Friday, September 21, 2007

The Jena 6 - Afrosphere in Action

A year ago, this might not have been possible. But with the advent of the Afrosphere, a "spontaneous" protest in support of the 6 accused in Jena, LA drew tens of thousands of people from around the country.

This after the story had been basically ignored by the mainstream media (with the notable exception of the Chicago Tribune's Howard Witt) for months, and is still apparently being ignored by the so-called progressive blogs.

Unfortunately, I was only able to be there in spirit today, so there's not much I can say that captures the essence of this moment better than some of the other members of the Afrosphere, so here are some links to their sites.

Demonstrators descend on Jena, Court to Weigh Bells Detention Monday

My heart is in Jena

Jena - GrassRoots Black Internet Activism

I know there's a whole lot more people out there on top of this, but that's enough to get you started. I've said it over an over again, but it bears repeating; this thing is powerful y'all. Let's keep it moving.

Monday, September 17, 2007

That's Just Nasty

I've seen it happen often enough to know it true, but this is still kind of unsettling. Via the Dallas Morning News:

One-third of men didn't bother to wash after using the bathroom, compared with 12 percent of women, said the researchers who spy on people in public restrooms. They reported their latest findings Monday at a meeting of infectious disease scientists. Two years ago, the last time the survey was done, only one-quarter of men didn't wash, compared with 10 percent of women.

The latest study was based on observations last month of more than 6,000 people in four big cities.

Wait, it get's worse.

Men really strike out when it comes to handwashing at sporting events, the study found. Only 57 per cent of the guys were observed washing their hands at Turner Field in Atlanta (the lowest figure at any of the locales). On the other hand, women hit a home run: 95 per cent were observed cleaning their hands at the same location.

Like your Momma always told you, and as stated in the article;

Frequent hand washing is the single best thing people can do to avoid getting sick, from colds and the flu to germs lurking in food, doctors say.

For all y'all out there using the bathroom and running out without washing up, here's the proper procedure.
  • Remove all rings and wet your hands with warm running water.
  • Put a small amount of liquid soap in the palm of one hand. Bar soaps are not as hygienic as liquid soaps because they stay moist and attract germs. If a bar soap is the only option it should be stored on a rack so that the bar doesn't sit in water.
  • Rub your hands together for 20 seconds so you produce lather. Make sure you scrub between your fingers, under your fingernails and the backs of your hands.
  • Rinse your hands well with clean running water for at least 10 seconds. Try not to handle the faucets once your hands are clean. Use a paper towel to turn off the water.
  • Dry your hands with a single use paper towel. If you use a hand towel be sure to change it daily. During cold and flu season you may want to give each family member his or her own hand towel.
  • Use hand lotion to put moisture back into your skin if your hands are dry.
  • Model good handwashing technique to your children. Have them sing a song like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" while rubbing their hands together to teach them the amount of time it takes to clean their hands properly.
But y'all already know that, right? It makes me think that from here on out everybody from the CEO on down is getting a pound from me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Food for Thought

This weekend with the help of my very sweet husband I challenged myself to eat totally raw for one day, nothing cooked or processed.

The next day, I went out with a friend for a semi-unhealthy breakfast. After I guzzled down a bunch of food that I don't usually eat, I was left feeling tired and sluggish. So what do I do when I need a bit of an energy boost? I drink a V8.

No! No! Not the kind in the store thats full of salt and has had most of the life cooked out of it, but the homemade kind you receive all of your nutrients from. Here's my recipe.

2 large tomatoes
2 medium-sized carrots
1/4 small beet (wash well)
2 cups of spinach
1/4 head fresh cabbage
1/4 red bell pepper
1/4 green bell pepper
2 stalks celery
1/4 sweet onion
1/2 clove garlic or less if you don't care for garlic
Half of a Kale leaf (a little goes a long way so be careful)
Salt to taste

Run all the vegetables through your juicer, add salt to taste, and then sit back and enjoy the healthiest vegetable juice blend around.

After I drank half of a cup of this stuff I was my ol' energetic self.

Remember guys eating healthy shouldn't be a diet, but a lifestyle change, so take it one day at a time. And look out for my next post, it will have some real MEAT to it.

Until Next Time

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A healthy lifestyle begins with what you eat.....

Okay guys this is just a little something short and sweet.

