Cheryl Thompson

Have We Let the Monsters Win? Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to the world, and to say that is a relief to many is quite the understatement. This is probably among the few times it’s actually socially acceptable to celebrate someone’s gruesome death like the 4th of July, no? Well, not exactly, according to Salon’s David Sirota. He argues that by celebrating bin Laden’s death, we’re actually mimicking the “foreigners cheering terrorist attacks against America.” The same group of people we usually hold in contempt and despise for their pervasive disregard for human life.

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[Lydia DePillis, Salon]

For years, scholars and critics alike have been criticizing the Canadian music industry’s bias toward black music. Most recently, music writer and author Dalton Higgins, in promotion for his book, Far From Over: The Music and Life of Drake, gave a talk at York University in Toronto in which he spoke about the challenges of getting black music heard on the radio in Canada, and the fact that Canadian commercial radio does very little to support black music.

“If Drake were signed to a Canadian label, he wouldn’t have the same support and success he does today,” Higgins said. “The harsh reality is that the Canadian music industry is not willing to dish out the cash for urban artists.”

But in a Exclaim! Magazine feature way back in 2006, Ryan Patrick pointed out that black music doesn’t get much love in Canada because of our cultural points of reference. “The industry has always been white–there’s no other way to describe its infrastructure,” he writes, “Canadian labels, who often operate as franchises of their American counterparts, look to the U.S. market as a model in most of their operations, but the Canadian market doesn’t share the same cultural experiences–in black or white communities or music markets–as the U.S.” Stated otherwise, instead of trying to understand the nuances of the Canadian market for black music, the industry often tries the same tactics that are used in the US–and they just don’t work here.What do you think?

There are, however, a few black Canadian R&B artists like Jully Black, Keisha Chanté, and Divine Brown who have managed to achieve moderate levels of success in Canada, performing across the country and in places you don’t really associate with “urban music,” like Saskatchewan. But having said that, Black’s music has become slightly more pop over the years, and Brown’s sound feels more like jazz than R&B at times and, as a result, they get mainstream radio play. Most people probably
know who they are while traditional R&B artists, like Tamia and Fiona, singing slow songs and love ballads with a few “baby, baby, baby” lines thrown in for good measure are consistently ignored by these same stations.

Hellllooooooooo Congressman! If more congressmen had abs like Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois, our nation’s obesity problem would be solved. Deeply committed to health and fitness, Schock bares his six-pack abs on the June cover of Men’s Health magazine. And if the cover isn’t enough for you, there are more shirtless shots of “America’s fittest congressman” inside. Reason behind the peep show? Schock is challenging America to shape up.

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[Men’s Health]

There’s no chance in the world this Congress, viewing what’s happening in the city today, would move forward and allow us anymore autonomy than we already have … I think this has been very damaging.
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That’s Council member Jack Evans on recent scandals damaging the District’s campaign for voting rights and budget autonomy. It’s kind of hard to trust D.C. to govern itself, when those in city hall seem to be failing Ethics 101.

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[WAMU]

Each day of extreme heat is cumulative, so chances are, service calls for dead batteries and cars that won’t start will spike on the first day back from Memorial Day.
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That’s AAA’s John Townsend informing motorists that if your car doesn’t start today, you can blame it on the insane heat. The Washington D.C. area is under heat advisory until 8 p.m, with temps expected to be around the mid-90’s, but feel more like 100 to 105. How do you stay safe? Trust the instincts of a third grader, and head to your nearest pool.

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[WAMU]

Happy Birthday, Joe Louis! In honor of the boxing legend’s birthday, pictured are the boxing gloves he wore during his first historic bout with Germany’s Max Schmeling in 1936. The fight ended in a loss for Louis, but the two met again in the 1938 rematch at Yankee Stadium. Here Louis demolished Schmeling in a first-round knockout, becoming a national hero – to both whites and blacks. Seen as a symbolic contest of American ideals vs. Nazi propaganda, this victory is regarded as one of the greatest sporting moments of the 20th century.

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(Photo: Smithsonian)

If you’re trying to marry up, clearly whites are it. If you’re trying to avoid marrying down, it would still look like blacks might be the least preferred.
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That’s demographer Roderick J. Harrison on the changing face of interracial marriage. According to a recent survey, interracial marriage is on the rise, making up 7.4 percent of all American marriages. However, the pairing between black women and white men, in addition to white women and black men is the least likely pairing.

Within D.C., the 2010 census shows that 17,316 individuals identify themselves as multiracial. DCentric’s Elahe Izadi ponders if interracial marriage is more acceptable in D.C. compared to other locales.

