Saturday, December 31, 2005

Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims Done Without Search Warrants

The Bush Administration is reportedly more interested in determining who leaked this information, than appologizing to the Muslim community. Read about this by clicking on the title of this post.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Rolling Stones Set To Perform A Free Show In Brazil!


Copacabana Beach - February 18, 2006

Tuesday, December 13 -- The Rolling Stones announced today that they will bring the "A Bigger Bang" World Tour to Brazil on February 18th.

Brazilian fans will now have the opportunity to experience the excitement felt by sold-out crowds throughout the tour when the Stones play at the Copacabana Beach. This will mark the third time that the Stones have performed in Brazil, but it will be the first time they hold a free concert.

After their stop in Brazil, The Rolling Stones, and their "A Bigger Bang" World Tour, will continue to thrill audiences throughout Mexico and South America with electrifying performances that include their classic hits and songs from their critically acclaimed new release, "A Bigger Bang."

The band is working closely with their design team to create a unique show for their international fans that combines the intimacy of a small venue with the spectacle of their outdoor stadium shows

To organize the show at the Copacabana Beach, the Stones will gather a crew of nearly 1,500. The show's main stage, to be located in front of the Copacabana Palace Hotel, will be 22 meters high and 57 meters wide. In addition to the main stage, the Rio concert will also feature the Rolling Stones' famous "B" stage, which can extend 55 meters into the audience. Sixteen sound and image towers (with high definition big screens) will also be constructed and spread along the seashore as far back as the Meridien Hotel.

Rolling Stones, U2 Drive Concert Revenues

AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Powerhouse tours by the Rolling Stones, U2 and Paul McCartney helped drive concert ticket revenues in North America to a record $3.1 billion in 2005, even as the number of tickets sold declined for the third year in row.

Fans purchased 36.1 million tickets to the top 100 concert tours, compared with 37.6 million in 2004 and 38.7 million in 2003, according to Pollstar, the industry trade magazine.

"You have to figure that's not a healthy sign for the industry overall," said Gary Bongiovanni, Pollstar's editor-in-chief.

Despite a slow first-half of the year and the decline in tickets sold, concert tours in 2005 amounted to a 10.7 percent increase in gross receipts over last year's total of $2.8 billion.

The record revenue was due largely to the rare confluence of superstar artists touring.

"You don't normally see three huge acts like that out touring in the same year," Bongiovanni said. "McCartney and The Stones alone really helped drive up ticket prices."

The average ticket price for the top 100 tours rose to a record $57, compared with $52.39 in 2004, Pollstar said.

The average ticket price has gone up nearly $7 since 2003.

Still, concertgoers proved this year that they remained willing to pay more to see their favorite acts, and the roster of legends that filled touring arenas had little trouble packing them in.

Until this year, the biggest tour of all time had been The Rolling Stones' 1994 outing, which drew $121.2 million in gross receipts, Bongiovanni said.

"Both U2 and The Stones went way beyond that this year," he said.

The Rolling Stones' "A Bigger Bang" tour led all other concert tours in 2005 with $162 million in gross receipts, according to the magazine.

The average Stones ticket was $133.98. The tour sold around 1.2 million tickets.

U2 generated the second most gross receipts, $138.9 million, with an average ticket price of $96.92. The Irish rockers' "Vertigo 2005" tour sold the most tickets, around 1.4 million.

McCartney's tour earned $77.3 million in gross receipts, with the average ticket selling for $135.46. The tour sold around 570,000 tickets.

Other veteran acts who ended the year among the top 20 in sales receipts included the Eagles, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Motley Crue and Jimmy Buffett.

Green Day, Rascal Flatts, Dave Matthews Band, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Coldplay, Gwen Stefani and the Anger Management Tour were among the contemporary acts to break into the top 20 biggest earners.

Celine Dion and Barry Manilow, who performed mostly in Las Vegas, also were top draws in 2005. The Canadian diva's shows pulled in $81.3 million in total gross receipts, the third highest. Manilow's shows drew $22.7 million in gross receipts.

"The baby boomers really continue to support and fuel the concert business," Bongiovanni said.

My view of James Dungy's passing

I don't know James Dungy, and even though I know one day I'll have the pleasure of meeting his Dad, I never will be able to greet him. He's certainly in a better place, and a large part of me doesn't want to believe he took his own life, but I can understand the thoughts that must have been swirling in his mind before he did, now that I have a better picture of who he was.

These last three years have been the best three years of my life, and it's no surprise that they match the birth and life of my company, Sports Business Simulations. I feel whole because this is something I created that is still mostly an expression of my overall desire to "connect" with the world around me, only now I've figured out a way to get paid for it.

But there were times when I was around James Dungy's age, when the idea of leaving would pass my mind -- of passing on. My Mom would tell me "that's something that God would not want -- you would not go to heaven." Or she'd say "That's something black folks don't do." Well, we know that's not true. I knew that because the idea would hit me.

Like me, James Dungy seemed to be a highly sensitive person, and people like that just don't grow on trees. We have a super-high-level ability to read the feelings of others, and are the ones that create things. We take in a lot, and when we're young, we don't know how to sort out what is coming to us.

I've learned over time to trust my feelings. When I was his age, I leaned on my intellect much more, and wasn't always the happier for it. But fortunately, I made it past the days when I felt I was so different that no one wanted me. Heck, I wasn't even living with a woman, let alone a girlfriend. It's too bad her love could not overcome his pain. I only hope he didn't take his life, but if it turns out that he did, it's because of that mix of messages his super-sensitive self could not effectively sort.

Being highly sensitive is a gift, and a curse at the same time. If you're reading this, and know someone who is, go to them and give them a hug. It will make all the difference in their life-- and yours.

Anecdotes about son James Dungy provide fuller picture of Tony Dungy's loss

Commentary: Gary Shelton

LUTZ, Fla. -- Tony Dungy approached the lectern with a small smile. He said he was happy to be there. He opened with a joke about the preacher's verbosity.
Considering the body of Dungy's eldest son lay a few feet in front of him, it seemed Dungy was holding up better than his friends had feared.
Then Dungy's voice cracked, leaving him with a sound that was raw and wounded, and his face was so twisted it was possible to see the pain underneath. He stepped back, dabbing at hollow eyes with tissue, trying to gather himself before he could continue.
For 20 minutes, Dungy talked about faith and hope and loss, and several times, the emotions would visibly wash over him. Each time, he would step back, and the audience at Idlewild Baptist Church would applaud, as if to allow him time to overcome his emotions. Each time, Dungy would return to the microphone, trying to comfort those who came to comfort him.
How does a man find such strength? How does he share an agony so private with his public? How does he use faith as an answer when there are so many unanswered questions?
A man buried his son Tuesday, only five days after his death and only 18 years after his birth. A husband put his arm around his wife. A father embraced his other four children.
Away from the illusion of a game, away from the celebrity of his job, it is as simple as that. For the past week, that is who Dungy has been to the Tampa Bay community. It hardly matters that he is the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, or that he used to be the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, except that is how most of us came to know him.
Most of the 2,000 or so mourners who entered Idlewild were there because of Dungy's character, because most around here have a story or two about a decent man who has suffered an unimaginable loss. He is one of us, and for most of a week, those who live in the Tampa Bay area have wanted to put an arm around Dungy's shoulder.
There were no answers to what apparently drives a young man to suicide. There were only answers to why so many people miss Jamie Dungy so much.
He was a mama's boy. He loved the color pink and chicken quesadillas and put ketchup on almost everything. He liked stray dogs and old friends and practical jokes.
Dungy told the story about when Jamie was 7 and his father worked for the Minnesota Vikings. A player named Vencie Glenn had given Jamie a hat, and suddenly, Vencie, No. 25, was his buddy. The next year, the Vikings traded Glenn to the Giants.
On the first day of camp, Dungy saw his son in the dining room after the morning practice. Jamie seemed unhappy, and his father asked why. Jamie said he had followed No. 25 around all day, calling out his name, and Vencie ignored him.
"Son, that wasn't Vencie Glenn," Tony said. "That was Alfred Jackson."
McKay told one about Jamie being steamrolled by former Bucs quarterback Eric Zeier on the sideline. Jamie was looking away from the play when he glanced up at the scoreboard and saw the play coming toward him. He curled up just as Zeier and others plowed into him.
Pastor Jeffery Singletary told one about the fishing trip when a storm quickly developed. Most in the party were praying, Singletary said, when he heard the beep-beep of Jamie's video game. He also heard Jamie ask his father if it things were going to be all right.
"Things are going to be fine," Singletary remembers Tony saying.
In one of their final telephone conversations, Jamie told Tony the Colts were going to the Super Bowl, and he wanted to know if he could be on the sideline. Tony warned him about the difficulty of getting there, but yes, he said, there would be a spot for him on the sideline.
Together, the stories weave a more complete picture of Jamie Dungy. He quoted scripture. He was a polite kid.
"If you were nice to Jamie, you were his friend," Dungy said. "The other way was to look like you needed a friend."
The more you heard, the bigger the questions became about Jamie's final days. Was his pain deeper than most teenagers? Was his ability to cope with it less? We will never know.
Dungy said his son was searching for who that person was inside of him, who he was going to be.
"As he made that search, I knew he was never going to leave that compassionate, friendly, loyal, heartfelt roots," Dungy said. "But like a lot of teenage boys, I think he was hit with messages that maybe that's not the way boys are supposed to be. Like most of us, I think he went through a time as a teenager he wasn't sure his parents always had the best advice, that we always had his best interest at heart.
"My daughter Tiara said it best. She said, 'I just wish he could have made it to 20, because when you're 17 or 18, a lot of things your parents tell you don't make sense. At 20, they start to make sense again. I just wish he would have made it.' "
Again, Dungy's voice quaked. Again, he paused. Again, the audience applauded.
For most of Tampa Bay, Dungy quit being a football coach a long time ago. Instead, he was a neighbor, a man of grace and dignity.
Today, it would be nice if he could find a little peace.
Jamie, too.

Gary Shelton is a columnist for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.

Owners approve Super Bowl for Kansas City wire reports
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 16, 2005) -- NFL owners voted to tentatively award Kansas City a Super Bowl, largely as a tribute to owner Lamar Hunt, who gave the game its name.

It comes with one giant string attached: improvements to Arrowhead Stadium, including a rolling roof to keep out the February cold. The team estimates the cost of the roof alone at $100 million to $200 million -- and that's not counting $300 million or so the Chiefs say they need in stadium upgrades.

The approval is for a 10-year window, starting in 2011, but Hunt said the most likely prospects would be for the 49th or 51st Super Bowl, after the 2014 or 2016 seasons.

