Saturday, September 30, 2006

Need a hug?

Earthquake hits Trini & Venezuela

6.1 on the richter scale with a 5.5 aftershock at 2pmish. UPDATE: Thanks to JT for pointing out that after the Seismic Research Unit in Trinidad got things together took they decided the intensity was 5.8 with a 5.3 aftershock and that the site of the main quake was actully north-east of Port of Spain, and inland, near Churapa Bay, about a third of the way along the north coast. This makes it the strongest quake ever actually recorded on land in Trinidad (the biggest quake of all in 1766 was offshore).

Friday, September 29, 2006

I know a monomaniac when i see one word of the Day for Friday, September 29, 2006

monomania \mon-uh-MAY-nee-uh; -nyuh\, noun:

1. Pathological obsession with a single subject or idea.
2. Excessive concentration of interest upon one particular subject or idea.

One of the themes in the book was the necessity for a leader to be passionate about the work. And sometimes in a corporate setting, passion becomes monomania.
-- "Balancing the Personal and the Professional", New York Times, October 10, 1999

It is a monomania that approaches a frenzy in which girlfriends or wife, family and sleep, mean nothing.
-- Newgate Callendar, "Crime", New York Times, January 4, 1987

He was . . . a rather impossible person -- self-absorbed to the point of monomania (when lesser beings presumed to take part in his monologues, he would say "Quite" and then continue along his solitary path).
-- Thomas M. Disch, "Later Auden", Washington Post, July 4, 1999

After visiting American prisons Tocqueville and his traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont, wrote that social reformers in the United States had been swept up in "the monomania of the penitentiary system," convinced that prisons were "a remedy for all the evils of society."
-- Eric Schlosser, "The Prison-Industrial Complex", The Atlantic, December 1998

Monomania is derived from the Greek elements mono-, "one, single, alone" + mania, "madness, frenzy, enthusiasm."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


“It’s the economy stupid”

In 1969 shortly after David Harvey left the UK to take up a position at John Hopkins University he was witness to a period of turmoil in the United States that included the aftermath of Martin Luther King’s assassination and the Baltimore uprisings. In interviews he has spoken of his shock at the conditions he encountered at the time and how they were partly responsible for transforming him into the scholarly radical he is considered today. “I was really, really shocked that in the wealthiest country in the world, people live in chronic impoverishment. I was really upset. So I started to participate much more in the political activism around that.”

He has also spoken on Frederick Engels work concerned with the condition of the working class in England in 1844 and made the point that he found this most helpful in trying to understand the housing questions and ghetto formation he found in late 1960s and early 1970s America. From here he began looking for the economic causality behind the crises of poverty and racism he saw in Baltimore and facing other US cities in order to argue that a market-exchange economy could never provide ‘social justice’

In ‘A Brief History of Neoliberalism’ Harvey brings this approach back engaging class as a mainstream methodological tool in the critique of global capital. The neoliberal project thus becomes an enterprise in wealth redistribution on a global scale driven by class power. Harvey’s book is quite brilliant. It is a challenge to the dominant economic model of our time...

read more here

Monday, September 25, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Iron Man CGI

Pre-Production 2008 Iron Man cgi pics

Structural Violence

Inequality is built into the market. No two ways about it

"The health of poor people in poor areas is being jeopardised because market values put finance before patients, because strategic planning and funding based on need is being replaced by a phoney market that deliberately creates instability. These policies were never openly discussed or debated before, during or after the election, but are now being pursued with a zeal that smacks of a scorched-earth policy by advisers and ministers who know their time is limited. Tony Blair's intention to stand down as prime minister has clearly concentrated the minds of those who have been steadily moving us toward the full marketisation of our public services."

read Dave Prentis, Leader of the UKs biggest unionhere

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

oil companies tell lies

We know that. Right?

From GU:

"Britain's leading scientists have challenged the US oil company ExxonMobil to stop funding groups that attempt to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change.

In an unprecedented step, the Royal Society, Britain's premier scientific academy, has written to the oil giant to demand that the company withdraws support for dozens of groups that have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence"."

The full letter is here and is worth reading

Monday, September 18, 2006


Nikolai linked to this NYT article on Susan Sontag a little while back, its about lists, journal entires and the diaries she used to keep. I only just got around to reading it now.

I love this entry dated 12/3/61.

"The writer must be four people:

1) the nut, the obsédé
2) the moron
3) the stylist
4) the critic

1) suppies the material
2) lets it come out
3) is taste
4) is intelligence

a great writer has all 4 - but you can still be a good writer with only 1) and 2); they're the most important"

There is hope for us all

Jack Warner

The World Cup in Germany was awesome. Best holiday ever. The country was so well organised and it was a festival of football, much like a carnival - with everyone in t-shirt bands and full of good vibes. Trinidad and Tobago were everyone's second team so with my allegiance focussed on my mum's island of birth over my own, and the lager louts of England, who lets admit were pretty pants anyway, everyone we met wanted to talk about the twin islands in the sun. Anyways Jack Warner no doubt got many of us tickets, the vice-president of FIFA is from T&T, and im gratful for that, because as far i could tell we didnt pay over the face value and ended having a wonderful time. Only problem is there are lots of tickets out there which can be traced to him and they were sold at well over their face value. Couple that with other dodgy deals people implicate him in and his position and defence look a little precarious. JT has a good tounge in cheek run down of the latest events over at his blog. worth a read

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Venice Architecture Biennale

Feeling sleepy and lazy now but was interested in this article on the main show at the 10th International Architecture Biennale in Venice entitled City: Architecture and Society. The curator is a professor from LSE who have a cool program PhD program called The Cities Programme

GU makes some good points about both this particular exhibit and the biennale more specifically. I had a point to make too. But can't remember it now. maybe later...

