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by Anthony Merino

21 Dec 2016


The ‘60s are often romanticized as the most tumultuous decade in contemporary US history. It is possible, however, that the ‘90s faced as much, albeit different, social upheaval. On 2 August 1990, America led United Nation forces in an invasion of Iraq. On 28 February 1993, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol and Fire Arms attempted to serve arrest and search warrants to David Koresch in Waco, Texas. Koresch was the leader of the Branch Dividians. Leading to a full-on siege that ended on 19 April when Koresch ignited several fires within the compound, killing 76 members.

On the second anniversary of the siege Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols parked a rental truck packed with explosives in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City; 168 people were killed in the explosion. On 12 February 1999 the House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton.

All of these events dealt with huge political issues of the exercise of power, both nationally and internationally. Ironically, the single most divisive event during the decade started with the intimate murder of two people.

by C.E. McAuley

28 Mar 2013

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.

by Sean McCarthy

7 Mar 2012


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.

by Diepiriye Kuku

19 Jan 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.

by Diepiriye Kuku

6 Jan 2010


Today, January 6th, is the day when folks here in Germany are likely to see the harmony and cooperation across races that we still seek in other areas of our lives. Today is the day that Blackface is not a minstrel show, and jokes about The Little Rascals representing American multiculturalism, and Buckwheat being Obama won’t hold any weight, like on other days here in Germany.

Today is the day when a Black child approaching a ‘normal’ German house will be greeted with open arms, and not suspicious glances, followed by the hushed gossip. Three kinder dressed as the Three Wise Men (Heilige Drei Könige) who ‘predicted’ the birth of Jesus parade around to each home to sing, collect candy and cash, and mark “C+B+M” along with the year, in chalk above each household’s door. The chalking stands for the latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, which means: “God protect this house.” No, there is no official punishment for not participating, but you know how life is in the village even in a so-called secular state (wink wink).

Not all of the groupings of kids in Biblical drag around Germany will be in Blackface, and the practice is apparently not considered offensive, partially due to the (comparatively) tiny nation’s lack of minstrel, race-baiting history with blacks, though the story of Santa Claus and his evil, dark-skinned companion is a whole ‘nother can of worms. It is interesting to note, however, that the Nativity scenes here in Germany almost always depict the historically correct racial construct, whereas in America one cannot help but notice that the three kings are usually all white (is that whiteface?).

Today is the day in Teutophone lands where the fellowship of humanity is observed above all that could separate us. Today is the day when we lay down our arms for armistice and at least pray for peace, for He is coming.

Predictably, the local newspaper here in Aachen found a picture of a happy and content Black child to print. No bondage of poverty from which readers can send in pfennigs to save, nor images of civilians in war-torn nations for by-standers to pity. No images of decaying AIDS patients to pander to this most widely circulated image of Africans in this decisively non-multi-kulti land. No, this is the day when Christians in German-speaking lands will sit back and face one of the earliest projects of globalization known to Man, in spite of the marginal inclusion of women.

Today, especially, is the day for all the non-Christians (like me) to express a deep appreciation for the life of Jesus. Today is the day that we realize His birth, over and beyond His death. Today is the day we remind ourselves of His birth and al that followed, not focusing on Today is the day for all the non-Christians (like me) to express a deep appreciation for the life of Jesus. Today is the day that we realize His birth, over and beyond His death. Today is the day we remind ourselves of His birth and all that followed, not focusing on His death, sacrifice and the folly of humanity, but on humanity’s potential.

Today, let’s extend a hand to one another, to all of us who believe in the Prince of Peace, regardless of religion, and that humanity must realize this dream, and that humanity can realize peace on Earth. Today is the day when pop culture meets spirituality in a most meaningful way—no gifts, no spending, no credit, no savings, and certainly no Bling! Happy ‘Epiphany’ to all my German Christian friends and family. Moreover, may there be peace on Earth regardless of what potentially divides us. To paraphrase the Dalai Lama: Everything is interdependent, interconnected. If you harm others, you get suffering. If you help others, you get benefits. Early Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin reiterates the same: “We are all one, and if we don’t know it, we will learn it the hard way.”

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