"This is a very happy day, and in some respects a surprising day," he said at a news conference after the second day of the owners' two-day fall meeting adjourned. "This is something our organization has talked about for a number of years."

The team is now in lease negotiations with Jackson County and hopes to have a sales tax issue on the April ballot for Kansas City residents who live in the county. Last year, a bi-state sales tax proposal, for stadium improvements and arts in the area, failed to gain approval.

The Kansas City Royals, whose Kauffman Stadium sits across a parking lot from Arrowhead, would also have benefited from that tax.

The Chiefs, and other backers of stadium renovations, hope the prospect of landing an event with an estimated $400 million economic impact will provide enough reason to vote "yes" this time.

"The tremendous benefit to Kansas City, both in economic terms and prestige, are beyond calculation," Mayor Kay Barnes said in a written statement.

Jack Steadman, the Chiefs' vice chairman, said lease talks were to resume Nov. 17 and that he hoped they would be completed by December. He said the Chiefs would not specify their financial commitment to the project until negotiations were completed.

Hunt, a founding owner in the American Football League, gave the Super Bowl its name after it began simply as a matchup between the AFL and NFL champions.

"This decision is clearly an indication of the tremendous support the Chiefs have had from their fans in this area, and also the role of Lamar Hunt in the creation of the NFL today and the history of professional football."

Only three Super Bowls have been awarded to cold-weather cities. Detroit will host its second Super Bowl in February, and Minneapolis has hosted one.

"I think a one-off is a correct decision," Hunt said. "My request was for one game, in a 10-year window."

A rolling roof, which could be moved to cover either stadium, was part of the original plans for the Truman Sports Complex. It was designed only to keep out the rain, however.

Steadman said the new plan would allow panels to be lowered from the roof, to provide for a heated interior in cold weather.

"This is a new idea for an old concept," he said.

2005: The 10 biggest stories in international pop

By Andre Mayer
December 22, 2005

Best intentions
If 2004 was the year pop got political, in 2005, pop stars showed their giving spirit. The hastily assembled Live 8 concerts were proof of Bob Geldof's indomitable will and the music industry's ability to mobilize for a good cause. Ten concerts, an estimated three billion viewers. Live 8 was a success in terms of raising awareness of African poverty and putting the issue on the table at the subsequent G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. Whether all the singing and finger--wagging will make a significant difference in the lives of destitute Africans now lies with the politicians.

Bono vista
Was 2005 good to Bono? Hmmm, let's see: His band, U2, tallies the 2005's top-grossing stadium tour ($260 million). The rocker-slash-activist earns partial credit for his work in organizing Live 8, shares Time's Persons of the Year award (with Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda), scores Q magazine's Man of the Year and is the subject of a fulsome cover story in the New York Times Magazine. Yes, he's everywhere: yes, those sunglasses look ridiculous. But can you name another private citizen who has donated as much of his energy to eliminating human suffering?

Kanye flips the script
The Hurricane Katrina relief effort was likely the second biggest cause of musical solidarity in 2005. But amid the feelings of sadness and good will, rapper Kanye West could not hide his anger at the disparities between blacks and whites in New Orleans. During the NBC telethon on Sept. 2, Kanye deviated from the scripted platitudes to express his outrage with the coverage of the disaster and the government's lackadaisical response. "I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, 'They're looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'They're looking for food.'" Unprepared for this harangue, NBC was unable to censor Kanye's crowning blow: "George Bush doesn't care about black people!"

Shopping has dropped
In what is becoming an annual ritual, the music industry reported another plunge in album sales; according to Nielsen SoundScan, sales were down more than seven per cent from 2004. Industry watchers don't agree on the reason. Is it downloading (legal or otherwise), the rise of CD burning or mounting competition from DVDs and videogames for consumer dollars? Or is it that there aren't as many massive releases? My prediction: the industry will still be wrestling with the question this time next year.

A star is reborn
Admit it: before 2005, you wrote Mariah Carey off as a past-her-prime pop diva. Short of expunging her film Glitter from our collective memory, you figured there was no way she could ever be relevant again. Well, Mariah made proved us wrong. The Emancipation of Mimi, her 10th album, sold seven million copies worldwide, her single We Belong Together reigned supreme on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks and she scored a throng of Grammy nominations. In related news, "Rebirth," J-Lo's attempt at career rejuvenation, flopped magnificently.

Hate him or love him
If Kanye flirted with news headlines in 2005, fellow rapper 50 Cent practically dictated them. In March, Fiddy released his sophomore album, The Massacre. In April, he became the first artist since the Beatles to have four songs in the U.S. Top 10. In early November, he starred in Get Rich or Die Tryin' -- a thinly disguised autobio directed by Jim Sheridan. Later that month, a Toronto MP attempted to have the contentious rapper barred from entering Canada, saying 50 Cent's music fetishized the sort of gun violence that has plagued Toronto in 2005. And that sound in the background? Cash registers ringing up The Massacre.

Payola does not pay
In the 1950s and 1960s record companies often bribed radio stations to play their songs. The practice, known as payola, wasn't legal, but it also wasn't unusual. Most people had forgotten this primitive practice until an investigation by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer determined that payola was still "pervasive." Among his findings was this e-mail by someone at Sony BMG's Epic label, addressed to an employee at radio station WKSS:"WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET AUDIOSLAVE ON WKSS THIS WEEK?!!? Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen." The findings were so embarrassing that Sony BMG Music Entertainment agreed to pay a $10-million US settlement and promised to stop bribing radio stations. Spitzer mooted that other major record companies could be next. (In related news, forgotten Canadian band the Payola$ saw no discernible spike in their popularity.)

Diamond mine
In 2001, Neil Diamond was such a kitsch icon that he lampooned himself in the frat comedy Saving Silverman. Who could have predicted he would have enough mojo left to release another album -- much less one of the best-reviewed discs of 2005? Ruminative, heartfelt and 100 per cent kitsch-free, 12 Songs is utterly compelling. Much of the credit goes to producer Rick Rubin. As he did with Johnny Cash's waning career in the 1990s, Rubin saw through the layers of parody to pinpoint the honest songcraft that made the man great in the first place. If you’re looking for another Cracklin' Rosie or Kentucky Woman, you won't find it; what you will find is a great American songwriter, his skills undiminished.

Another year, another spate of passings. Deaths in 2005 included: guitar god Link Wray; R&B smoothie Luther Vandross ; Ibrahim Ferrer, revered Cuban singer and the wizened face of the Buena Vista Social Club; legendary singer and piano maven Shirley Horn; guitarist Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, a Texas original whose distinctive sound was a searing blend of bluegrass, jazz, Cajun, country and calypso; and jazz great Jimmy Smith, arguably the most famous emissary of the Hammond organ.

Please, please, no more Peas
If a band can over saturate the market, the Black Eyed Peas have done it. In 2005, the California quartet --once a hip-hop outfit, now the worst kind of mongrel pop act -- was everywhere, demonstrating a willingness to appear anywhere, with anyone, for any cause, any time. While that included a fair bit of altruism (e.g. Live 8, an Amnesty International charity album), the Peas were far too voracious to let it end there: award shows, free concerts sponsored by Honda, the Super Bowl, the Grey Cup -- plus the threat of opening the 2006 World Cup of soccer in Germany. To ensure we would be talking about them through the holidays, in November, the BEP's released My Humps, a strong contender for Most Nauseating Single Ever.

Janet and Michael Jackson in top 10 Google search

CBC Arts -

Singer Janet Jackson has been named the most popular search on Google for 2005 joining other celebrities in the top 10 including her brother Michael Jackson and movie stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

The 39-year-old continued to pique the interests of people around the world in 2005, with rumours she had secretly given birth to a daughter 18 years ago and paparazzi video of her sunbathing nude. Back in 2004, Jackson was also a popular search subject mainly because of her "wardrobe malfunction" while performing a half-time show with Justin Timberlake during the SuperBowl.

Jackson topped the list, with Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in southeast Asia, Xbox and actor Brad Pitt rounding out the top five.

Other top searches include the talent show American Idol and wizard-in-training Harry Potter.

Search results for Canada, with only the first half of the year available, indicate a skewing towards teenagers. Young entertainers such as Hilary Duff, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Chad Michael Murray were perennial top 10 favourites, as was rapper 50 Cent.

Japanese anime cartoon Inuyasha was consistently in the top five between January and June, 2005. Inuyasha is a half-human, half-demon character searching for a gem that would give him great powers.

Canadian actress Rachel McAdams is listed as no. 9 on the search list for Canada. She's appeared in The Wedding Crashers, The Notebook, Red Eye and most recently, The Family Stone.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

More evidence of stupid bias against black men -- this time in California's Alameda County

This is from the Oakland Tribune. I wish Alameda County would spend a little money for a 30 second commercial reminding all that housing discrimination is immoral and illegal. As to the pattern of discrimination in the county, it's clear that the farther away from the urban center -- Oakland -- one gets, the more likely they're going to be discriminated against if they're black.

Audit finds blacks face rental bias

Fair-housing group finds some landlords in county treat African Americans differently

HAYWARD -- Black men seeking to rent apartments in some Alameda County communities face unfair treatment from prejudicial landlords, according to an undercover audit conducted by the Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity.
The Hayward-based fair-housing advocacy group, more commonly known as ECHO, sent four men -- two white, two African-American -- to 53 apartments in Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton and Union City.

What they found after a seven-month investigation, ECHO counselor Angie Watson-Hajjem said, was that despite identical tenant profiles, prospective tenants who were African Americans faced discriminatory treatment on about 26 percent of the tests.

"We tried to match them up identically, except for the race thing," Watson-Hajjem said. "If the black tester had an appointment at 1 o'clock, the white tester tried to go in at 1:30. We feel the testers should be treated the same."

She said that on many occasions, it was apparent that testers were not treated the same.

And while Hayward property managers fared well on the tests, many Livermore-area property managers and those in Union City fared poorly, she said.

"Discrimination is still out there. It's still illegal," Watson-Hajjem said. "I don't know if I want to say it's a lot, but it's definitely there."

In Hayward, ECHO sent employees pretending to beprospective tenants to 20 apartments and found differential treatment at only one. In that case, a property manager offered the white tester -- but not the black tester -- about $200 off the first month's rent.

Some encounters in other cities were more egregious, the study says. The two black men were less likely to receive follow-up calls and more likely to receive different -- and more discouraging -- information about rental terms and conditions.

Barry Nielsen was killed by the coldness of San Francisco's community; an SF Chronicle story that will anger you -- or it should

I just saw this a few seconds before I posted it. This is an excerpt. Two things angered me: the report of people stepping over -- rather than helping -- this man, and the very slow response of the SF Police Department. It seems San Francisco's finest can spend more time making racist videos than solving crimes. Mr. Nielsen eventually died from what was finally identified as an attack -- but by whom, no one knows to this day.

