Saturday, October 22, 2005

Digital Divide and Betinna Throws A Party

I had a date last night and took the night off from blogging. The plan was to do a long thing today. I did. Once, twice, three times, four. Everyone gets lost.

I'm sick of Blogger. I'm trying one more time and this will be a short post. I'll note two things I really enjoyed this week. One made me think, the other made me laugh. That's all I intend to do blog wise today because I'm getting pretty frustrated at losing stuff each time I try to post.

First this from The Common Ills:

Eli suggests that Eddie check out Stephen Labaton's "A Bill Advancing Digital TV Is Approved by Senate Panel." Here's the most important sentence in the article:

More than half of homes now have no digital signal and no intention to get one, according to Stewart Wolpin, an analyst at Points North Group, a research and consulting firm.

Why do I say it's the most important? Because no one wants to comment on it, let alone mention it. That includes a "brave" watchdog that's pissed Eddie off -- we don't link to it -- because they did a rah-rah, "New World Coming" report that forgot to mention that for a significant portion of Americans, the new world isn't coming.
The article is a typical Times' article meaning it sucks up to big business (and doesn't discuss the Times' own interest in the legislation -- maybe Labaton is unaware of the Times' TV division?). But buried deep in the article is a fact that "brave" watchdog took a pass on.
This is going to be a big issue to people in some areas, to the poor and the working poor in all areas. Right now you want to watch Desperate Housewives (I wouldn't recommend it, but to each their own), you turn on the TV. You don't need cable, you don't need satellite. You turn on the TV and watch for free.
As the industry abandons analog and moves to digital, it will be a huge issue for a significant portion of Americans. But no one wants to talk about that. No one wants to acknowledge that even if we had a good economy (we don't, we have a Bully Boy economy) a lot of people would be left out of "the revolution."

Eddie's right to be upset about this. I'm upset about this.

Eddie's right to be upset about this. I'm upset about this.

I'm thinking about women I know who have kids and are struggling to make it. Now they want to take cartoons away from them?

Your cable bill may only be thirty bucks a month but there are a lot of people who are already stretched to the limit. Now you're going to take away TV? You want to be there in the home when some parent has to explain to their kid why they can't watch Aruthur or whatever?

Now if you can afford digital cable, maybe you can also afford to go to the movies? But for a lot of people, the TV takes that place because there's no money in the budget for entertaining. This is a very serious issue.

I also want to note that Betty has Betinna throwing her first dinner party. I think it's hysterical. Here's a quote:

I put on some Sade and the guests made small talk while Thomas Friedman kept following me around insisting that if I had to do take out, Mickey Dees has a perfectly suitable dinner menu.
Needing a break from his whining, I lied and said I didn't think Rebecca was wearing a bra tonight.
I didn't see him for a half hour which gave me just enough time to warm everything up and set it out. As I did, Gail Collins saddled up beside me and whispered that she thought Ron had "a Newland Archer quality." Having heard that he was single, I tried to suggest she go talk to him.
"Oh dare I?" she asked giddy with excitement. "Dare I, Betinna, dare I? Can you imagine the passion that could exist between us? The type of passion one only comes across in the novels of Edith Wharton."
"Uh-huh," I said counting the water glasses.
"He would be mad for me, mad, mad, mad. And I for him. And then we would steal away for a private moment."
Private moment?
Who knew Gail Collins had it in her?
I was all ears waiting for the naughty bits to begin.
"He would press his cheek to mine and I would press mine to his. Oh Betinna, the moment could be so magical. And then I would look at him with longing and regret as I declared that for us to stay together would kill what I loved in him most. Just like the Countess tells Archer."
"Damn it, Gail," I said frustrated since she long ago exceeded the sell-date on her own Age of Innocence, "you're not the lead in a period novel. You're a grown woman. You have urges."
Gail giggled nervously as a blush crossed her cheeks and she bowed her head.
Ignoring her, I announced dinner was ready and everyone took their assigned seats.

