Wallace spent the 41 years of his life in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary (aka Angola).
A free man, Wallace died of liver cancer, three days after gaining his freedom. He was 71 years old.
“While already serving a 50-year sentence for armed robbery, Wallace was convicted of the murder of a prison guard in 1974, along with Robert King and Albert Woodfox. The men became known as the ‘Angola 3′ for spending most of their years in solitary confinement… All of them claimed to be innocent.
On Tuesday a judge overturned Wallace’s conviction on the grounds that he had been denied a fair trial because he was indicted by a grand jury comprised solely of men — in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
Wallace spent the first 18 years behind bars without an appeal. The argument that finally won Wallace his release was one he had been making for decades, mostly acting as his own attorney.”
It didn’t take new legislation, new science or DNA (as was the case for freed Angola prisoner Henry James)… It just took work, reconsideration, and FORTY F**KING YEARS for a judge to do the right thing.
“It’s tragic it took 40 years for him to find a court that would say, ‘You’re right, Mr. Wallace, that violated your Constitutional rights; you are entitled to a new trial.’”
- Attorney George Kendall, one of Wallace’s advocates
This is sad, folks. Of course, we are talking about the wasted years of a man now at rest; but we are also talking about the denial of rights and protections that we are ALL supposed to be afforded in America. God be with you are denied due process in a time of legal trouble. Because if you are convicted, it might take half your life to get that ‘judiciary oversight’ even looked at by a judge!
I… I don’t have the words, but NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ does.
You know, we try to come up with titillating titles to tempt our readers (one-time confession); but this title needed no tweaks… it just labels the story. Above: Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now, talks with former prisoner Henry James – a free man thanks to DNA evidence – who reflects on his case and 30 years of his life he will never get back. We say the brother is a former prisoner – NOT an ex-convict – because he should never have been convicted!
“We broadcast from New Orleans, Louisiana, the heart of the world’s prison capital, where more people are behind bars any other state per capita — an incarceration rate 13 times that of China. Louisiana also ranks among the highest in the country in terms of the number of people per capita who are exonerated after serving years in prison for crimes they did not commit. We are joined by Henry James, the longest-serving prisoner to be exonerated in Louisiana. James spent 30 years in the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola prison, on a life sentence without parole for rape. At trial, the prosecution never told the jury that serology testing from the rape kit excluded James as the perpetrator. In 2011, DNA evidence found by accident proved James’ innocence, winning him his release.”
Now… James’ case is NOT a typical case. Nah, that would be ridiculous, right? BUT WAIT! James’ case is NOT typical… because evidence that could free him was actually found! It usually is not, and the convicted serve life without parole!
The Gun That Aims Itself: New Smart ‘Robo-Rifle’ Technology Can Turn Anyone Into Skilled Snipers (Video)
Texas-based TrackingPoint Solutions has released the first ever precision-guided firearm (PGF) – basically a long-range, laser-guided robo-rifle. Soon beginners will be endowed with the kill-at-will skill of trained snipers (e.g. one-shot kills at extreme distances) in no time! Talk about taking gun control in a whole other direction! Well… TrackingPoint CEO Jason Schauble refers to it as a step in the evolution of firearms. Um, yeah.
Watch the video and ask yourself this question: Has killing become too easy?