Barry Nielsen curled on the corner, a head wound oozing blood, as his iPod hissed the soundtrack to a mystery in the foggy night
Mike Weiss, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It began with a man crumpled on a nighttime pavement, his knees pulled protectively under his chin and blood pooling beneath his head. Something bad had just happened to Barry Nielsen. Exactly what remains a mystery.

Moments earlier he had been acting as a greeter outside an open studio at 1890 Bryant St., an industrial-chic home to artists, architects and a wine broker. He was dancing exuberantly. Now his iPod was still playing, but on this Friday night with fog dampening the air, he could no longer hear the music.

But this is San Francisco, where a man curled on a sidewalk means a homeless person. Even though the intersection with Mariposa Street was bathed in light from a Muni yard on the northeast corner, people stepped around him.

It was 7:25 p.m. on Oct. 21, and the neighborhood was well-trafficked. People came and went at KQED; there were clubs and restaurants nearby; and on the southwest corner, Starbucks was crowded, mostly with deaf people at a get-together. Finally a woman out for a smoke saw Nielsen's body and grew alarmed. She ran to Starbucks, where a pair of cops had parked their black and white and were on a coffee break.Officer Angel Lozano inspected Nielsen, saw the blood, and summoned an ambulance. When paramedics arrived, Nielsen no longer showed vital signs, Lozano said, but they revived him with CPR.

"We interviewed a few people," Lozano explained outside the same Starbucks a few weeks later, "and nobody saw what happened."

"The gentleman still had his iPod and his wallet," Lozano said. "It didn't appear there was a crime involved. First impression -- he had fallen down." So the officers did not create a crime scene or begin a thorough canvass of the area or summon detectives.

The building at 1890 Bryant is roughly halfway between San Francisco General Hospital, where Nielsen, 48, was rushed in a wailing ambulance, and the Hall of Justice. Over the days and weeks ahead, conflicting versions of what had befallen the dying painter and puppeteer -- had he fallen or been assaulted? -- would emerge from the two edifices...

By Saturday afternoon, when the police had not contacted Nielsen's friends or family, one friend, Dwight Horn, went to Mission Station and was told, "'What investigation? It was a fall, not a crime."

"We were hearing from every doctor we spoke to" that Barry had been assaulted, Hallquist said, "and the cops were doing nothing."

New Orleans Police Shooting - Why is it that 12 white guys with guns feel they need to shoot one black guy sporting a knife?

I'm watching CNN, and they keep showing a video of 12 -- yeah, 12 -- white New Orleans Police officers with guns drawn and pointing at one black guy who reportedly has a knife.

These idiots -- yep dummies -- killed that man.

I'm looking at this and thinking "Did anyone bother to just shoot the guy in the foot?" Why not? All of those cops and not one had the presence of mind to think outside the box of organized mob-rule that seems to govern New Orleans Police activity, especially after The Katrina Problem. Are they just plain robots?

I'll bet if the person was a blond woman they'd have not fired a single shot. These guys need to be off the force, ASAP.

I'm starting to think the New Orleans police hire emotionally disturbed people or that the job itself makes them that way. There's no -- no good excuse for what they did.

They should all be fired.

New SBS Online Gaming blog

Yep, it's too big to ignore, so I created a blog on online gaming. Click the post to check it out!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Brokeback Mountain hits the Zeitgeist

As a movie buff who's seen The Godfather 27 times, and a good set of movies over 10 times, plus written two screenplays (no, not sold..yet) and recently seen King Kong twice (a terrific work), I feel compelled to see "Brokeback Mountain" because of the buzz around it. Yet, I'm not attracted by the fact the story is of two men in love. What I'm drawn to is that it's directed by Ang Lee, one of my favorites.

I think -- to be frank -- a very large part of me wonders why Hollywood seems to avoid producing movies that feature inter-racial relationships, specifically between white women and black men. In the two examples where such relationships were the focus of the flick (I like that), they were not "normal" relationships. In "Jungle Feaver" the relationship was painted as taboo. In "One Night Stand" both characters were married to other people.

By contrast, it seems that Gay White Male relationships are presented from a more sympathetic perspective. Now there's a huge difference in that we're talking about a lifestyle choice (being Gay) versus a physical type beyond the control of the person. But what is similar is both kinds of people have not been shown in mainstream movies much at all until the last 20 years. America has been presented with a huge set of movies with Straight White Male / Straight White Female romances.

What bothers me about this recent trend is it still seems as if White Female and Black Male parings are not well-considered by some even to this day. A social dynamic I regard as rather sick. It's as if America is saying "You can do anything, even date another man...but White Women and Black men?....Well....

That's stupid.

I suppose the only solution is to establish a well-financed film production company which aims to get movies wtih interracial themes made and distributed.

SBS's new Blog Network

All of our blogs can be accessed from the main SBS site now. Just click on the title post to see the new place at the SBS main website.

Monday, December 26, 2005

SBS' on its Oakland Baseball Simworld

I figured that I had blogs on a number of subjects, but not our simulations! Since I spend much of my time setting up or working on my beloved Oakland Baseball Simworld, I decided to change that. Here's our newest blog on it, and all you have to do is click on the title of this post.

If you've not ran my simulation, give it a go. It's used at many of the major college sport management schools -- high schools too! I swear, you will become addicted to it.

It's just $12.50 per student per class, and for a one year account.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Mike Silver on Tony Dungy

My longtime friend Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Michael Silver wrote a very good and reflective column on Indianpolis Colts' Coach Tony Dungy in the wake of the passing of his son James. Most of his work is here, and the entire column can be read at CNNSI.Com with a click on the title of this post.

Leaning on faith
Dungy will reach deep inside as he mourns for son
Michael Silver

Because Tony Dungy is such an inspirational man, because nearly everyone who meets can't help but admire him, it's tempting to believe that he's capable of overcoming any horrific circumstance, even the most tragic occurrence imaginable.

As Dungy and his tight-knit family cope with the death of his 18-year-old son, James, who died of an apparent suicide early Thursday morning, the pain and grief, undoubtedly, will be overwhelming. That this awful experience will play out publicly makes Dungy's burden seem unfathomable.

Yet if anyone in pro football is capable of carrying on, in the near- and long-term, it's this deeply religious, inherently decent man.

"The thing that will get him through this is the same thing that has gotten him through all of the hard times -- losing his mother, and then his father," said Jets coach Herm Edwards, who grew close to Dungy while working on his staff in Tampa Bay. "His faith is what will get him through, somehow. But it's so, so tough."

I called Edwards on Thursday evening looking, I guess, for some sense of comfort. Ostensibly, as a journalist, I wanted to get his reaction, but every question I asked or considered asking seemed hopelessly forced, trite or inappropriate.

Earlier, I had spoken briefly with one of Dungy's former players in Tampa, Cleveland Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer, who I knew would be taking this news as hard as anyone in the NFL. Two years and eight months ago, at a memorial service for his 5-year-old son, Trevin, Dilfer delivered an amazingly poised, unplanned speech that brought 2,000 attendees to tears. Since then he and his wife, Cass, have displayed strength and grace on a daily basis, but that doesn't mean the pain is gone, or will ever disappear.

Unlike Dilfer, who endured months of soul-searching before deciding to return to football, Dungy's nightmare coincides with the stretch run of what has thus far been a magical season. If he returns to guide the Colts through the playoffs, and possibly the Super Bowl, Dungy will feel the coalesced support of a sports-watching nation.

Yet at some point the insanity of the playoff run will fade, and he and his wife, Lauren, will continue to be tested in ways most of us, thankfully, cannot imagine. That's when he'll draw on 51 years of sincere, principled living and figure out some way to endure.

Understand that Dungy, more than anyone I've met in his profession, has put family and faith above football on the most basic of levels. Not only did he help launch All-Pro Dad, later becoming the nonprofit organization's national spokesman, but he also made a point of interacting with his children, eschewing the sleep-at-the-office madness to which most of his peers have succumbed...

The Return of Martina Hingis - and a new Women's Tennis Blog!

Click on the link of the title post to read about the planned comback of Matina Hingis to Women's Tennis, at SBS Women's Tennis Blog.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Paris Hilton gets new dogs to fight title of "World's Worst Dog Owner'

From Ireland Online - Paris Hilton is hoping to distance herself from her newfound title as the world's worst dog owner, by purchasing two new puppies.

The hotel heiress recently acquired the undesirable title from magazines The New York Dog and Hollywood Dog, days before the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals named her as the worst dressed celebrity for her love of wearing fur.

But 24-year-old Hilton, who counts a ferret, a kinkajou monkey and a goat among her list of pets, is undeterred and recently took ownership of Chihuahua puppies Tokyo Blue and Harajuku Bitch during a trip to Japan.

She says: "That's it, no more pets for now."

To read about Paris Hilton's lesson for sports marketing click here

Britney Spears back on top!

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Britney Spears reclaimed the top spot on Yahoo!'s annual list of the most searched-for terms on the Internet, with all of the top 10 coming from the world of entertainment, says the Hollywood Reporter.

Spears has been No. 1 for three of the past four years (outpaced last year by "American Idol").

Rounding out the list, in order, are 50 Cent, Cartoon Network (specifically its "Adult Swim" lineup), Mariah Carey, Green Day, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, Eminem, Ciara and Lindsay Lohan.

But Britney...woo, those legs!

Tony Dungy - A great man who will prevail

I've never met Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, but I feel like he's my brother. I have always been a fan. When I was invited to the Octagon party at the Houston Super Bowl, I has hoped Dungy, an Octagon client, would be there. I had a new defensive front idea I wanted to share with him. So, paper and diagram in hand, I went. Unfortunately, he didn't come to the event. I was sad, but eventually had a good time.

Still, I felt it was less without the attendance of the most respected coach in the NFL, and someone America seems to have adopted.

From one perspective, since we share what some call the "Black Experience" in America, I suppose he is. So, I, like others and really regardless of color, root for Tony.

We cheer for him not just because of his success, and how it contributes to the erosion of social racism, but because we like the man he is: steady, determined, faithful -- decent. To me Tony is untouchable. I couldn't -- and still can't -- understand why the Tampa Bay Bucaneers let go of this man. But he landed in a better place: Indy.

His son, James Dungy, in the best place one can be: Heaven. The Lord only knows what was happening to him in the last moments of his life. But the Lord will also take care of him. God will take care of Tony, too.

