Monday, October 30, 2006

A Panel Discussion

Here is just one the hopefully the long list a diaries about events I've been to in UMD. Today's essay: A Discussion Session

Nationwide Higher Education Reform?

I have a bad feeling about this:

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents expressed confidence Friday that if federal officials launch a sweeping nationwide effort to reform higher education, state institutions will be well-prepared to accommodate changes.

Higher education reform has been on the minds of university administrators nationwide since the U.S. Department of Education-initiated Spellings Commission Report recommended last month that universities across the country employ dramatic changes, especially in revamping financial aid and increasing accountability in academic programs.

What drastic changes?

System Chancellor Brit Kirwan said he fully expects significant action by legislators to implement many of the reports' recommendations, which includes the creation of a publicly available national database containing academic success scores and financial data on institutions across the country.

"I think my friends in education should be breathing a sigh of relief that we didn't [define a standard] in nine months" of working on the report, Charlene Nunley, President of Montgomery College, who also served on the Spellings Commission, said at the meeting.

The report's recommendation to revamp financial aid also became a focus at the meeting, as one of the goals of the Spelling Commission is to address affordability concerns, especially for minorities and low-income families.

"These kinds of groups are trying to wrestle with the question of whether or not college will be affordable to citizens," Provost William Destler said in an interview. "I think that is certainly a root problem and one of the motivating factors behind all these studies of higher education."

University administrators here frequently tout their commitment to pursuing need-based financial aid, citing the Maryland Pathways Program - which combines need-based financial aid with a debt-reduction program for low-income students - and the $350 million fundraising target for scholarships in the university's $1 billion campaign as prime examples of the university's dedication.

But the report also makes several recommendations about the "confusing [federal] financial aid system that spends too little on those who need help the most." Regents and other officials said the report's recommendation that 19 federal financial aid programs merge into one would be a dramatic and much-needed step.
Spellings Commission? Academic success scores? Financial aid? How come the Conservative Controlled Media never report this Commission?

Stay Tuned.

P.S. Instead of implimenting financial aid reform, why not introduce expense-free higher education? Free tuition, and room and board. It would be simple to create and finance. Just think Single-Payer National Health Care, but for universities and colleges.

Elections 06: "Whoever Wins, We Lose"

Finally a three way debate, but where's one of them?

Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin skipped a scheduled three-way NAACP-sponsored debate in Waldorf on Thursday night, exposing the Democrat to criticism from his U.S. Senate rivals and potentially costing him votes in a swing county.

Cardin instead spent the night campaigning in neighboring Prince George’s County. His spokesman, Oren Shur, said the campaign never committed to attending the Charles County debate and had three other speaking engagements on the schedule.

Good thing african-americans relized that there was a real alternative:

‘‘It’s kind of a diss to the African-American community in this county,” he said. ‘‘... I think this was political suicide for Ben Cardin.”

Without Cardin, the debate was an amicable exchange between Steele and Zeese, who answered a wide range of questions for more than an hour.

Disagreeing on only a few topics, both candidates trashed the federal No Child Left Behind Act, endorsed Social Security reform, proposed an energy independence plan, called for further action on illegal immigration, and said the war in Iraq is going poorly.

The Gazette did not report on how they will resolve the issues. But what were the issues they disagreed on?

Photo Gallery

"Mowing the McKeldin Mall"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Photo Gallery

"Offerings to Testudo"

Sorry for the wait, here's my first Prophecy

I found out that I use a file storage system that's allow me to not only music and videos, but MS word files. So here it is, my first Prophecy: Why the Apathy?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Problems with MS Word documents

OK, the first Prophecy is supposed to be posted today. The problem is that I do not know how to attach such documents to the page, since if I simply post the prophecy on the blog, it would be too long to read. So in the meantime until I find a way to attach it onto the site as a seperate MS Word document, this blog will focus on Maryland politics and news.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Vast Wasteland

Corporate Conservative-owned NBC Universal and the CW reject Dixie Chick movie advertisments.
In an Ironic Twist of Events, NBC and The CW Television Network Refuse to Air Ads for Documentary Focusing on Freedom of Speech

NBC Claims that the Network “Cannot Accept These Spots as They are Disparaging to President Bush”

The CW Television Network that the Network Does “Not have Appropriate Programming in which to Schedule this Spot”

Famed litigator David Boies stated, “It is disappointing and troubling that NBC and The CW would refuse to accept an otherwise appropriate ad merely because it is critical of President Bush.”

Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company stated, “It’s a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America. The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticizing the president is sad and profoundly un-American"
This clearly shows the problem with the liberal media, if they're truely liberal they would allow any advertisement that criticize or support a president or the opposition. However since the "liberal media" are actually owned by conservative corporations, this is not the case.

Elections 06 :"Whoever Wins, We Lose"

Steele attacks Cardin for not knowing anything about public transport

But he does not know anything about the metro either.

Cameras rolled and clicked yesterday as Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele strolled off a Red Line Metro train at the Grosvenor-Strathmore station and took his place before the microphones.

His Democratic opponent for the U.S. Senate, the Republican said, was so out of touch with the Washington suburbs' transportation woes he couldn't even locate a proposed link in the Metro system known as the Purple Line. It was a criticism Steele raised in a televised debate the day before.

The question of the line's route -- hotly debated in Montgomery County -- came up in a candidates' debate Wednesday in which Steele accused Baltimore area Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin of paying too little attention to suburban Washington's concerns.

Quizzed by Steele about the line's termination points, Cardin sputtered "Chevy Chase," the wrong answer. Steele shot back that Cardin "has no clue" about the region's transportation issues.

Steele repeated the criticism yesterday, saying he was "quite frankly a little surprised" that Cardin, after 20 years in Congress, didn't know more about a project that would rely heavily on federal funds. A Purple Line advocate, Ben Ross of Action Committee for Transit, said Cardin "wants to build it and forgot exactly where it was going. Steele has no commitment to building it."

Asked why he held yesterday's event so far from the proposed route, Steele appeared surprised. He then said the Grosvenor-Strathmore stop was "convenient and the easiest" site for his travel schedule.

Obviously, he rather drive a SUV than use Metrorail. If they were so interested in the Purple line, why didn't they approve it before their campagin?

Elections 06- "Whoever Wins, We Lose"

Prince George's Dems Attempts to go after apathic Blacks.

I think I know why they're so apathetic:

Maryland Democrats are hoping that bringing the highly popular Barack Obama back to Prince George’s County next week will wake up the county’s increasingly apathetic black voters.

Details of Obama’s visit next week were still being worked out on Thursday, but his return to Democrat-rich Prince George’s marks the second time that he will lend his name — and media-attracting star power — to the statewide ticket. He headlined a Democratic unity rally at the University of Maryland, College Park, late last month.

He stressed that O’Malley and Cardin would be fine in Prince George’s, but he acknowledged the difficulty of getting Washington-area voters excited about two Baltimore politicians. He compared the situation to 1986 when Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer (D) was running for governor.

‘‘To some people, Baltimore is like a foreign world,” Miller said.

The lack of high interest among Prince Georgians is multifaceted: They’re fed up with the negative campaigning. They don’t feel enough attention has been paid to the Washington suburbs. And there is palpable resentment that the Democratic establishment’s support helped a white candidate, Cardin, defeat a black candidate, former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume, for the Senate nomination.

African Americans also feel disenfranchised because the Democratic nominees for U.S. Senate, governor, comptroller and attorney general are all white, said Wayne Clark, a Prince George’s political consultant who is working with Ehrlich.

Bringing Obama back only proves how worried the Democratic Party is about holding its own in Prince George’s, he said.

‘‘You can’t ignore the African-American community for 40 years and then, a few days before the election, bring in someone to tell African Americans to run to the polls like sheep,” Clark said. ‘‘The Democrats can bring in whatever national figure they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that they have consistently neglected the African-American vote.”

Sen. Leo E. Green (D-Dist. 23) of Bowie said he has never seen so much voter apathy. He attributed the lack of energy not to racial issues, but to the negative campaigning and the plummeting reputation of the federal government.

I understand their pain to all Black Prince Georgian's that feel that this election is pointless. Besides even though the Democrat-controled County Council would make thing better for the county, it didn't. I'll take one example: The Prince George's "The Bus", if they were smart they would replace their old buses from 1990's with sleek, low-floor buses that's all the rage in Europe.

But instead, they rather keep the old buses. They could have included weekend service using the same weekend schedule for those areas not served by metrobus, but alas there isn't.

And if you think there is a alternative, good luck, Prince George's county is by all intents and purposes a Democrat controlled county, as a matter of fact I found out that in one position there are three democrats running for that seat.

Don't believe me? (Prince George's County candidates start at page 200.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Here comes another Pentecostal Missionary!

