Posts Tagged ‘America

21
Apr
09

This Bobolee Is Getting A Serious Beating, Boy!

Yesterday morning, the hit counter on my blog stood at 25,000 hits.  I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least!  At this sentence, the count stands at 25,106 unique hits.

boboleepicture

A Good Friday Bobolee in Trinidad.

[Guanaguanare: The Laughing Gull]

This is a major milestone for me, and for my blog.  Actually, this is my 2nd attempt at blogging.  I used to have a MSN Spaces page at one point in time (http://spaces.msn.com/bluesoapbox was the URL) which I discontinued as I didn’t feel too comfortable sharing my inner thoughts and feelings with the whole wide world at the time.  What got me started again was the 2008 US Election campaign.  I was really appalled some of the things that were being said (and done) during the campaign, and at the same time, I was really captivated by Barack Obama.

A few friends and I were discussing the campaign issues online and one posted a Slate picture slideshow entitled “The Soiling of Old Glory”.   Those pictures invoked memories of a trip I’d made to a Southern US state in the 1990’s.  Those memories helped me write “The Day I Met Jim Crow”, a recollection of the day I met Jim Crow for the first time.  That’s the most widely read and referenced post on this blog to date, with close to 1300 views to date.

I’m really fortunate to have made a few acquaintances thru this second blogging stint; acquaintances I hope turn into friendships as time goes by.  My blog stats tell me that my blog posts have been read from as far west as Alaska to as far east as China.  That really… I don’t know… has me in awe?  I really don’t know how else to describe it… how that makes me feel.

My blog will be a year old on May 24th.  With any luck (and time) I’ll share some more facts and figures then.  In these eleven months (approx), I also started Bobolee Pix, a space for me to share a few of my pictures.  I’ve been stymied with my photography efforts though: someone sniped my camera last month and I haven’t gotten myself a replacement as yet! 😕  Really a shame… I loved taking photos, and my camera and I had just gotten used to each other’s quirks.  I hope the new owner likes it as much as I did! 😕

I’m not a learned scholar, an author, a writer, or a journalist.  Just a simple dude with an opinion (and a way with words, apparently).  I have to warn you, I’m not always able to post as I like due to my real-world commitments!  I wish I could do nothing else but share my thoughts and observations with you each and everyday… and I probably could, but I’ll have to leave my currently well-paying 9-5!  At least, now with my Twitter feed,  we can still share and communicate thoughts on a more impromptu and frequent basis.

Thanks a lot for visiting, thanks a lot for linking, thanks a lot for critiquing, and thanks a lot for sharing!