No, Tony's team will not go undefeated. The Colts will be in the playoffs with home field advantage, and a new resolve, as if they didn't have one already. And now it seems as if everyone in sports is rooting for them and him. They deserve it. Tony deserves it.

But even if it doesn't happen that he is able to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy in February 2006, Tony Dungy will always be high on the mantle of great people in sports and in life.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

NFL"Tabulating Error" Causes Colts Tackle Tarik Glenn to be removed from Pro Bowl rouster

This is terrible, and the error should be explained. Moreover, one would think the numbers would be checked before the rouster assignments were made! wire reports

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 21, 2005) -- Tony Dungy started by congratulating the Indianapolis Colts chosen to the Pro Bowl. Several hours later, he had the grim task of retracting left tackle Tarik Glenn's name from that list.

The confusing saga overshadowed what should have been a celebration: Seven Colts were voted to the Pro Bowl, the most of any NFL team and the franchise's best showing since it sent eight players in 1971. Three defensive players also made the roster, the Colts' highest total since '71.

But it was the recount that angered Dungy.

"I'm happy with the guys who made it," Dungy said after practice. "And I'm a league guy, but this is a bad, bad situation. They need to tell the whole story and it's not good."

As it is, the Colts still could hold a team meeting in Hawaii.

The usual suspects -- two-time MVP Peyton Manning, two-time rushing champ Edgerrin James, record-setting receiver Marvin Harrison and Dwight Freeney -- all made it. They joined three newcomers -- center Jeff Saturday, linebacker Cato June and safety Bob Sanders.

Receiver Reggie Wayne and Glenn were first alternates. So there could be a lot of Colts in Honolulu, especially since Saturday indicated he might bring his linemates with him.

"They'll be well taken care of, you can count on that," said Saturday, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent.

Fans, coaches and opposing players rewarded the Colts for being the fourth team in NFL history to start 13-0.

Manning was selected for the sixth time, Harrison the seventh time. James earned his fourth Pro Bowl selection and Freeney, who broke the franchise record for sacks Dec. 18 in a loss to San Diego, made it for the third consecutive year.

But the mistake led to a lot of outrage.

According to the Colts, the NFL's Pro Bowl list included Glenn's name as one of three AFC tackles selected for the Feb. 12 game in Honolulu. Then the league called back to inform the Colts there was a tabulating mistake.

Dungy asked the league to look into the matter, and when players strolled into the locker room at midday, most still thought Glenn was headed to Hawaii. Manning and Saturday both talked about the eight players headed to Hawaii, and Glenn even thanked his peers for voting him into the Pro Bowl for the first time. He played last year in Honolulu after being a first alternate.

"It's an honor," Glenn said. "You like to get to the point where your peers recognize you for playing well."

At 2 p.m., the league again contacted the Colts and notified them Glenn was, indeed, a first alternate behind Cincinnati's Willie Anderson, Baltimore's Jonathan Ogden and Kansas City's Willie Roaf.

League spokesman Steve Alic explained there was a computer error, a possible first in league balloting.

"Part of the vote was tabulated incorrectly and when the error was fixed, we learned that Tarik Glenn was a first alternate," he said. "We discovered the votes had not been tabulated correctly."

Glenn walked off the practice field with a glum expression on his face. Had he stayed on the roster, the Colts would have tied a franchise record with eight Pro Bowl selections, originally set in 1958, then matched in 1964 and 1971.

"To have eight players going is impressive," Manning said before learning of the mistake. "For some guys, it's their first time, and I think we could have had some more go like Reggie."

How many of the Pro Bowl players will play in the final two regular-season games? Dungy still is not sure.

Manning, who never has missed a start in eight seasons, said he intends to play this week at Seattle after contending his knee was never swollen. Team president Bill Polian announced the injury on his weekly radio show Monday night.

Harrison missed practice so he could be fitted for a hand apparatus after breaking a bone Dec. 18. Starting right tackle Ryan Diem will miss the rest of the regular season after spraining a knee ligament in the loss to the Chargers.

Defensively, the Colts could be without June (sports hernia, knee and ankle), Sanders (back), Mathis (foot), defensive tackle Corey Simon (foot) and Reagor (knee). Freeney, who has a sprained arch in his right foot, still wants to play.

But Dungy thought the most troubling issue was the NFL's mistake.

"We announced it this morning after we got the list from the NFL," Dungy said. "What happened after that, you'll have to ask them. I told him just now. He took it like he would, but the less I say, the better. You'll have to ask the league."

Son of Colts' Coach Tony Dungy Found Dead

From Yahoo! ...Please take time to pray for Coach Dungy and his family

TAMPA, Fla. - James Dungy, the 18-year-old son of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, was found dead in a Tampa-area apartment, police said Thursday.

In a news release on its Web site, the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office said it "responded to the Campus Lodge Apartments this morning at approximately 1:32 a.m. The girlfriend of James Dungy had returned to the apartment and discovered Dungy."

Police performed CPR on Dungy before he was taken to University Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death is pending an autopsy by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office.

Tony Dungy has left the Colts and is in Tampa, according to

The coach and his wife, Lauren, have four other children: daughters Tiara and Jade and sons Eric and Jordan.

The Colts (13-1) are at Seattle on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

NY TRANSIT STRIKE FLASH: MTA gives $26,315 to each of the 38,000 workers...

Well, it didn't happen, but it does show how much the 1 billion surplus could have helped each of the the transit workers. Even if just 15 percent of that surplus was given to the workers, it would have been $3,947 per transit worker.

That would have been an awesome Christmas bonus for them.

Mayor Bloomberg on The NY Transit Strike - Live now on CNN

Reiterrated that the strike was "unfair" and "illegal" to start today's speech. (But what upsets me about CNN, is they cut away to some press conference about a manhunt for a rapist in Miami. I understand, but the strike impacts millions). Ok, we're back to Bloomberg.

He says it's not as cold as it normal would be, which is good. The New York Blood center can't collect blood and so has declared a state of emergency. "Robery Payne is a health care worker who walked six miles to get to work," he said.

The Mayor plans to warn the transit worker and order them back to work via a restraining order.

CNN just lost the feed, and broke away

I'm not sure that's going to work. Again, the issue is the allocation of a $1 billion surplus, which the workers never got even part of....

Reggie Bush looking for agents - Note to USC's Reggie Bush: pick Sports Agent Leigh Steinberg

Read about it at SBS NFL Football Business Blog with a click on the title of this post.

Reggie Bush looking for agents - Note to USC's Reggie Bush: pick Sports Agent Leigh Steinberg

According to, Reggie Bush is interviewing candidates to be his sports agent, a sure sign he's going to enter the 2006 NFL Draft. reports that "Seven agents met on Monday in Los Angeles with Bush, who is expected to be forego his senior season with the Trojans and enter next year's draft, and with his advisors. The agents were Tom Condon, David Dunn, Todd France, Mitch Frankel, Eugene Parker, Joel Segal and Leigh Steinberg.

On Tuesday, at least three of the agents -- France, Segal and Steinberg -- were apprised by Bush advisors that the field had been winnowed and that they are finalists to represent the star tailback if he indeed goes into the 2006 draft."

Reggie, here's a friendly note: go with Leigh Steinberg of Leigh Steinberg Enterprises. Not just because Leigh's legendary, but also because he's got the best reputation and can not only get you the best NFL deal, he can leverage your celebrity into other areas, like broadcasting. Something the other agents can't do.

Forget his court battle with Athlete's First. Their arguments against him are exagerated greately.

Also one of these agents you're considering has had a recent problem. To learn more about it, read my account of the 2005 NFL Draft by clicking here.

Good luck Reggie.

PG&E's failure: power outage blanks Oakland's Adams Point / Lake Merritt

Read about it at Oakland Focus, by just clicking on the title of this post.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Google buys 5 percent stake in AOL - Will it buy more of the Internet portal?


DEC. 20 7:38 P.M. ET America Online on Tuesday sealed a $1 billion transaction to sell a 5 percent stake to Google Inc. in a deal that deepens the ties binding two of the Web's most popular Web sites while thwarting Microsoft Corp.'s efforts to grab a larger piece of the booming Internet advertising market.

Approving the expanded alliance had been considered a mere formality last Friday when AOL's corporate parent, Time Warner Inc., abruptly ended several months of negotiations with Microsoft, which had hoped to supplant Google as AOL's main advertising partner.

Many of the details, including a plan that may display more graphical ads on some of Google's traditionally sparse Web pages, had been leaked to the media in the last few days.

New SBS NFL Football Business Blog

Click on the title of this post to see our new NFL Football blog on busineess news related to the game. The blog will also feature opinion on the NFL issues of the day.

Colts QB Peyton Manning receives record 1.18 million Pro Bowl votes.

From NFL


Indianapolis Colts quarterback PEYTON MANNING received a record 1,184,142 votes to lead
NFL All-Stars in balloting for the 2006 Pro Bowl, the NFL announced today. Presented by
Sprint, Pro Bowl voting on, in stadiums and via the Sprint wireless service ended
Friday, Dec. 16.

There were a record 70.5 million votes cast on and via the Sprint wireless service -- a 16 percent increase over the 61 million cast last year.

In the tally was a record 1.9 million mobile votes via Sprint wireless -- nearly 200 times the 10,000 mobile votes cast last year.

Seattle Seahawks running back SHAUN ALEXANDER (1,110,575 votes) ranked second overall while San Diego Chargers running back LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (1,044,360), Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver CHAD JOHNSON (987,650) and Chargers tight end ANTONIO GATES (941,846) rounded out the top five.


From NFL - private access website; no direct link available to the public.
The Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday, January 1 will be played at 4:15 PM ET rather than 1:00 PM ET, the NFL announced today.

The change is to accommodate FOX television patterns.

Intelligent Design sacked in court - judge rules lessons unconstitutional

A US court has ruled that school children cannot be taught the theory known as "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution.

Ihave mixed emotions about this, but it's important that kids are given non-religious tools with which to analyze biological change. But that said, is science a religion itself?

Study: Racial prejudice makes you stupider

My friend and attorney Bill Taylor brought this to my attention today, so I looked it up on the San Francisco Chronicle website. Here's a large excerpt; for the rest of the story, click on the title link.

To the litany of arguments against prejudice, scientists are now adding a new one: Racism can make you stupid.

That is the message of an unusual and striking new series of experiments conducted at Dartmouth College, with the help of brain-imaging equipment and a crew of undergraduate volunteers.

According to the findings, the more biased people are, the more their brain power is taxed by contact with someone of another race, as they struggle not to say or do anything offensive. The effect is so strong, the team found, that even a five-minute conversation with a black person left some of the white subjects unable to perform well on a test of cognitive ability.

