Copywriting Secrets... Kind Of! A Free Ebook, Nonetheless

Free ebooks are everywhere, but here's a PDF ebook by a ghostwriter who gives you the scoop if you're considering making an ebookMerry Christmas! Don't forget to unwrap the fun ebook gift that Santa Me created just for you. Download a free PDF of my ebook Confessions Of an Ebook Ghostwriter by clicking this ecover:

Those aren't my sexy legs shown on the ebook cover, but the thoughts and words you'll read are all mine. Inside you'll find colorful excerpts from 11 of the how-to books I've written this year. So, this is's fun year-end review compiled as a special gift for you!

What's inside? Like our writing projects, you'll find a bit of any and everything... How-to steps, tips, and insights about everything from dating, sex and soulmates to photography, weight loss, starting a home-based business, and how to make money online... Stuff I've enjoyed learning more about to write over the past year.

I actually use some of the information in this free ebook and hope you can, too. But of course, if the chapter on how to become a straight male escort isn't something you can use, maybe you'll just enjoy learning about this little-known corner of the universe.


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Chicago Circling "O" In Bid for Olympics Gold

Chicago street banners congratulating Barack Obama
Earlier this week I blogged at Fiercely Strategic Marketing about how Chicago is surfing the Barack Obama wave, hoping to leverage the president-elect's win for its 2016 Olympics bid. Today, the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times offers its take on the very same about the Second City.

A New Wind Is Blowing in Chicago quotes a few of our notables -- Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill, Jeff Tweedy of the band Wilco, and author Scott Turow among them -- on what native son Obama's victory means for Chi-town.

Copycats! The Times even used the same shot of downtown Chicago's glossy Obama banners that I took. Well, sorta... ;-o

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Melting Pot News - Beyonce 'n Justin, Sarah Palin, Katt Williams

A quick riot act to watch: Beyonce. Single Ladies video. Justin Timberlake among them? Only on Saturday Night Live:

And quick "riot acts" to read:

~ The governor of Alaska stands to make nearly $7 million in a Sarah Palin book deal, according to the Huffington Post. But don't Dick Cavett at New York Times, who in this entertaining Sarah Palin piece -- The Wordsmith of Wasilla -- may fret having to read more Sarah Palin doozies like this:
My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.
~ Mrs. Obama's bringing "sexy back" to White House, literally. See First Lady Got Back at, where a female African American writer expresses appreciation for Michelle Obama's bootiliciousness.

~ A First Lady with other assets, Hillary Clinton clearly is emerging as Barack Obama's secretary of state; the Guardian is reporting that Clinton "will accept." But the New York Times says questions about Bill Clinton's finances persist. If things look that shady, why would Senator Clinton expose her family to so much scrutiny and more embarrassing criticism?

~ Another Chicago South Side Star emerges: Barack Obama's barber, Zariff. In an interview with US Magazine, the president-elect's head-cutter discusses our famous neighbor's creeping gray hairs. Interestingly, I just wrote a humor essay wondering if anyone at the Hyde Park Hair Barber Studio was getting a "cut," selling a hot commodity called Barack Locks In a Box.

~ And finally, this... I've worked with a couple of comedians and have noticed this: Some of them seem woefully unstable (e.g., insecure, easily aggitated, too close to the edge emotionally). Some fall off - you know who they are. Now this about comedian Katt Williams... I wish him well.

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Obama, Hillary, McCain, Palin - Where Are They Now?

Where are all the candidates now? Well, you'll find President-elect Barack Obama addressing the nation on a YouTube video, which I link you to watch here at his transition site,, instead.

But first, this funny Obama video message from an Obama-alike comedian to watch...

[Video - Obama spoof to T.I.'s "Whatever You Like"]

And what ever happened to Hillary Clinton? It's widely known that Senator Hillary Clinton was here in Chicago on Thursday, meeting with President-elect Barack Obama. Discussing, it is said, the possibility of Clinton serving as secretary of state. Don't miss opinion about all of the hillary hillary hillary hillary hillary talk, as New York Times political humor columnist Gail Collins so aptly writes.

Not to be left out of the loop, Senator John McCain is scheduled to hit Chicago this week to meet with Barack Obama. I don't suppose he, too, is up for a job with That One. Although he might qualify. I can't imagine Mr. McCain's got embarrassing pics to any MySpace friends floating out here. Why, he doesn't even use email.

Last but not least: the hot, sexy mini-skirt in photos wearing Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. The best-loved vice-presidential running mate ever known to men -- I mean man -- has turned all Tina Fey on us. Suddenly, we can count on Palin to be on television, in interviews. According to, Sarah Palin may be eyeing the Alaska senate seat of convicted Ted Stevens, if his peers vote for him to vacate it.

So there. Sarah Palin may be doin' some pallin' around of her own. Perhaps loadin' up the truck and movin' to Washington after all.
[Sarah Palin video spoof]

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Miriam Makeba - Tribute to Mama Africa

Miriam Makeba (1933 - 2008) wrote in her 2004 biography, "Makeba," that she would sing until she died. And that she did. Emerging in the sixties, Makeba was the first African singer to gain worldwide popularity. She died this week in Italy, there in concert taking a political stand for writer Roberto Saviano, author of "Gomorra," a book that dangerously outed the Italian mafia in Naples.

But hers was a life worth celebrating. Known as "Mama Africa," Miriam Makeba sang at President John F. Kennedy's birthday bash; she performed at the historic "Rumble In the Jungle" boxing match between Muhammed Ali v. George Foreman.

Makeba was married a number of times, including to African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela amd Black Panther Stokely Carmichael. She testified at the United Nations and spent decades in exile from her South African homeland for taking a stand against Apartheid.

God love you, Mama Africa!

Miriam Makeba bio at Independent UK

Miriam Makeba - "Pata Pata" (1966 worldwide hit)

Miriam Makeba - "The Click Song (1966 worldwide hit)

South African Children Rapping in Xhosa Language

Miriam Makeba & Paul Simon

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Nikki Giovanni, Kanye West Poetry Book: Hip hop Speaks to Children

Time sure flies... Christmas and Kwanzaa again are around the corner. If you'll be making a list and checking it twice for a child, here's a cool gift that's excellent edutainment for little ones. It's "Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry With a Beat," a picture book edited by famed poet Nikki Giovanni.

Extra nice is that the book comes with a companion CD featuring some of hip-hop's most high: Mos Def, Queen Latifah, and Kanye West to name a few. In fact, A Tribe Called Quest rules the mic for a funky rendition of "Green Eggs 'n Ham," which Q-Tip performs. (Why do I hear parents muttering the Dr. Seuss jazz the Q-Tip way, with more zest than their kids?)

Maya Angelou and other African American literary figures joined Giovanni to make "Hip Hop Speaks to Children" a real powerhouse. It ends with Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" prose. This alone makes it a hot gift I'll be giving: It is worrisome that some African American children don't have a clear picture of why they have a day off from school, thanks to Dr. King. (One told me that Dr. King was a basketball player [my 2006 humor essay about this].)

