Archive for February, 2010


February 27, 2010


« Time to Mount Up!
Health Care Summit 2010: the Road Forward
February 26th, 2010 | Author: Aris

speed limit infinity-There are moments in each our lives that we just know are going to be the snapshots our minds will use to remember important events that must never be forgotten. Sometimes they are snapshots that are uniquely our own, like watching a child’s first steps, or the first moment you laid eyes on your spouse-to-be and felt the invisible lighting wrack your senses. But sometimes they are snapshots that we all share, like Armstrong’s boot hitting the surface of the moon, the last moments of Kennedy’s life as a sniper’s bullets found their mark, or the still vivid horror of September 11th 2001.

Yesterday’s health care summit may very well turn out to be the snapshot of the Obama presidency and a seven hour highlight reel of how the 21st century will see to it that Lincoln’s words remain immortal, that a “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

I originally envisioned writing a different piece today to recap yesterday’s historic health summit. I thought I would be doing what every other pundit is doing today, giving you my own blow-by-blow account of who the winners and losers were in this free-to-view, televised, bipartisan match up that was intended to be a political game of Bridge, not only as a metaphor about closing a divide, but as a game intended to see if opposing parties could be thrust upon each other from across a table, check out the cards they were dealt, and try to work as a team to actually win a hand for the American people. But, I changed my mind. This turned out to be too important and it deserves to be more than that. I can only hope I can rise to the challenge and find a way to articulate the history that I saw unfold yesterday.

I’ll admit it. When President Obama got in front of the cameras during the most viewed television event in history, this year’s Super Bowl, and presented the challenge to Congress to come together and try to move forward on Health Care Reform legislation, something that has been held just out of our reach for the last five decades, I thought to myself, finally, here will be a forum to separate the posers from the players. This will be the chance to for the American people to see if their wishes are truly being represented by those they charged with the task to be their voice. What I was privileged enough to witness instead was a mechanism of transparency that I hope will be repeated with every major piece of legislation that proves to be so philosophically contentious that our legislators simply can not find a way to build bridge long enough to span an ocean’s divide and put the American people back into the conversation.

It was amazing to hear from so many old-time career congressmen and congresswomen that they have never been part of anything like this summit in all their years and that they have never seen this body act so civilly with each other for so long when meeting over a piece of legislation that has such deep party lines drawn in the sand. Why not? If they don’t normally behave like the quasi-nobles they want us to think they are, why do they insist on calling each other distinguished? Now we know they can all walk the walk when the cameras are on, let’s hope they can take this obviously new lesson to budget meetings and the endless hours of debate that are required to build a meaningful consensus and hammer out the details on the things that Americans want and deserve.

When President Obama made his opening remarks, he tried to set the tone that would be needed for progress. He didn’t want it to be another day of focusing on the details that divide, he wanted to focus on the details that both parties seem to embrace, things like the unacceptable practice of allowing pre-existing conditions to be used as a device to deny or drop someone’s coverage, bringing down premiums for everyone, and getting decent, accessible health care for the frustrated legions of hard working Americans and small businesses that have nowhere else to turn for help.

But the moment I saw the Republican Whip, Eric Cantor, and Republican Minority Leader, John Boehner, walk into the room risking a hernia by lugging in the 2400 page House and Senate Bill, I knew where this was meeting was going to go. What I didn’t know is that they would be getting my thanks today. Thank you for sticking steadfast to your guns and personifying the word “unyielding” from a minority position, thank you for having such an obtuse opinion of the American people that you thought courtroom theatrics would provide the smoke and mirrors needed to misdirect the viewing public from the big white elephant in the room. Thank you for showing us all your true colors. Thank you for helping America see the light. And most of all, thank you for lighting the torches for us on the once dark path to a reconciliation vote that will see the simplest and most ancient tenet of democracy find its bloom, the majority rules.

Barack Obama did what great Presidents do, he engaged the American public in the process. But at the same time, he showed us once again what kind of truly unique enigma he is. Every time he faces an opponent, they think it’s going to be a cake walk. Ask Hillary Clinton, or even better, ask John McCain what it is exactly that he is reminded of every day. They all seem to make the mistake of thinking that because he doesn’t engage in the customary chest-pounding we’ve grown accustomed to, they will be able to lead him around like a puppy on leash and have their way.