"Just having a prejudice makes you stupider," said John Gabrieli, a professor of psychology at Stanford University who was not involved in the research. "It is really interesting."...

...The work also paints a dispiriting portrait of the state of the nation's race relations, the lead researcher said, even among the well-educated, well- meaning Dartmouth undergraduates whom the scientists studied.

"I think people are getting caught in this trap where they are trying not to do the wrong thing, rather than trying to act natural," said Jennifer Richeson, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College. "Somehow, we have to get past this awkward phase."

Richeson and her colleagues began by recruiting a group of white Dartmouth undergraduates and asked them to perform an "Implicit Association Test," a test that is widely used to measure unconscious racial bias. The subject is given a screen and two buttons. First, the subject is asked to push the button on the left if the word that appears on the screen is a positive word, like beauty, or a common first name for a white person, such as Nancy. Otherwise, they are instructed to push the button on the right.

After a session, the test is changed slightly, and the names given are those more common for a black person, such as Tyrone. The greater the difference between the reaction times in the two sessions, the more the person has trouble associating black names with positive concepts.

Next, the team had each of the students speak briefly with a black experimenter and then perform a test of cognitive ability called the Stroop test. They showed that the higher a bias score the student had in the IAT test, the worse they did on the Stroop test after speaking with the black experimenter.

...It is part of a nascent movement to study the neurological basis of social phenomena, in particular racism. One study, by Elizabeth Phelps at New York University, found that biased people were more likely to have greater activity in their amygdala, a portion of the brain associated with negative emotions like fear, when shown the picture of a black person they don't know.

Another, conducted by Stanford's Gabrieli and other scientists, showed that the brains of white people process white and black faces differently from the moment they see them.

NY Transit Strike Reason: $1 Billion surplus -- not even a portion -- not used to pay workers

According to the World Scocialist Web Site, the main issue that caused this strike which has cast millions of New Yorkers into the street during a cold winter, is the New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) board's decision to allocate MTA's $1 billion surplus to various programs, but not the workers' payroll.

The WSWS reports: "Finally, in its last announced wage offer, the MTA has proposed a mere 3 percent and a 2 percent increase over 27 months -- an amount that would fail to keep up with inflation. The transit bosses have even made this miserable amount contingent on workers reducing their use of sick leave."

And according to the NY Times, a judge has issued an injunction against the striking workers, slapping them with a fine of two days pay for every one day they're on strike.

NY Transit Strike Map

The New York Times has produced a helpful transit alternative map to assist New Yorkers in navigating the city during the strike. You can see it with a click on the title of this post.

Oakland Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente's big mistake

Read about it at Oakland Focus

Rolling Stones 2006 Concert Opening Acts Confirmed

According to IORR, the list of opening acts for the Stones shows in USA & Canada 2006 have been confirmed by the Stones, including acts such as Brooks and Dunn, Merle Haggard, Anik Jean, Sloan, Metric, Antigone Rising, Soulive, Queens of the Stone Age & The Meters.

You can get tickets at Stones Tickets Exchange for shows.

The President, Iraq, and wire tapping - Don't forget 9/11

I'm not a conservative and I don't play one on TV, but I really don't have much of a problem with wire tapping of phone conversations by the US Government, but I do think the American people should be warned about the policy.

I disagree with the President's notion that notifying people of that is "helping the enemy" -- it's a deterent. Yes, "the ememy" may be less likely to use a cell phone, but I really don't think so. Think about it; what's the alternative technology? We seem to assume that "the enemy" is super rich and all powerful. No. There is no "enemy" but there is a set of very upset people with backgrounds different from our own. The US seems to want to not improve relations with some of them.

There are also others -- Americans -- who are to be feared. White supremacist and Neo-nazi groups are two examples of this.
In short, as long as wire taps are appropriately used, there should be no problem with them. But if the President went out and did this without proper authorization, then he should be repremanded, if only with bad PR.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Five new worldwide trends for finding love

Ok, it's the start of 2005, but it's still relevant!

Five new trends for finding love
Mel Risdon
January 7, 2005

If you brought in the new year without locking lips with a special someone, chances are you're among the many singles resolving to find Mr. or Mrs. Right in the next 12 months.

Here are five of the hottest dating trends to watch for in 2005:


Look for more companies coming on board with travel packages designed for singles. Diane Redfern started the Connecting Solo Travel Network back in 1990. "It's a central resource that looks for opportunities for singles to travel comfortably and economically on their own and it includes companies that are dating-oriented." Diane's membership-based website ( advertises more than 350 such trips from a multitude of companies.

They include, a New York company specializing in a kind of vacation speed-dating. Singles can take a Caribbean cruises, a ski getaway to Aspen or a golf trip to Scottsdale, Ariz., all while meeting other singles (and not fretting over the usual "based on double occupancy" brochures).


You've done the chat rooms, dating services and pretty much everything else out there, but I'll bet you've never tried a Dinner-in-the-Dark party. Originating in New York and making its way across the States, it's the latest on the socializing scene.

Offered by, Dinner-in-the-Dark is an interesting new way of hooking people up. You gather at a venue where you are paired with a dinner companion in pitch blackness. You dine blindly, and your partner isn't revealed until dessert arrives.

The program — touted as a way to get to know a potential partner without looks being the first impression — is coming to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, so it's only a matter of time before Calgary singles dine in the dark.


Huge in Japan and spreading like wildfire, text-message-dating brings a high-tech tool to the singles' world. It's a portable, inexpensive, safe and definitive way to target exactly what you're looking for and pursue on your own terms.

Canadian-based Mobilehookup launched in May of 2004 and is now introducing a North American first — Talk Now voice/SMS technology allowing two mobile users to hook up anonymously via the telephone. Your privacy is maintained while you get to know each other.


What was once a novel idea is today almost mainstream: Get a group of guys and girls together and allow them quick sessions to chat and see if they can make a connection. Calgary has a number of speed dating services, including Six Minute Dates.

Christine Hart, who runs the service with business partner Dana Blonde, says the company is always looking for new ways to enhance and improve. "We feel like we're on the edge of greatness," said Hart. With a new speed-dating venue (Zodiak, 515 10 St. S.W.) and a new monthly speed-dating/wine tasting event, Hart and Blonde say the old "meat-market" stigmas are fading away.

"We've expanded into Vancouver with our first event coming up on Jan. 18," Hart says.

"We're also in the process of developing added online feature. We've been watching other companies in the States that have very successfully added these types of features."


Built on the success of such shows as The Bachelor and Bachelorette (plus lesser reality mind candy such as Elimidate), look for more of the same on the tube. Though nothing can be divulged at this point, I can say this — look for some new local dating programs in the coming months.

No doubt I'll have all the details in The Sexes once the "leaks" are confirmed.

Happy dating in 2005!

Interracial relationships are on the increase in U.S., but decline with age, Cornell study finds

An interesting article in that it indirectly explains why women over 35 with personal ads such as those on seem to specify a man of a type of color, be it black or more often -- American is majority Caucasian -- white. Below is an excerpt, and the rest can be read by clicking the title of this post.

By Susan S. Lang - Cornell News

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Interracial relationships and marriages are becoming more common in the United States, according to a new Cornell University study.

The number of interracial marriages involving whites, blacks and Hispanics each year in the United States has jumped tenfold since the 1960s, but the older individuals are, the less likely they are to partner with someone of a different race, finds the new study.

Pat Cassano, assistant professor of nutritional sciences, and Ron Booker, associate professor of neurobiology and behavior, are an interracial couple who have been together since she was 19 and he was 20 years old, about 31 years ago.
"We think that's because relationships are more likely to be interracial the more recently they were formed, so younger people are more likely to have interracial relationships. This trend reflects the increasing acceptance of interracial relationships in today's society," said Kara Joyner, assistant professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell and co-author of a study on interracial relationships in a recent issue of the American Sociological Review (Vol. 70:4).

Coldplay disappointed at three albums

The band want to be like The Beatles
Coldplay have revealed they are disappointed with only releasing three albums.

The band have said that compared with The Beatles' work rate, they are a lot slower and are starting to panic.

"We just love being creative," bassist Guy Berryman said. "When we're out on the road, it's amazing to play live but we're really missing what we do best, which is creating. We've been together for almost ten years now and we've only made three albums."

Speaking to BBC 6 Music, he added: "When you look at people like The Beatles who knocked out a couple a year, it sort of makes us start to panic a little bit. So we're just desperate to get back into the studio."

Coldplay tickets link is the title of this entry

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Racism and Mental Health

I found this book today, and while looking for something entirely different. But given the recent controversy over racism's consideration as an official mental illness and the Sydney Riots, I thought this was very appropriate. I hope others see this.

Racism and Mental Health
Charles V. Willie
Bernard M. Kramer
Bertram S. Brown
@1973, University of Pittsburgh Press

The forward of the book reads that "discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, and national origin interferes with opportunities for individual expression by some and blinds others to their normal obligations. There is no health in a society afflicted by racism and discrimination."

In the chapter "Racism and Mental Health as a Field of Thought and Action" Bernard Kramer states that "mental health professional react in one manner to racism in general and in other to racism in mental health. They tend to finesse the question of race." He contends that mental health has ignored or underplayed racial aspects of the field, and gives examples to demonstrate this, pointing to a then-widely-used textbook in the field and stating that of 1,631 pages, not one concerns the topic of race or racism. He presents other evidence as well.

The book also presents a kind of history of racism and mental health and provides "definitions of mental disorder in a racist society." Before I elaborate on that, I must present what the authors give as "the essence of racism," which "lies in a relatively constant pattern of prejudice and discrimination between one party who is idealized and favored and another who is devalued and exploited in a common relationship" (p.61).

That is in a racist relationship there can't be an equality of roles, and has not been -- they basically state that relationships between whites and people of color have been imbalanced. They also go on to give other examples of similar relationships: male and female, and management and labor. "When racism is defined this broadly," Mr. Pinderhughes writes," it can be viewed as a characteristic of human nature that may be employed for constructive or destructive purposes.

The Negative Impact of Racism on African American Mental Health

The authors discuss how a declining yet historic fear among African Americans regarding seeking psychiatric treatment for the impact of racism may result in paranoid social behavior.

There is one chapter called "Racism and the Mental Heath of White Americans" which suggests that it's a form of paranoia, where a person believes that the lesser group either receives a special benefit, or is lazy, or will kill them, and so on. Thomas Pettigrew writes that "the highly prejudiced less often possess positive mental health than others," (p.292) and that there's a relationship between mental health and authoritarianism such that "it may not be possible to manifest an extreme degree of authoritarianism without being psychologically maladjusted."