"The importance of the exhibition, though, is that it raises questions that concern all of us, and makes it clear that intelligent architecture goes hand-in-hand with well-planned cities. It shows how such architecture does not need to be big and showy; it might be modest, yet highly effective.

The subtle reconstruction of the "barrios", or shantytowns, of Caracas is a good example. Here, urban settlements that have developed organically are being made over, or "retrofitted", with the clinics, schools and public spaces they have to date lacked. Here, architects are asked to work with the skill of surgeons to give healthy hearts to these poor, overpopulated places.

Such designs are unlikely to catch the eye of those in search of exciting new buildings, but they have a real and positive impact on the lives of those they are designed for."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Banksy does LA

Banksy rocks and he just went over to LA (well he might not have personally been there but his work was) and people are taken by his work and think its sooo cool, which it is, but its that odd moment when something smart, irreverent and subversive intersects with capitalism, the mainstream and cool. What will happen?

From GU
"On entering, visitors were presented with a flyer reading: 'There's an elephant in the room. There's a problem we never talk about. The fact is that life isn't getting any fairer. 1.7 billion people have no access to clean drinking water. 20 billion people live below the poverty line. Every day hundreds of people are made to physically be sick by morons at art shows telling them how bad the world is but never actually doing something about it. Anybody want a free glass of wine?'"

Oh by the way did i mention the elephant in the room was real in more ways than one? See that and some photos of the event here

Football Silly

A Brazilian referee faces suspension after awarding a goal scored by a ball boy to allow Santacruzense to snatch a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Sorocaba.


Watch it here

Friday, September 15, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Football can help

With their recent 5-yr deal to wear UNICEF's logo on their shirt Barca show other teams how the game should be played.

From Barcelona website: "for the first time in our more than 107 years of history, our main soccer team will wear an emblem on the front of its shirt. It will not be the brand name of a corporation. It will not be a commercial to promote some kind of business. It will be the logo of "UNICEF". Through UNICEF, we, the people of FC Barcelona, the people of "Barça", are very proud to donate our shirt to the children of the world who are our present, but especially they are our future."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Presence of mind

"How can we have what Walter Benjamin called 'presence of mind?' — attunement to our own discursive and material context (One Way Street:98–99). Lipsitz invokes this notion of Benjamin’s as follows: 'Whiteness is everywhere in American culture, but it is very hard to see. . . . As the unmarked category against which difference is constructed, whiteness never has to speak its name, never has to acknowledge its role as an organizing principle in social and cultural relations' (1995:369). Identification, analysis, and opposition to the destructive consequences of whiteness, Lipsitz argued, requires 'presence of mind' — the ability to notice key aspects of the present and how they portend the future, even when they are more latent than overt and obvious and when they are routinized rather than catastrophic."

From Cultural Critique in and of American Culture

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Visibly Absent

Tessa Alexander over at project galvanise in Trini.

In her own words: "my installation is based on the recent saturation of visual imagery and marketing extravagance by the mobile phone companies bMobile and Digicel in the Trinidad and Tobago market. Although this type of marketing is global and "progressive", it is the first time that such aggressive marketing and branding have been used in this country... The installation is not against technology, but rather aims to open up discussion about superficial marketing and the money used to create illusions of progress amid disempowerment, versus socially responsible marketing (which I feel is "visibly absent") that could actually bring about positive change and therefore real progress. "

What is deviance?

From Threatening Anthropology

“Steven Spitzer recognised that a social notion of deviance ‘emerges from and reflects the ongoing development of economic forces (of the infrastructure)’ and that superstructure functions to manage and regulate members of society, particularly “problem populations”. One of the strengths of Spitzer’s theory is that by focusing on general principles rather than specific acts, we can account for cross-cultural instances of deviance. Spitzer theorised that actions and beliefs supporting a society’s mode of production are construed as nondeviant, while those that threaten the development and free functioning of its economic sector become deviants. Thus, in an economy that is dominated by productive forces requiring intense focus in a demanding, high-stress environment, drugs (e.g., coffee, cigarettes) that help employees focus on the labour requirements of a demanding workplace will be selected for, as well as those (e.g., LSD, marijuana) that foster responses of hyperindividualism or apathy will be deemed deviant. Likewise, in a society based on intense ethnic, gender, economic, and racial segregation, individuals who advocate the abolition of such systems of stratification will also be seen as deviant.”

Race in America

Saw this over at savage minds.

Pot calling the kettle black

Tony Blair a man who it has been shown lied and exaggerated to take us into a war in Iraq says 'I have never known how mendacious he [Gordon] was, how full of mendacity.'

Looks like they are going to shaft Brown. Hope he retaliates and makes Tony stand down before the end of the year. This has got all the hallmarks of getting very messy.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Walter Benjamin and Hashish

From Very Important Potheads: Debunking Myths About Marijuana


Just as in its 6/26 review of a new Timothy Leary biography (see VIPblog), the New Yorker has again concluded that those who think taking psychedelics leads to a spiritual experience are only getting what they look for. In an August 21 review of VIP Walter Benjamin's "On Hashish," Adam Kirsch writes, "If Benjamin discovered a mystic language in his hashish trance, it is because he so fervently wanted to discover it." Benjamin's attempts to unite the right-brain sense of connection to the divine with the left brain's meager attempts to describe the experience in language are pooh-poohed by Kirsch, especially when hashish is used as a catalyst.

