Archive for July, 2010
By Boyce Watkins, PhD – Ieshuh Griffin is a legislative candidate from Wisconsin who seems willing to do whatever it takes to get elected. In the five words that candidates are allowed to put on the ballot to describe themselves, Griffin put the phrase, “Not the white man’s b*tch.”
Obviously, the words got the attention of the Government Accountability Board, which voted to reject the wording. Words are not allowed on the ballot if they are profane, discriminatory or include an obscene word or phrase.
Griffin, a black woman, took her case to a five-judge panel. The entire panel happened to be white, which might be part of the reason that Griffin sees herself as having to confront a predominantly white power structure. She argued her case and fought, but didn’t win in the end.
“It’s a freedom of expression,” she said to the panel. “It’s not racial. It’s not a slur.”
Griffin earned a bit of a moral victory when three of the judges ruled in her favor. But she lost the war, given that she needed four votes to get her initiative passed. Thomas Barland, who spent 33 years as a judge, felt that the language was not a problem.
“She says a lot in five words,” he said. “It wasn’t pornographic, it wasn’t obscene, and I didn’t interpret it as racial.”
Roxanne Dunlap, one of the other members of the panel, felt that the words were racially discriminatory. She said that if a candidate were to use the words, “not the black man’s b—-” on the ballot, his efforts would be immediately rejected.
Griffin’s language was certainly interesting and will surely draw the attention she’s seeking in order to get elected. Her statement was an honest, frustrated reaction to the white-dominated power structure that many African Americans face in their day-to-day lives.
For Dunlap to simply apply the white male version of the same language would be to ignore 400 years of history that has not forced the white man to spend his life under the boot of African American people. Therefore, direct translations of racially loaded terminology almost always end up awkwardly deviating from our instinctual reaction.
The truth is that black people use different language because we’ve had a different experience — the same way women are able to use unique language toward men because we’ve spent thousands of years oppressing them.
While her initiative didn’t pass, Griffin may spark up a few votes with such a strong and fiery approach to politics. Also, I am hopeful that she remembers that white politicians are not the only ones who will try to turn you into their “b*tch.” Black politicians can be just as deceptive, manipulative and destructive, so she needs to watch her back in every direction. At the end of the day, I am hopeful that she has as much fire in her walk as she does in her talk; Wisconsin may be better for it.
Our favorite Inspirational Singer Angelia Robinson get’s interviewed by Visit Black Dallas.com.
If you thought beds were just built for sleeping, think again – or at least sleep on it to be sure. The futuristic gadget-loaded HiCan bed design is so tech-heavy it is a virtual all-in-one stand-alone room with everything you need to read, relax and remain comfortably isolated and asleep or to stay awake and entertained.
A theater screen pulls down at the foot of the bed for viewing television or movies. An integrated personal computer system means you can work or surf the web in bed as well. Game consoles are built in for added entertainment value. Lights for reading and shades for sleeping are also fully integrated.
Some artist just bring songs to life in live settings. Erykah Badu is one of those entertainers. I try to never miss a show when she is in town.
Via the Daily News – Foxy Brown asked a Brooklyn judge for her own protection order yesterday against a neighbor whom the raunchy rapper allegedly mooned in a sidewalk showdown that landed the hip-hopper in jail.
But Judge Geraldine Pickett had a better idea: “Walk the other direction.”
Pickett extended the order of protection already in place against Brown, who was arrested last week after the profanity-filled spat with neighbor Arlene Raymond outside her Brooklyn home — telling Brown to simply walk away the next time she encounters Raymond.
Brown’s camp insisted that the vulgar vixen is the victim.
“She’s a stalker,” Bernadette Brennan, Brown’s manager, said of Raymond. “Foxy just lives her life.”
Prosecutors said Brown called Raymond a “dirty bitch” during a curbside confrontation last Wednesday before Foxy “bent over, thrust [her] buttocks at the [victim] while shouting . . . ‘Kiss my ass!’ at which time the defendant’s buttocks and undergarments were exposed to [Raymond],” according to a criminal complaint.
