Archive for June, 2010

Commentary:Farrakhan

I am not a particular supporter of Louis Farrakhan or his ideas, but I do believe he has some wisdom in this clip.

There are a hodgepodge of ideas in this clip, but what do you think about the main issue of influencing culture through hip-hop and his comments about the influence hip-hop culture has on the world?

Cutting Corners, Costing Safety

I get frustrated with buying things that are made in China Mexico or the like, but because EVERYTHING is made outside of the United States it is pretty much inevitable. I try to buy used goods or find things made ethically but it is difficult when the overwhelming norm is clothes made by underpaid workers (sometimes children), but ubiquitous and cheap for the U.S. consumer

There are a number of reason’s why I despise how much we outsource manufacturing, textiles etc. (reasons such as: jobs, social equality, justice, globalization, etc.), but now I have a new reason; safety.

WASHINGTON – June 14 – Key components of high-tech American “e-passports” are assembled at a manufacturing plant in Thailand with precious little security, according to inspection reports obtained by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News.

The U.S. Government Printing Office, the agency charged with producing the new e-Passports, has been warned repeatedly since 2006 by its own security officer that the Thai manufacturing site posed a “potential long term risk to the USG (U.S. government’s) interests,” according to the reports.

The sweeping concerns ranged from the political instability of Thailand and difficulty in getting security background checks for factory workers to poor police protection.  And that country is just one of several serious vulnerabilities to the e-Passport production system flagged recently by the agency’s internal watchdog.

Read More

Really? We are outsourcing our national security? Now, I am not a national security fanatic, I actually think we are pretty neurotic and arrogant about some of our thoughts/ideas behind national security. However, passports are valuable tools that do protect the “borders”, if you will, and regulate who is inside the country and who is not. Moreover, it offers freedom for Americans in that they can travel abroad and arrive back home without much frustration. What bewilders me is the fact this move was probably made to save money. The federal press can pay workers less in Thailand than they could in Huntington, Indiana (where I just moved from).

So capitalism wins again – this time by influencing the philosophy of our government – and what matters is not people or even safety, it is saving and making money.

To be honest though, all Americans are  partially to blame. Think about passports costing $20 more than they do now – which there would be some increase if they were made in the U.S. – people would be complaining all the time. Just as our desire for cheap goods helps to drive the negative capitalistic chain via Wal-Mart, Gap etc., it drives the federal government’s desire to save money and offer an inexpensive passport.

So just as with anything, we are all involved.

*The irony is that having passports made in the U.S. would create more jobs for Americans.

Commentary: Why the Vuvuzela Horn should stay

There has been a ton of push-back against the utilization of the Vuvuzela Horn by fans at the South African hosted World Cup. If you don’t know what a Vuvuzela is, watch below.

There are several reasons the Vuvuzela’s should stay:

–  Vuvuzela’s are apart of South African football culture. If the games were in England, Brazil, Mexico etc. there would be elements of each nation’s soccer culture. We can’t be so ethnocentric as to not allow a nation to express themselves. When FIFA made the decision for the 2010 World Cup to be in South African they knew the culture and what was coming.

– The sound is a response of the joy that is in South Africa – and Africa as a  whole – because the World Cup is actually in Africa.

– Players will get accustomed to the Vuvuzelas. It is annoying but so was/is the wave, drums at games, marching bands, crowd cheers etc.

– Vuvuzelas make the experience unique, everyone will look back and remember when the Vuvuzela was released on the world of soccer. Perhaps they will even become apart of the broader sport culture and add to the multi-culture that is Football/Soccer/Futbol.

– International Soccer has struggled with issues of racism towards Black players and teams. Banning Vuvuzela’s would only add fuel to the fire, but supporting the horns -and a Black culture.

Thankfully, FIFA feels the same way I – and many folks – do. A couple days ago the president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, commented on a tweet:

I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound. I don’t see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country. Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country? Article

As said on Around the Horn, “There is an inalienable right to horn.”

Return of bloggin

I apologize for not blogging recently; I have just finished graduate school and am now planning to move to Santa Barbara for a Resident Director position at Westmont College (more on this later). I am going to try to start up the blog again however; my wife and I will be traveling out to California on Thursday and will be going to Taiwan (where my wife’s extended family lives) at the end of June.  For organization sake, when I do start into blogging consistently I am going to “limit” myself within four broad categories.

Art for the Soul – I have done a couple of these already. Basically, I am going to post a music video, art work, poem, lyrics, etc. and either talk about the significance to our lives or simply post the artwork and leave it for interpretation/discussion.

Media Reviews – Think book reviews, but I am going to expand to albums and movies.  Most will probably be over newer works, but I will probably bring up some books, movies, and albums that I am revisiting.  Some works may even be discussed multiple times at various angles. It all depends on how I feel and how much time I have.  *

Commentary – These will be my discussion on news and current events. It may be about immigration, church relations, multiculturalism, economics, urban development, higher education (my current career) etc.

Perspective – While in the commentary I will point out specific events in society and culture, the perspective section will focus on things that have happened in my life or something, outside of the news, that has made me think. These may be simple one-liners, or they may be longer blog posts; it all depends.

To those who have read my blog in the past, thank you for the support. To those who randomly or just recently discovered my blog, welcome. Feel free to go back and scan through old posts and comment if you wish to. To all, don’t just read, respond, I want to know if you like or don’t like my thoughts and perspective. Getting, respectful, pushback on ideas is how we grow.

*I am very far past due on several reviews of books I was supposed to write so in the next week or so I will be posting reviews of the following: Friendship at the Margins, Between Allah & Jesus, Education for Human Flourishing, and maybe a couple others.

Music 4 tha Soul

Shad . . . if you don’t know Shad you should. His lyrics are impeccable and his style seamlessly combines a jovial spirit, social commentary, and personal wisdom. His most recent album TSOL is an incredible work of art that can be listen to on repeat for weeks over and still be enjoyed more and more each time.  Check out his video for the single “Rose Garden” and if you like his stuff, go find his album, its worth it.