Nice to learn, too, that an African American work has reached #3 on the New York Times best-sellers list in the children's books category.

To read all about Giovanni's latest poetry gift, check this New York Times article and this Nikki Giovanni interview on NPR. You can also get book info here on

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Jimmy Kimmel Video - Where Is Sarah Palin Now?

The new American Idol, sexy Sarah Palin as shown in a Jimmy Kimmel video parodying her Where Are They Now? style
Good thing I had nothing in my mouth. Because I laughed out loud when I saw this on Jimmy Kimmel the other night. It's from Kimmel's hilarious video send-up giving Sarah Palin the "Where Are They Now" treatment. I'm blogging it for all to enjoy, but mostly for the hundreds who come here every day searching for my hot, sexy Sarah Palin photos in boots and blouses post.

Some of us may not realize it, but Sarah Palin is a MILF extraordinairre. (MILF meaning Mothers I'd Like to F***.) The high number of people (men!) who land here via Google and Yahoo! searches for sexy Sarah photos reveals just how powerful Palin's sexual allure. How much did this figure in John McCain choosing her as running mate? Why else would the man pick a person as his veep who doesn't know that Africa is a continent?

Anyway, here's the Jimmy Kimmel video...

via The Insider

Of course, if you don't find Sarah Palin laughable -- I mean a laughing matter -- and will never again watch Saturday Night Live or Tina Fey, maybe you'll appreciate this New York Times story. Republican campaign insiders have imploded post-election, and their wrath seems aimed at outing the sexy would-be Madame Vice President as opportunistic diva and ditz.

For killer copywriting, ebook ghostwriters, viral reports and publicity services visit -- your Internet marketing store. Read the whole post...


Election Night Photos - Behind-the-Scenes in Obama Suite

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama on Election Night in hotel watching the results
My favorite cousin, Kelvin, isn't big on Obama, but *loves* Michelle Obama's "big legs." Ha! So, I'll tell you -- but not him -- about this wonderful Obama Election Night photostream on Flickr. These photos are so intimate, so telling...

Obama photographer David Katz captured Obama every step of the way. You'll find here Obama behind-the-scenes images and on-stage shots from Springfield to Chicago and all points beyond on the campaign trail. Amazing work, David!

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha and Malia on Election Night in hotel with Michelle Obama's mother

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha and Malia on Election Night, walking out for Barack to hit the Chicago stage for his Acceptance Speech
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Michael Crichton, Prolific Writer-Filmmaker, Dies

Many are saddened by the news that one of the writing world's tallest blades, Michael Crichton, died today of cancer. Crichton, 66, authored numerous fiction best-sellers, many of which became blockbuster movies. Who didn't see and love his work in films such as Jurassic Park, Congo, Disclosure, and Twister?

The Huffington Post write-up about Crichton's death includes these quotes from film director Steven Spielberg and Crichton's "ER" partner, executive producer John Wells:

..."Michael's talent out-scaled even his own dinosaurs of `Jurassic Park,'" said "Jurassic Park" director Steven Spielberg, a friend of Crighton's for 40 years. "He was the greatest at blending science with big theatrical concepts, which is what gave credibility to dinosaurs again walking the Earth. ... Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place."

John Wells, executive producer of "ER" called the author "an extraordinary man. Brilliant, funny, erudite, gracious, exceptionally inquisitive and always thoughtful. "No lunch with Michael lasted less than three hours and no subject was too prosaic or obscure to attract his interest. Sexual politics, medical and scientific ethics, anthropology, archaeology, economics, astronomy, astrology, quantum physics, and molecular biology were all regular topics of conversation."

Dr. Michael Crichton was born here in Chicago, was educated at Harvard College. He taught anthropology at Cambridge University and writing at MIT. His first bestseller, Andromeda Strain, won acclaim while he was still in college.

Condolences to the Crichton family. Fan around the world share the family's grief, but forever will delight in his provocative imagination. It's not for nothing this prolific literary giant stood 6 feet 9 inches tall.

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Oprah Show and Henry Louis Gates Celebrate Obama

President Barack Obama was celebrated on the Oprah Show

Distinguished Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was among the guests on today's Oprah Show, a post-election focus on the Obama win. During the interview, Oprah pointed out an essay Dr. Gates has posted at The Root.

The piece, titled "In Our Lifetime," gives poignant African American perspective on the ascension of a man named Barack Hussein Obama to the White House. A quote:

...What would Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman say? What would Dr. King himself say? Would they say that all those lost hours of brutalizing toil and labor leading to spent, half-fulfilled lives, all those humiliations that our ancestors had to suffer through each and every day, all those slights and rebuffs and recriminations, all those rapes and murders, lynchings and assassinations, all those Jim Crow laws and protest marches, those snarling dogs and bone-breaking water hoses, all of those beatings and all of those killings, all of those black collective dreams deferred—that the unbearable pain of all of those tragedies had, in the end, been assuaged at least somewhat through Barack Obama's election? This certainly doesn't wipe that bloody slate clean...
Yes, we've come far -- shockingly far, thanks to a gifted black man who is Obama. But we still have a long way to go... much work to do. Here's the latest evidence that the struggle continues...

The Secret Service arrested a man with an assault rifle yesterday in the Chicago suburb called Rosemont. He apparently had deadly designs on president-elect Obama. The man was found in his car with his laptop turned on; he was on a YouTube video about the fear of African American rioting if Obama won.

We should be so proud of the Chicago youth. To my knowledge, there wasn't a single crime incident at the Obama victory celebration in Grant Park. The audacity of hope, indeed.

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President Barack Obama - The Dream 3000

This is more than a dream come true. Inconceivably, Barack Obama has made world history as the first African American president of the United States of America. But his accomplishment represents so much more. That One is a rare gift. An exceptional leader. A uniter. A visionary progress-maker.

Obama got game, and it appears to be precisely the game America needs.

What a remarkably inspiring victory speech! The closer he gets to the White House, the better Barack Obama gets. Truth is, he won't have to shoulder all the burden he'll inherit. His words and manner are the magic that make people want to move the ball down the field.

Obama has painted a magnificent vision of our future. We owe it to ourselves to keep believing in it. He is living proof the unimaginable can happen. Every parent, every child, every teen, every nation -- from Kenya to Kansas : Here is your crystal clear mirror. Walk and talk the Obama way.

For this moment enormous gratitude and much respect is owed, directly or indirectly, to:

John F. Kennedy

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Malcolm X

Reverend Jeremiah Wright

Senator Dick Durbin

Senator Ted Kennedy

Secretary of State Colin Powell

And last but not least Senator Joe Biden, the next Vice President of the United States. I didn't tear up during Obama's remarks until Biden came out looking ebulliently set for the great assist.