There’s some people who I’ve heard say that Kanye West’s new album ‘Yeezus’ was not very good, but often times I find the people making that assessment ONLY listen to rap & suffer from having a very limited worldview & musical palette. I have friends here in the states & overseas who love the ‘Yeezus’ album’s alternative & experimental musical direction. I dig the record but it’s important for me to note that I don’t listen to it with a hip hop enthusiast’s ear. Great artists are supposed to go against the grain of what everyone else is doing no matter if the final critiques are good or bad. Needless to say I was not surprised to hear BBC Radio host Zane Lowe rave about the album to Kanye in this in-depth interview as well. From many people I know around the world the ‘Yeezus’ album is very popular because it’s not a modern day rap album musically. The album strays from the typical ‘trap sound’ permeating commercial radio airwaves in the states & sticks out within Kanye’s own catalog. Check out the video above as this is just part 1 of a 4 part interview. More videos below…
UPDATE: FULL AUDIO INTERVIEW BELOW
The controversy surrounding famed NY radio host DJ Mister Cee had less to do with his sexuality than it did with him lying to himself, his family, & his fans. I believe most people will accept you for who you are if you are just honest about it, but you can’t expect the media & fans to leave you alone when you’re a very public figure who has been arrested repeatedly for soliciting male prostitutes in the news. The most powerful thing DJ Mister Cee has done up to this point is this new public service announcement encouraging people to get tested. There are many women who become at risk because guys like DJ Mister Cee choose not to be honest with their significant others in their lives. Many of us understand his reasons for not being forthcoming, but there are literally thousands of people contracting STD’s simply because their partners weren’t honest about their behavior. At least now we can applaud DJ Mister Cee for being honest with his friends, fans, & supporters & for making the right moves to help save lives & bring about more awareness. FREESTDCHECK.ORG
— Jay Force (@jayforce) September 16, 2013
I don’t have the words. VICE brings us another necessary wake-up call about the horrors of human existence. This time: Syria’s civil war.
In 2012 VICE commissioned photographer and videographer Robert King to document the civil war that has been ravaging Syria for the past two years. Largely based on Aleppo, Robert’s footage of the violent conflict that continues to unfold in the region is perhaps one of the most thorough and brutally honest documents of a war that is increasingly destabilizing the Middle East as it spills over into neighboring Turkey and Lebanon. This full-length version of Ground Zero: Syria combines all six parts of our series to offer a startling glimpse into a chaotic war with no clear end in sight.
The documentary episode “Ground Zero Syria” (Chapter 1) starts with Part 1 embedded above. All the other videos in this 6-part series are embedded after the jump.
WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC, DISTURBING, AND VIOLENT CONTENT!
In Washington state, changes in law enforcement procedures – especially allowing for legal marijuana possession and use – has come with unique challenges. Unique for now… I’m sure other states will eventually have to go through challenges like this: How do you get a dog to respond differently when sniffing for weed in Washington – to let “personal use” ride but still alert handlers to “intent to sell” situations? Some of Washington’s law enforcement agencies have an answer: Stop training drug-sniffing dogs to alert for marijuana.
WHAT??!! Is that a round of applause I hear? Wait. You know I have to posit the downside on stuff like this. But I am not alone this time: My worry is ACLU’s worry. Not all law-enforcement agencies are changing procedures for training or using narcotics dogs, as the possession of marijuana is still illegal under FEDERAL law. That’s one thing, but not the MAIN thing. Holcomb has a concern that
“…narcotics dogs trained to alert for legal marijuana could extend detention and questioning beyond the scope of reasonable suspicion of a crime. This is especially worrisome because marijuana residue and odor are much more likely to be present on the state’s residents than any of the other substances dogs are trained to detect.”
Hate stop and frisk? Try stop, SNIFF, frisk, and DETAIN UNTIL COPS FIND SOMETHING TO ARREST YOU FOR.
“America knows war. They are war masters.”
In the war on terrorism, almost anything goes. And that ‘almost’ (e.g. what America won’t do) part of the war strategy is getting smaller all the time. Drone strikes, night raids,
torture enhanced interrogation …and civilian casualties. Author, investigative reporter and whistle-blower Jeremy Scahill documents the rise of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the most secret fighting force in U.S. history in “Dirty Wars,” exposing operations carried out by men who officially ‘do not exist’ (and who are therefore beyond the reach of domestic or international law). No target is off-limits. NO TARGET IS OFF LIMITS!
Wake up America! We can find some justification for some of this to be certain. But how far will we take these “Dirty Wars” when we know there is no real accountability for whatever atrocities are done in our name? Who determines who is an ‘enemy of the United States’ (maybe an American citizen… maybe in America)?
YES! Damn smart move by VICE: posting its HBO shows online for their fans who don’t have premium cable.
“Don’t nobody wanna talk no more. It’s so easy to get a gun out here. Everybody wanna shoot it out.”
Wow. Remember how we posted on ‘Chi raq’ (Chicago being a war zone akin to Iraq)? Well, VICE addresses that in this episode’s first half. For the last half, VICE documents Nigeria’s oil industry – oil theft, financial and social costs, and more.