The point of this is that racism has been linked to negative mental health for several decades -- it's not as new as the recent news would suggest. But considering the wealth of date and evidence, it is amazing that racism still is not officially considered a mental illness.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Randal wins "The Apprentice" but asked to share title? Now, if he were white...

I've got to admit that I'm tired of adjustments and exceptions being made whenever an African American male is clearly the best at something. Here's another example... (You can read the full story with a click on the link title post).

Updated: 2:26 p.m. ET Dec. 16, 2005
Thursday night, the fourth edition of "The Apprentice" came to an end, but the controversy has just begun.

Randal was a star from the beginning, and it was no surprise when Donald Trump offered him the job as his latest Apprentice. What was a little surprising was what happened next: As he had hinted he'd do all night long, Trump seemed ready to hire both Rebecca and Randal for different jobs in his organization. Yet when he asked Randal for his opinion, the winner quickly stated that he felt there should be only one Apprentice. And in a most un-Trumplike move, the billionaire went along with his newest hire's decision.

Everyone can agree that's what happened. But no one can agree on anything else. Many think race was a factor: Randal is Trump's first African-American "Apprentice," and some thought Trump was racially biased in asking him to not be the only "Apprentice" when none of the other winners, who were all white, held the title alone. Some pointed out that the first finale was also between a white and an African-American contender, yet when a white man, Bill, won, he wasn't asked his opinion about also hiring African-American Kwame.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

"King Kong" Upsets Oscar Best Picture Race - Brokeback Prediction Premature - Golden Globes Screws Up

Before King Kong's release, many were picking "Brokeback Mountain" as the possible winner of the Oscar "Best Picture" race as we approach the March 5th Academy Awards.

But now, there's a view that Brokeback may go the way of "Sideways" -- much talked about, but not the winner.

If Peter Jackson's everyone's selection for Best Director, then Academy history backs the selection of King Kong as best picture. If that happens, it will be the first film in 30 years not to receive a Golden Globe nod, yet win Best Picture.

The website The has a pole reporting that King Kong was the most neglected film in the Globes.

Bush takes responsibility for invasion intelligence

Does this mean the Downing Street Memo's are true? What wrong intelligence?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

King Kong : A Great Example Of The Power of Film

Peter Jackson's epic remake of "King Kong" contains several scenes where the actors do stunts that you know they'd never survive in real life. But such is the amazing power of this film; you go along with all of them.

King Kong is an amazing film in many technical areas, but it manages to avoid surpressing the story for the special effects. Star Wars' creator George Lucas once said "Special effects without a story is a pretty boring thing." King Kong is certainly not that.

The audience at the midnight show of the three-hour event sat in rapt attention, as Mr. Jackson propelled us through a vast set of environments. Much positive text will be devoted to the presentation of Skull Island. But for me the real star of the show was 1933 New York. WETA has forever solved the problem of depth perception in CGI movies. The city actually feels big on screen. And every detail -- including the popular architectural and urban design features of the New York of that era -- were lovingly captured. It's still very hard for me to tell if what I saw was just a digitally animated image. It's that good.

I also enjoyed the character interplay between Jack Black's Carl Denholm and everyone else. Naomi Watts is the best emoter of any actress stuck with the difficult task of CGI work. Adrian Broady was quite right for his role as the writer Mr. Driscoll, but he could have done with one more tender moments with Ms. Darrow.

The only aspect of the film I found hard to accept was that Watt's / Darrow's fears of possibly failing thousands of feet from the Empire State Building were not activated. In real life, they would be ; it's far too windy up there! My fear of heights was certainly activated in this film, yet I knew it was all digitally produced -- someone forgot to tell my stomach.

Kong was simply wonderful both as a character and as a special effect. You do come away with some feeling for the creatures plight. But I wondered if Watts' Darrow would ever realize the futility of her relationship with the creature. It's as if she was so busy reaching out to have something she was willing to settle for the impossible.

I do recommend this movie. The only thing I'd change is the CGI work on the boats and the actors in them as they were coming away from The Venture -- their lighting was too bright and contrasty versus the digital surroundings.

And does this movie have to have an African American man (Hayes) die an early, dramatic death? Why can't he live? Why does he have to do something heroically dumb? Kong tossing him toward the rock wall made me wish I was there to tell him to stop being a hero and go hide before the gorilla gets him.

It also made me wish I had a set of hand grenades: ten would have done the trick: two for Kong and thrown in his mouth, one each for the T-rexes of which there were three, and the rest (six) to bomb the hell out of those spiders before they got to me.

Yep, with ten grenades -- and a machine gun -- I'd have survived just long enough to get off Skull Island. But the simple fact that I imagined this protection for myself speaks to the visceral impact of this great example of the power of film.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Stanley Williams may you rest in Heaven and God bless you

The Lord gives everyone a second chance. I struggled with writing about this, as I too would give pause to the fact that my emotions would be different if it were my family member. But that written, I don't think "an eye for an eye" is the best response.

I also wonder if this case was really well researched. In other words, what is the evidence that can show he's guilty? There were no fingerprints that could be attached to him, according to this article in the "Final Call."

If this case is reopened and he's found to be innocent, then a number of people, including the Governor, should step down from their positions.

Sydney Riot: Wake up Australia, racism is a problem

This link to an article on The Darren Lehmann case reveals a side of Austrialia not know to most Americans. It was written in 2003, and so serves as more evidence of the kind of society that would give rise to the racist riot the World saw over the weekend.

Sydney Riot: White Australia Policy - Immigration Restriction Act

Apparently this law -- click on the title link -- has been on the Austrialian books for 100 years and not repealed. As the rate of immigration has increased, some white Aussies have called for a return to the "White Austrialia Policy." Well, I'll not be visiting Sydney soon.

This is totallly sick. It's also a look into the cultural underpinnings of the rationale for the behavior of the white youths who went on their racist rampage a few days ago. Undoubtedly, their parents were the source of racist hate. Terrible.

Sydney Riot: Sydney's racist mob violence spreads - news account uses word "people" but doesn't report that they're white; why?

Read this carefully. It's from a Melbourne, Austrialia newspaper called "The Age." We know that the victims are Middle Eastern, but we don't know that the attackers are white. Video accounts reveal that all of the 5,000 rioters. Why cover up that they're white?

A day of race-fuelled violence at Cronulla spread through other beachside suburbs in Sydney's south on Sunday night, with one man stabbed and at least 10 arrested.

About 5,000 people descended on Cronulla beach as mobs yelling racist chants chased down and bashed people of Middle Eastern appearance.

Police and an ambulance crew were also assaulted as racial tensions peaked.

Hopes that the violence had subsided by nightfall were dashed when, in an apparent retaliatory strike, a 23-year-old man was stabbed in the back outside a golf club at nearby Woolooware.

Two cars carrying a group of males, described by police as being of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance, approached the man at about 10.25pm (AEDT) Sunday night.

Following a short conversation he was stabbed in the back, and was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

At about the same time, up to 50 carloads of youths smashed more than 100 cars with baseball bats and other weapons in the beach suburb of Maroubra.

Chris Rock not hosting 2006 Academy Awards - apparently pissed off Jude Law

Chris Rock not hosting Oscars

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Chris Rock won't be back cracking wise as the host of next year's Oscars telecast.

"He is not hosting the Academy Awards," the comedian's publicist, Matt Labov, said Friday in a brief statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. He did not elaborate.

Labov told The New York Times that Rock didn't want to do the show "in perpetuity" but would "like to do it again down the road."

The 2005 telecast was Rock's first as host. He drew younger viewers, but his barbs skewering stars like Jude Law, Tobey Maguire and others alienated some members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In one bit, Rock suggested filmmakers should wait for better talent instead of rushing bad movies into theaters.

"You want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law. Wait," Rock joked. "You want Russell Crowe and all you can get is Colin Farrell? Wait. 'Alexander' is not 'Gladiator.' "

He also poked fun at himself.

"You want Denzel (Washington) and all you can get is me? Wait," he joked.

Rock's comments prompted Sean Penn, when he took the stage later, to defend Law as "one of our finest actors."

Rock is currently producing and narrating "Everybody Hates Chris," a sitcom on UPN based on his life.

A spokesman for the Academy declined to comment about the hosting duties. Longtime Academy Awards producer Gil Cates is expected to announce his selection in the next few weeks.

Frequently mentioned candidates include four-time host Whoopi Goldberg, two-time host Steve Martin and late-night hosts Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.

The 78th annual Academy Awards will air March 5 on ABC from Hollywood.

Some of Rock's quotes:

"It's a great night tonight. We have four black nominees. tonight. It's kinda like Def Oscar Jam tonight."

"Black movies don't have real names, they have names like Barbershop. That's not a name, that's just a location."

"Our next presenter is the first woman to ever breast-feed an Apple - Gwyneth Paltrow."

"The only acting you ever see at the Oscars is when people act like they're not mad they lost. Nicole Kidman was smiling so wide (the year Halle Berry beat her to best actress), she should have won an Emmy at the Oscars for her great performance. I was like, 'If you'd done that in the movie, you'd have won an Oscar, girl!'"

"You want Denzel and all you can get is me...wait. Denzel's a fine actor. He woulda never made Pootie Tang. Clint Eastwood's a star, OK? Tobey Maguire's just a boy in tights. You want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law? Wait! You want Russell Crowe and all you can get is Colin Farrell, wait! Alexander is not Gladiator."

Apartments unaffordable for many - Is the US headed for a depression?

It makes you wonder, considering this news.

Cost of rental housing increased faster than wages

Tuesday, December 13, 2005; Posted: 7:12 p.m. EST (00:12 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The cost of rental housing has increased faster than wages, making it increasingly difficult for low-income families to afford even modest apartments, an advocacy group said Tuesday.

"The picture is similar to past years, but it's getting worse," said Danilo Pelletiere, research director of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The coalition, which advocates for more affordable housing, issues a report each year tracking rental costs in every state, county and metropolitan area in the country.

It says families should spend no more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing and utilities, a standard recognized by many housing experts. Under that standard, the coalition said it could not find a single county in the United States where a full-time worker making minimum wage could afford a one-bedroom apartment.

In reality, the report found, many low-income families spend a far larger share of their incomes on housing.

Plus, more and more jobs are being lost to the movement of production offshore, or simply eliminated due to technology. Meanwhile, some Americans allow themselves to be tricked into thinking that the problem is related to illegal immigrants, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Dreamworks Business Model Fails - Studio Purchased By Paramount for $1 billion

Dreamworks SKG -- the studio that produced the great movie "American Beauty" -- was purchased by Viacom / Paramount for just north of $1 billion.