And Oooooooooh ... I forgot two "Black History Makers" without whom this 2008 presidential election result seriously wouldn't have happened, regardless of Obama's brilliance:

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VOTE 2008 Election - Housecleaning Day

Yes we CAN!!!
If you haven't already, please vote. We have a choice. We can do better, it begins with YOU.
A mere 537-vote difference last election.

Time to turn the page. Two wars. No WMD. A disregard for too much else. Time to clean house. Imagine a facelift for America... Jobs. Healthcare. Education. Foreclosures.
And our dear planet, Gaia, better protected and no longer taken for granted.

If you don't vote, don't complain.
You have until 7 p.m., so HURRY UP and take your time!

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Obama Chicago Celebration Hysteria. But Sadly, Grandmother Dies

President Barack Obama. Yep, I said it!
Millions of Americans have already cast their votes to elect either Barack Obama or John McCain the next U.S. president. Tomorrow, those of us who're stragglers -- procrastinors who'll vote on election day -- worry nationwide our votes won't count. The election machines are this. The paper ballots are that. Doesn't matter though: We're all showing up this time! Chads hanging, machines rigged, and all.

And while we get our vote on, both presidential candidates shockingly will still stomp the campaign stumps, intent on snagging every undecided voter crumb on the table. "They may not know it, but The Mack is back!," McCain warns. "We are one day away from changing America!," That One promises. Hard to believe, but by midnight tomorrow, the evil campaign ads will cease. Hey, somebody's going to Disney World! Time to Super Bowl Shuffle.

Meanwhile, nothing much going on here in Chicago... NOT. Mother-to-be Chicago? Her water has broken: The baby is COMING!!! And like proud Baby Daddys, we're all but passing out the cigars now... A huge patch of downtown Chicago already is closing to traffic for the Obama celebration. The international press have been in town for days. So have the Secret Service and an army of sniper guys charged with protecting the next president of the United States.

Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago have turned schizophrenic. First, it was EVERYONE COME ON DOWNTOWN FOR THE MEGA-CELEBRATION IN GRANT PARK! Then it was No, wait... DON'T come unless you have one of the special 70,000 Obama election night event tickets. Sorry, but we forgot we having the highest crime rate in America -- and with all the racial tension and black history that's being made, you people won't know how to act. Bang-bang.

Oh, this just in: We're all invited again. Chicago gonna' party like its 1999. But the rest of us can only gather around the far edges of the Obama mega dancefloor. 30,000 uninvited are expected to come. And the black market to buy those free tickets rages wild.

... No way. Stop the presses... NPR just reported that Barack's grandmother, Mrs. Madelyn Dunham, has died. R.I.P., Mrs. Dunham. Job extraordinarily well done.

There simply aren't words to express how staggering a day on Earth can be. Or how crazy this election cycle will continue to get. We're all sitting on the edge of our seat. But that bitch called life has us paying for the whole damn thing. Read the whole post...


Foreclosure Crisis: Chicago Stands Back From 'Katrina' Sans Water

Want an example of true leadership with a conscious? I'm proud to say that you (and your city's decision-makers) should look right at Chicago and the surprising cease of foreclosures our county sheriff took today.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart deserves applause for deciding enough is enough in Chicago's foreclosure mess. Dart took a stand for "Joe Sixpack," halting his team from executing what I understand are ALL foreclosures in Chicagoland's Cook County.

The problem? Tom Dart's sheriffs were running into far too many ugly situations when showing up to evict innocent renters. People who'd paid their monthly rent -- but had not been told by the building owners they needed to start packing -- were being tossed on the streets. Countless decent, hard-working and totally unaware people -- and even elderly, seriously ill renters -- were shockingly being forced from their homes... out of the blue... when they'd paid their landlords every dime owed.

Thus, Sheriff Dart made an unprecedented decision: (Almost) all evictions are over for now. At least until the mortage-holding banks provide the Sheriff's Department affidavids proving that everyone affected by a building's foreclosure has been duly notified.

People won't be caught off guard now; they'll receive a proper grace period in which to make other living arrangements.

I'm sure that Tom Dart's heart went out to the sea of people who may have come home from work and found their every belonging sitting on the sidewalk. Already picked over by two-legged leeches, no doubt.

Of course, there's also the unspoken probability that Dart saw something of an uprising starting to occur among his foot soldier deputies... It's my guess he couldn't keep putting his deputy sheriffs on the firing line, trying to enforce 11th-hour evictions among the innocent... Removing the wrong people's belongings "out of nowhere" can lead to confrontations with deadly consequences, for sure.

So open your eyes. There's a nationwide version of Hurricane Katrina going on, just without the water.

Please speak up and out. As quiet as it may be kept, this exodus of the angry is likely happening in your neighborhood, too.

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Saying Grace (Jones, That Is)

Troubled world economy aside, if you've ever said a little prayer for a return to the funkier side of life, get this: Grace Jones is the cover girl for the new issue of Dazed & Confused. That's right. Strange' is baaaack and in living color.

We'll be able to revel in devilish Grace's latest art photography -- or nudish glamour photography, really -- in the British magazine's November 2008 issue (out October 9). A true Renaissance woman, the art, film, music and fashion icon is photographed by Chris Cunningham. You may know him as the auteur behind Madonna, Madonna's "Frozen" video...

Yes, I typed Madonna twice, referencing a favorite Robin Williams line in "The Bird Cage."

In any case, great to see Grace in the limelight. Just check out this video of Grace Jones performing in full regalia with the late Luciano Pavoratti:

For more, check these Grace Jones links, including her own absolutely stunning website:

~ The World of Grace Jones (The living legend's own impeccable web site)

~ Grace Jones Performs at Meltdown (BBC report, June 2008)
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Presidential Debate - Town Hall Bullies, Brats and Bawlers

On deadline with a writing job, I wasn't able to pay real attention to last night's Town Hall presidential debate. But being of the auditory language modality, as I've learned through writing ebooks on hypnosis, "that one" musical line by Barack Obama stood out for me: Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

Who knew John McCain was a lost Beach Boys, the lyricist behind a killer remix of the classic tune "Barbara Ann?"

Hey, but that's just me... Apparently, a certain zinger by McCain stood out, too. Says Seth Walls of Huffington Post about Senator McCain's "That one" jab:

During a discussion about energy, McCain punctuates a contrast with Obama by referring to him as "that one," while once again not looking in his opponent's direction (merely jabbing a finger across his chest). That's not going to win McCain any Miss Congeniality points. Nor will it reassure any voters who believe McCain is improperly trying to capitalize on Obama's "otherness."
Not very presidential on McCain's part. His momma should spank his little butt. If she won't, looks like American voters will. Perhaps this is why Huffington Post is running this blaring, breaking news headline:

Pundit Links:

~ That One (video) (Seth Colter Walls, Huffington Post)

~ Mud Pies for "That One" (Maureen Dowd, New York Times)

~ Town Hall Debate: Punch, Counterpunch (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post) Read the whole post...