The hip-hop hellion was arraigned last week on charges she had violated Raymond’s restraining order against Foxy.
Raymond had taken out the order after the rapper beaned her with a BlackBerry three years ago, allegedly because the neighbor griped about Foxy playing her car radio too loud.
Raymond told cops that Foxy, whose real name is Inga Marchand, confronted her in Prospect Heights and started spewing threats and vulgarities.
“You dirty bitch! Bitch! What are you looking at? What the f- -k you looking at, bitch?” Foxy said, according to the complaint.
Brown’s court appearance couldn’t go off without a little drama. Her legal representative, Bruce Barron Associates, dropped her as a client just before she made her courtroom appearance, sources told The Post.
The sources did not say why she was being dropped. The law firm did not return a call seeking comment.
Via Hiphopwired.com Damon Dash’s Tribeca Loft is going to foreclosure.
Damon Dash has had a lot of trouble ever since his split with Jay-Z, and things don’t appear to be getting better anytime soon for the once Hip-Hop Mogul. Damon has stopped paying his ridiculous $78,504.20-per-month mortgage payment, and is now abut to go through foreclosure on the loft.
Bought for around 3 million, Dash a few years back tried to sell it for 7 million, hoping to sell the loft while also to pay back some of his debt. The auction will take place tomorrow at 1:00 P.M. as one lucky buyer will become the owner to the Dash estate.
The listing for the loft states:
“This stunning 5,200 SF duplex loft boasts 20 foot ceilings in the living room, 4 bedrooms and 4 baths on TriBeCas best block. Add huge windows facing north and south, a mint kitchen and luxurious bathrooms, it leaves nothing to be desired. Located in the preeminent full service doorman building, the Atalanta, Must be seen!!”
I don’t know how this is possible, Dame has plenty paper, so don’t believe everything you read!
A federal judge ruled this week that Vitaminwater will not, as its labels promise, keep you “healthy as a horse.” Nor will it bring about a “healthy state of physical or mental being”. Instead, Vitaminwater is really just a sugary snack food; non-carbonated fruit coke disguised as a sports drink. Because it’s composed mostly of sugar and not vitamin-laden water, judge John Gleeson held that Vitaminwater’s absurd marketing claims were likely to mislead consumers.
Coke tried to explain away claims like “vitamins + water = all you need” as “only puffery.” The judge disagreed.
By including the suggestion that the product will “keep you healthy” or “help bring about a healthy state of physical and mental being” alongside such statements, the quoted language implies that the nutrient content of vitaminwater may help consumers maintain healthy dietary practices. I conclude, therefore, in light of the language and context in which they are used, that the statements on the “defense” and “B- Relaxed” labels constitute implied nutrient content claims which use the word “healthy.” Such claims are in violation of violation of FDA regulations because . . . vitaminwater achieves its nutritional content solely through fortification that violates FDA policy.”
The ruling rejected Coca Cola’s motion to dismiss a class action suit brought by the scrappy do-gooders at the Center for Science in the Interest. The case should now be clear for trial, although it could settle if Coke is willing to change Vitaminwater’s name to something less misleading. Cake in a Can, perhaps? Lawsuit Over Deceptive Vitaminwater Claims to Proceed [CSPI] (Press Release)
Order on Motion to Dismiss [U.S. District Court] (pdf)
The U.S. Copyright Office and the Library Congress gave the OK to iPhone jailbreaking, ruling against Apple. In the past Apple has claimed jailbreaking violated the terms of fair use and jeopardized security.
Apple lost a bid to have jailbreaking the iPhone declared a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
In a decision today, the U.S. Copyright Office and the Library of Congress sided with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s contention that jailbreaking the iPhone was not prohibited by the act.
The decision comes (PDF) as part of a regular process where the copyright office reviews exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) every three years. Through jailbreaking, users can unlock a device and enable third-party unsigned code to run.
Citing security and privacy concerns, Apple has called jailbreaking illegal and fought to keep today’s decision from becoming a reality.
