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Thursday, Mar 28, 2013
Wherein our writer contemplates entering someone else’s world and stealing their greasepaint covered soul -- just for a byline.

Part of the writer’s art is knowing which subjects to choose to write about. Sometimes the choice is right in front of one’s face. Sometimes it’s a little more difficult. Such was the case when I heard an old friend had become a “sex clown” in San Francisco, and another writer I know wanted to do a story on the turf battles that take place within the belly dancing community of the Bay Area.


Of course, when I hear anyone has become a sex clown I’m interested as a writer and, well, a potential consumer. However, I don’t take anything at face value so I decided to do what any good writer would do and follow up with this old friend who had seemed to have found a new vocation in the city by the Bay.


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Wednesday, Mar 7, 2012
Rush Limbaugh once again finds his way into a national debate and shows the addictive power of offense.

Here’s something to piss you off: A mega-successful AM radio icon’s business model essentially relies on offending people. The more incendiary the speak, the greater the outrage, the greater the interest, the higher the ratings. And that business model makes said radio host a minimum of $40 million a year. It would be the equivalent of me finding a job that would pay $20 million a year to play video games, write a few lengthy journalistic pieces, review albums, and critique vodka.


That radio icon, of course, is Rush Limbaugh. And his latest controversy, of course, is the remarks he made toward Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke and her congressional testimony about the access (or lack thereof) to affordable birth control. Limbaugh has since issued an apology on his website regarding his disparaging remarks toward Fluke. But the damage has already hit Limbaugh in his only apparent weak spot: his pocketbook. So far, nine major longtime advertisers, including Carbonite and ProFlowers, have pulled their ads.


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Thursday, Jan 21, 2010
Where white kids are depressed, black kids are pathological, even when demonstrating the same behavior in a classroom. NPR's Tell Me More investigates why "Blacks, Latinos Less Likely Treated For Depression". Perhaps the facts of race explain insanity for many, and there's no treatment for that.

The facts of race in America too often mean that non-whites are crazy by definition. Non-whites have even had to prove that ‘race’ still impacts all of us today. One of the clearest examples of this is the pathbreaking American presidential race of 2008- the longest, most covered and most expensive campaigns to date. The real deal is why’d it cost so much for America to elect it’s first non-white president?


As a presidential candidate, for example, Barack Obama had to explain ‘race’ in an eloquent 37-minute speech, as if it were his (racial) responsibility. Recall that many folks could not connect with Obama’s main presidential rival because she never made clear how gender impacted her reality; she ‘pretended’ it was unimportant, and even ‘wore the pants’ until it was too late. If Hilary Clinton had early on made speeches like her concession speech, Americans might have responded to her very differently. I would imagine that many people of color in America have felt such pressure in their daily lives, and continue to deal with the stress of this pressure on their own. The denial of the impact of race is enough to send someone into a frenzy, but luckily there are now ample studies demonstrating racial disparities in all facets of American life. As an American voter, I would appreciate knowing how any candidate perceives race in America, as well as gender and class disparities. But the reality is that it took a crazy Negro candidate to lay that path in any meaningful way. Never has any politician spoken so clearly about the impact of historical social differences on the social disparities of today. Back to racialized insanity…


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Thursday, Jan 21, 2010
Digitizing revolutions: The Negro still is not free [‘My lord’ a sister can be heard saying, and you can almost see her gleaming from sweat, fanning herself and shaking her head side to side with her eyes firmly fixed on Dr. King].

Can you imagine twittering from the ‘I have a dream speech’? Time and time again I have wondered what it must have felt like to be on ground during these life changing events, so here’s a bit of framing to help bring the speech to us today. Sites streaming audio, video or posting the full text of the “I Have a Dream” speech are too plentiful to warrant individual mention. Of note, however, are the rarer speeches made by King, including one he made to All India Radio upon his visit to the only land which proved the fertility of non-violent revolution in the hearts and minds of modern humanity. In the midst of the Cold War, and bodies bloodied in imperialism as the norm, King concluded: “Today we no longer have a choice between violence and non-violence; it is either non-violence, or non-existence.”


The “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the easiest iTunes Podcasts or YouTube videos to find, and one can even see related clips of Mahalia Jackson moving that day’s gathering with “How I Got Over”, or spot gay activist/march organizer Bayard Rustin in the crowd. These recordings of Mahalia Jackson inspirational and rare. Mahalia’s best recordings are of course those of her in a small rural chapel with other worshippers ready to hear her call. Oh if crowds had mobile video recording then, or would it have just been a distraction?!?  Yet, this tradition of ‘call and response’ iterates that what the crowd says is integral to the message delivered out in front. Greek tragedies formalized this sort of response by placing an actual chorus on the stage- a group of people who spoke in union. Thinking back about this summer day where ‘change we can believe in’ came to America, here is a closer listen to all the people calling out “free at last”. The following is a transcript from Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech at he March On Washington for Jobs and justice delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in late August 1963.


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Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010

When more folks today seem interested in protecting their anonymity online, and are even concerned with the death of a social networking account following an actual physical loss of life, it’s important to take a few moments to step back and reconsider the beauty of remembrance and its potential for immortality. For example, Dan Fletcher’s widely circulated article discussing net-death, “What Happens to Your Facebook After You Die?”, appeared on Time.com in October 2009. The article was prompted by the blog entry “Memories of Friends Departed Endure on Facebook”> posted by the social network’s founder, Max Kelly, who spoke about “memorializing” instead of deleting profiles, allowing users to visit friends for as long as their server is up. Kelly’s thread that was prompted by the death of his own best friend, and his own desire not to simply forget. Fletcher’s article demonstrates that many folks genuinely want to know that the net has the ability to forget, though seasoned users know about the near immortality of the cache!


Unlike most other people I know who are around age 30, I think about death a lot. As a gay man, I grew up in a time and place that placed death at my doorstep. HIV/AIDS has lost its initial tag as the Gay Plague (G.R.I.D.), though the attachment to the lives of gay men seems indelible. Although I am trained in, and now work towards HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, and have over the years befriended many people living with AIDS, I still vividly recall the first time that I knowingly met a seropositive individual.


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