Absolutely Fabulous - Fox Bringing Original Cast to America


Stop the '08 election and step aside Simon Cowell... According to Variety, Fox is bringing sexy back: Absolutely Fabulous is coming to America, anew! Hello Edina and Patsy; hello fashion-forward fag hags; hello psychedelic drugs, kinky sex, and rolicking rock 'n roll.

What's most excellent is that both stellar actors from the original Ab Fab -- Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley -- apparently are set to reprise their roles here, debuting 2009. Equally on target is that Jennifer (Eddy) Saunders will executive produce the new, U.S. version of Ab Fab along with Christine Zander of "Saturday Night Live" and Ian Moffet of the BBC.

Several American television series have tried to imitate Absolutely Fabulous, a BBC TV series with a huge and intense cult following. And as one of them, I've enjoyed each short-lived stab at it. But, as they say: Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby. So grab your bong, drop a 'lude and get the party started, Fox.

This almost makes me less disgusted with the politics over at Fox.

I repeat: almost, sweetie dahling!

~ Absolutely Fabulous [BBC]

~ Absolutely Fabulous [Wiki]

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Biden Condolences | McCain Keating Five Video

Sending heartfelt condolences to vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his lovely wife, Jill. Jill Biden lost her mother, Bonny Jean Jacobs, yesterday after a long illness. This New York Times article tells more about the loss of Senator Biden's mother-in-law.

Meanwhile every Obama-ite's good cyberpal, David Plouffe, who heads communications for the Obama campaign, just emailed this message and video. It's about McCain and his involvement in the Keating Five savings and loan scandal:

Dear Viqi,

John McCain wants you to forget about his role in our country's last major financial crisis and costly bailout: the savings and loan crisis of the late '80s and early '90s. But voters deserve to know that the failed philosophy and culture of corruption that created the savings and loan crisis then are alive in the current crisis -- and in John McCain's plans for our economic future. We just released a short documentary about John McCain's role in that financial crisis -- watch it now and share it with your friends:

Voters should know the facts about John McCain's poor judgment -- judgment that has twice placed him on the wrong side of history.

Please forward this email to everyone you know.



There ya' go, Dave. No fave is too great for my neighbor, Senator Barack Obama, the next president of the United States. He continues to do all of Chicago, but particularly our cool community of Hyde Park, proud.


PS -- Here's a link to the landing site for this Obama video, "Keating Economics: John McCain and The Making Of a Financial Crisis." On the site, you can get new Obama news, email the video to your friends, and more.

~ Is John McCain a Crook [Slate in Feb. 2000]

~ Keating 5 or Keating Five [Wiki]
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Sarah Palin - One Child Left Behind

Of course, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times would also have her say about Sarah Palin's dubious way with words. Don't miss Dowd doing duty in this hot op-ed piece,

Sarah’s Pompom Palaver:

Talking at the debate about how she would “positively affect the impacts” of the climate change for which she’s loath to acknowledge human culpability, (Palin) did a dizzying verbal loop-de-loop: “With the impacts of climate change, what we can do about that, as governor, I was the first governor to form a climate change subcabinet to start dealing with the impacts.” That was, miraculously, richer with content than an answer she gave Katie Couric: “You know, there are man’s activities that can be contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now, with these impacts.”

At another point, she channeled Alicia Silverstone debating in “Clueless,” asserting, “Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet.” (Mostly the end-all.)

Honestly, I'm so astonished by the nonsensical words of Sarah Palin that I may just dig up the entire vice-presidential debate transcript and post it here soon. No child left behind, eh? Well, this here darn tootin' governor here seems to be proof there that for some, being left behind can have its rewards on your impacts. Read the whole post...


Annie Get Your Gun - The Sarah Palin Remix

On the heels of gun-toting Dick Cheney hopes to come Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the hot new Annie Oakley coming to a town near YOU

Following the Sarah Palin - Joe Biden debate, I wrote a commentary voicing my suspicion that Governor Palin, a Pentecostal, seemed in some sort of rambling, Stepford Wife trance the first half of the debate. Really, if you look a little into hypnosis, you'll discover there are numerous types of trances, so it is quite possible. So much of our everyday lives can be affected by a hypnotic state. They manifest as "highway hypnosis," not being able to get an advertising jingle out of your head, an inability to quit smoking, feeling lifted while dancing, and other common events.

Well, two top New York Times columnists -- Frank Rich and Gail Collins -- also wrote about Sarah Palin's peculiar ramblings during the debate. They don't go as far as I have in wondering if she was in some sort of trance, but their way with summarizing her warbly words is wholly entertaining.

Talking In Points by Gail Collins had me laughing out loud. This Palin debate quote Collins cites is absolutely priceless:

She appeared to agree with Dick Cheney’s manic theory that the vice president is a member of both the executive and legislative branches, although it’s hard to tell since she began her answer this way: “Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president’s agenda in that position.”

Say whuuut?! Not only does Palin envision becoming the new gangsta, gun-toting Dick in a dress, working her own separate agenda, she can barely put two sentences together to say it.

Frank Rich, in Pitbull Palin Mauls McCain, takes a bite out of the surreal Republican scene this way:

The standard take has it that she’s either speaking utter ignorant gibberish (as to Couric) or reciting highly polished, campaign-written sound bites that she’s memorized (as at the convention and the debate). But there’s a steady unnerving undertone to Palin’s utterances, a consistent message of hubristic self-confidence and hyper-ambition. She wants to be president, she thinks she can be president, she thinks she will be president. And perhaps soon. She often sounds like someone who sees herself as half-a-heartbeat away from the presidency.

If Mr. Rich's observation is correct about Palin all but feeling the Oval Office leather warming her hot sexy Sarah Palin photos in stilettos buns (per the Google searches that are driving tons of traffic to this post, tell Katie bar the door and Annie get your gun. This new sheriff coming to town is utterly out of this world.

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Sarah Palin Debate: Out of Body, Out of Nowhere

I applaud Sarah Palin for "showing up and showing out" in her big debate with Joe Biden. Leading up to the vice presidential debate, I wondered if there could be a surreal moment when Sarah Palin shockingly exited the stage early, stage left -- fed up with this challenge.

Luckily, that didn't happen. But there was plenty more going on with Sarah Palin on that stage that has my head spinning post-debate.

I am hard-pressed to recall any politian who so assaulted my senses. For me, it was a problem of body language and nervous ticks. Now, I'm no expert on body language, but here's a recap of my Sarah Palin experience during the debate...

Warning, I'm about to pick a bunch of nits here. If you love Sarah Palin, reading this will tick you the heck off, doggnit.

-- Palin casually greeting Biden with "Hey, can I call you 'Joe'" was cute. But little did I know that casual tone would punctuate the entire debate. Now doggonit. Darn right. You betcha. Similarly, whole letters were missin' from the end of many of her words. After eight years of George Bush "mispronunciating" words, must we now brace ourselves to hear the "g" being clipped off so many of 'em? I mean, how low on the verbal chain can the office of POTUS go?