thank-you

Peace and Rice,

jw

28
Jan
09

Bits Of Brilliance

…to brighten up your day!  I borrowed the title of this post from the RS article below.  Enjoy!

~~~

Dear World,

The United States of America, your quality supplier of ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for its 2001-2008 service outage.

Bye Bye Bush

Bye Bye Bush!

[SFist]

The technical fault that led to this eight-year service interruption has been located. Replacement components were ordered Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, and have begun arriving. Early test of the new equipment indicate that it is functioning correctly and we expect it to be fully operational by mid-January.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage and we look forward to resuming full service and hopefully even improving it in years to come. Thank you for your patience and understanding,

The USA

[Rolling Stone]


political-pictures-former-president-george-bushpoliticial-pictures-floatin-shoe-looking-for-gw-bush

political-pictures-republicans-refuse-appearance-bush

political-pictures-walk-away-casually

god-bless-joe-biden

Chappelle Press Secretarypolitical-pictures-open-the-door-hillary

[All of the pix above came from PunditKitchen.com]

Peace and Rice,

jw

26
Jan
09

Where’s the Change Button?

So Obama and his team are beginning to get settled into their offices… if they could find them, meeting staffers for the first time, looking for the bathroom and the powder room, signing forms and paperwork… kinda like the first day of school all over again.  While doing my daily news-scanning, I ran across a few interesting articles that had me scratching my head in various degrees.

Washington PostStaff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages

WaPo-DrkAges

From the Washington Post

This is one of the first challenges that they’ll have to face.

No Macs anywhere, just computers outfitted with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software. Laptops are scarce and assigned to only a select few.  No instant messaging, no cellphones for some, definitely no BlackBerrys… no Facebook, no Twitter, no Flickr, no… anything remotely modernised and Web 2.0 related?

The White House?

C’mon!!!  How’re they going to function?

The White House is a beuraucracy all within itself.  It practically runs itself, and is apparently very resistant to change.  According to the article, “The White House itself is an institution that transitions regardless of who the president is.  The White House is not starting from scratch. Processes are already in place.”  Sheesh!!!

In other words, as far as the Oval Office is concerned, all your base are belong to us, Mr. President.  😕

At least they still let you use a BlackBerry!

For a country that’s one of the more advanced on the planet, you know this is one of the things at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that has to change!

“Change” leads me to the second thing that had me holding my head… with laughter, though!

obamachange

From the Big Picture

Seriously though, they have a mountain of debt to climb.  With over 10 TRILLION dollars in debt, they’ll need all the help they can get!

Help… hmm… so who’s volunteering?

Well, DARPA is!  Don’t know who they are? Well,  if it weren’t for them, you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation now! 😆

They’re the ones responsible for designing and implementing what we’ve come to know as the Internet, waaaay back in the 1960’s.  Now they want to help stimulate the American economy… which I hope will eventually ‘trickle down’ to the rest of us!

A top DARPA official wrote an ‘open letter’ to Obama… here’s an article from The Register (one of my favourite tech sites) that talks about it:

DARPA-ElReg

DARPA Fix! - El Reg.

I say give them a go.  They’ve done great work thus far, and if anything, it’ll be a shot in the arm for the US scientific community.

I wonder though.  What will they conjure up?

Will it be anything like this?

"Samtron Imperius" - Sinfest Web Comic

"Samtron Imperius" - Sinfest Web Comic

For our sakes, I really do hope the new Sheriff in town finds that “Change” button, and pushes it quickly.

The whole world is waiting for it!

Peace and Rice,

jw

20
Jan
09

The Politics of Inspiration

Good morning, folks!

Firstly, let me take the time out to wish you and yours all the very best of health, wealth and happiness for 2009 and beyond!

Yes, I know its been a looooong time since I graced the pages of my own dang blog, but my new year started out with a big positive bang for me, and I’ve just been riding the wave of my good fortune.  No, I didn’t win the lottery!  If I did, I would’ve quit my job and devoted more time to blogging!  Just lets say that I realised that if you want something, you have to really put in the work and make the relevant sacrifices to get it.