I'll note that Betty has me as a guest at Betinna's dinner party. It's a funny entry.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My great aunty had to have hip surgery and it wasn't planned. She knew she was going to have to have it at some point but Monday morning she was walking to her car from the grocery store and she tripped. Ended up skinning her knees and hands and breaking her nose. She swears she didn't faint and just tripped. But she is getting up in the years and since they took her in an ambulance to the hospital Monday she went ahead and decided to have the surgery she'd been putting off.

Her doctor scheduled her for Wednesday and I didn't even go to church Wednesday night because we were all trying to be at the hospital as much as possible for her. She's the oldest person in our family and I was real glad to see that everyone made time to visit before the surgery and after the surgery. She seems to be doing well but if you're wondering why I haven't been posting it's because this came up and it wasn't expected. I put pretty much everything I could on hold to make sure I could be there as much as possible.

If that hadn't happened, I would've been noting a great column by Jasmyne Cannick earlier this week. This is from The Chicago Defender and the title of the column is "Pimpin ain't easy: The new face of the Black Church:"

"We're not just a church, we're an international corporation. We're not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can't talk and all we're doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around this world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation. You've got to put me on a different scale than the little Black preacher sitting over there that's supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering." Bishop Eddie Long, New Birth Missionary Church, August 2005.
The sad thing is, he's right.
Today's New Black Church is the offspring of the civil rights era but can easily be identified by its debatable and sometimes laughable theology, superficiality, greed, materialism, heavy involvement in politics, tricked-out arena sized church, ten thousand or more member congregation and of course, its superstar pastor.

Cannick's got a lot of guts to speak it straight with no effort to pretty it up. The church is not supposed about the pretty shoes TD Jokes has or all the money he's amassed. It's also not supposed to be about bowling lanes. It's supposed to be about a relationship with God but too many preachers and pastors and congregations seem lost in the very bling-bling thing they scream and yell at rappers about.

All they seem to care about is money. How much do I got? How much can I get?

I think a church is about doing the kind of work Jesus would do. That means you help out the less fortunate. That doesn't mean it's your goal to build the biggest (and ugliest) church in the city or to be the richest man in the world but check with some of our black preachers. Not what they say but how they're living.

Nothing wrong with making a decent living. But the only thing anyone should ever get rich on from a church is God's love and their understanding of Jesus Christ.

For all the griping they do about rappers lowering the standards, I look around and see a lot of black preachers who are lowering standards a lot worse than any rapper ever could. Why is that? Because we expect leadership from our preachers in the community. And they aren't providing it. A lot of them are close to becoming as morally bankrupt as they are rich.

It's disgusting.

I e-mailed C.I. to note the item and said I planned to write about it and hoped to write about it Tuesday night. As always I want to thank C.I. because I didn't have time on Tuesday. But C.I. linked to it at The Common Ills. I'm sure some visitor probably already complained about, maybe more than one, saying it had no place up there or some nonsense.

This issue matters to me. I'm tired, my eyes are narrow slits and I just wanted to crawl into bed when I got home tonight but this is an important issue and all week I've meant to note it and hope that people would think about it.

So I'm putting it up here and wish it weren't so late in the week.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Iraq's constitution

Helped out The Third Estate Sunday Review and you should check them out. Their edition isn't "done" yet. They are holding the editorial until we can all get back together. That means Betty and me get done with church tonight.

I've got about ten minutes before I'm out the door but Three Cool Old Guys are furious. They feel C.I. was ripped off. (I feel the same.) They start naming the person who ripped C.I. off and I'm like "But you guys just got online a few weeks ago ... How did you ..." Because they'd figured it out. One of them signed up for some alerts at a web site and one of the things he got late this morning was an announcement about the rip-off artist's story. They said ___ better start doing some soul thinking because the road ___ is on will take ____ straight to hell.