Time and time again he proves to be something else, something I can best describe as a shy matador. I know it’s an oxymoron, after all, there is nothing normally shy about a matador, but it sums up what I see in this man. Before he get’s into the ring the spectacle has already started, the crowd is already electric with anticipation and it is the matador’s job to take charge of the bull’s final passes. He has to be on his toes and posses the agility of a feline, he has to use brains before brawn, he has to know when to flash red and instigate a charge, and he has to know when to move and allow the bull’s momentum to offer him a clear shot with his blade that will make the beast’s vulnerable spot his undoing.

After a day of the same tired talking points, his closing statement did exactly that, and more. The look on John Cantor’s face when President Obama, Mr. Hope himself, actually mouthed the words that a compromise may not be able to be reached, you finally saw the dumbfounding realization wash over him that they had blown a perfect opportunity to affect the change they want by choosing theatrics over substance, by distancing themselves from opportunity instead of embracing it. It was almost as priceless as watching Obama completely baffle John McCain by agreeing with him flat out on the point he was trying to make and turning him into a stuttering mess.

In 21st century America, forums like this have got to be made common practice. As everyday Americans rehash yesterday’s events with conversations around the water cooler and kitchen tables, as people ask themselves if they want to put their boat in a ”pool” or a lake, as they grapple with the logic presented by both sides and make an educated determination about what is truly best for themselves, I would be stupefied if there is not substantial movement in the polls, now that a lot of the shadowy mystery has been dragged into the light. If I’m wrong, I’ll grin and bear it, but if I’m right, I will be delighted and filled with a newfound confidence that we really can take our government back if the doors and windows are wide open for all of us to peer in on the proceedings that decide our future.

If these legislators want to keep saying that America rejects this, or embraces that, at least have the common decency to let us see what’s actually behind door number one and door number two. I think America is quickly getting sick and tired of making every decision based on whether it is stamped with an R or a D.

Everyone agreed that health care must be reformed. Everyone agreed that our current trajectory is unsustainable. Now that America finally had a chance to hear everyone’s positions loud and clear, I am confident that we will have a law in place by mid April and I really do hope that Republicans in Congress can look past their own nose and work across the aisle to represent their constituencies and do their very best to get more of their ideas implemented before they are simply left out of the discussion altogether as Democrats have been 16 out of the 22 times a reconciliation vote has been used in our recent history.

If the majority was really against the bill on the table, as every Republican yesterday professed, wouldn’t it be President John McCain calling the shots? Obama wasn’t miming his intentions to overhaul the system when stadiums were filled with the hopeful and the entire world tuned in for 2 years of tire kicking and checking under the hood. And I hope that everyone agrees with the mathematical truth that 51% still constitutes a majority.

President Obama will not wait to bring desperately needed relief to struggling Americans because time will not stop for anyone. This moment is too important, this moment decides the future, this moment is in our hands. It’s time to do the right thing.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: 2010, Blair House, Boehner, Cantor, Health Care, Obama, pelosi, summit
7 Responses to “Health Care Summit 2010: the Road Forward”

February 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Great analysis. Thoughtful, insightful and well written. btw: I think you’re right!
Daniel McKernan:
February 26, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Nice job Aris. I loved the matador analogy, it sure fits for President Obama.
Donna No Shock:
February 26, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Another masterpiece Aris. You have so many great points in this article but this one struck me the most, “Barack Obama did what great Presidents do, he engaged the American public in the process”. This is what sets him apart from so many others and puts him IMO in the class of FDR, Lincoln and Kennedy. They understood the importance of bringing us, we the people, into the process.

Thank you for an excellent, insightful article.
February 26, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Aris, I truly believe that God is at work at All Times and this definitely shows the words penned had to be put down in writing.President Barack Obama is Nobody’s Fool But very much an Intellectual which is why he belongs in the position he carries today as PRESIDENT of this Country. I also want to mention that the Role of the Republicans is to Ridicule our President but this only makes Americans realise how these so called Lawmakers have no Manners and Charisma in Comparison to our President who very much shows COURTESY and Politeness to ALL even to those who are against HIM and out to destry him,however I applaud your beautiful analysis and I definitely laughed at your analogy of the Matador. It is Good.
February 26, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Aris again you demostrated your eloquence & extraordinary ability to grasp the events that plague our society today. Indeed you are doing what President Obama so desperately is trying to accomplish, and that is to open the eyes of those republicans that it is high time to meet the health care requirements of the people of America to have a revised health care system that meets the needs of all..
Congratulations, you are our representitive on the forefront of this issue. I hope The President can notice your contributions.
February 27, 2010 at 12:58 am