Here are some interesting links that I hope you find interesting.  They’re mostly Obama related:

fr-henry-charlesFr. Henry Charles’ commentary in the Trinidad Guardian- “The politics of inspiration”. Notable quote: “We often think that youth are motivated only by transiency or by careers that promise the most lucrative returns; but a truer picture is that they respond to credible summons that demand the best of them. When such summons comes clothed in the lineaments of an admirable person, there’s no limit to their zeal. This is what defined the Peace Corps, that initiative of President Kennedy’s, that propelled droves of college graduates to the far corners of the world to help in equipping less privileged peoples with life-enhancing resources and skills. If youth appear today more apathetic than eager, more self-regarding than socially committed, the reason in large part is that the summons to do better or be better has never been sounded by less credible seniors. Obama didn’t try to suck up to young people, or for that matter see them as the latest of lost generations.”

Sinfest Web Comic — Hall of Justice. President-Elect Obama as Clark Kent paying homage and respect to those Super Heroes who paved the way before him and opened the doors to the corridors of power he now walks.  Then, transforming into Superman, taking his place as leader, ready to lead the team from day one.

Hall of Justice

This was originally published in November 2008, but I think it most relevant given the undeniable significance (and closeness!) of Martin Luther King Jr’s 80th birthday and the Obama inauguration… and his impact of MLK (and others) on the Obama campaign. Plus, it appeals to the comic book geek in me! 🙄

CrackBerry — Obama chooses BlackBerry over the Presidency!!!

Obama Chooses BlackBerry!

This is a joke, of course! Its making reference to the fact that Obama will not be allowed to use his favourite techtoy — his BlackBerry — for official business in his role as POTUS.  He’ll still be the first president to have and use a laptop in the Oval Office though… and I bet he’ll use a Mac… though as he’s trying so hard to reach across the political and ideological divides, he’ll probably have a PC as well. 😕

On a serious tech note though, there’s been an upsurge in spam capitalising on the worldwide interest in Obama’s inauguration by spreading lies about him ‘quitting’ and ‘refusing’ office before he’s sworn in later today. Please read the above link, and don’t open or forward the spam email if you get it!!!  If you do open it, don’t click on any links that may be contained in the message!!!

LA Times — Black ‘Firsts’ Share Their Challenges “With Obama set to become the nation’s 44th president, Lee, Wilson, Ashley and other Jamaican Chess Grandmasterpioneering African Americans were asked to reflect on the challenges and lessons of being a ‘first.'” I was really intrigued to read about the stories of these pioneers who had to do so much to break the barriers that opposed them on their way to the top.

Additionally, I had no idea that the first black Chess grandmaster was Jamaican!  I thought he was American!

Comedy Central — An Excellent Illustration of the Current Economic Situation


taxpayers bankers

Well, a picture always did speak a thousand words!

Peace and Rice,

jw

01
Nov
08

Obama, Powell and the Caribbean Connection

As most of you know, I was “out of it” for a while due to some real world work and other committments.  While I was mainly off the Internet for those few weeks, I got so busy that I even fell behind on reading my local newspapers and watching local news stories on TV.

I wasn’t completely out of it, however, as I did my best to check my news reader to skim the headlines, but not much else.    Today, I picked up last Sunday’s Trinidad Express (Oct 26th 2008) newspaper, and randomly flipped it open to page 4 where I saw this:

[Also posted here]

Now I’d heard and read snippets of Powell’s endorsement, but I had *no idea* that the soldier in question was a Trinidadian.  Like Powell, I was taken aback by the hateful language emanating from the McSame-Failin campaign.  All those shouts of “terrorist” and “kill him” sent chills up my spine.

The thing that gets me is that, with few exceptions, the people who are calling for Obama’s head and calling his policies “socialist”, “communist” and “marxist” are overwhelmingly CHRISTIAN.

If Jesus were on Earth today, I’m sure he’d beat them like they were snakes disguised as moneychangers in a temple.

My condolences to the Khan family.  We just celebrated Eid earlier this month in TnT.  I’m sure Kareem was missed.  He is the 2nd (dead) Trinidadian soldier who’s made an impact on the American political scene.  I’d mentioned the first, Kendall Frederick, in my post “Who Are These Jokers, Anyway?”

Kendall got killed by an IED, too.  He was on his way to getting his citizenship papers regularised when the bomb exploded as his convoy passed.

