Saturday, January 23, 2010


Peace everybody.

As you probably know, I haven't posted in a while.  At first it was because I've been unpacking, something that I thought was a miserable task.  Than, a week ago, the earth quake happened in Haiti.  It reminded me that I am extraordinarily fortunate to have a roof to unpack under.  After the quake happened I realized that my next post would have to be about Haiti (In my head it is pronounced "High Tee", which is how it is pronounced in Spanish Speaking countries.) but I wasn't sure what to write.  This is clearly one of the most devastating human catastrophes of my lifetime.  Only the 2004 Tsunami seems to have reached the same level of intensity since I've been around.  (Check out this article that compares the Tsunami releif effort to the current Haiti releif effort and offers an optomistic outlook for the future.)

There is so much to discuss that I don't know where to begin. I feel tongue tied.  I will say that everyone should donate something, even five dollars. I have no idea what the best organizations are to donate towards but I believe that any money earmarked for Haiti is well spent at this point.

I will say that I am extraordinarily sad and don't know what to do with these feelings. I feel silly, considering how much I have, and how much others have lost. I'm personally wary of hollow tears and worry that mine are tears of guilt and privilege. I think an event like this can shine a magnifying glass on the social institutions of privilege in our society. Few of us are immune to critiques that can come about as a result.

It's with this in mind that I will analyze a particular fact that I just learned that can shed light on the concept of privilege and how it is obtained.

After the slaves successfully expelled the French and created the independent nation of Haiti and repelled all French attempts to re-colonize it, the Haitian government was facing a crippling blockade from the Spanish, French and British governments. France agreed to lift the blockade and recognize Haiti as an independent nation in return for "reparations" in the sum of 90 million Francs (or 21 billion US dollars today). The reparations, of course, were to pay back the French for its loss of resources during the Haitian Revolution, primarily the loss of commodities, i.e. slaves. So the Haitian Government slowly paid these debts by securing high interest loans from countries like the United States and completed these payments in 1948.

Here are my thoughts on this:

Are you F*&%ING KIDDING ME?!

Who in the hell do these governments think they are by applauding themselves for giving $100 million hear, $200 million there? I have an idea; how about the French Government pays Haiti $21 Billion Dollars and the US and other governments pay back Haiti for the interest it collected on their despicable loans. After these repayments, said governments can than kick in additional millions out of the kindness of their hearts to address the current catastrophe, after having paid for the original tragedy. This of course would only be the beginning of the repayment for the: reprehensible acts perpetrated on African people and the Diaspora and compensation for the privileges bestowed upon the ancestors of their colonizers.

So tonight when you go to sleep in your comfortable bed and think about the Haitian People. Please don't stop there. Think about the dollar bills in your pocket. Ask yourself about the lineage of this currency. I want you to picture the interest paid to the United States. Envision how some of those dollars found their way to your pocket as you lay your head on your Martha Stewart Pillow. As you prepare to dream, remember how you've gotten the privileges you have and the death and misery of those on the other end of your subconscious. I promise you, I will do the same.

Next: The Massachusetts Senate Race (AKA Why I didn't vote for Barack Obama part 25)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Best of Decade part 10

Here it is.  The long awaited #10.  Are you ready? Personally I think that it's worth the wait.  I hope you all do to...

Best Thing to Happen to Me This Decade:  The Birth of My Two Boys

Before this decade began, I had no kids, which was a good thing. I cannot say that life for me has been a utopia since they joined this world that would be like saying "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction" (You know, a lie). Kids make life more difficult.  Like when it's the middle of the night and you are walking to the bathroom and you step on a miniature Han Solo: "Goddamn you Harrison Ford, how did you get under my foot at 2am!" Than you remember the little angels that are sleeping in the other room and you think: "Boys, if you leave Harrison Ford in this hallway one more time I'm going to turn into an evil monster and eat you!" To which they would respond by saying: "Dad who is Harrison Ford? And can you really turn into an evil monster?"

So the moral of the story is, don't have kids unless you are prepared to be thoroughly frustrated very often.  But if you're like me and you can handle a little frustration, than you will probably feel like the luckiest person in the universe.  That's how I feel, every time I look at one of their beautiful faces.  If I am a good father to them, than I feel like I'm succeeding at life.  I often have moments of insecurity when I feel like I can't do anything right but they remind me otherwise.  I'm not saying my life is all about my kids, I do lot's of interesting things that are not about them.  I am saying that they are beautiful and they make me feel so fortunate that it's difficult to put into words.

If you still can't understand how I came to the conclusion that my boys are the best thing to happen to me this decade, than watch this.

If you don't understand why that video is so special, than let David Chappele explain it to you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Best of Decade part 9

Hey y'all.  I just fell off the face of the earth and left you hanging.  This is unacceptable and I apologize.  In fairness to me, I have been moving.  Who on earth moves from one 3rd floor apartment to another 3rd floor apartment?  Me.  Let's just say I was on a stairmaster for 72 hours straight.  Now I am living in my new apartment and dancing through the mazes of boxes and random things scattered aroung.  I really think moving can be the most truamatic of all of the completely un-traumatic events that happen in life.  Or maybe it's just me.
Anyway I still have two more posts for the best of the decade.  Here's number 9.  (Stay tuned number 10 is gonna blow you away.)

Biggest Crock of Shit of the Decade: Iraq Having Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Do you remember that?  WHAT A CROCK OF SHIT!  I remember at the time thinking, "How is it that I know that Iraq doesn't have WMD's and our government doesn't". Of course they did know.  As evidenced by accounts from former CIA officials that President GW was briefed by the CIA Director George Tenet and informed that Iraq had no such weapons.  At this point the administration had allready determined it's course and was only looking for information to back up it's plans. Luckily Colin Powell was willing to be the liar that made the case to the United Nations.  He than quietly resigned before GW's next term.

I'm not sure there has ever been a bigger CROCK OF SHIT in my lifetime.  The Bush administration is responsible for the death of millions of Iraqi's and thousands of U.S. soldiers because of a war that was based on ridiculously false pretenses.  Even GW himself thinks the whole thing is preposterous as evidenced by his presentation at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2004. (Mysteriously I couldn't find a good video of it)  A recent British Film, In the Loop, satirizes the behind the scenes events involving the U.S. and Brittish Governments leading up to the war.  The whole thing was so completely ludicrous that it may very well have reached and entirely new level of ludiocrity!

At least we don't have to deal with that administration anymore.  But in honor of the Bush Administration I invite you to watch Stephen Colbert completely annihilate GW at the White Correspondents Dinner in 2006. This was so amazing that it probably deserved it's own "Best of" but there just wasn't enough room.