Aris good job, I liked it a lot but some may find it too long.
Dr. Vigilance:
February 27, 2010 at 9:51 am

Dear Aris: I find your analysis of the arduous and supremely intricate Summit 2010 session stimulating and intriguing.Your erudite and well-researched essays remind me of the great American writer and patriot Thomas Paine as well as of the endearing wit and common sense of Will Rogers. You have the rare ability to reinterpret what we all have witnessed – some with mixed feelings – in an appealingly constructive way. You marry pragmatism to idealism! Consequently, you arrive at original conclusion, well-framed in a coherent historical context.
A brief digression into a matter of urgency to all authors, especially freelancers and those devoted to to advancing our common welfare. Roy Blount Jr. president of Authors Guild (Authors Guild Bulletin, Winter 2010, page 4) editorializes: “…there is the school of thought that books shouln’t cost anything because ‘information wants to be free.’ …a book is more than information. It’s someone’s – several people’s – work…. To send one’s child to… universities costs (say) an author maybe $50,000 a year. How about College wants to be free?” I would add that while authors breathe air, they can definitely not live on air alone. You, Aris, are a valued member of a select fraternity/sorority of altruistic souls gifted with writing skills. Their incandescent conscience impels them to give freely of their precious time and energy to improve the lot of the American people. Therefore, I am pleased to send you our modest contribution for continuing to elighten and entertain your many readers at, I should think, considerable personal sacrifice!
The “loyal” Republican Opposition promotes an “incremental” approach to the health reform initiative. But many vital enterprises demand a unitary and soundly integrated design and execution. The result is most felicitous when created by a visonary genius – alas, a species in short supply in this or any other age. Imagine the immortal Taj Mahal or the sublime Sistine Chapel, if designed by quarrelsome committees and subjected to iunterminable popularity polls, amendments and delays. Compare, for contemporary good measure, the chaotic evolution of the most worthy post-9/11 monument/plaza/edifices on Manhattan’s Ground Zero! First conceived by an uncompromising master architect, the noble project has been floundering for years – a shameful exercise in disunity. Self-serving moentary interests, political bickering and short-sightedenss are fully to blame. Shall we not learn from that debacle?
And lastly, is it not ironic that when it comes to critical issues of public health the supposedly “family-oriented” conservative statesmen and women exhibit seeming disregard for some fundamental ethical principles held in common by all dedicated Humanists and genuine followers of the Judeo-Christan faiths (and of course others like Buddhism and traditioanl Islam as well). These are currently best exemplified in the Democratic plan as presented to Congress. Are we not all deemed to be one another’s keepers and are we not charged with sharing our bounty with those who are hungry, impoverished or in need?
Thank you, Aris, and sincere congratulations, for so eloquently bringing to our attention much that could easily have become obscured by the heated arguments and counterarguments. Those darted about through heavy air for the better part of one day. Like you, I believe that good will and common sense – the largely untapped power of human reasoning – always prevail in the end. However, time marches relentlesssly on and we are fast running out of it.


February 25, 2010


By Dave Yesterday at 1:05 am EST (Updated Yesterday at 1:05 am EST)
A medicare buy-in for those 50-64 is MUCH MUCH better then a “public option.”

Even Howard Dean says it would be better in a reconciliation bill then a public option, as it would be hard to work a strong public option into the format (and timeline) of a reconciliation bill.

Medicare is an EXISTING program, so nobody can argue you are creating this new bureacracy, it is non-controversial, and as it already exists the programs can start sooner.

The bill goes to the floor in March……the Medicare buy-in could begin 9 months later in December of 2010….people are able to sign up for it 3 months September of 2010.

Everyone 50-64 gets this letter in the mail….they save $2,500…husband/wife together saves $5,000. Employers will give employees $2,000 bonuses to switch them to these plans as they are cheaper then the ones employers can buy.

This would be a HUGE success story for HCR in September…all these people 50-64….husband/wife now have $5,000 extra cash in 2011…2/3rds of people in this group will be voting Democrat in the mid-term elections…..HCR will be declared a success by 70% of Americans..

We could even in September then pass tort reform, pass a strong public option, as all we would need is one GOP vote in th eSenate…and Snowe might then vote for it….

This “public option” everyone here is excited about wouldn’t start until 2015…that is more then two election cycles away.

This medicare buy-in is more attractive to the mdoerate Demoicrats in the House and Senate whose votes are needed.

The strong public option will pass then in 2011 and probably start sooner (then 2015) and be stronger then the ones discussed in the House or Senate.