The general was quite right in my view to call out the Republican party for not doing enough to stop the name calling, the race baiting and the fear mongering.  They’re encouraging it deliberately, and that’s wrong.

Trinbagonians are a blessed people.  We’re tolerant of almost everyone and anyone I can think of, with very few exceptions.  Muslims have played very important roles in our twin-island state.  They’re politicians, policemen, doctors, lawyers. They play a part in every facet of our lives.  Even our last head of state (the President) was Muslim.  When he died, a lot of people mourned. He was regarded as a good man by all.  This is not to say that we don’t have problems with each other as a nation — of course we do.

Ashley Todd

Ashley Todd

The thing that gets me about the American religious far right is that they seem just as extremist and fanatical as any of the Muslim terrorists that they love to attack (if not more so, given the lengths they’ll go to smear, right Ashley?)… and they do everything in the name of Jesus!

Jesus was (is) the ultimate man of peace, love and respect for one’s fellow man. Jesus was (is) all for “sharing the wealth”.

Faced with such bigotry and hate from his supposed followers, if Jesus were to come back now,  what would He *really* do?

Dvorak Uncensored

I never imagined that Trinidadians had such a major role to play in the US elections.  I’m sure quite a few people would’ve changed their minds following Powell’s endorsement of Obama and strident criticism of the G.O.P.  For all we know, that swing could make the ultimate difference when the votes are tallied on November 4th.  Powell wouldn’t have made the stirring endorsement without the contribution of that fallen Trinidadian soldier.  It carried more poignancy, more weight, more consideration than it would had he made the endorsement earlier in the primary season, when it was clear that Obama had enough votes to be declared the Democratic nominee.

Its even more apt when you consider that Powell himself is a Caribbean son, having Jamaica-born parents.

As I’d mentioned in tail end of my post “The Day I Met Jim Crow”, Powell had only to let out that he was *just considering* running for President when he was besieged by enough death threats to make his wife change his mind.  Obama has had to endure all manner of threats against his life since he started getting closer to the prize.  Let’s not trivialise it… Powell is just as much of a “war hero” as McCain, if not more so.  He was injured in wars, and saw the effects of war first hand.  He’s directed troops to fight against enemy troops in dangerous encounters.  He helped shape Bush’s foreign and national security policies, until he resigned in 2004.

Powell’s opinion is not to be scoffed, or taken lightly.

As a Caribbean man, while I’m truly sorry for the lives that were lost, I’m proud to say that I’m glad we made a considerable difference in shaping the future direction of the American political landscape.

We helped change the world.

Boblee Pix: VOTE !!!

The future of many lies in the hands of the American voter…

American Buddhist Perspective

American Buddhist Perspective

Vote!

Please Make The Right Choice!

Peace and Rice,

jw

26
Aug
08

Friendly Advice

Late last year, I was in Arlington (Virginia, USA) on business.

I saw this car while waiting at a red light.

Thankfully, I had my camera with me (and the presence of mind) to take this picture!

🙂

I can’t help but smirk when I look at the corporate ensignia affixed to the car trunk…

😕

15
Jul
08

1000 Words

[taken from Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post Gazette]

Even if he were to wrap himself in the American flag, quaff a gazillion pints of draft beer, go hunting deer … and barbecuing same… he’d still be thought of as something he’s not.

I’m put off by the cover of the New Yorker, BUT I think it helps bring all the issues surrounding his patriotism (aka no-flag-pin-for-me-thanks), his religious leanings and his terrorist affiliations (aka the-fist-bump-heard-throughout-the-world) to the FORE, where they can be discussed in the open… ad nauseum hopefully… then put to rest.

I’m with Richard Greene on this one:

Take all of the negative whispers, about Obama being a Muslim, a Jihadist, a lover of Osama bin Laden, about Michelle hating America — take all of them and put them out there, on the cover, in public, so that serious discussion can happen, these urban legends can be “Snoped” and these toxic boils can be lanced!

… let’s have that discussion, fully, and then move on. If Michelle really does hate America, let’s get that out of the way as well. It’s still only July. Let’s fully deal with this now and devote the next 3 and 1/2 months to serious dialogue.

Peace and Much Love.

12
Jul
08

The Day I Met Jim Crow