Benjamin theorizes that "God makes things knowable in their names," but discovers, "We stretch out our arms full of love, eager to embrace what we have in mind. Scarcely have we touched it, however, than it disilusions us completely. The object of our attention suddenly fades at the touch of language." Of Benjamin's initial description of his hashish experience, "Boundless goodwill. Falling away of neurotic-obsessive anxiety complexes," Kirsch summarizes, "He felt mellow."

But is one person's mellow the same as another? That speaks to notions of experience which we was Benjamin's forte, his phantasmagoric sensory ideals. anyways. lots more pot head stuff over there

More shenanigans over at the WICB

The following is a statement from Mr. Michael Holding:

"I read with great consternation the recent press release put out by the West Indies Cricket Board supposedly responding to my allegations put forward as to the reasons for my resignation from the cricket committee. If it wasn’t coming from the people entrusted with running our regional game, it would have been laughable. Let me deal with it item by item.

Item 1: is a rebuttal of my accusation that the cricket committee had been sidestepped in regarding the selection of the team to tour Pakistan. It contains an excerpt from an email from Clive Lloyd the chairman of the committee to Ken Gordon the president of the WICB which reads. “With regards to the cricket committee being ‘sidestepped’ over the selection of players my view of this is that the cricket committee should not have been involved in this issue consequently the responsibility rests solely with the WICB selectors”.

This is a smokescreen trying to imply that I was saying that the cricket committee should be involved in the selection of the personnel going to Pakistan. That is not so. I was saying that the cricket committee should have been consulted if there had been any problems with the TIMING of the selection of the team, not the makeup of the team. It was the cricket committee that recommended the members of the selection committee, so why then would I think the cricket committee should interfere with team selection. There can be no denial that the entire selection panel was not consulted in this matter as Andy Roberts and Clyde Butts knew nothing about it.

Item 2: States that I claimed that the WICB president and the WICB failed to reach an agreement with billionaire Allen Stanford over the US$5MILLION 20/20 match against South Africa because of a conflict of dates with the Pakistan future tours.

Well actually that came from Tony Cozier in his article dated September 3rd titled ‘Cozier on cricket-Gordon dropped ball’. But since it has been thrown into the pot I will deal with it as well. Their response is that the Stanford group applied directly to the ICC for ratification of it’s 20/20 tournament and not to the WICB as should have been the case and that when the group contacted the WICB , the board was already negotiating the Pakistan tour. Now what a load of rubbish. The facts of the matter are that the Stanford group got in touch with the ICC asking what were the procedures to get the tournament ratified and the ICC’s reply was that it had to be endorsed by the WICB. It was the WICB who then wrote to the ICC and it was the WICB that the ICC responded to way back in January, sending a copy of that letter to the Stanford group.

Item 3: Declares that I stated that when Ken Gordon became president, he changed the terms of reference for the cricket committee, leading to Clive Lloyd and myself withdrawing. In their defense the WICB statement quotes another excerpt from Clive Lloyd’s email to the president. “From my recollection the personnel recommended for that committee by you were not accepted by the WICB. I do not recall resigning from that committee. In that instance, Michael Holding resigned for personal reasons. I was then asked to form a cricket committee earlier this year and Michael Holding accepted the post of one of the members of the cricket committee”.

Well if Clive Lloyd and Ken Gordon need to refresh their memories, they need not look any further than the WICB website where they will see a press release dated August 22nd 2005 posted at 6.46pm. ( ) It is titled King chairs WIN WORLD CUP COMMITTEE. The same committee that all of a sudden had been changed from just a regular cricket committee. Near to the bottom of the release they will see the sentence, “Clive Lloyd, who had originally been invited to be chairman, and Michael Holding declined invitations to join the committee due to heavy overseas commitments”. I know what Clive Lloyd told me was his reason for declining but since he can’t recall, I won’t go there but as I said before and repeat now, I declined because the ‘cricket committee’ is what I had agreed to be a part of, not this ‘win world cup committee’. Again I won’t try to speak for Clive Lloyd but my overseas commitments haven’t changed since August 2005 so how come I was able to take up the offer of this new cricket committee?

Item 4: This time I am quoted as saying that Ken Gordon wrote to me after receiving my resignation letter saying that Lara and the selectors had agreed that the team to Pakistan should not be selected early and that after checking with Andy Roberts and Clyde Butts, they confirmed that they had no discussions with Lara on the matter and that my conclusion was that either the president had been misinformed or that he was being economical with the truth.

The WICB defense is that Chief Cricket Operations Manager Zorol Barthley whose responsibilities include liaison with the selection committee, wrote to the president on September 5th, 2006, confirming that the selectors had asked for a deferral of the team selection for the tour of Pakistan until after the Malaysian Tri-Nation series.

But what the WICB fails to state is the date that the selectors asked for this deferral. My resignation letter is dated August 26th, the same date Roberts and Butts confirmed that they did not have any discussions with Lara. Anything could have transpired between then and September 5th unless the WICB are making out these two gentlemen to be liars."

Friday, September 08, 2006

Cannabis Statistics

been checking this site for murder rate statistics for class on violence im doing. They got all kinds of stats. Heres one for cannabis use.

I note it doesnt seem to have Caribbean countries, south american ones or many from asia but in what it does have New Zealand is top, the UK fourth behind the US and Australia. Somebody, somewhere is smoking a doobie.

Drawing from the Mas: A Trinidad Sketchbook

Cool, innovative and hybridised masquerade drawings by two Fulbright Scholars to Trinidad

click here

Abstract for discussion paper i'm giving at AAA

‘Who ain’t dead, badly wounded.’

