The Overpriced Social Network

Does this guy look like someone you can trust?  He is Warren Buffet, prophet sage god on all things investment related and he says social networking sites are overpriced and he is right.

Unlike banks, social networking sites are never too big to fail.  Remember Friendster, Myspace, AOL, Digg?  All gone with the wind when something slicker came along or they got too complacent and clunky.  Right now every start-up evaluates their worth with the hope that they will one day be Facebook but even Facebook has a limit.

Online all the time?

I thought this video was funny.  I suffer from fits and spurts of being online too much but I hope I would never need an intervention.

To Tweet or NOT to Tweet? When does social networking go too far? from BlueCentricTV on Vimeo.

US Army Deserter Seeks Asylum in Germany

I was wondering where AndrĂ© Shepard went and it turns out that he hid in Germany for one year, married a German and is now seeking Asylum. I'm not hearing about him from any US media sources so here is are two clips. The first video details the current situation and in second video he eloquently explains his reasons for leaving the military.

He claims that the US is committing war crimes in Iraq and that he had to leave for reasons of conscience. Most soldiers have conflicts of conscience but it takes a rare person to actually risk peril and walk away. If the US gets him back they may give him life in prison or the death penalty. In any case, he can never safely set foot in the US again.  Shepard says that he could not honor his oath to uphold the constitution and follow the orders of the president simultaneously because the War in Iraq violates The Constitution.

A Tribe Called Quest Talks About Being Shut Out Of Their Own Documentary

Tribe breaks the silence and talks about the Documentary about their music careers  Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest. The members of Tribe except for Phife did not show up at the Sundance Festival debut because of ongoing concerns about the project. Michael Rapaport directed the film and in opposition to many of Tribe's requests decided to sacrifice collaboration for power.

If you want to skip to the moral of this story, check out the last video.  Q-Tip gives it to all other artists straight, no chaser "We need to tell our own stories.  We are griots."  This story is not new.  How many artists lose control over projects that are centered around their talent?  Artists should only work with people they trust and can hold legally accountable when intentions get lost in greed.

when words don't tell the whole story

I just saw Gran Torino, a story about a good old boy coming to terms with the death of his wife, his insensitive and selfish kids and his neighborhood which has become a ghetto for Mong people.  Here is the story summary from IMDB.

Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy an old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition.

getting grouped: when group dynamics go wrong

In my day, I had a Utopian view of groups.  I had fuzzy dreams about people coming together for the common good and pooling their talents.  After several mixed experiences with groups, this view has become more nuanced and mistrusting of group efforts.  While I respect the ideal of working together, I've seen so many groups get bogged down in the process at the expense of doing any actual work. New evidence suggests that groups may be more of a hindrance than a help.  Furry Girl, sex worker and activist hits the nail on the head when she says:
The whole point of me starting SWAAY this way is so I don't have to get bogged down in process, meetings, infighting, and consensus.  I want to work with people who are responsible, knowledgeable, and also don't want to waste time bullshitting around with "being a part of a group."

The Wire: Felicia Pearson's arrest another sad anecdote in the War on Drugs

I have never followed The Wire but folks I respect praise it for bringing a real and critical perspective about the War on Drugs and the lives of People of Color onto the screen.  An actress on the show, Felicia Pearson has been arrested " on heroin-related and aiding and abetting charges "  which I presume means that she may have possessed drugs and known something that she did not tell or lied about to police.

Aiding and abetting charges in drug-related cases are inherently racist charges because almost everyone in low-income neighborhoods are in the know about who is doing dirt and where.  The decision to not share this information with the police is multi-layered: a historical and justified mistrust of the police, self-preservation and a reluctance to compromise the only reliable economy that the ghetto has. So grandma aids and abets because she has a clue how her grandson is able to buy her meds.  Nuts.  This is addressed in an open letter by the Creator of the Wire David Simon.

Lasers - Lupe Fiasco (Love Always Shines thru Everything Remember to Smile)

Lasers, the new album by  Lupe Fiasco came at a hard time in my life emotionally.  I never thought that the album would be relevant to me emotionally when I started to listen but it was because Lupe has chosen to be honest about himself and his own vulnerabilities on it.

The frustration that people feel when they have to operate within a system that is hell-bent on exploiting them is paralyzing at times.  He gets into how his inevitable fight against the record industry,  that every artist that is commited to creativity and truth has had, took a toll on his spirit.

Disaster Capitalism

If there is anywhere where the strategy of keeping people so desperate and disoriented that they become more concerned with their survival than their rights is used, it is the ghetto.  Now it is being used on the American public at large.

the people formerly known as liberal

have vanished.  According to Chris Hedges the idea that there is a liberal force in the United States is laughable because they have sold out and been stamped out.  I agree.

The cries on the right about the takeover of the liberals just serve to strengthen their resolve against an imaginary enemy.  The same tactic that was used when McCarthy convinced the nation that it was over-run with communists.  The real story is that the liberals have promoted a humanist agenda that has always been a threat to capitalism and for liberals who wanted to enjoy the good life and stop having their phones taped, the temptation to tone it down and thus make it irrelevant was too much.

...and the first will be first

Ahhh to be rich.  The rich seem to love it and everyone else in America is so convinced that after their big break reality show/invention, they will be rich too and vote accordingly.  Sure there are hold-outs that vote according to their class interests but the allure of  upward mobility in the US have people reluctant to acknowledge their class at all much less align themselves with any class based movement because of the illusion that class is just temporary.