It will also save more in the CBO score, and be able to create more economic growth in 2011…


February 24, 2010


Voodoo: The old religion rises from the rubble in Haiti

In the aftermath of one of the world’s worst earthquakes, priests and missionaries are competing for the souls of a traumatised population. Kim Sengupta reports from Port-au-Prince

Monday, 1 February 2010


Every evening, Monique Henri offers thanks to the voodoo deity Ogu Feray at a shrine in her home for sparing her family from the earthquake. She used to be a regular worshipper at her local Catholic church. But these days she goes there less often.

The disaster has moved voodoo centre-stage in Haiti. Yesterday, 1,000 members of the national convention of voodoo priests met in an emergency session to formulate their response to it. Failure to take decisive action, they warned, could bring down another disaster on the shattered country.

The devastation in Haiti has led many in the traumatised population to seek solace in faith and mysticism and there has been a move by some to turn back towards the old religion, with a marked rise in the numbers taking part in voodoo ceremonies and rituals.
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The “day of calamity”, as Haitians call it, was greeted by some Christian fundamentalists in the US with sanctimonious Schadenfreude rather than compassion. Pat Robertson, the former presidential candidate and spiritual guide of the Republican right, declared that the thousands dead an injured got what they deserved because they had made a “pact with the devil”.

And in the quake’s aftermath, the island has seen a surge of religious organisations, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and even Sikh, mostly offering relief, but some also proselytising.

The Scientologists have the highest profile, with one of their most prominent members, Hollywood star John Travolta, flying in members of the church and supplies, on his private jet. An outfit called Faith Comes By Hearing have sent 600 solar powered Bibles. The Church of the True Path recommends that Haitians should cleanse themselves by fasting – something which many are already doing, albeit involuntarily.

But the foreigners have trouble competing with voodoo, the fusion of African religions and Christianity which found its first adherents among the original slave population, and which is now deeply ingrained in the culture of the country.

It’s a faith that leaps barriers: as the Haitian saying goes, people here are “60 per cent Catholic, 40 per cent Protestant and 100 per cent voodoo.”

“If everything is good, they go to church,” said Pierre Andre Laguerre, a parish priest at Sainte Bernadette Church in Port-au-Prince .””If something bad is happening to them, they go to the voodoo priest to get help.”

Video: US Haiti airlifts

Ms Henri, 36, who has three children, sees no contradiction between her voodoo and her Christian worship. Wearing a silver crucifix over her brown jumper, she said “We all believe in God. But I also feel voodoo is powerful. We feel the luas [deities] will protect us from further dangers. We are all seeking answers to what happened.”

Standing beside her, Clavius Philisquer, 72, was keen to point out “Voodoo is part of our history, our culture. It unified us when we fought in the war of independence against the French. Voodoo gave power to the black people, that is why some Western countries say bad things about the religion. I have seen how the luas can cure people who have become mentally ill because they were possessed. It is real.”

Max Beauvoir, the chief hungan, or priest of the voodoo hierarchy, was busy at his home in Mariani, near Port-au-Prince, distributing bags of rice to his followers. “This is the first relief that the voodoo people have received,” he said. “We are being discriminated against. The aid distribution is being done by American Protestants who seem to have taken over the airport. We know what Pat Robertson said, it was ignorant, but it is part of trying to denigrate voodoo and promote evangelism”.

Mr Beauvoir, 75, a biochemist trained at the Sorbonne and in New York, said “We have suffered from the Hollywood version of voodoo, with blood sacrifices and pins being stuck into dolls. They try to denigrate us, the man from Hollywood who became president talked about ‘voodoo economics’ and he left America with one of the worst budget deficits in its history.

“In reality, what has happened in the earthquake is the end of an era. It has turned many more people towards us. They realise that we cannot go on the way we were. There are changes taking place spiritually throughout the world. We have had white people joining us from the US, Britain and Germany. Many of them are successful people, but belief in voodoo has made them even more successful.

“But the way the Christian missionaries are doing their conversion is wrong. They are going after the most vulnerable people. They are going after children. Why do you think they want to take so many of our children away for adoption?”

The UN and relief agencies have warned of an increase in child smuggling. Nadine Perrault, Unicef’s child protection officer for the region, says “This is a huge, huge opportunity for the gangs. There’s lots of evidence of the traffickers moving fast, using all sorts of means.” A Canadian priest, Pastor Noel Asmonin, said he was offered a young boy for $50 at a refugee centre.