"When Steven, Jeffrey and I started the company and had to put an entire infrastructure together from day one, we had hoped to be able to make enough films to rationalize the cost of being our own distributor," David Geffen -- the "G" in SKG said Sunday."

I wonder if this would not have been the case, had Dreamworks concentrated on producing very low budget movies of up to $1 milllion, each.

Time writer says she may have given tip to Rove's lawyer

It seems that Rove may have been unintentionally warned before his testimory. Check this story out

Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times
Monday, December 12, 2005

Printable Version
Email This Article
Washington -- A Time magazine correspondent acknowledged Sunday that she may have unwittingly aided the defense of Karl Rove in the CIA leak investigation by telling the White House aide's lawyer about a conversation Rove had with one of her colleagues about CIA officer Valerie Wilson.

The tip, offered over drinks at a Washington restaurant sometime during the first half of 2004, apparently led Rove to correct testimony he had given to a federal grand jury in the case, according to a first-person account by Time reporter Viveca Novak, posted Sunday on the magazine's Web site.

NY Senator Hillary Clinton's Rein Can't Be Challenged By A Weak Pirro

The bottom line in this Newsday article is the Senator's a certain choice for reelection and may just be the best Presidential candidate the Democrats have, even if she does not run.

Study: Whites automatically React More Negatively to Blacks Than to Whites. (The Cure? Diversity)

This article was from the November 2001 "Monitor on Psychology." The full article can be read with a click on the title of this post.

Social psychologist Russell Fazio, PhD, of Ohio State University, has been examining a related phenomenon he calls "automatically activated attitudes" toward those of different races. He was the first to develop a measure estimating whites' positive or negative associations to and evaluations of blacks, without having to directly ask them for this information.

The technique tests the extent to which briefly flashed pictures of black or white faces influence the speed at which participants identify the meaning of a positive or negative adjective. The research shows that many whites automatically react more negatively to blacks than to whites, even though they claim they don't consciously hold such views.

Understanding hate crimes

In research suggesting why some people may turn their ethnic discomfort into drastic action, psychologist Jack Glaser, PhD, of the University of California, Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, Yale University political scientist Donald Green, PhD, and journalist Jay Dixit took the novel approach of joining in a white racist Internet chat room to discern attitudes there.

In a study in press in the Journal of Social Issues, the team "chatted" with white racists by describing fabricated threats to their white hegemony, ranging from immediate local threats to more abstract national ones. Included in the chats were scenarios of blacks competing with whites for jobs, moving into the neighborhood or marrying white women. (The team went to great lengths to protect respondents' confidentiality, Glaser notes.)

The closer blacks came to "invading" whites' cultural turf, the more violent the responses, the team found. Job competition didn't pose an enormous threat, for instance, but the possibility of a white-black marriage created major sparks.

"The more extreme responses seemed to be about a threat to their cultural integrity," Glaser notes.

This seems to imply that as American society becomes more economically diverse, and intermarriage rates continue to increase, hate crime rates by those anti-social whites may rise as well. I hope that this is discouraged by stronger law enforcement, education, and treatment of this behavior as a mental illness. The real remedy is greater diversity, so that people "get used to each other" as Star Trek's Doctor McCoy once said.

Study: Blacks Four Times More Likely to Be Hate Crime Victims in LA County When Compared to Their Representation of That County's Population

For the full report, click on the title of this post.

Edward Dunbar Ed.D.
University of California at Los Angeles
and Pacific Psychological Associates

Findings from an ongoing study of hate crime occurrence in Los Angeles County are presented for the years of 1994 and 1995. Content analyses of data from the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission included 1459 hate crimes cases; this encompassed events reported to both law enforcement and community-based organizations. The behavioral analyses of the crime events were considered in terms of victim impact, as was determined via impairment ratings provided by Victim-Witness Assistance staff (a Los Angeles County agency). Key findings are highlighted below.

Severity of Impact

Findings indicated that base rates of victimization varied significantly by race/ethnic groups; most notably African Americans were four times more likely to be the victims of hate crime activity when compared to their demographic representation in Los Angeles County.

When comparing hate crimes motivated by race/ethnic, and religion to sexual orientation, hate crimes against gay men and lesbians were more severe (as measured by the behavioral characteristics of the event, e.g., more perpetrators, more serious attack).

When examining the hate crimes based on race and ethnicity, African Americans were the targets of more severe hate events, (e.g., physical assaults).

The majority of hate crimes were committed in public locations. Those which occurred in the victim's neighborhood were typically more violent.

Law Enforcement Reportage:

The behavioral analysis of the hate crime revealed that more severe hate acts (e.g. aggravated assault, sexual assault) were predictive of the victim not reporting the crime to law enforcement agencies.
It was found that in sexual orientation hate crimes, that significant differences for both gender and membership in a visible race/ethnic minority group were related to lower law enforcement reportage rates.
County Victim Witness Assistance staff also reported that few if any hate crime victims utilize state-funded medical and mental health services subsequent to crime victimization.
Perpetrator Behavior and Characteristics:

Less than five percent of the hate crime perpetrators were identified as members of organized hate gangs or associations.

Psychologists call for assault on hate crimes - From APA

While the story may have taken a new level of visibility recently in an article featured in this blog this report reveals that the mental health community has considered this matter as far back as 1998. The full report can be see with a click on the title of this post. For what has been done since then, keep your eye on this blog.

By Jeannine Mjoseth
APA Monitor staff

Hate crimes constitute a unique class of violence against a person's identity, demanding distinctive psychological, legislative and policy responses, psychologists said at a briefing co-sponsored by APA and the Society for the Psychology Study of Social Issues. The briefing, timed to correspond with a larger White House Conference on Hate Crimes, was attended by representatives from 24 House and Senate offices, including Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) who recounted his experience as a hate crimes survivor during the civil rights movement.

Four distinct motives underlie hate crimes based on sexual orientation, according to research by Karen Franklin, PhD, forensic psychology fellow at Washington University’s Washington Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training. Such hate crimes are motivated by self-defense, where perpetrators interpret the victim’s actions as a sexual proposition; ideology, where perpetrators view themselves as enforcers of social norms that deem homosexuality unacceptable; thrill-seeking, where perpetrators commit assaults to alleviate boredom; and peer dynamics, where perpetrators aim to prove their toughness and heterosexuality to friends, she found.

When addressing ethnically based hate crimes, the highest rate of crime occurs when nonwhites rapidly move into previously all-white enclaves, said Donald Green, PhD, professor of political science and director of the Institute for Social Policy Studies at Yale University. “It’s not just how white the neighborhood is but also how rapid the changes are,” he said. Green, who helped train the New Haven, Conn., police department how to deal with hate crimes, says such crimes probably will increase in the suburbs in the next few years as more minorities move there, and it is important for the police to be prepared and respond appropriately.

Victims of hate crimes undergo higher levels of psychological distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anger, than victims of other crimes, said Greg Herek, PhD, research psychologist at the University of California, Davis, who spoke on the impact of anti-gay/lesbian victimization at the briefing. Herek, whose research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, attended the White House conference as APA’s representative.

Hate crimes can cause victims to view the world and people in it as malevolent and experience a reduced sense of control, Herek said. According to his research, hate crime victims needed as much as five years to overcome the emotional distress of the incident compared with victims of nonbias crimes, who experienced a drop in crime-related psychological problems within two years of the crime.

“We need special policies for hate crimes because they have a special impact on the victim and the victim’s community,” Herek added.

Hate crimes occur in the context of ongoing harassment and are less likely than other crimes to be reported to the police, he said. For example, one-third of hate crime victims reported the incident to law enforcement officials, compared with 57 percent of the victims of random crimes, Herek found.

Lower levels of hate crime reporting is due, in part, to victims’ fear of future contact with the perpetrators, said Edward Dunbar, EdD, clinical psychologist, from the University of California, Los Angeles, who studied hate crimes in Los Angeles County. In the most serious cases of hate crimes, like sexual assault and assault with a deadly weapon, people are much less likely to go to law enforcement agencies, he said.

Legislation and APA action

At the White House conference, President Clinton commended a new federal bill (S. 1529) that would expand federal prosecutors’ ability to prosecute racially motivated violence by removing unnecessary jurisdictional requirements and make hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender or disability a federal crime. Both APA and SPSSI have been actively involved in coordinating the conference and promoting the bill.

The bill, introduced by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), builds upon the 1994 federal Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act, which requires stiffer sentences for hate crimes in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim or the property belonging to someone based on actual or perceived race, religion or ethnicity.

To date, 38 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that intensify sentencing penalties if the defendant chooses a victim based on his/her perception of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or gender.

In 1991 APA approved a hate-crimes resolution urging Congress to recognize and address hate crimes as an important policy issue. APA’s resolution opposes harassment, violence and crime based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender or physical condition. APA also encourages researchers, clinicians, teachers and policy-makers to help reduce and eliminate hate crimes and to alleviate the effects on victims. APA has increased its role in promoting federal initiatives against hate crimes through the efforts of the SPSSI and its public policy office.

For more information on what APA is doing to combat hate crimes, contact Jeanine Cogan of APA’s Public Policy Office at (202) 336-6153.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

King Kong Oscar Campaign Ads

The Ads are out already. Peter Jackson for Best Director, Jack Black for Best Supporting Actor, Naomi Watts for Best Actress, and so on..

More Evidence Racism is A Sickness: "Psychiatry Ponders Whether Extreme Bias Can Be an Illness" - Wash Post

Friday night at The Balboa Cafe in San Francisco, I ran into a woman who I have seen many times in public. She said "I see you all the time...I'm giving you my contact information, but just remember I prefer white men."


For every person, mostly white, I've encountered who was afraid to have more black friends, or made racially insenstive comments, or openly discriminated on the basis of race in the formation of friendships, I've always wondered what was going on mentally to cause this.

Or think about the SF 49ers video with the overtly racist content; the producers of that could be found to hold a form of mental illness. That goes for the San Francisco Police Video and the Stanford "Big Game" Video, too.

Well, it seems the psychiatric community has pondered this too. It could lead to a whole new classification of mental illness. I think it's a watershed development in that perhaps now people can indeed get help for being racist and stop being that way. Indeed, as our society becomes more diverse -- where people of all races are holding all kinds of jobs and intermarriage is more and more the norm, it's about time we as a nation and a world put the breaks on racist thought.

Because as our industrialized world becomes more diverse, those who have racist thought patterns will be the most uncomfortable in it, and that discomfort can be expressed in ways that harm others, from denial of employment to the most extreme example, murder.

Think about how much of our economic development has been hampered by racist thinking: whole communities suffering from under-development because some banks, ran by people with racists views, refused to invest in them. Consider that the entire history of the Ku Klux Klan and Neo Nazi groups (like the one marching in Toledo, Ohio) can now be reevaluated as that of a group of mentally ill people.