Many people may not know this, but often when we cook our healthy veggies and fruits we lose a good amount of nutrients because high heat can cause some vitamins to breakdown, including Vitamin C and the B Vitamins . So here are just a couple of ways to preserve your vitamins in a yummy sorta way.

In my house what I'll often do is create our own salad dressing by juicing many veggies, and herbs such as garlic, celery, cucumbers, a cup of rice wine vinegar, a 1/4 of olive oil, and maybe a dash of salt and pepper. Then I add milled flax seeds ( which is a great source of fiber and omega 3 oils), a spoon full of sesame seeds, and voila! Salad dressing.

Juicing is an excellent way to receive all of your veggies for the day, and you don't even have to toss out the left over pulp because it can always be used in soups.

Now let's discuss just how cool a smoothie can be. For breakfast or dinner we often drink smoothies. You can add a ton of fruits and veggies into a smoothie without losing all of your nutrients. For example, juice a few carrots and use that for the base of your smoothie. Next add plain vanilla yogurt, a good amount of crushed ice , maybe some milk, either strawberries, peaches, or blue berries, a bit of agave nectar or honey, and now you have a totally healthy drink item.

Check out these sites for some other ideas.

Until Next Time

Thursday, September 06, 2007


From Jack and Jill Politics:

It is just too ironic that BET is being taken to task by the likes of CNN over THIS video.
And the host, Tony Harris, needs to check himself. Brotha's been watching Bill O'Reilly too much. In the real world, the right people are probably getting the message of "Read a Book" but I can't help but be frustrated at the massive distraction that shows like this CNN farce are to the real work that needs to be done which is to reclaim the images and messages of our people from those who have sold us self-destruction in the name of profits.

I agree. I watched CNN's segment regarding this video and thought it was actually pretty outrageous for several reasons.

First, the set for the story equated the creation and airing of this video on BET in the same vein as Sesame Street, the Electric Company, and the Schoolhouse Rock series.

Second, CNN managed to find a group of parents who were all completely outraged about the video, yet must not have been able to find anyone with an opposing point of view.

Third, Tony Harris. Damn.

The aptly described Bill O'Reilly wannabe went into every commercial break saying that the "controversy" regarding this video was next up on the show, only to come back with something completely different. I'm glad he was able to put aside his faux outrage long enough to lead tease every segment with this, finally airing the story near the end of the broadcast.

From the moment I saw the Read A Book video I got the point that it was satire aimed at the rap music industry and it amazes me that this is even registering on the controversy scale. And if you've ever watched MTV's Cribs or any show of that type, you know that a lot of these rappers do need to read a MF'ing book. Among the Bentleys and SubZero refrigerators and all the other bling, there's never a bookshelf anywhere in site. I haven't seen one yet anyway.

If you watch the rest of the videos played on BET with real live people in them and no redeeming message to speak of, I think it would be fairly easy to find one worthy of this type of "outrage." But this? C'mon y'all. This whole "controversy" is just so much BS to keep you bogged down in so that you don't have time to pay attention to the real issues of the day.

Judge for yourself, the Read A Book video is here:

Crabs. Bucket.

The man who started the MLK Grande Parade, which became a glitzier, for-profit alternative to the longtime nonprofit grass-roots procession celebrating the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, has been ordered to pay $110,000 for violating an agreement between the two parades and lying during a trial this summer.

The groups, which have held rival parades since 1996, reached an agreement for a joint 2006 parade. The payment from Stamps' group was meant to compensate the Black Heritage Society for abandoning its plans and working itself into the MLK Grande Parade. Read more...

Living here in Houston I have to say it's beyond ridiculous that there are two MLK Parades on the same day, following the same route, within a couple of hours of each other every year. Worse, the civic community and the public basically have to choose sides when determining which parade to participate in or attend, turning an otherwise simple decision into a political one. I wonder what Dr. King would have to say about this nonsense?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Municipal Wi-Fi projects were sprouting like mushrooms the past couple of years, but it looks like the bubble may have burst. From SmartMobs:

San Francisco’s city-wide WiFi has stalled out, and Chicago’s is meeting a similar fate. St. Louis has hit a big snag. Lompoc’s network growth is far lower than it should be. Even Toledo is cooling it. Earthlink, a major player in this field, has been losing customers and spending hugely, and is now cutting jobs and restructuring itself. Is American city-wide WiFi in a crisis?

I talked about the Houston project earlier this year, and it's ambitious goals:

For example, Houston just signed a deal with Earthlink to throw up a network covering the 600 square miles of the city within the next two years. An aspect of the plan calls for up to 40,000 subsidized subscriptions to be provided to low-income users annually.