Growing Haitian anger at their children being taken across the border was fuelled by the arrest of 10 American Baptists at Port-au-Prince as they tried to take 33 young orphans, aged from two months to 12 years, into the Dominican Republic.

The Haitian authorities claim that the group, the Haitian Orphan Rescue Mission, from Idaho, lacked authorisation. The government now requires the personal authorisation of the Prime Minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, for the removal of any child.

Defending the group’s action, its leader, Laura Silsby, said: “In this chaos, we are just trying to do the right thing.” Sean Lankford of Meridian, Idaho, whose wife and 18-year-old daughter are due to appear at a court today charged with trafficking, protested. “Nothing can be further from the truth. The children were going to get the clothes, food and love they need.”

Haitians bitterly point out that while trying to take their young to America, the US authorities have imposed restrictions on earthquake victims being taken there for medical treatment. Medical air-lifts came to a halt after Charlie Crist, the Florida Governor, warned that hospitals in his state, which has been receiving most the of the patients, are “quickly reaching saturation”. However, there was a beacon of hope for many with the announcement last night that Medevac evacuation flights to the US would resume “within 12 hours”.

“Having received assurances that additional capacity exists both here and among our international partners, we determined that we can resume these critical flights,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said, adding that Florida was identifying hospitals to receive the patients.

American doctors working in Haiti have warned that the only hope of survival for many critically ill patients lies in removal to a US hospital. Dr Barth Green, who has come from Miami, said at a field hospital near the international airport: “We have a hundred patients who will die in the next day or two if we don’t Medevac them.” His colleague, Dr David Pitcher, pointed to five-year-old Betina Joseph suffering from tetanus lying on a cot with flies buzzing around her. “If we can’t save her by getting her out right away, we won’t save her”.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said: “There has been no policy decision to suspend evacuee flights. This situation arose because we started to run out of room.”

Some evangelical relief workers have seized on reports which appear to show that voodoo’s “real dark side” has begun to show itself. One prevalent belief, it is claimed, is that loup-garou have emerged from the torn earth to prey on humans. The word is French for werewolf, but it also applies to other animals which possess men and women and impel them to suck the blood of children.

According to the same reports night-time patrols have been organised in some neighbourhoods against the malignant spirits, and there have been reports of a lynching at a refugee camp, La Grotte. Michaelle Casseus, one of the camp residents, said ” After the earthquake, the loup-garou fled from prison. He was boasting that he was in jail because he was caught eating children. During the night, he went into the tents and tried to take someone’s child. He was killed.”

The Independent could not find any loup-garou patrols in Port-au-Prince, and Haitian officials say the death at the refugee camp was the result of an attempted child snatching for trafficking rather than vampirism.

Anthony Pascal, a senior hungan in the capital Port-au-Prince, stressed ” Voodoo is not about black magic. It is a combination of various religions including Christianity and it was started partly as a reaction to the brutality of slavery. It is not there to harm people, but to help and protect them.

“We have a lot of beliefs modern people should believe in. For example, we believe that trees have spirits which we should not harm otherwise we will all suffer. But then we had deforestation here and the ecology suffered.”

Mr Pascal is better known as Kompe Filo, the host of a popular television show. He and his fellow priests, he claims, foresaw the earthquake. “We knew something big was going to happen six months ago and it would involve an upheaval.”

God’s anger with man was the cause of this upheaval, Mr Pascal insisted, a view echoed by Protestant and Catholic priests on the island. “People have turned away from spiritual values. They have become too obsessed with money. They are losing their humanity. That is why this happened. People realise that and that is why they are joining us more and more.”

Exactly how many are joining, however, is open to conjecture. Among the hundreds gathered outside Mr Beauvoir’s house waiting for the food distribution was 76-year-old Andy Jameau. “All the people around here are supposed to be Voodoo believers,” he said. “But I would say around 40 per cent are not that and I am one of them. I would say I am Voodoo, Catholic or anything if it means I would get food for my family. I believe in any God who fills my stomach.”


February 15, 2010



Daily Independent (Lagos)

Nigeria: Enforcing Indigenous Languages in Homes
Yemi Adebisi
14 February 2010

Lagos — The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation appears to be set to encourage the use of indigenous languages in Nigerian homes.

The institute also frowns at the mode of dressing of most Nigerian children, which it described as ‘near nudity,’ blaming this on the nonchalant attitude of Nigerian parents and the lack of respect for Nigerian culture. It has therefore assured that it would use its medium to address the total emancipation of Nigerian cultural details and encourage its proliferation. This would, according to the institute, help to market the value of Nigerian culture, home and abroad, when the essence and awareness of the culture is encouraged.