-- Political pundits are fascinated by the number of times Joe Biden said John McCain versus Palin's less frequent mentions of Obama. I, however, am more intrigued with the number of times Palin said the word also... and also... but also... Was this just a nervous tick, how she was coached to bridge subjects, or a sign of something else? Go count 'em... you decide.

-- Now onto more serious matters. A media pundit last night was quick to credit Palin for not looking like a "moose in the headlights." Well, perhaps I was the only person who picked up on something eerily similar. Most of the time when Governor Palin spoke, it felt like I was watching a Stepford Wife talk: She seemed hypnotized... the entire first half of the debate. Staring (almost) straight into the camera and just this side of rambling, as if in a trance. Reading a mile a minute from a Teleprompter located inside her forehead.

-- Thus, I must confess: I believe Governor Palin was having some type of out-of-body experience. To be clear, I am not mocking this possibility. Truth is, the human mind is an awesome thing; it's designed for survival, by whatever means necessary. You see, for my money, that possible out-of-body experience later was somewhat confirmed...

-- Near the end of the debate, Governor Palin squeezed her eyes peculiarly hard when she said the word blessed. Palin is Pentecostal after all, and Pentecostals are proud of speaking in tongues. So who knows? Maybe someone really did take the wheel to get her through the most intense 90 minutes of her life. The way Palin shut her eyes on blessed seemed deeply prayerful. Like maybe she was thanking Him. Or Her. For amazingly getting her through this.

I haven't addressed other observations -- and I have many. But suffice it to say that I appeciated this about Sarah Palin: She outright acknowledged the questions she wouldn't be answering. Because she couldn't answer them.

It would have been far worse had she tried (again, as with Katie Couric) to bluff her way through stuff she clearly hadn't been rehearsed on. That would have been insulting, as if the American public is too dumb to see she didn't have a clue. So, Palin demonstrated integrity in showing that not even God could whisper the answer to what would warrant pulling the nuclear trigger.

Oh wait, Palin did actually try to answer that one...

Likewise, Palin's former pastor, Tim McGraw, and a fellow parishioner, told CNN this:

Like many Pentecostal churches, some members speak in tongues, although he says he's never seen Palin do so. Church member Caroline Spangler told CNN, "When the spirit comes on you, you utter things that nobody else can understand ... only God can understand what is coming out of our mouths."

~ What Is Channeling (or Channelling)?

~ Speaking In Tongues

~ The Fight or Flight Response

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Obama Waffles and Other Tasteless Politics

Racism is alive and ill in the presidential election

What's race got to do with it, the presidential election? This enlightening essay titled White Privilege, White Entitlement says it all.

In his contrast of the perceptions of every controversy that's swirled around Barack Obama versus those around Sarah Palin, writer Tim Wise presents a compelling examination of racial double standards. Or better still, racial double think.

Here's a shocking sample of Wise's keen insights:

White privilege is when you can call yourself a "fuckin’ redneck," like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their fuckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement. Whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action...
Still not convinced that race matters (most?) in this presidential election? Well, perhaps you're hungry for more evidence. Get a taste of the Obama Waffles that are selling like hot cakes. The makers of this offensive play on the old Aunt Jemima pancakes has the audacity to boast this: "Our first product–Obama Waffles–is proudly made in the U.S.A."

Obama Waffles I sure wish they didn't claim bragging rights for having manufactured this in the U.S. For more insight into this ill-conceived product and the Republican "family values" groups that helped promote it, check this AP story.

To be fair and balanced, Fox-ish radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has published his sly views of how the Obama campaign itself is guilty of stoking the flames of racism.

In an opinion piece Limbaugh recent wrote for the Wall Street Journal, Limbaugh lambasts Obama for a "racist" ad targeting Hispanic voters. The Obama includes a sound bite from Rush Limbaugh's own mouth.

Crying foul, Limbaugh wrote this:

Here's the relevant part of the Spanish-language television commercial Mr. Obama is running in Hispanic communities: "They want us to forget the insults we've put up with . . . the intolerance. . . they made us feel marginalized in this country we love so much."

Then the commercial flashes two quotes from me (saying): ". . . stupid and unskilled Mexicans" and "You shut your mouth or you get out!"

Mr. Limbaugh doesn't deny making this inflammatory statement. He just takes issue with his quote allegedly being taken out of context. Of course, when Limbaugh's piece explains exactly what he said on-air about "stupid and unskilled Mexicans," it was far worse than the ad Obama conveyed.

I ask you, who's "waffling" now?

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Sarah Palin Photos - Madame Veep Bringing Sexy Back

Condoleeza Rice may have been the hottest Republican woman... until now

Aspiring Madame Vice President Sarah Palin bringing sexy back
News Flash: And we naively thought none of the Republican women could out "hot" Condoleeza Rice wearing those killer dominatrix boots. But we didn't know of sexy Sarah Palin, shown here in death-defying stiletto heels, short black leather mini skirt, and a revealing silk blouse unbuttoned down to there. Blue blouse, blue states, and a woman to be watched by a newly blue Cindy McCain.

Bristol Palin, daughter of aspiring vice president Sarah Palin, is dressed to kill It doesn't appear that Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, has taken fashion cues from her vice hot mommie, though. Bristol isn't dressed for love, just war. Here, she just doesn't seem to be the same demure mother-to-be seen at the Republican Convention.

According to Wired:

Sarah Palin looks hot in this bikini. But toting such a big gun, it's a good thing she's smilingOf course, since relatively few of the electorate knew who Sarah Palin was before last Friday, it makes sense that the top search term for Palin was simply the vice presidential candidate's name. But ... other popular searches for Sarah Palin are with keywords: "hot photos," "Sarah Palin Bikini Photos," "Sarah Palin Nude," and "Sarah Palin Naked."

It's a good thing that women now have the right to vote. Otherwise, men would vote Sarah Palin, star of the "hot photo," right into the Oval Office - stilettos and all... just in time to engineer more of the lucrative oil partnership deals she's known to strike, which according to the New York Times, are cleverly disguised as oil company tax increases.


-- Palin's Record on Race a Blank Sheet (San Franciso Chronicle)

-- Who Is Sarah Palin (Squidoo)

-- Sarah Palin Picture Gallery (Pop Crunch)

-- Holy Limbaugh - Rush Turns to Mush Over Sarah Palin (L.A. Times)

-- Palin's Lawyer Questions 2 Witnesses (Yahoo! News)

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Dr. King to Obama - Dream of Setting the Melting Pot On Fire

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous speech, I Have a Dream, 45 years ago today -- a day when that will go down in history made by Senator Barack Obama
On August 28, 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his resounding "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial, inspiring the nation to think about and act on racial inequality. Tonight at the Democratic National Convention, a young man sired by an African named Obama will officially accept his party's nomination for President of the United States of America.