A friend of mine sent me this slideshow a few months ago: http://www.slate.com/id/2188648/slideshow/2188675/fs/0//entry/2188674/

I wrote this piece before completing the whole slide show, in response.  Just seeing that first picture evoked strong memories of the first time I saw it as a little boy in the pages of the Life, Time and Ebony magazines we had at home…

I thank my father for exposing me to the real world through books and subscriptions to news magazines when I was younger.  😎

Peace and Much Love. jw
—–

When I was in Upper 6th Form and due to leave my Trinidadian secondary school, a teacher organised a SAT/Scholarship session with some recruiters from the University of Steubenville, and some other US college. The teacher was caucasian, or as we like to say here in Trinbago, “Trini White”.

Before our guests came in, he pointed out to us, that in many ways, the US of A was more racist than South Africa (this was in the early 1990’s, a few months before they released Nelson Mandela from prison), and actively encouraged the “students of colour” to hype that fact up in US college applications, as we would have an advantage because of the affirmative action programs that the US colleges had to deploy.

I remember hearing one of my white classmates sitting behind me utter a soft “steups.” 😉

I got a chance to visit a fairly rural part of a deep southern US State for the first time on a 3 month company sponsored training trip in the late 90’s. While there, I sometimes used to think that I was the only black man for miles around.  It was the kind of place where, when you saw another black person, you gave them that knowing How you doin’? nod, and even stopped to chat for a few.  Most times, the black folk I encountered were the “help” in the place I was in/visiting/working. I met up with two Trinidadian families that way… but that’s another story.

Anyway, being the “good” Church boy that I am, I wanted to go to a Catholic Church close to my hotel. I found it strange that all the hotel clerks were directing me to a Hispanic church which was about 10 minutes away by car (and therefore, more taxi fare) instead of one that I could just walk to in under 20 minutes. As I wanted to explore my surroundings and stretch my legs a bit, I went to the closer Church regardless.

No problems for me… I sat in the back and spied a black family at church!  My heart leapt for joy and I made a mental note to speak to them afterwards. Because I was a first time visitor to the church, the mainly white congregation welcomed me with open arms.  I mean, I saw these middle-aged & older white men and women come up to me and hug, kiss and embrace me like a prodigal, when I could swear a few days ago, more than half of those same folks crossed the street when they saw me coming towards them!

Anyway, after the service, one of the daughters from the black family came over to chat with me. Her folks were Jamaican, and one of the first things she asked me was “How come you didn’t go to the Spanish church?”

“I don’t speak that much Spanish, so it would’ve been difficult for me to understand. Plus this church was only about 20 minutes walking from my hotel.”

“You walked?!”
“Yeah… something’s wrong with walking?”
“Where’s your hotel?”
“The Radisson on such and such street.”
Oooh… that’s a nice hotel… they have nice food there…”

Moms walks over to chat, with her other daughter in tow. Pops is talking to a man on the side. Moms hits me with the Jamaican slang as soon as she realises I’m Trinbagonian… “Wham now, rude bwoy?” I laugh and smile… tell her its good to see fellow West Indians up in the place.

“How come you didn’t go to the Spanish church?”

I give the same reply, and begin to wonder “what’s so wrong with this church” that makes people want to recommend la vida loca on sight of me. Pops comes over and we chit chat, they have to leave, but promise to look me up at the hotel now that they know that I’m there.

“We West Indians have to look out for one another!”, Mom says and smiles as she gets into their sedan. She
works at some law firm or the other.  Pops is a police man or an Army soldier or something.

As they pull off, I turn around to start my walk back.  I almost bounce into this middle-aged white man.  Pepper gray/blonde hair.  Ice blue eyes.  Affable looking, he apologised, and asked if I wanted a ride back to my hotel, as he’d overheard I was staying at the Radisson.  I accepted his offer.

“What’s your name?”
“My name is Jude.”
“Ah… like the song, or were you named after the saint?”
“Both, actually.  I’m sorry… but I didn’t catch your name?”
“That’s cuz I didn’t throw it. My name is Jim.  Jim Crow.”

[picture taken from: Literacy Rules!]

😯

In shock, I look up at the man, to see if he’s serious. He’s not laughing.

I look at his wife and his little daughter. They’re not laughing either.