Apparently, the recent visit of the executive secretary/chief executive officer of NICO, Dr. Barclays F. Ayakoroma to Lagos office was primarily designed by the institute to gear up arrangement to start off the new academic session of its cultural institute. It was during the visit that Ayakoroma, in his chat with the media, unveiled plans to take Nigeria culture to all the nooks and crannies of the country and to ensure that it yields positive results than ever. NICO was established by Decree 93 of 1993.

The Institute has the primary responsibility of harnessing Nigeria’s cultural resources to meet the challenges of social integration, peace, unity and national development. It also serves as vital force for promoting Nigeria’s programme of Cultural Diplomacy and energising the various cultural establishments in the new direction advocated by Nigeria’s Cultural Policy and the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997) declared by the United Nations.

NICO has a vision to be the apex and leading Cultural Training Institute in Nigeria and Nigeria’s contribution to world progress and civilisation through research and documentation, cultural assets and services, both tangible and intangible.

NICO is also committed to train cultural development officers, motivators and communicators who would be grounded in Nigerian cultural realities, philosophy and practices that are essential for national integration, peace, unity and development in a multi-ethnic nation.

It would be recalled that the institute has presented for graduation, the first set of students in the Certificate, Graduate and Diploma in Cultural Studies. By November 2009, registration processes started for the second set. Ayakoroma visited Lagos to ensure the successful take off of the new academic session. According to him, he was satisfied with the current academic programme and expressed hope that sooner, the training school will be in its rightful place in the culture sector. The vision of NICO is to run a school that will produce graduands that will occupy strategic position in various cultural institutions.

“Just like the Federal Training School trains clerical officers all over the country, ASCON trains administrative officers, and NIPS trains top government officers in the civil service and the military, we are positioning ourselves to train cultural workers at the middle and top level of cultural administration,” he said.

The secretary observed that NICO would only gain its relevance in the scheme of things when it comes out with some programmes that will impact the lives of the generality of the people. At the national level, according to him, there are programmes lined up, but specifically, the indigenous language programme appears to be a strategic option. With the notion that many Nigerians are not intact, language wise and that most of Nigerian children find it difficult speaking indigenous language, because of inter-tribal marriages and so on, NICO has developed a programme that will encourage the speaking of the indigenous languages.

“If these children are given the opportunity to learn indigenous languages, they approach them with every sense of commitment. This programme has gained ground to some extent. In the last long vacation of Nigerian primary and secondary schools, the programme took place in the six zonal offices of NICO.”

The institute has set up an agenda to introduce a programme entitled ‘Language in the Barracks’ to support its vision to immortalize indigenous languages. This is with the intention of taking indigenous language training scheme to police and military barracks. It was discovered, however, that among some military or police families, the wives might be Yoruba while the husbands, Igbo. It boils down on the challenge of the particular language that the children will be disposed to speak. NICO therefore believes that with this programme, parents as well as children will have the opportunity to learn those languages. The institute has also concluded plans, according to the executive secretary, to start a television programme called ‘WAZOBIA Quiz’. They are looking at a scenario whereby the parents and their children come for a quiz programme based on culture such as ‘Nigerian People and Places’. Such segment will be in the three Nigeria major languages.

“If the father is speaking Yoruba and Hausa for example, and the wife is Igbo, we expect that one of the children that will appear with you for the programme will also speak one of the languages. We believe it will be an interesting programme and it will enhance or energise the study or interest of Nigerian languages,” he said. This, to an extent, might help improve the readiness of Nigerian families to cherish the more the indigenous languages. NICO declared its intention to encourage the speaking of indigenous languages at homes and offices in Nigeria and not having English as lingua franca in respected homes. Other roundtable programme of the institute include annual roundtable conference, workshop on ‘Repositioning Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity’, World Culture Day celebration in May among others. The secretary also intimidated the media about the plan of the institute to start cultural club in secondary schools. This will be taking to secondary schools to catch the young ones culturally, like the debating and literary societies. The intention of the institute is for the children to appreciate every area of Nigerian culture, be it music or dressing.

He expressed his disappointment on how Nigerian parents are showing lackadaisical attitude to the dressing mode of most Nigerian children. According to him, some of these children go on the street almost in nudity. “It is very worrisome. The jeans, T-shirts, and the type of short sketches that our children wear in the name of fashion are really worrisome. That is why we are also looking at organising a programme called ‘Nigeria’s Dress Culture’. We want to look at aspect of dress culture.”