The timing of Obama's ascent, culminating with his acceptance speech tonight, seems beyond uncanny. But something more uncanny than the timing exists. Underlying Dr. King's now famous words was the intent of shining a spotlight on the poor treatment of African Americans. But within his message, Dr. King also said this:

"...many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom."
In other words, Dr. King predicted the disconcerting circumstances in which many non-black Americans are surprised to find themselves today.

The American middle class feels increasingly threatened by the dissipation of jobs that pay a decent wage, a highly discriminating health care system, a shrinkage of what the U.S. dollar affords, a dazzling domino-style collapse of homeownership due to foreclosures, and other forces that are crippling the American psyche...

Three years ago, almost to the day, too, Hurricane Katrina blew into New Orleans, causing mass devastation unlike anything we've witnessed in America. What a startling eye-opener that was, that an entire major city could go under -- dead bodies floating everywhere -- and the governments who've promised us protections in return for tax dollars would skip beat after beat to help people survive.

The sea of panicked faces we watched struggle through Katrina overwhelmingly were black. But those being sucked down by a Katrina-like economy and war today are not. They are white, Hispanic -- you name it. And still, there seems to be no "life preserver" available to toss.

Dr. King warned 45 years ago today that Americans would sink or swim together. Well, look at where so many of us are today: drowning in anxiety. Many minorities have waded these treacherous waters for a very long time - historically, in fact. Sadly, too many others are getting to know this lonely, overwhelming feeling, too.

As has been repeated at the Democratic National Convention, America cannot afford four more years of the same. Yes, it is awesome that an African American will accept the nomination tonight. This is a wonderful aspect of Dr. King's dream come true.

But let's not miss the message beyond the symbolizm: Poor treatment for one is evidence that it can happen to all. That poor treatment is manifesting in every area, from how our veterans are treated to how affairs to how people's paychecks are being pilfered as oil profits.

Today marks the beginning of the fight - the fight to protect the American quality of life. God bless America: Let our great melting pot catch afire tonight.


Witnesses to Dr. King's Dream See a New Hope (New York Times)

I Have A Dream (full text of speech by Martin Luther King Jr.)

Dr. King - Key Resources and Links (Arlington Library)

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Obama: Biden His Time?

Excellent news: Senator Joe Biden of Delaware has been chosen as vice presidential running mate of Barack Obama.

Major news trackers suspect that Senator Barack Obama in the next hours will announce Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Like the rest of Obama's supporters, I await his big veep announcement email (predicted to drop on Saturday morning), so I can only hope the rumors are true.

I've been a huge Joe Biden fan for many years. In fact, I hoped long ago -- well before he even ran unsuccessfully -- that Biden would run for president. In the absence of that, the possibility of his serving as Obama's vice president sounds like a winning strategy for national restoration. A restoration of faith in our government, the perception of caring, and more appropriate kinds of international involvement.

Joe Biden is one politically astute dude, and to be sure, he is about changing the status quo. I've known of his leadership since my days in college in Philadelphia, a city that borders parts of Delaware. But Biden really began to stand out as a man I respected when I watched his interviews on the old Imus In the Morning Show, before its controversial demise on MSNBC.

Joe Biden was a frequent guest on the Imus show. He could always be counted on not to mince words about his concerns and suspicions pertaining to goings-on in the White House, Iraq, and Afghanistan. When Biden had ill-feelings about how our troops and their families were being dealt with or Halliburton's favor, he spoke up. I don't know of a more stand-up politician in America today.

When Joe Biden was a contender for the presidential nomination that apparently is Obama's, there was too much made about a comment he made about Obama. Biden basically was saying What's not to love about Obama? He's (sic) articulate, clean and good-looking.

Oh, those were real fighting words!

If it's true that Senator Obama has chosen Senator Biden as his running mate, I feel more hopeful than ever that America will get back on a healthy track. Because with these two together, I foresee a lot of Good Cop, Bad Cop in our future. As far as I can tell, Biden is about the best attack dog in American politics and his foreign policy credentials probably are unrivaled.

Biden's extremely well-informed and knows where the bones are buried. If any high crimes have been committed, it may well all come out if Joe Biden's given half a chance. Let us hope he doesn't go Pelosi on us.

Way to go, Joe. I hope major congratulations are in order for you. Hey, you're articulate, clean, and good-looking, too!


Field Narrows for Obama's Running Mate (New York Times)

Profile: Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (New York Times)

Hoping It's Biden (Columnist David Brooks, New York Times)

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Isaac Hayes Tribute in Memphis at Stax

Isaac Hayes masterfully redefined soul music. His work has been sampled by all manner of hip-hop producers and recorded by rap stars ranging from Biggie The Notorious B.I.G. 2Pac and beyond. R.I.P., Black Moses.

Like many authentic old school music fans, I am stunned by the recent death of Isaac Hayes. The loss of Isaac Hayes looms so large, it's difficult to express who he represented in the 1970s and 1980s soul music pantheon...

I don't mean from a commercial, number of copies-sold stand point, either. I'm talking about the REAL mark that Black Moses made, hot buttering our hearts and seducing our souls:

...That sensitive, all-true-man voice that hypnotized a people back in the day... The blue lights in the basesment slow jam moments where an Isaac Hayes jam taught us the joys and pain of romance. And informed us of how to express sweet puppy love.

And at the same time, legendarily introduced a fresh and lushly orchestrated sound in black music. And kept it real...

"By the Time I Get to Phoenix" (Glenn Campbell song that Isaac stunningly
"Never Can Say Good-bye" (Jackson Five song that Isaac knocked
to Mars)
"Love's So Doggone Good"
"Walk On By"
"Do Your Thang"
"Good Love 69969"
Even the well-sampled "Blind Alley" by The Emotions?!

Gotta love the many hip-hop producers who've sampled music by Isaac Hayes over the decades. But only those of us of a certain age probably feel this loss in our bones. If you were there, you don't need my mere words. You know...

Isaac Hayes. The gifted truth and soul of a nation. R.I.P. Black Moses. Hot Buttered Soul forever...

* Isaac Hayes Tribute in Memphis at Stax (New York Times)

* iReporters Remember Isaac Hayes as 'Electrifying' (CNN)

* 10 Classic Hip-hop Songs That Sampled Isaac Hayes (

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Rachelle Farrell, Fertile Ground, Lady of Rage at African Festival of The Arts

If you're in Chicago this Labor Day weekend, don't miss the African Festival of the Arts. Now the largest of all annual neighborhood summer festivals in Chicagoland, this year's African Festival boasts a music and concert lineup that's jam packed with top-shelf entertainment. The cultural arts, entertainment and ethnic cuisine action starts on Friday, August 29 and continues thru Monday, September 1, 2008.