How do monstrous bodies and sexualised bodies talk to one another? What do they say? In Trinidad two distinct types of bodies dominate cultural life. One is the carnivalesque body – a naked, commodified, idealised sexuality of modern bikini and beads masquerades. The other is the grotesque body – a dead, maimed and murdered body that appears frequently in the media, on newspaper front covers and in daily conversations as the murder rate in ‘paradise’ reaches one person every day and a half.

The rise and visibility of these two distinct bodies has occurred in the same space at the same time – from the mid-1970s to present. As neo-liberalism increased and the body became commodified so violence and murder grew. While it is hard to make a causal connection, it is clear that a dialogue between two representations of the body, between laughter and grief, jouissance and mutilation, celebration and fear exists.

Through ethnographic interviews, historical data, discourse analysis and the cultural theory of Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze and Mikhail Bakhtin, I investigate the correlation between everyday images (sexual and violent) of the body in Trinidadian society and the constitution of subjectivity, nationhood and other social discourses.

The State, the media and the individual subject, all provide spaces of intersection and representation where these bodies impact, transgress and desensitise complex notions of violence, sexuality and community identity. What are people’s responses to the normalisation of bodies that would be considered marginal in other societies? How are they ‘incorporeated’ into discourse? What does consummation between these two bodies produce? What is the relation between one utterance and the other, or as Bakhtin would say, what are the dialogical relations between bodies usually considered separately?

In Praise of Self Deprecation

The buzzard has nothing to fault himself with.
Scruples are alien to the black panther.
Piranhas do not doubt the rightness of their actions.
The rattlesnake approves of himself without reservations.

The self-critical jackal does not exist.
The locust, alligator, trichina, horsefly
live as they live and are glad of it.

The killer-whale's heart weighs one hundred kilos
but in other respects it is light.

There is nothing more animal-like
than a clear conscience
on the third planet from the Sun.

Wislawa Szymborska Winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The current Blair episode has lessons for the Caribbean

Jeremy Taylor makes a valid connection between Blair and Caribbean (Trinidad) politics.

"But Blair absolutely cannot see the damage he is doing. He is obsessed with the "legacy" of Blairism that he is going to leave. He wants to equal and surpass the twelve years that Margaret Thatcher had before she had to be dragged screaming from office and brandishing her handbag at all her enemies. He even wants to tie his "successor" to a commitment to follow the great principles of Blairism even after Blair himself has gone.

This is how politicians destroy themselves and the aspirations of their supporters. They become obsessed with themselves and their messianic status, they lose touch with everyone except their acolytes, they see and hear nothing except what they want to see and hear. In Blair's case, the price is a terrible deepening of public cynicism, and the prospect of another long period of Conservative rule.

It's a lesson that some parts of the Caribbean have yet to learn. Everyone has their sell-by date, after which the product begins to stink."

read whole post here

Letter to Ken Gordon, President of West Indies Cricket Board

"I'm sorry to put it this way, but you - personally - were responsible for shattering a thousand dreams."

Read South African journalist Neil Manthorp's eloquent and spot on letter to Ken Gordon here

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

War and Violence

As the Lebanon war raged, David Grossman, the celebrated Israeli writer, publicly urged his government to accept a ceasefire. Just days later, his soldier son was killed by one of Hizbollah's final anti-tank missiles. This is the eulogy he read at the funeral

"At 20 to three in the morning, between Saturday and Sunday, the doorbell rang. Over the intercom, they said they were from the army. For three days, every thought begins with: 'He/we won't.'

He won't come. We won't talk. We won't laugh. He won't be that kid with the ironic look in his eyes and the amazing sense of humour. He won't be that young person with understanding deeper than his years. There won't be that warm smile and healthy appetite. There won't be that rare combination of determination and gentleness. There won't be his common sense and wisdom. We won't sit down together to watch The Simpsons and Seinfeld, and we won't listen to Johnny Cash, and we won't feel the strong embrace. We won't see you going to talk to your brother, Yonatan, with excited hand movements and we won't see you hugging your sister, Ruthie, the love of your life.

Uri, my love. All your short life, we have all learned from you, from the strength and determination to go your own way. To go your own way even if there is no way you could succeed. We followed with amazement your struggle to get into the tank commanders' course. How you never compromised with your commanders, because you knew you would be a great commander. You were not satisfied to give less than you thought you could. And when you succeeded, I thought here's a man who knows his own abilities in such a simple and wise way. Here's a man who has no pretensions or arrogance, who isn't influenced by what others say about him, whose source of strength is internal.

From childhood, you were like that. A child who live in harmony with himself and those around him. A child who knew his place, and knew that he was loved, who recognised his limitations and strengths. And truly, from the moment you forced the army to make you a commander, it was clear what kind of commander and person you were. We hear today from your comrades and your subordinates about the commander and friend. About the person who got up before everyone else in order to organise everything and who went to sleep only after everyone else had. And yesterday, at midnight, I looked at our house which was quite a mess after the visits of hundreds of people who came to console us and I said to myself: 'Well, now we need Uri, to help us organise it again.'

You were the leftie of your battalion and you were respected for it, because you stood your ground, without giving up even one of your military assignments ...

You were a son and a friend to me and to Mummy. Our soul is tied to yours. You felt good in yourself and you were a good person to live with. I cannot even say out loud how much you were 'Someone to Run With'. Every furlough you would say: 'Dad, let's talk' and we would go, usually to a restaurant, and talk. You told me so much, Uri, and I felt proud that I was your confidante.

I won't say anything now about the war you were killed in. We, our family, have already lost in this war. The state of Israel will have its own reckoning ...