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Some Nigerian universities have been observed to institutionalised dress codes. Ayakoroma therefore appealed that such institutions should be encouraged, because if the students are allowed to dress the way they want, “very soon we will begin to see nude boys and girls on our streets in the name of fashion.”

NICO has vowed to step up actions on the creation of awareness on the essence and importance of culture in Nigeria. Culture, according to him, is what makes a man. He therefore warned that with the level of richness of Nigerian culture, it would be very unfortunate if Nigerian parents failed to carry their children along and sell them to the western world in the name of civilisation.

He also significantly pointed out that for Nigeria to move forward, there is a need for Nigerians to cooperate with the institute to appraise the level of corruption in Nigeria from cultural point of view.

OBAMA-BLACK MUSIC AT THE BLACK HOUSE!-Video- Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson and The Blind Boys of Alabama Perform

February 14, 2010


via Video- Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson and The Blind Boys of Alabama Perform at the White House.


February 3, 2010


Gabourey Sidibe
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Gabourey Sidibe

Sidibe at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival
Born May 6, 1983 (1983-05-06) (age 26)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 2009–present
Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe (born May 6, 1983) is an Academy Award-nominated American actress who made her acting debut in the 2009 film Precious.

Contents [hide]
1 Life and career
2 Filmography
3 References
4 External links

[edit] Life and career
Sidibe was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised by her mother in Harlem.[1] Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is an R&B and gospel singer, and her Senegal-born father, Ibnou Sidibe, is a cab driver.[2] She has attended several New York City area colleges: Borough of Manhattan Community College, City College of New York, and Mercy College.[3]

In Precious, Sidibe plays the title character, a physically and sexually abused sixteen-year old, with a four year old child by her own father and with another child on the way. The film won numerous awards, including the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award.[4]

She has finished shooting her next film, Yelling to the Sky, a Sundance Lab project directed by Victoria Mahoney and starring Zoe Kravitz, in which she plays a bully.[5]

On December 8, 2009, she appeared on the Jay Leno Show to promote Precious. Her “Earn Your Plug” challenge was to answer trivia about ‘N Sync with the help of surprise guest Lance Bass from the band. A week later, on December 15, she was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her performance in Precious. On February 2, 2010, Sidibe was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

[edit] Filmography
Year Film Role Notes
2009 Precious Claireece “Precious” Jones Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Hollywood Film Award for Rising Star Award
Iowa Film Critics Awards Best Actress
National Board of Review Breakthrough Performance Female
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Satellite Award for Outstanding New Talent
Women’s Film Critics Circle Award for Best Young Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Alliance of Woman Film Journalists Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — St Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Actress
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Ensemble
2010 Yelling to the Sky Latonya Williams (post-production)

[edit] References
^ Stated on the Late Show with David Letterman, November 9, 2009
^ Williams, Kam (2009-11-10). “Gabby Sidibe “Precious” Interview with Kam Williams”. NewsBlaze. Retrieved 2009-11-10.
^ Gabourey Sidibe profile
^ “Push’ takes Sundance grand jury award” Ed Zeitchik, Hollywood Reporter, January 24, 2009
^ Yadegaran, Jessica (2009-11-12), “Gabourey Sidibe on being ‘Precious'”, San Jose Mercury News,, retrieved 2009-11-15
[edit] External links
Gabourey Sidibe at the Internet Movie Database
Gabourey Sidibe bio FR

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February 1, 2010


By Dave Yesterday at 3:08 pm EST (Updated Yesterday at 3:08 pm EST)
Obama kicked a** at the Republican retreat.

He needs to continue having these events every month so the GOP can’t claim he is ignoring them or not listening to their ideas.

Obama has to unite the Democrats in Congress, as between now and the November election the GOP will be united against him. Any Republican that stands with him the GOP will stand against.

100% of House Republicans stood against the stimulus and 100% will stand against Health Care Reform.

Despite the filibuster power of the Senate Republicans, the 6 main “GOP-held” seats in he Senate that the Democrats are targetting in November would all be open no Republican would get voted out..and only 1/3rd of Republicans are up for re-election.

Once the Democrats pass Health Care Reform there is nothing the GOP can say. Once the verdict comes in from the business community that this will reduce Health Care costs and help the economy the GOP will have nothing to run on.