In his decision, Librarian of Congress James Billington wrote that Apple called jailbreaking a “violation of the prohibition against circumvention of access controls. It stated that its validation system is necessary to protect consumers and Apple from harm. Apple further contended that modifying Apple’s operating system constituted the creation of an infringing derivative work.”
On the other side of the issue was the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which heralded the copyright office’s decision earlier today.
“Copyright law has long held that making programs interoperable is fair use,” said Corynne McSherry, EFF senior staff attorney, in a statement. “It’s gratifying that the Copyright Office acknowledges this right and agrees that the anticircumvention laws should not interfere with interoperability.”
The EFF also applauded a decision it says “holds that amateur creators do not violate the DMCA when they use short excerpts from DVDs in order to create new, noncommercial works for purposes of criticism or comment if they believe that circumvention is necessary to fulfill that purpose.”
Who’s to blame?
City officials say at least some of the heat is on music mogul Sean (Diddy) Combs, hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh, Mickey Rourke’s plastic surgeon and Remy Ma’s defense lawyer.
They’re among thousands of people and companies that collectively owe $1.9 billion, the city says.
Also on the list: A pay phone company with reputed mob ties, an insurance company busted in a fraud ring and the governments of Hungary, Bulgaria and Libya.
While some of the boldface names deny that they’re in hock, the shocking tally is a sizable chunk of the $4.9 billion shortfall that just forced the city to cut funding to schools, day care centers and other treasured services. And that’s just delinquent taxes, fines and parking tickets – it doesn’t even include the $313 million that deadbeats owe for unpaid water bills.
“We are going to find these people,” vowed Finance Commissioner David Frankel. “We’re going to turn them upside down by their ankles and we’re going to shake them until the money comes out of their pockets.”
Frankel is leading a new effort to go after scofflaws – and make crucial improvements to the city’s collection system that critics say is long overdue.
Mayor Bloomberg announced a similar crackdown last year, saying the city would take steps like sharpening rules so people with outstanding bills can’t receive new permits. That effort yielded an extra $28 million for the city, but the program fell short of its goals.
This time, Frankel says scofflaws should watch out. “If you owe [the city] money,” he said, “you shouldn’t be able to get a tennis permit.”
The latest effort aims to expedite hearings and streamline collections with an eye toward reaping as much as $183 million by 2013.
Among those at the top of the city’s scofflaw lists are many who dispute their debts, including Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment, which faces a $996,000 bill for illegally plastering posters around the city.
A spokesman described the bill as a “bureaucratic error,” saying it was paid by a partner company three years ago but the city hasn’t updated the record. A city spokesman said lawyers are reviewing the issue.
Ronald Massie, who owned a pay phone company called Global Network Communications, called the city’s claim that he owes $1.8 million in business taxes “a little offensive,” saying the city “basically destroyed my company.”
Court records show Global Network sued the city after losing its phone franchise. The city cut off the company after Massie was arrested by the FBI for illegal activities with the Bonanno crime family. He later pleaded guilty to some charges.
John Figliolia pinned at least part of the blame on the city for the $2 million his brother’s company, Alex Figliolia Contracting, faces for fines related to digging up streets. He says the city delivers citations to bad addresses, fails to notify companies of hearings and, until recently, required companies to show up in person to dispute bogus fines. “Many companies have gone out of business over this,” he said.
Other debtors say they’re making good on their debts and plan to pay up.
“We are in the process of working out a payment agreement,” said Ivan Fisher, a prominent criminal defense lawyer who has represented mobsters, murderers and rapper Remy Ma.
Fisher racked up a $421,000 bill with the city during an extended illness, he said. “I was really unable to make much money, like close to none.”
Douglas Davis – better known as Doug E. Fresh – did not return calls about the $191,000 in business taxes. Neither did plastic surgeon Robert Vitolo, whose clients have included actor Mickey Rourke. Vitolo owes $169,000.
The city’s top 10 property tax debtors are all countries that own property in New York and claim they don’t have to pay taxes
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/07/25/2010-07-25_they_pass_the_bucks_celebs_nations__biz_firms_owe_billions_as_city_suffers.html#ixzz0utQfrBgA