Uri was such an Israeli child; even his name was very Israeli and Hebrew. He was the essence of Israeli-ness as I would want it to be. An Israeli-ness that has almost been forgotten, that is something of a curiosity. And he was a person so full of values. That word has been so eroded and has become ridiculed in recent years. In our crazy, cruel and cynical world, it's not 'cool' to have values, or to be a humanist, or to be truly sensitive to the suffering of the other, even if that other is your enemy on the battlefield.

However, I learned from Uri that it is both possible and necessary to be all that. We have to guard ourselves, by defending ourselves both physically and morally. We have to guard ourselves from might and simplistic thinking, from the corruption that is in cynicism, from the pollution of the heart and the ill-treatment of humans, which are the biggest curse of those living in a disastrous region like ours. Uri simply had the courage to be himself, always and in all situations - to find his exact voice in every thing he said and did. That's what guarded him from the pollution and corruption and the diminishing of the soul.

'In the night between Saturday and Sunday, at 20 to three in the morning, our doorbell rang. The person said through the intercom that he was from the army, and I went down to open the door, and I thought to myself - that's it, life's over. But five hours later, when Michal and I went into Ruthie's room to wake her and tell her the terrible news, Ruthie, after first crying, said: 'But we will live, right? We will live and trek like before and I want to continue singing in a choir, and we will continue to laugh like always and I want to learn to play guitar.' And we hugged her and told her that we will live.'

We will derive our strength from Uri; he had enough for many years to come. Vitality, warmth and love radiated from him strongly, and that will shine on us even if the star that made it has been extinguished. Our love, we had a great honour to live with you. Thank you for every moment that you were ours.

Father and Mother, Yonatan and Ruthie."

White Wall

Borrowed this from a cool blog "on Art, wall paintings, architecture, posters, typography, design, street graffiti, television, film and other kitsch based works in the environment that normally goes unnoticed, but thrives in plain sight from Trinidad and Tobago," called thebookmann Check it


"The practice of defending oneself against spirits and other dangers during Carnival is directly related to the power of the masquerade to transform the masker, to remove him- or herself from the corporeal plane. That is the seriousness of a Carnival mas' well played. This danger in masquerade recalls the Trinidadian tale of the Soucouyant, an airborne, vampiric demoness whose form of locomotion is as a ball of flame. The Soucouyant transforms into this creature from her human form by peeling off her skin and hiding at the base of a silk cotton tree. The way to defeat the Soucouyant is to find her skin and sprinkle it with salt. The salt prevents the demon from returning to her human form, which she must do before daybreak or else die. In the early morning you can hear her crying out, asking, 'Jouvay? Jou paka ouvay?' Has the day broken?"

Carnival and the Formation of a Caribbean Transnation

Manning saying things i didnt think he'd say

From frontpage of Trinidad Express Manning dissing Washington's relationship with T&T.

"In fact, we believe that Washington has been studiously ignoring the Caribbean and ignoring the requirements of Trinidad and Tobago-unfortunately that's what we feel,"

"We are going to have to decide whether we wish to place all our eggs in one basket in the way that we have placed before.

"Now, too much of our LNG goes to one destination [USA] and incidentally at prices that are not by any means the best prices that are available in the market."

Maybe there's more to this than meets the eye. Do the US even care? Is it all because someone/company isn't making enough cash? Any suggestions?

Taking down Blair

From two resignations to seven in just two hours. Looks like the Labour party is waking up to its own power. fingers crossed for more.

Chimpanzees crossing the road

Anthro stuff: here chimpanzees cross a large road in front of on-looking villagers. These Bossou chimpanzees are employing a phylogenetically old mechanism (basically one alpha male to the front as lollipop man and one at the back to bring up the rear with females and young in middle) to adapt to a more recent dangerous situation. Something we didnt think they do.

Watch it here

And Blair's 'passive, i am not a tyrant' statement response

"I had heard from the media that Tom Watson has resigned.

I had been intending to dismiss him, but wanted to extend to him the courtesy of speaking to him first. Had he come to me privately and expressed his view about the leadership, that would have been one thing.

But to sign a round robin letter which was then leaked to the press was disloyal, discourteous and wrong. It would therefore have been impossible for him to remain in government."

I hope someone starts a leadership contest as soon as poss. Why wait a year. What good does it do anybody, apart from stroke Blair's ego

Tom Watson, former junior defence minister

Here is the text of today's letter from Tom Watson, junior defence minister, to Prime Minister Tony Blair:

Dear Tony

The Labour party has been my life since I was 15 years old.

I have served the party at every conceivable level and your own leadership since 1994 in a dozen different capacities, latterly as MP for West Bromwich East, a government whip, and as parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Defence.

My loyalty to you personally, as well as to the party and the values we stand for, has been absolute and unswerving.

The struggle to fashion the kind of credible, convincing, effective Labour party you now lead has been the preoccupation of my adult years.

My pride in what our government has achieved under your leadership is beyond expression.

We have revolutionised the lives and expectations of millions of our citizens, combining social justice with prosperity in a way which is unprecedented in the history of our country.

Your leadership has been visionary and remarkable. The party and the nation owes you an incalculable debt.

So it is with the greatest sadness that I have to say that I no longer believe that your remaining in office is in the interest of either the party or the country.

How and why this situation has arisen no longer matters.

I share the view of the overwhelming majority of the party and the country that the only way the party and the government can renew itself in office is urgently to renew its leadership.

For the sake of the legacy you have long said is the only one that matters - a renewed Labour party re-elected at the next general election - I urge you to reconsider your determination to remain in office.

As you know, I had a conversation with the chief whip last night, in which she asked me to withdraw my support from the 2001 intake's letter calling on you to stand down, or my position would be untenable as a government minister.

I have reflected on this overnight. I cannot withdraw my name, and therefore I accept her judgement.