The Demographics will crush the GOP. The minority vote (African Americans, latinos) will go from 20% of the vote in 2008 to 40% of vote by 2020. The Republicans are losing ground to both groups..97% of AA’s voted for Obama and 75% of the Latino’s…new voters 72% voted for him.

The Republicans think that if they can’t win in 2012 they can win in 2016 but they will be crushed by the Demographics as all then new voters are Democrats.

By 2012, the middle class will shift strongly to Obama because of Health Care Reform and because the tax breaks will go to them and not the super rich.


February 1, 2010



Behold Nigerian virgin!

* By Taiwo Abiodun

Virgins during the testing programme

Girls proud to be virgins confidently offered themselves for tests at Ekemode Memorial Hospital and Women’s Infirmary, Surulere, Lagos as the Nigeria virgins celebration organised by Princess Adunni Adediran marked its third anniversary. The virginity tests were done by Dr Ade Ekemode, an experienced gynaecologist and involved 45 young women from across the country.

Three years ago, Adediran launched her campaign to help Nigerian girls keep their virginity and avoid unwanted pregnancies, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis, barrenness and broken homes. Above all, she wanted them to be chaste, protect their virginity for their husbands, to honour and give them respect.”

According to her: “Women and innocent girls are always on the receiving end.The girls are lured into prostitution, put in the family way and made barren as a result of infection or induced dangerous abortion that could affect their future; while during the burial of the men or the so called husband the wife would be surprised when the children her husband had out of wedlock come to attend the burial service. We have seen many.”

Giving reasons why young girls should keep their virginity, the princess said “charity begins at home, my daughter who is now a practising lawyer is still a virgin. I have to practise what I preach and I am proud that our girls are beginning to understand what we are saying ‘’.

Dr Ekemode praised the girls for keeping their virginity, and advised them to keep it till their wedding day. “In Nigeria now we are proud to still have some of our young girls who believe in chastity. Pre spent 41years in the profession and I am proud that we still have some of our children that are decent.”

Love David (22), from Okokomaiko, Lagos, said she came to do the test to prove to the world that she is clean and would not have sex until her wedding day. “I will keep my virginity until I meet the man who is ready to pay my bride price,’’ she asserted.

Augusta Aishen from Delta state said she is a student of River State University where she is studying computer science. She heard the news of the virginity test over the radio. “My mother is a cosmetologist and my father is an engineer, they trained me not to destroy or spoil my life because of any boy or man. I am happy that my parents trust me and they even paid my fare to come to Lagos for the test,” she told The Nation.

Akada Ikada (22), a mass communication student, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, described the medical test as the best way to prove virginity “I will keep my virginity until I am ripe enough to marry,” she said, adding that she wasn’t ashamed of being a virgin.

Awawu Ismail, a devout Muslim who was dressed in a hijab, said, Islam respects chastity. “Islam respects virginity and we have to keep ourselves until the day we are going to get married. I am proud to say that I am a virgin.

Others who came for the test include; Olawumi Opelola from Oyo state,Ajayi Oluwabukola, Oluwatoyin Vincent, Suliat Suberu, Islamyat Yisa,Mukoro Juliet, Ibirogba Ololade, Blessing Paul, , Mariam Bello.

Hajiya Basirat Yusuf said the virginity test was not painful. “They will only ask you to remove your undies and the doctor would check to confirm one’s virginity and that is all’’ she said.

Some mothers who came to witness the occasion were happy to see their daughters participating in the programme. Madam Muyidat Bello, (mother of Mariam) said it was a great programme the government at the local, and state levels should contribute to. Madam Bello said when she heard over the radio that there would be a virginity test, her daughter, Muyidat beat her chest that she is a virgin and she came with her to ascertain the truth. “When the doctor confirmed her virginity, I was happy and I love my daughter the more. She is brilliant and it is because there is no money for her university education that she has not gone to school; yet she did not go into prostitution because of our poverty level.”

Adediran who started the programme said, “They called me many names, some said I wanted to use the girls’ virginity for ritual to make money while some said I wanted to be a trafficker. I received nasty, abusive text messages but in the end most of the parents appreciated what I am doing.”

Now that her programme is gaining credibility, she wants support from government. “I want the state and local government to be involved and assist my programme for it is the first time such thing would be organised,” she said. “I am using my own money to finance the programme as many of the girls who wanted to participate had no money and I paid their transportation fare this year. I want private organizations to support us. I have been ejected from the office I was using before and I need an office’’ the woman stated.

Virgins during the testing programme


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