First and foremost will be the impeccable vocal and piano phenomenon Rachelle Farrell. If you're a fan of Rachelle and have never seen her live, do not miss her concert at the African Festival. Rachelle Farrell hits the Dee Parmer stage on Sunday, August 31 at 7:45 p.m.

Rachelle's music style defies true genre labeling. I first learned of this brilliant musician back in Philadelphia, the area she's originally from. In her early days, Rachelle performed as a jazz vocalist at cozy venues like the old Khyber Pub on infamously exciting South Street. But Rachelle's soulful repertoire also ventures into R&B, gospel and even folk-twinged music.

I enjoyed meeting Rachelle and her brother, Russell, on the Tom Joyner Cruise some years ago, and hung out a while with them. They are the coolest. Amazingly, Russell has the same exceptional vocal gift as his sister. He joined her on-stage to sing Will Downing's part in the duet "Nothing Has Ever Felt" and seriously blew everyone away! Clearly, the gift is in the Farrell genes.

Also performing at the African Festival, leading up to Rachelle Farrell in concert will be jazz great Mulgrew Miller at 4:30 p.m.

Two popular neo-soul acts are part of this year's African Festival as well. Fertile Ground performs on the World Music stage on opening day, Friday, August 29. And on Saturday, August 30, the French neo-soul duo Les Nubians gets under way at 6:15 p.m.

If you're a hip-hop music lover, the African Festival offers an awesome lineup for you, too. Special Ed, Lady of Rage and Big Daddy Kane all perfom live throughout the day and evening of Saturday, August 30. Keith Murray and Nice and Smooth are gracing the Hip-Hop Stage on Sunday, August 31. And last but not least, Black Sheep, Rhymefest and Brand Nubian do their killer old school-inspired thing on Monday, September 1.

For more about the 2008 African Festival of the Arts, check these links:

African Festival of the Arts

Mulgrew Miller [Wiki]

Rachelle Farrell [Wiki]
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Bernie Mac Memorial - K-lawwwd, We'll Always Love You

Bernie Mac photo as a student at Vocational High School on the South Side of Chicago

Today here on Chicago's South Side, thousands of people are expected to attend a public memorial for comedian, actor and Chicago favorite son Bernie Mac. Born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough 50 years ago, Bernie transitioned this world last Saturday. Today, his friends and fans everywhere celebrate his homegoing, appreciating the powerfully healing laughter he gave the world over the years.

Schedule for noon today, the memorial for Bernie Mac takes place at the 10,000-seat House of Hope church (752 East 114th Street). Fellow funnyman D. L. Hughley will speak at the service. Mac's TV family cast members from The Bernie Mac Show will attend and so apparently will many Hollywood friends from the big and small screens. Mayor Richard Daley also plans to attend.

Bernie's many acting successes included having his own Fox television series "The Bernie Mac Show," which taped from 2001 - 2006 and remains strong on the rerun circuit. He also had starring roles in blockbuster films such as "Ocean's Eleven," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," and "Transformers."

But Bernie forever emblazoned himself in my heart when he played that throwed-off reverend in the zany Ice Cube produced movie "Friday." K-lawwwd!!

While it was complications from pnemonia that Bernie could not surmount, he had suffered with sarcoidosis since 1983. A friend who also has suffered with the disease -- which she says "moves around" in the body -- wonders if the medications that Mac and so many others take to manage "sarcoid" left his body unable to fight the pnemonia when it emerged.

Among the many celebrities who're clearly shaken up by Bernie's demise is talk show giant Larry King. Last night's Larry King Live show was dedicated to Bernie Mac, with his fellow Kings of Comedy tour cohorts fondly remembering The Mac Man. Comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D. L. Hughley were among's King's guests. Ashton Kutcher also was on the show and simply seemed stunned by the loss of his friend and movie co-star.

Larry King mentioned the family's request that condolences be sent as contributions to: The Bernie Mac Foundation for Sarcoidosis, 40 E. 9th St., Suite 601, Chicago, IL 60605.

R.I.P., Bernard McCullough. You fought the good fight. You sure done good!

My Student, Bernie Mac (Chicago Tribune)

Bernie Mac - The Final Hours (RushPRNews)

Sarcoidosis Signs and Symptoms (National Heart Lung & Blood Institute)
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Nancy Pelosi - Throwing the Book at Her

Know Your Power - A Message to America's Daughters is the title of book by Nancy Pelosi.

I happened to catch a little of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on "The View" recently, promoting her book, “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters.” I wasn't able to give the interview my full attention. Really, my interest started to wane fairly early in the chat, for some reason.

It took reading this New York Times article to realize why: The Why-Haven't-You-Impeached-the-President Tour.

Nancy Pelosi joins Senator Hillary Clinton on the heartbreak bandwagon. Just when they had real opportunities to take a stand -- to press for truth about how and why the U.S. landed in Iraq -- they folded. Lots of tough talk in the beginning. But when the rubber really hit the road, they stood down.

Neither powerful woman, of course, would risk going the way of former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Her leadership in posing tough questions to the Bush Administration about the September 11 attacks led Republicans to gang-up on her and oust her; they "cross-voted" as Democrats against her in an election.

Many Democrat leaders clammed up and let McKinney take the bullet, to put it mildly. McKinney is now running for U.S. president as the candidate on the Green Party ticket. She's also involved in a plethora of leadership activities, among them prison reform and hip-hop activism.

Dr. Condi Rice or Condoleeza Rice as dominatrix in fierce bootsSomehow I suspect that when the dust settles, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will be the only political power puff still standing in a way:

  • She's the only of these prominent lady politians who has not ruffled any friendly feathers.

  • Like her or not, Dr. Rice has been consistent. We had no special expectations of her to challenge the status quo. Sadly, Madame Secretary has not disappointed.
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From Vogue to Flickr, Black Models are Beautiful

Italian Vogue magazine's Black Model issue in July features Tocara in a trunk.

About once a month I talk to my highly-entertaining, fashion-guru friend, Cheryl, in Philadelphia. She's always got a hot link I need to look at. Today's link from Cheryl is awesome! It's the Italian Vogue - July issue, which is dedicated to fashion models of African descent. gives an excellent blow-by-blow photo essay of the stunning glamour photography and fashion shots. It's hot, sexy, edgy stuff, as only Italian fashion photography gives it.

Every top black model is spotlighted. From Alek Wek, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks to Iman, Liya Kebede and Lily Taylor -- you name her, she's in there. This includes Toccara, who's captured magnificently in a car trunk!

The only black models photography that's possibly hotter is that on Flickr, in the Second Life groups. My, those Second Life virtual girls do get exotic.

But so does photographer extraordinairre Steven Meisel [wiki], who shot most of the girls for Italian Vogue's "black girls" issue. The photo essay at does mention, however, that none of the advertisements surrounding the Meisel editorial feature black models.