I do not believe that statements so far give us the clarity necessary to progress over the next year.

Nor do I believe that newspaper reports of potential dates which may have appeared since I signed the 2001 intake's letter can provide the clarity the party and the country so desperately need.

It is with the greatest regret, therefore, that I must leave the government.

Yours ever,

Tom Watson MP

West Bromwich East

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Being Mixed Race

Sometimes i don't like talking about race. Its the social scientist in me that has read countless articles about race being a social construction only to have to scrap such ivory tower thinking in the face of real situations out there IN the world. I guess i think if i don't talk about it, race might become less real IN my world and we can see it for the flawed, constructionist thinking it is. But i've always been lucky and you can't dismiss what is a serious issue for countless people everywhere. With that here's an interesting article in GU by Laura Smith on being mixed race in the UK. Did you know that up until the 2001 census there wasnt even a category for mixed race or that only 680,000 mixed race identified people turned up on that census, i would have thought there's a lot more than that. Smith makes clear the point i'm trying to here, "[n]ot all mixed people face the same issues." It's a subtle yet obvious nuance. Yet such thinking is a better mode of thought not just for one 'type' of 'people', but all 'persons' everywhere.

Did someone say Allez Les Blues?

France July 9th 2006

Antillean love

I've seen it a lot and i still like it as much as the first time i read it. The whole speech 'The Antilles: Fragments of an Epic Memory' is good, i believe it was the Opening address delivered at the Eighth Conference on West Indian Literature, Mona, Jamaica, May 1988, but i might be wrong. Perhaps it was his nobel acceptance speech.

“Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole. The glue that fits the pieces is the sealing of its original shape. It is such a love that reassembles our African and Asiatic fragments, the cracked heirlooms whose restoration shows its white scars. This gathering of broken pieces is the care and pain of the Antilles, and if the pieces are disparate, ill-fitting, they contain more pain than their original sculpture, those icons and sacred vessels taken for granted in their ancestral places.”
Derek Walcott

Anthro philosophy

In an article entitled, ‘Who Knows? What Can They Know? And When?’, Lynn Nelson displays a commitment to experience as the “final arbiter of claims and theories.” Her position highlights the need to recognise the material conditions of experience. “The experience and knowledge we bring to bear on the theorising we undertake in philosophy, science and other – including of course, common sense – will include experience and knowledge shaped by the social relations of gender, race and class that characterise our larger social communities.” This is an important point as it alludes to the temporal nature of knowledge and experience. We should not be naïve enough to believe as some do that there is one objective a priori truth somehow timeless and eternal. “[I]t is commensurate with our collective experience that we will eventually abandon our current theories (though not, of course, all at once) for theories that are commensurate with much of our experience to date but incompatible with our present theories.”

Tony Blair - Mr Conceited

I've never ever voted for him. He has always looked half the man of John Smith. He is an opportunist. His path was only made possible because of the fate of timing and Smith's unfortunate passing. This led him to believe he was much greater than he could ever possibly have been, it is a complex which all who look on can see. He has left the country and the world in a worse position than he found it but yet he thinks the public respect him.

"Detailing plans for Mr Blair to appear on programmes including Blue Peter and Songs of Praise, it continues: "He needs to go with the crowds wanting more. He should be the star who won't even play that last encore."

bye bye Tony. You should have left a long long time ago. History will write about you as a failed leader whose ego and media skills were always far greater than your abilities and stature as a statesman.

Reggie Dumas on Draft Constitution

"I've often written about what I perceived years ago as Mr Manning's relentless desire for overall control of the institutions of the state. The Clarke draft accelerates that process; if accepted, it would complete it. And remember, there are others to come after Mr Manning.

That is all I shall say on this matter for the time being, except this. Mr Manning has announced that a group will be "holding meetings all over the country with the citizenry (to) explain but not defend (the Clarke draft). Its main purpose would be to ascertain the voice of the people."

I would have much preferred the voice of the people to be ascertained beforehand and used as the main guide in the writing of a draft constitution. I can only hope now that the group is able to explain satisfactorily the many extraordinary proposals in the Clarke document, and to respond to Gary Aboud's concern: What checks? What balances?"

read article here

Monday, September 04, 2006

Blogging blurb

Ok, i'm getting the hang of this. Ive got essays up, some cool blog links, Caribbean articles, some video stream links and then the actual entries i come up with. i should of got round to doing this earlier but hey, managed it now.

Wonder if there's anybody actually out there.

More on the cancelled 20/20 Super Star Match

Stanford takes it on chin and lets the WICB get away with more incompetence.

From the wire:

St. John’s, Antigua – 4 September 2006 – The Board of Directors of the Stanford 20/20 hosted a media conference today to clarify their position and the facts in regards to the cancellation of the Super Star Match slated to take place in November 2006.