I had to hear about how ____ was a thief. Lots of other stuff as well. I saw them this morning at church but I was tired and they said they could tell so they didn't bring this up there since I visit after church.

They wanted me to put up their thoughts.

1) ____ is a thief.
2) ____ has no shame.
3) ____ better "get right with God" quick.
4) ____ should be outed.

They wanted to know why we didn't just print ___'s name at The Third Estate Sunday Review? C.I. didn't want it. C.I. feels it could be a coincidence. C.I. also says ____ is a little vindictive thing and loves a pissing match so we shouldn't feed into it.

I explained that at length and am not free to do so here because since ___ isn't being named, I won't drop clues. But ___ really is a pyscho when it comes to others and as I detailed that they understood. They also had read Rebecca and took a lot of comfort in that.

This ain't over. They know that and that makes them happy.

They are total Common Ills members now. It's really great to see their enthusiasm. They'd told everyone at the nursing home about ____ ripping off C.I. and were showing them the thing at The Common Ills, the thing at The Third Estate Sunday Review and the thing by ____. I walk in and expect to say my hello to the ladies and the other men but instead I keep getting stopped by residents telling me how disgusting ____ is. This is topic number one at the nursing home.

Now let me put in my part from The Third Estate Sunday Review's news review. Jim wants all of us who participate to do that. A) It's an easy entry if we're short on time. B) It promotes The Third Estate Sunday Review. C) It let's people see another side of us since we are doing that under pressure and time limits.

C.I.: Thank you, Jess. We now go to Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix with a report on the Iraqi constitution.
Cedric: C.I., the Iraqi constitution will give every Iraqi their own iPod, their own swimming pool and streets of gold.
C.I.: Really?
Cedric: Well, it will enshrine the rights of all.
C.I.: Really?
Cedric: The honest truth is that with various versions, most voters had little idea of what they were voting for. The charter continued to change days before the election and this after the "official version" had several versions. Electricity was out Saturday morning in Baghdad. Riverbend of Baghdad Burning reported Saturday morning that: "The referendum is only hours away and the final version of the constitution still hasn’t reached many people." Many people have no idea what they're being asked to vote on and Riverbend makes the point Elaine made which is that suddenly this isn't the Constitution, it's open to more revisions and alterations. Riverbend compares it to the phoney elections of January and notes:
Areas with a Sunni majority are complaining that there aren’t polling stations for kilometers around- many of these people don’t have cars and even if they did, what good would it do while there’s a curfew until Sunday? Polling stations should be easily accessible in every area.
Cedric (con't): We'll no doubt hear that it was another triumph for "democracy" and that there was a huge turnout but the reality is people weren't provided with the Constitution in time to read it and that the voting places aren't accessible to all. We've got a new spin cycle for the adminstration to launch another wave of Operation Happy Talk. The Iraqis have gotten screwed again.
C.I.: Thank you, Cedric. And we'll note that on The Laura Flanders Show Saturday night, we were all reminded that the January elections featured a lot of photo ops of purple stained fingers and only after the spin was in place was it noted that all the photos came from the same polling stations. We now go to Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Mike of Mikey Likes It! for a joint report on Iraq. Elaine, I'm guessing, you have the fatalities figure, so how about we start with you?

I'm adding 2 blog links. The first is Wally who's been a great friend to me and a great member of The Common Ills community just started The Daily Jot. The other is Ron of Why Are We Back In Iraq? who C.I. told me had added my site to his blog roll. I'll say thank you to Ron. I know his work from the early days of The Common Ills and he didn't have to add me. Lots of people don't. One thing about Ron that he may not get credit from in the blogsphere is that he is concerned with representation. That's in terms of color, in terms of gender and in terms of sexuality. A lot of people talk the inclusive talk but Ron really puts it in practice. I'd say that if I wasn't added. But I'd argue that I was added because of that attitude on Ron's part.