If there's some resistance to this within the psychiatric community -- as is the case with Dr. Paul Fink -- it may be because they don't want their own racist thoughts to be called into question.

Look, anytime a person avoids sitting next to you on a train because you're black and male -- even when you're wearing a suit -- that's certainly a mental problem on the part of the person.

I once tried this as an experiment on BART's (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Concord-Bay Point line in 1995. I got on at Civic Center during rush hour, and sat down.

The seat next to me remained empty for the next four stops before the train reached the point where it goes under the waters of the SF Bay. This, even as the train was getting crowded with workers, mostly white. I got off at Embarcadero, the last SF stop, back tracked (got on a train going back to Civic Center, and did the same thing six times. Only once was my seat occupied, and that was by a white man.

I've noticed that as blacks have become more part of the work force in downtown SF, that problem has occurred less and less -- but it still does happen.

This has terrible impacts on the self-esteem of the people who have to deal with the behavior. In my case, my defense mechanism has been to believe that I was far more intelligent than the people who acted that way, and therefore didn't need their company. But to be ostracized for being black -- for something you not only have no control over, but like being -- is purely mentally unhealthy.


Think about the extra and unncessary energy racist people spend just to avoid people who are different. Think about the women in modern society who remain unmmarried because they can't find a person within a certain racial group, when the man best for them may not be "the right color."

A woman friend, white, once told me about the "Angry White Woman" problem in San Francisco, because if they met someone who was white and male, that person may be Gay, or married, and then the woman didn't want to really date anyone who was Black or Asian. So, she makes herself unhappy and almost suicidally depressed.

All of this because of a racial / ethnic fear.

Now, you're going to tell me that's mentally healthy? Ha!

Here's the story:

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 10, 2005; Page A01

The 48-year-old man turned down a job because he feared that a co-worker would be gay. He was upset that gay culture was becoming mainstream and blamed most of his personal, professional and emotional problems on the gay and lesbian movement.

These fixations preoccupied him every day. Articles in magazines about gays made him agitated. He confessed that his fears had left him socially isolated and unemployed for years: A recovering alcoholic, the man even avoided 12-step meetings out of fear he might encounter a gay person.

Darrel A. Regier of the American Psychiatric Association favors research but says it is not clear that establishing a diagnosis would be useful. (By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)
"He had a fixed delusion about the world," said Sondra E. Solomon, a psychologist at the University of Vermont who treated the man for two years. "He felt under attack, he felt threatened."

Mental health practitioners say they regularly confront extreme forms of racism, homophobia and other prejudice in the course of therapy, and that some patients are disabled by these beliefs. As doctors increasingly weigh the effects of race and culture on mental illness, some are asking whether pathological bias ought to be an official psychiatric diagnosis.

Advocates have circulated draft guidelines and have begun to conduct systematic studies. While the proposal is gaining traction, it is still in the early stages of being considered by the professionals who decide on new diagnoses.

If it succeeds, it could have huge ramifications on clinical practice, employment disputes and the criminal justice system. Perpetrators of hate crimes could become candidates for treatment, and physicians would become arbiters of how to distinguish "ordinary prejudice" from pathological bias.

Several experts said they are unsure whether bias can be pathological. Solomon, for instance, is uncomfortable with the idea. But they agreed that psychiatry has been inattentive to the effects of prejudice on mental health and illness.

"Has anyone done a word search for 'racism' in DSM-IV? It doesn't exist," said Carl C. Bell, a Chicago psychiatrist, referring to psychiatry's manual of mental disorders. "Has anyone asked, 'If you have paranoia, do you project your hostility toward other groups?' The answer is 'Hell, no!' "

The proposed guidelines that California psychologist Edward Dunbar created describe people whose daily functioning is paralyzed by persistent fears and worries about other groups. The guidelines have not been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM); advocates are mostly seeking support for systematic study.

Darrel A. Regier, director of research at the psychiatric association, said he supports research into whether pathological bias is a disorder. But he said the jury is out on whether a diagnostic classification would add anything useful, given that clinicians already know about disorders in which people rigidly hold onto false beliefs.

"If you are going to put racism into the next edition of DSM, you would have enormous criticism," Regier said. Critics would ask, " 'Are you pathologizing all of life?' You better be prepared to defend that classification."

"I think it's absurd," said Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and the author of "PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine." Satel said the diagnosis would allow hate-crime perpetrators to evade responsibility by claiming they suffered from a mental illness. "You could use it as a defense."

Psychiatrists who advocate a new diagnosis, such as Gary Belkin, deputy chief of psychiatry at New York's Bellevue Hospital, said social norms play a central role in how all psychiatric disorders are defined. Pedophilia is considered a disorder by psychiatrists, Belkin noted, but that does not keep child molesters from being prosecuted.

"Psychiatrists who are uneasy with including something like this in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual need to get used to the fact that the whole manual reflects social context," said Belkin, who is planning to launch a study on pathological bias among patients at his hospital. "That is true of depression on down. Pathological bias is no more or less scientific than major depression."

Advocates for the new diagnosis also say most candidates for treatment, such as the man Solomon treated, are not criminals or violent offenders. Rather, they are like the young woman in Los Angeles who thought Jews were diseased and would infect her -- she carried out compulsive cleansing rituals and hit her head to drive away her obsessions. She realized she needed help but was afraid her therapist would be Jewish, said Dunbar, a Los Angeles psychologist who has amassed several case studies and treated several dozen patients for racial paranoia and other forms of what he considers pathological bias.

Another patient was a waiter so hostile to black people that he flung plates on the table when he served black patrons and got fired from multiple jobs.

A third patient was a Vietnam War veteran who was so fearful of Asians that he avoided social situations where he might meet them, Dunbar said.

"When I see someone who won't see a physician because they're Jewish, or who can't sit in a restaurant because there are Asians, or feels threatened by homosexuals in the workplace, the party line in mental health says, 'This is not our problem,' " the psychologist said. "If it's not our problem, whose problem is it?"

Opponents say making pathological bias a diagnosis raises the specter of social engineering -- brainwashing individuals who do not fit society's norms. But Dunbar and others say patients with disabling levels of prejudice should be treated for the same reason as are patients with any other disorder: They would feel, live and function better.

"They are delusional," said Alvin F. Poussaint, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who has long advocated such a diagnosis. "They imagine people are going to do all kinds of bad things and hurt them, and feel they have to do something to protect themselves.

"When they reach that stage, they are very impaired," he said. "They can't work and function; they can't hold a job. They would benefit from treatment of some type, particularly medication."

Doctors who treat inmates at the California State Prison outside Sacramento concur: They have diagnosed some forms of racist hatred among inmates and administered antipsychotic drugs.

"We treat racism and homophobia as delusional disorders," said Shama Chaiken, who later became a divisional chief psychologist for the California Department of Corrections, at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. "Treatment with antipsychotics does work to reduce these prejudices."

* * *

Amid a profusion of recent studies into the nature of prejudice, researchers have found that biases are very common. Almost everyone harbors what might be termed "ordinary prejudice," the research indicates.

Anthony Greenwald, a psychologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Mahzarin R. Banaji, a psychologist at Harvard, developed tests for such biases. By measuring the speed with which people make mental associations, the psychologists found that biases affect even those who actively resist them.

"When things are more strongly paired in our minds, we can respond to them more quickly," Banaji said. "Large numbers of Americans cannot as swiftly make the association between 'black' and 'good' as they can between 'white' and 'good.' "

Similarly, psychologist Margo Monteith at the University of Kentucky in Lexington found that people can have prejudices against groups they know nothing about. She administered a test in which volunteers, under time pressure, had to associate a series of words with either "America" or a fictitious country she called "Marisat."

Volunteers more easily associated Marisat with such words as "poison," "death" and "evil," while associating America with "sunrise," "paradise" and "loyal."

"A large part of our self-esteem derives from our group membership," Monteith said. "To the extent we can feel better about our group relative to other groups, we can feel good about ourselves. It's likely a built-in mechanism."

If biases are so common, many doctors ask, can racism really be a mental illness?

"I don't think racism is a mental illness, and that's because 100 percent of people are racist," said Paul J. Fink, a former president of the American Psychiatric Association. "If you have a diagnostic category that fits 100 percent of people, it's not a diagnostic category."

But Poussaint said there is a difference between ordinary prejudice and pathological bias -- the same distinction that psychiatrists make between sadness and depression. All people experience sadness, anxiety and fear, but extreme, disabling forms of these emotions are called disorders.

While people with ordinary prejudice try very hard to conceal their biases, Solomon said, her homophobic patient had no embarrassment about his attitude toward gays. Dunbar said people with pathological prejudice often lack filtering capabilities. As a result, he said, they face problems at work and home.

"Everyone is inculcated with stereotypes and biases with cultural issues, but some individuals not only hold beliefs that are very rigid, but they are part of a psychological problem," Dunbar said.

The psychologist said he has helped such patients with talk therapy, which encourages patients to question the basis for their beliefs, and by steering them toward medications such as antipsychotics.

The woman with the bias against Jews did not overcome her prejudice, Dunbar said, but she learned to control her fear response in social settings. The patient with hostility against African Americans realized his beliefs were "stupid."

Solomon discovered she was most effective dealing with the homophobic man when she was nonjudgmental. When he claimed there were more gays and lesbians than ever before, she presented him with data showing there was no such shift.

At those times, she reported in a case study, the patient would say, "I know, I know." He would recognize that he was not being logical, but then get angry and return to the same patterns of obsession. Solomon did not identify the man because of patient confidentiality.

Standing in the central yard of the maximum-security California State Prison with inmates exercising around her, Chaiken explained how she distinguished pathological bias from ordinary prejudice: A prisoner who belonged to a gang with racist views might express such views to fit in with his gang, but if he continues "yelling racial slurs, assaulting others when it's clear there is no benefit" after he leaves the gang, the behavior was no longer "adaptive."

Prison officials declined to identify inmates who had been treated, or make them available for interviews.

Chicago psychiatrist Bell said he has not made up his mind on whether bias can be pathological. But in proposing a research agenda for the next edition of psychiatry's DSM of mental disorders, Bell and researchers from the Mayo Clinic, McGill University, the University of California at Los Angeles and other academic institutions wrote: "Clinical experience informs us that racism may be a manifestation of a delusional process, a consequence of anxiety, or a feature of an individual's personality dynamics."

The psychiatrists said their profession has neglected the issue: "One solution would be to encourage research that seeks to delineate the validity and reliability of racism as a symptom and to investigate the possibility of including it in some diagnostic criteria sets in future editions of DSM."