The conference was hosted by Legend Rev. Wes Hall who detailed the sequence of events as follows:

22 January 2006 - The ICC writes to the WICB approving the dates for the Stanford Super Star Match as November 10th, 11th & 12th, and advising that it will also inform all of the Full Members accordingly.
8 August 2006 – Allen Stanford learns of conflict with Pakistan Tour and Super Star Match and writes Ken Gordon to clarify ICC approval and request assistance with accommodating the match.
14 August 2006 – Ken Gordon responds to Allen Stanford providing a letter he sent to ICC looking for assistance at having dates of Pakistan Tour changed.
15 August 2006 – Allen Stanford responds with thanks and hope that players will not have to choose between Super Star Match and Pakistan Tour.
18 August 2006 – Allen Stanford sends letter to Ken Gordon saying the Stanford Board has decided it would be in the best interest of West Indies Cricket to not conflict with the Pakistan Tour. In that letter, Mr. Stanford also asks if the WICB would be able to provide the names of the players that will be on the Pakistan tour so he can then select a full squad from those players that will be available if the tour dates cannot be changed.
21 August 2006 – Ken Gordon responds saying he is unable to contact the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) President and naming 13 likely players for the squad to go to Pakistan.
23 August 2006 – Ken Gordon forwards an email sent to Shaharyar Khan, PCB President, asking for dates to be changed.
25 August 2006 – Ken Gordon writes to Allen Stanford saying that the PCB is unable to change the tour dates and that selecting the team that will go on that tour is unable to happen as Brian Lara argued against selecting the team prior to the Tri Nation Series.
30 August 2006 – Allen Stanford writes to South Africa cancelling the Super Star Match and informs the players training in Antigua of cancellation.
31 August 2006 – A press release is issued announcing the cancellation of the match
1 September 2006 – In response to a public media release, Ken Gordon issues a press statement saying that he is happy that Pakistan have bent over backwards to change their dates to accommodate the Stanford Super Star Match.

After detailing the sequence of events, Rev Wes went on to explain his phone call from Allen Stanford when he made the hard decision to cancel the match. “In my year of working with Mr. Stanford I have never heard him like this. The only word to describe it is distraught. The man was truly hurt by the chain of events that led to the only decision he could come to.”

Speaking with his board Stanford summed it up succinctly.

“We have done everything right. I have done everything I said I would do and more. We obtained approval from the ruling body for cricket 8 months ago, invited and involved the West Indies board in everything that we are doing. Many of the legends are part of the West Indies Cricket Board.

We had a great tournament and we wanted to sum it all up with our best facing an international side. I am truly sorry that is not able to happen this year. There is too much uncertainty and there is too much at stake to move forward with the match at this stage,” Stanford lamented.

The press conference was also an announcement of the temporary disbanding of the Stanford 20/20 Board until it reconvenes in May after the Cricket World Cup. One of the legends on the Board, Sir Vivian Richards, was very vocal in his feelings for the event, “I am thrilled and extremely pleased to have been involved in something so successful in the Caribbean! I see children on the street playing cricket, I feel the excitement still filtering throughout the region – it was an amazing thing to be a part of.”

For those in the region disappointed by the cancellation of the Super Star Match, do not despair. The South Africans will be invited again to play a Super Star team in mid 2008. The team will come from those players participating in the next Stanford 20/20 tournament which Stanford plans to host between December 2007 and February 2008. All the details for this tournament will be announced when the board reconvenes in May 2007.

“Right now the region should look forward to the hosting of Cricket World Cup and we do not wish to take anything away from that spectacle and its importance to the West Indies people. The way forward for the Stanford 20/20 is an exciting one and we are certain the region will be thrilled when all is revealed next year,” Stanford concluded.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Steve McManaman

You tube has a brilliant comp of Steve McManaman. What a hero!

Lets not forget this goal. Awesome!

I had to remove the YouTube video from this page as it slowing everything down. When will high speed be the only speed for all? It makes the net so much more functional.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The London Hanged - Peter Linebaugh

"In criminology as in economics there is scarcely a more powerful word than 'capital'. In the former discipline it denotes death; in the latter it has designated the 'substance' or the 'stock' of life: apparently opposite meanings. Just why the same word, 'capital', has come to mean both crimes punishable by death and the accumulation of wealth founded on the produce of previous (or dead) labour might be left etymologists were not the association so striking, so contradictory and so exact in expressing the theme of this book. For this book explores the relationship between, the organised death of living labour (capital punishment) and oppression of the living by dead labour (the punishment of capital)." (pg xv, The London Hanged)


Donald Rumsfeld, is comparing opponents of the Iraq war to those who supported the appeasement of Adolf Hitler before the second world war.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Leadership challenge please

Will somebody get the balls and the 72 MPs signatures needed to mount a leadership challenge please.

Spike Lee and Katrina Documentary

I hear from many that this is very good and worth seeing. Its on HBO out here. Not sure how you get it elsewhere.

GU has a good review

"But later the inadequately maintained levees, or flood walls, broke and a city below sea level was catastrophically submerged. A president anxiously focused on the "war on terror" was all too slow to respond, apparently unable to decide if conspicuous federal intervention would make him look strong or weak. Days passed, and TV pictures of starving, dying Americans made the US look like a third world country - or perhaps, arguably, disclosed the third world country that America secretly keeps in its closet."

Cricket - and more WICB bad management

"In light of the recent release from the WICB in regards to Pakistan’s willingness to change their dates to accommodate the Super Star Match - which up to now has not been formally communicated to Mr. Allen Stanford - he wishes to issue the following public statement:

The cancellation of the Super Star match was based on a letter written by the President of the WICB dated 25th August in which it was conveyed that there was absolutely nothing that could be done with the dates for Pakistan and that Mr. Ken Gordon, as quoted in his letter, had conveyed his disappointment to the PCB Chairman, Mr. Shaharyar Khan.

After receiving this communication from Mr. Gordon and realising the level it had gone to with the PCB and much contemplation on the issue, the extremely difficult decision was made to cancel the match. Subsequent to this, South Africa was informed, agreements with suppliers were cancelled and the Super Star squad that were training in Antigua were informed and the camp was discontinued because of the irresolvable issue with the Pakistan tour dates.

At this stage it would be unprofessional to reinstate all of this to accommodate what appears to be a lack of efficiency and miscommunication on the part of the WICB, the very organisation who assured us the dates could be accommodated."