But now following on the imploding heels of equally ambitious projects in San Francisco and Chicago, Houston's public/private project may be on the ropes too, at least in it's current form.

Houston was counting on EarthLink to invest about $50 million to build a Wi-Fi network there, but those high hopes are now fading. The city recently notified EarthLink that it will fine the company $5 million for missing its contractual deadlines. The payment will give EarthLink more time to consider whether it wants to abandon the Houston project or find other partners willing to help defray the costs. Read more...

A full scale network covering the city of Houston has at minimum been set back a few paces, but at least the city has an extra $5 million in the bank for its trouble. That's not the case everywhere. These projects all held a a lot of promise, and have promised a lot, particularly as relates to their impact on poor people otherwise unable to afford broadband and reap the benefits of participating in an online world. But so far the jury is still out regarding their performance on both the civic and commercial side.

Looking at what has been accomplished within the Afrosphere alone over the past few months, I'm definitely a believer in the power of connected citizens. However these recent events show that the floor's still open on how to bring that connectivity to the masses.
With internet access, and particularly broadband, having become a near necessity in so many people's lives, my question is will there be a replacement for the municipal projects? Does there need to be?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What's In Your Skillet?

If I had to take one guess at the kitchen item that all households have I would say cookware. We may not even have toilet paper but we will have a pot or a pan under the sink. Which leads to the bigger question: "What materials are your pots and pans made from?" And while I can't speak for everyone, I feel I can safely say that the majority of the cookware being sold has a Teflon-covered, non-stick coating on the inside of the pan.

So I'm sure you're saying "And... what's the big deal? It's being sold in stores all across America so it must be safe." Well, after pondering the question and a lot of research, I'm here to tell you that it's not according to many. Now some of us may think that just because you purchased your pot from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and not the Dollar Store that you're safe. Wrong! It doesn't matter if you spent $1.00 or $100 the end result is non-stick has made it into your home cabinets.

So let's get right to the matter at hand.

Teflon-coated aluminum contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a synthetic chemical used in its production. After 3-5 quick minutes of cooking at 680 degrees these non-stick pans release at least six toxic gasses, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants and MFA, an airborne chemical deadly to humans even in low doses. Also note that aluminum is strongly suspected as one of the factors contributing to Alzheimer's disease, which by the way is just one of many problems that the government now acknowledges.

Chemicals used in non-stick- and stain-resistant products are also reaching children in the womb and may be tied to "small decreases" in the size and weight of newborns, according to two studies by Johns Hopkins University researchers. According to findings from the University's School of Public Health & Organic Consumers Organization there has been a growing wave of scientific investigations, triggered by concerns over the discovery that perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoate acids, called PFOA, are present in human and animal blood around the globe. Dupont, one of the major producers of Teflon-coated cookware was sued back in 2005 on the basis that:

"DuPont has known for over 20 years that the Teflon product and the PFOA chemical it contains causes cancer in laboratory animals," Kluger said. "I don't have to prove that it causes cancer. I only have to prove that DuPont lied in a massive attempt to continue selling their product."

That case has apparently been settled as far as the EPA is concerned, but the class-action suits are apparently proceeding. While Dupont will likely be made to pay, the real losers have been us. And it's not just cookware, Teflon is in in everything it seems including;

Airplane parts, exteriors and coatings
Anti-wrinkle creams and treatments (eg, skin injections)
Auto engine parts
Camping equipment and outdoor clothing - eg, Goretex
Carpets and rugs
Clothing for adults, children and infants
Computer chips
Curling irons/ hair straighteners
Dental floss
Electrical insulation
Fast food container linings
Firefighting foam
Furniture - sofas, chairs, beds
Gardening equipment and patio furniture
Hair dryers
House paint, interior and exterior
Kitchen utensils and gadgets
Irons and ironing board covers
Medicine containers
Nail polish and hardener
Pet bedding, leashes, collars and harnesses
Prosthetic devices and reconstructive surgery
Razor blades and shaving foam/ gel
Soft furnishings
Solar panel coatings
Spectacles with scratch-resistant lenses
Stain repellents
Surgical instruments
Umbrellas, rainwear

So with all the available information and lawsuits settled and pending, I would have to say I'm tossing out the Teflon non-stick cookware, and buying some emamel coated cast iron, glass or stainless steel.