Italian Vogue compiled this special, 100-page editorial in July as a "statement against discrimination in the fashion world." It's not news that plenty still exists, but it's kind of Vogue to acknowledged it in such an attention-grabbing way. Not much will likely change in the industry because it, but Italian Vogue has benefitted nicely from the controversy and publicity.

For a compelling perspective on the barriers faced by most black fashion models, don't miss this New York Times piece.
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Bilal and Jill Scott in Concert

Two rare neo soul music gifts -- Jill Scott and Bilal -- will both hit the concert stage tomorrow at Chicago's Northerly Island outdoor pavilion. This means that Friday, August 8, 2008 could make Chicago lakeside history. This day may go down as one on which die-hard neo soul lovers witnessed Jill Scott and Bilal Sayeed Oliver rock Lake Michigan so intensely, we'll experience a soul music tsunami!

Many neo soul lovers have seen Jill Scott live before and know the unabashed power of her beautiful personality and vocal ability. Jill, of course, also did a "Jennifer Hudson," doing a stellar job with an acting role in Tyler Perry's hit film Why Did I Get Married? (An award Jill might have deserved over J.H. in a more fair, less Holly-hyped world.)

But if you've never experienced Bilal in concert, get ready and get SET. The man behind the 2001 hit "Soul Sista," Bilal in concert is spectacular. His one and only officially released CD -- 1st Born Second -- remains one of my all-time favorites. He offers today what made so many love fresh moody funk-rockers such as Sly Stone, Prince, and perhaps even Gil Scott Heron.

Classically trained with the coolest falsetto voice, avant garde Bilal has a cult following that won't give up on him - despite his record label challenges with Interscope. In concert, he is known to sandwich an aria between cult album cuts he may have recorded with the likes of Jay-Z, Common, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, or Dr. Dre.

Stellar talents they both are, Jill Scott and Bilal. Both are natives of my beloved former city of Philadelphia. Much like their hip-hop brethern The Roots, these two Philadelphia artists are icons in the neo-soul movement. Almost every one of these revered artists graduated the acclaimed Philadelphia High School for Creative & Performing Arts.

Enjoy some vintage video footage of the dynamic duo who're touring together and turning out places left and right:

If you're interested in concert tickets, the rest of the Bilal & Jill Scott tour schedule includes:

Aug 7 2008
starlight Theatre
Kansas City, Missouri

Aug 8 2008
Charter One
Chicago, Illinois

Aug 15 2008
Highline Ballroom
New York, New York

Aug 26 2008
Yoshis San Francisco
San Francisco

Aug 27 2008
Yoshis San Francisco
San Francisco

Aug 28 2008
Yoshis San Francisco
San Francisco, California

Be there -- somewhere -- or be square. (Philly repreSENT!)

Bilal's MySpace

Bilal Wiki

Who Is Jill Scott?

Jill's MySpace

Live In Paris +
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Obama In Afghanistan - Cultural Exchange

With presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama making a stop in Afghanistan the first in his whirlwind world tour, now seems a good time for us to a take closer look, too.

Since Osama bin Laden, the man who allegedly knocked down America's beloved Twin Towers (World Trade Center), is believed by many to still be holed up in Afghanistan's treacherously mountainous border with Pakistan, today we join Senator Obama in taking a closer look at this complex society.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, a recent "brazen and deadly attack on a US-Afghan outpost in an area near the Pakistani border is raising new concerns that foreign fighters bent on fighting the West are retraining their sights from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Still, it's not all about al Quaeda in Afghanistan [wiki]. It's nation that remains trapped between the ideology and opportunities of both east and west.

1. National Geographic - Afghan Heroin

2. Promoting Perfume, Not Poppies, in Afghanistan

3. Afghan Tae Kwon Do Champ Aims for Olympic Glory

For reports of Obama's trip to Afghanistan, follow these links:

PBS Frontline reported in 2006 on The Return of the Taliban

Ex CIA bin laden hunter on why U.S. cannot find bin Laden on Obama's Afghanistan tour
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"Obama Girl" Times Two - Obama Children Video

I love this FROBAMA button supporting my Hyde Park Chicago neighbor, Senator Barack Obama

If you're new to the South Side Star, you may not know how proud I am that Senator Barack Obama and family live in my neighborhood, the historic Hyde Park community in Chicago.

So I was delighted to catch this enchanting TV interview yesterday starring "my neighbor's" absolutely adorable daughters...

Daddy had an afro
, indeed! lol I didn't even think children the generation of 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha knew what the heck an afro was!

Senator Barack Obama wore an afro as a very young man, but somehow had a 'Brady Bunch' aura

frobama button at CafePress

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Witch Doctors Make Suburban House Calls

You just never know what's going on in your neighbor's home. For instance, consider the situation surrounding Edward Bachner IV of Lake of the Hills, Illinois.

A mild-mannered financial planner and co-owner of a small technology company in a Chicago suburb, Bachner was swooped down on yesterday morning by the FBI. They'd been alerted that Bachner recently purchased a mega amount of tetrodotoxin, the deadly poison derived from pufferfish.

Bachner is alleged to have had enough tetrodotoxin in his home to kill 100 people.

A substance inside pufferfish is one of the most powerful neurotoxins known to man.
This is another one of those news stories that specially grabs my imagination. I'm intrigued by this because I once did some lightweight research on tetrodotoxin, or TTX. My exploration into tetrodoxin revolved around a suspense novel I was writing, which had elements of Haitian vodou or voodoo in it.

Many believe that tetrodotoxin is among the secret ingredients that's used to turn people into zombies. Although people who make zombies would never admit it... We're to believe it's their mystical will and access to the Gods alone that cause sudden paralysis and then often death.

It was Harvard doctoral candidate Wade Davis who stumbled upon the secret use of TTX by sorcerers in Haiti. Wade Davis then wrote a famously trippy book-turned-movie about it, both titled The Serpent and the Rainbow.

TTX does its damage by blocking the sodium channels in the muscle and nerve cells. (Yes, it's true: The body must have some sodium or it will perish, which I recently learned through an aunt's illness.) This is probably why voodoo practitioners believe that administering salt will cure a zombie.

So to all those who were within reach of Edward Bachner, this might be a good time to stock up on top-of-the-line salt. Not that cheap, brand X salt, either. Buy the most expensive salt you can find. Morton's or die.

And if you come anywhere close to a zombie this summer, I hope it's only one like this:

Zombie cocktail

Have a zombie, courtesy South Side Star 1 oz. Apricot Brandy
1 oz. light or puerto-rican rum
1 oz. dark or jamaican rum
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. lime juice
dashes of grenadine and orange juice
1 oz. dark Rum

In a cocktail shaker, mix light & dark rums and brandy. Add lemon and lime juice and dashes grenadine. Shake well and strain into a higball glass filled with ice. Fill glass with orange juice leaving room to float 1 oz of 151. Garnish with cherry, orange slice, pinapple wedge.
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"Urban Islands" Photo Gallery | Viqi French