And here is the proof to back up Stanford's statement, a letter from Ken Gordon, President of West Indies Cricket Board Inc. These guys real dumb boy.

August 25, 2006

Mr. Allen Stanford
By Email

Dear Allen,

I have had to leave Trinidad for Tobago at short notice.

We have received a response this morning from the Pakistan Cricket Board indicating that they are unable to shift their dates. I have conveyed my disappointment to the Chairman, Mr. Shaharyar Khan, but I am afraid there is nothing more that can be done on that front.

As far as the selection of the team is concerned, we have also run into a snag. Brian Lara has argued strongly (and not without some logic) that he would not like to have the team selected for Pakistan until after the Tri Nation series. It is his view that the players must be in a position where they must earn their places and if we have settled so far ahead it could defeat that purpose.

I regret that we have not been able to go along as we had hoped, but in the one instance it was Pakistan’s call and in the other, Mr. Lara has a valid position. It always helps when people have to struggle for their places on the team.


(not signed when sent electronically)
K. Gordon

This is whole episode is a pity - because everyone who saw the 20/20 competition knows the public loved it and was looking forward to seeing the special game. Once again the WICB shaft the West Indian Public. Cha! When will it end?

More on the Trinidad Draft Constitution

From Sheldon Waithe to Trinidad Express

Draft Constitution is autocratic


The much vaunted new Constitution has now been presented in draft format to the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. Unsurprisingly, this draft has not garnered the interest of the public for a document that is so crucial to the future of our nation. As members of this same disenchanted public continue to add to their list of complaints about the mismanagement of the nation, one asks how can the public complain about the running of the country but then not take a vested interest in the mechanics behind the running of the country.

Though the draft paper has only recently been presented (the ‘white paper’), there is, with a general election looming on the horizon, the impetus for this draft to take the next step towards implementation as soon as possible (some expectations state a ‘green paper’ document before the end of 2006). Without the public interest, perusal and involvement it is all too possible that this 159 page document can be passed as the new Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago in relatively quick time, a document it has to be stressed, that will determine the manner in which we are governed. Yet the interest for this all-encompassing draft remains dormant.

The judiciary and Parliament itself has suffered the fate of ambiguous laws, drafts etc. that has restricted their ability to perform in the best interests of the nation, now we are confronted by a draft that contradicts the very purpose for which it was enacted, to restrict the considerable power that the political leader of T&T wields, in the hope of a more democratic process.

A look at the draft shows the favouring of the ‘Executive President’ model as we meander along the road to full Americanism in media, behaviour, thought, deed and now, governance. What this means is that we the public, will put all the power into one individual as this President will be leader of his political party, Head of the government and the Head of State. If you think that the presiding PM currently makes whimsical decisions without much opposition or regard for public opinion, what do you think will happen with a Constitution that grants almost total political power to an individual? Though the favoured practice of late is for our President to steer clear of all things Party-related, surely we all recognise the folly of eradicating the system of a separate Government and State.

Other points for major concern regarding the proposed Constitution would be the appointment of the Chief Justice by this President. Given the current situation between Mr. Manning and Mr. Sharma, one does not need to highlight the potential issue of a President choosing a leader of the judiciary that favours his/her desires. Effectively, this could lead to a President deciding upon which laws he will adhere to and which ones he will ignore. This type of system will even dwarf the burgeoning autocratic leadership that is raring its head in T&T.

Though there are many more points to be raised from this draft such as the eradication of the Cabinet sharing responsibility (and therefore accountability) for government decisions, the PM has stated that there are more aspects that will reveal themselves as further examination of the document continues. However it is hardly likely that there will be any proposed solutions to outweigh the massive empowerment that the post of Executive President will produce.

It is quite confusing that Sir Ellis Clarke, the man that stated (in 2005 I believe) that the office of Prime Minister in Trinidad and Tobago holds too much power hence the need for a new Constitution, then produces a document that does the opposite to his observation. Though we are continually reminded that this is the first draft and it is now to be debated in Parliament, the general direction of this draft should give cause for concern to a public that already feel helpless when their government makes decisions in a dictatorial manner.

It is equally baffling that the purveyors of our news, the quality media, have not provided much comment or more importantly a breakdown of the major points of this draft. Not everyone has the access or will go to the Parliament website to look at the draft ( One would have thought that the importance of such a document would entail a daily/weekly series dedicated to empowering the people of T&T with the knowledge of this draft along with comment and potential repercussions, be they positive or negative. It is part of the obligation of the media to enact this.

If copy can be given to the berating comments of members of the Opposition and the Government, surely this qualifies as a higher priority in the echelon of worthy news. I trust that my mild criticism will not deter you from the points listed above.

This draft has silently entered the door of Parliament but some of its intentions are quite loud and clear despite its infancy. The importance of this document means that the people of this nation need to understand its affect upon their rights and freedom and be involved in its development, otherwise like the majority of similar projects, we will continue to be distracted by other things and when the changes take place that leave us even more helpless and disenchanted we will wonder how and why we arrived there. The governance of a nation is important enough to garner your attention and your continued involvement, don’t you think? Get involved."

Evil Man

Tony Blair claims we should stop children being born to dysfunctional families, intervening before they are born, totally missing the point, and disguising it too, that society itself is a mess and itself the real dysfucntional entity that does not work. And people actually voted for this a$**7le.

"If we are not prepared to predict and intervene far more early then there are children that are going to grow up in families that we know perfectly well are completely dysfunctional, and the kids a few years down the line are going to be a menace to society and actually a threat to themselves," he told BBC News. There could be sanctions for parents who refused to take advice, he added.

This is not the kind of world we should accept. Why is he still around? No wait. How is he still around?