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[DCentric, Elahe Izadi]

There’s an area, on the DC/Maryland border, that is the home to a lot of immigrant communities. This means a lot targeted grocery stores. I went into one, in search of jicama, and marveled at the retailer who was selling dollar bags of produce. The produce in the bags was actively rotting. I’m not talking about bruising or discoloration, which gets things bounced off grocery store shelves. I’m talking about mold. Rot. Things that most people wouldn’t want to touch, but there is enough demand in that area for affordable produce that it’s bagged up and sold along with the other wares. That’s enough food.
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That’s Latoya Peterson’s response to critics weighing in on what people should or shouldn’t eat on food stamps. An action she doesn’t believe anyone should do if they’ve never been on food stamps before. In her argument, Peterson utilizes the concept of “enough food” from Satter’s Hierachy of Food Needs. According to the hierarchy, before one can begin to think about nutrition or whether food is acceptable, one first needs to get food, and enough of it. Often this means eating cheap food that is calorie-laden, processed and lacking nutritional value just to survive. Proposals to ban the use of food stamps to buy fattening foods could shrink what’s available to eat for low-income residents.

[Racialicious]

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Another Day, Another Metro Woe. While it may not seem surprising to the daily Metro riders that take to Twitter to voice their complaints (you know who you are), the transit agency expects to see a drop in ridership next year. The Examiner’s Kytja Weir reports that the loss of federal transit benefits for commuters and high unemployment numbers are among the reasons for the predicted drop.

As for Metrobus riders, they’re busy complaining to the tune of 1,368 complaints per month – a five percent increase from 2010. Perhaps this may help: Montgomery County bus riders can now track their Ride On bus arrivals with a real-time system.

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[Examiner, Kytja Weir, Greater Greater Washington]

(Photo: Greater Greater Washington)

Sarah Palin Rolling Into D.C. via Motorcycle? You betcha. The former Alaska governor (and potential presidential candidate?) will participate in the annual Rolling Thunder memorial ride Sunday. Palin’s appearance at the motorcycle rally kicks off her nationwide bus tour of historical sites and patriotic events.

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[The Washington Post]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Bob Marley died 30 years ago today, and many on Twitter have been paying tribute to the legend by sharing his lyrics and quotes. Personally, “One Love” has always been one of my favorite songs by the reggae star. With its unmistakable steel drum and “why can’t we all just get together and feel all right” vibes, it’s impossible not to feel anything but happy and the power of change. (Even with lines about impending Armageddon.) Plus, it’s Jamaica’s best travel jingle, a staple in mainstream pop culture (cue: spontaneous singing from the “Glee” cast), and a fine concept to celebrate. One love indeed.

Your Turn: What’s your favorite Bob Marley song?

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… a full explanation of how this disgraceful use of my great grandfather’s name occurred, a full apology for the grievous insult after all that Native Americans have suffered and the (removing) from all the records of the U.S. government this use of the name Geronimo. Leaving only for history the fact this insult to Native Americans occurred in all its pity.
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That is a list of demands submitted by Harlyn Geronimo to the Senate Commission on Indian Affairs for its hearing on racist stereoptypes of Native Americans. Harlyn, the great-grandson of legendary Apache leader Geronimo, is outraged that the Navy SEALs used “Geronimo” as the codename for the mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

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[DCentric]

It’s May 5th, the time of year when Americans butcher their Mexican history for the sake of wearing sombreros and drinking Coronas.
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That’s The Washington Post’s Clinton Yates being honest on what today is about for many Americans: an excuse to booze it up and forget what they did. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day – that would be September 16. Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. But knowing those kind of historical nuggets would probably get in the way of your tequila shots

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[The Washington Post, Business Insider]

Let’s Play the ‘Price Is Right’, D.C. Style. Is the Gray administration taping a reality show we don’t know about? After controversy involving expensive SUV leases and government hires, Sulaimon Brown getting escorted out of his office by police makes us wonder where the hidden cameras are.

The City Paper’s Alan Suderman reports Brown lost it after hearing he would be fired from his $110,000 job in the Department of Health Care Finance. Later in the afternoon, he crashed D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s press conference, crying and talking about how he had a family to feed.

[@tbridge, Washington City Paper, NBC Washington]

The Rapture Isn’t the Only Thing Coming … May is also Zombie Awareness month. Do you know what you’re supposed to do in the event of a Zombie attack? Do you stop, drop and roll? Do you play dead? Do you pull your best Lady Gaga impression to blend in? WHAT DO YOU DO? Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the details you need to know on the day flesh-eating zombies inherit the earth. Great info, small problem – can you really trust a survival strategy that doesn’t include dancing to “Thriller"?

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[The Washington Post]

(Photo: Getty Images)