I’m wondering whether I should laugh or if I should run… but my instincts told me to take him at his word… play it cool, and use my keys as a weapon… just in case.

“Your parents must’ve had a unique sense of humour, Jim.”
Jim grins.  His wife laughs. “That’s what I always tell him!”

We get into the car, and we pull off. Jim talks about the teasing he endured growing up because of his name… and that he always gets that same reaction from black people when he introduces himself to them.

For the duration of the 5 minute ride (which seemed like forever), I get told about how articulate I am, how intelligent I seem, and how handsome I am (when Jim’s wife said this, I saw his eyes flick up to the rear-view and hold me in a glance for a few seconds.  I met his gaze while I thanked her for the compliment and nodded back to Jim. He put his eyes back on the road.)

As I’m getting out of the car at the hotel, they tell me about the Spanish church 20 minutes driving from here, and wonder aloud why I didn’t go there. I give them the same reply, plus the fact that I didn’t have a car to use while I was there.

Jim: “Oh… with a country name like Trinidad, you would think that you’d speak some Spanish!”

“Yeah, you would!  But I have basic Spanish skills.”

Jim’s Wife: “So, see you next week?  We can come pick you up, if you want…”  Jim looks a bit uncomfortable but smiles.

“Maybe, but I think I’ll walk! This is a nice neighbourhood. Thanks for the ride. Take care, Jim!”

I stand outside with the doorman watching their little girl wave to me from the back seat as they drive away.

“Crazy, man…this is just crazy.”
“Por que?”, says Jose, the door man from Mexico.
“That man just told me his name was Jim Crow!”
“So what ees so wrong weet dat name?”

I sigh and walk away. I pat Jose on the shoulder as I make my way inside.

“Its a black thing, Jose… I don’t think you’d understand.”

For the duration of my stay, I didn’t go back to Church.

I never saw the Jamaicans or the Crows again.

I do regret not going to the Hispanic Church though! I’m sure that would’ve been something!

When I look at the image of the man getting rammed by the American flag, it brings to mind the challenges the Obamas must undoubtedly have to face during their long election campaign.

Colin Powell said that he didn’t run for US President because his wife expressed fear for his life. Had he done so, I wonder what sort of campaign the Democrats would have mounted against him?  I’d like to think that it certainly wouldn’t be anything as bad as what Fox and the Republicans (and Billary, Jeremiah Wright and Jesse Jackson) have tried to do to Barack and Michelle Obama.

[Pic: Ask Men]

Let’s think about it for a second.

Colin Powell is the man that handed out cans of whoop ass to Saddam in Operation Desert Storm.  He wasn’t just a soldier, he was a GENERAL, and the history making Chairman of the freakin’ Joint Chiefs of Staff.   Brother man was also the first African-American Secretary of State.  To wit, all of this was achieved under conservative leaning REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS (George Bush I and II).

Yet, people STILL wrote hate mail when he merely contemplated running for President on a Republican ticket…

One thing’s for certain…

If Jesse Jackson was really serious about cutting Obama’s nuts off, he has to get a HUUUGE knife.

Balls that size don’t come along everyday.

Oh… and in case you were wondering…

…Jim Crow really sucked.

Peace and Much Love.

jw.

[ps: thanks for the slideshow, Frolin]
11
Jun
08

Is Stephen Ames a Terrorist (according to Fox News)?

“A terrorist fist jab”?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “WTF? Fox Anchor Calls Obama Fist Poun…“, posted with vodpod

WTF? Are they really SERIOUS?

Come on! This is really disgusting and unacceptable!

I suppose next they’ll be saying that its an old Muslim tradition too, right?

Then she, Ms E.D. Hill, ducks responsibility for her own words, blaming the whole thing on a “mischaracterization by the media”.

And offers no real apology.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “ Fox’s E.D. Hill plays blame game“, posted with vodpod

Isn’t she part of the said media?

And isn’t she the one who said what she said? I didn’t see her under any kind of duress…

What, does Fox News think that Trinidadian golfer Stephen Ames is a terrorist, too? He’s on the upper right, wearing the black Nike cap with the white-looking swoosh.

Steven Ames to the upper right of the photo.

(Image from:http://mediamatters.org/action_center/fist_bump/)

Good news is that she got her show pulled from the air.

Bad news is she still works for Fox.

As a matter of fact, the real Bad News is that ardent Fox viewers probably saw nothing wrong with what she said!

Petition here, in case you’re interested in signing:

http://mediamatters.org/action_center/fist_bump/

Peace and Much Love.





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