You’d think once folks saw the atrocity that is force-feeding of inmates on hunger strike they’d stop the practice, right? But you probably guessed that officials would do just the opposite. But that was just at Gitmo – a military prison in Cuba. The United States would NEVER allow such to happen on its soil… right? Right…? WRONG! A California judge just cleared the way for force feeding of the state inmates on hunger strike given ‘certain conditions.’
‘US District Judge Thelton Henderson is allowing prison doctors in California to force-feed inmates who are participating in a hunger strike. According to the ruling, if a prisoner is near death then a doctor is allowed to step in and intervene in the matter. As of now, 136 inmates are protesting living conditions and policies in place at facilities in the Golden State.’
Sorry, Yasiin. It doesn’t seem that publicity surrounding your courageous effort was enough to change the hardliners’ hearts and minds. We posted the gruesome Yasiin Bey force-feeding demo on here a while back.
History/Politics: After 50 Years, Civil Rights Pioneer John Lewis Still Says ‘We Cannot Give In!’ (Video)
RESPECT to the only living speaker/organizer from the 1963 March on Washington DC, Congressman John Lewis! What were you (or will you be) doing at 23? Probably not getting beaten trying to achieve the right to vote, thanks to the Congressman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Bernard LaFayette and other activists who marched and fought for for that right for us! Check out the video of the Civil Rights pioneer still speaking on it above. We cannot give up… we cannot give in!
Representative Lewis, referencing his suffering at ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Selma decades ago, is talking about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent stripping of the Voting Rights Act; as Dixie-crat states in the South are now allowed to make voting laws without having them cleared by the Federal Court or Government. Come on! There was a REASON we needed to have Federal oversight of Southern states’ voting policymaking… to make/keep things fair! If you need a ‘refresher’ course, Google ‘Gomillion v. Lightfoot’ (and Tweet me if you like; as I am from Tuskegee, Alabama… we can talk).
Incredible documentary video (from the ‘Fresh Out‘ series) on former ex-con turned actor & professional bodybuilder Kali Muscle.
‘“Happier than a BodyBuilder Directing Traffic” is a Geico commercial we all know and love. That bodybuilder goes by Kali Muscle and he has an incredible backstory with a troubled past. Much like what happened with CT Fletcher, Kali is spreading across the internet after his short documentary surfaced on the Strength Project.’
I was speaking with a friend who is also an Oakland Raiders fan like myself. The Raiders have major financial obstacles in their attempts to get a new stadium built in Oakland or anywhere else in Northern California. The Oakland Raiders have also recently been ranked by Forbes magazine as the least valuable NFL franchise despite having a huge global fanbase. The Raiders have one of lowest amount of operating dollars of all the 32 teams in the NFL. Fans may not be able to help the stadium situation, but they can definitely change the value of the team. I have said on numerous occasions it would be great if the Raiders adopted a similar ownership system like the Green Bay Packers in which the fans of the team can become shareholders. The Green Bay Packers are the only NFL franchise that operates in this manner. Current NFL rules require an owner to have no less than a 30% majority share of the team. I feel this could work for the Raiders if owner Mark Davis offered a 49% or less share to the fans. Our discussion then turned to the corporate aspect of worker owned companies. Ironically I ran across this interesting short documentary on the topic while surfing the web that goes to further illustrate the point that collective ownership is the key to win in many instances.
Inmates and Prison Officials Agree: “The House I Live In” Documentary Exposes The Failures of The U.S. War On Drugs Policy (Video)
HEADLINE: Inmates and Prison Guards AGREE on Failures of the Drug War!
Above is a behind-the-scenes teaser for a screening for Eugene Jarecki’s documentary “The House I Live In.” The venue: Joseph Harp Correctional Center (Lexington, Oklahoma, USA). Making a documentary at a jail… sure. But viewing it there, that’s different. But you know drug enforcement policy is more than a bit *messed* up if the C.O.’s and the prisoners can agree that it is!
See clips from the film (executive producers: Brad Pitt, John Legend, Russell Simmons and Danny Glover) after the jump. VERY interesting…
DOCUMENTARY: THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (ITUNES)
FACEBOOK: DRUG WAR MOVIE