On the afternoon of Thursday October 26, 2006 a Pentecostal Missionary named Donnie Morris, who is not affiliated with a on or off campus organization preached outside in the Nyumburu Amphitheater against sexual minorities, but to the teaching of evolution, and “liberal” professors, and those who have generally “sinned”. At the same time representatives from the UMD Pride Alliance held a silent protest with a banner saying “Hate is not a UMD Value”, while UMD students challenged his speech by shouting objections. The Andy Mrusko from the Stamp Student Union and Campus Programs confirmed that the Campus Reservations Office gave Donnie a permit to speak in the amphitheater and was opposed by the Latino Student Union. He will preach again in the amphitheater tomorrow afternoon.

Photos from the event:

The Vast Wasteland

An update to "NBC Lays Off 700 jobs to Make Savings (read: profit) of $750 Million"

Did you know NBC Universial owns the Spanish langauge network Telemundo? Guess what, due to their budget cuts they're getting rid of local news and you'll get your news from a centralized location:
AMY GOODMAN: Juan, a quick question before we wrap up the broadcast. A few days ago, we ran your testimony in the town hall meeting here in New York around media consolidation, but there are even further developments now. Can you talk about what’s happening in Univision?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yeah. Well, as some people may be aware, NBC announced huge cutbacks and layoffs of its network staff and at NBC Universal about, I think it’s 700 jobs, 5% of its workforce. But one of the things that didn’t get much attention is that NBC is planning to shut down -- NBC owns the Telemundo network, the Spanish-language network, and it’s planning to shut down the news programs, local news programs, in six major American cities: Phoenix, San Jose, Houston, San Antonio, and a couple of other -- Denver, as well -- and it is basically eliminating its local newscast and doing what Sinclair Broadcasting has done.

It’s going to focus -- create a regional news center in Fort Worth, Texas, and leave only skeleton new staffs in all these major cities. These are some of the biggest cities in America. And these skeleton staffs will send to Fort Worth a couple of news stories that will then be beamed back to those local cities in basically a local news show that is not local. It’s largely canned material. So this is a major, major impact of consolidation on Spanish-language news. So, in San Jose, in Phoenix, in Denver, the local Hispanic communities there will not be receiving locally produced news. And we’ve got the situation now that is developing with FOX News. Fox News has called on the FCC now to eliminate all regulations, of FCC regulations over media ownership concentration.
...and if you're didn't noticed from the excert above, Faux News want get to get rid of all media ownership regulations. What this will mean to you? More of the same programing, and no real competition.

Maryland State Government Now Overseeing PGCPS Schools

Note this post includes two stories from yesterday that I could not post due to the Blogger outage.

Beacon Heights Elementary, a failing school as determined by the No [Rich] Child Left Behind Act is now marketing their school to bring back students.

This fall, 10 of the 450 students at Beacon Heights exercised the transfer option offered them under the No Child Left Behind Act -- a mere trickle, compared with the number of students who have left other Prince George's schools in the same predicament in recent years.

Rather than accept the inevitable stigma of being on the wrong side of the law's school choice provision, officials at Riverdale's Beacon Heights and other embattled schools are trying a new tack: fighting back by marketing themselves to parents.

They promote the extra resources afforded to schools after their test scores repeatedly fail to meet standards, the easy proximity of a neighborhood school, the familiarity of friends and even their so-called inadequate results.

Four years into No Child Left Behind, many of the campuses entering the school choice process are actually fairly good schools. Principals point out that the standard for "adequate yearly progress," the measure of success under the 2002 federal law, is a bit higher each year. And a school can be labeled a failure if any one of several statistical subgroups misses the mark. For example, the test scores of special education students or those with limited English skills can open an entire school to transfers.

I have personally been in the Prince George’s Public School System as a elementary, middle, and for two years as high school. To tell you the truth the No Child Left Behind Act is nothing more than privatization by stealth and erosion.

And now there’s word of the Prince George’s School Board taking “corrective action”:

The Maryland schools superintendent is expected to recommend "corrective action" for the Prince George's County school system at today's state school board meeting, according to lawmakers and the head of the county school system.

They said the move is prompted by the latest round of test results in the county, which showed some progress but not enough to meet the federal requirements of the No Child Left Behind law…
John E. Deasy, chief executive officer of Prince George's schools since May, said he did not know what measures state Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick would recommend. …she would not propose a state takeover of county schools or major changes in the school system's administration.

"In many ways, it's a decision based on previous events," Deasy said yesterday in an interview.

"She's reiterated numerous times, with lots of folks, that she's pleased with the leadership. Will something change tomorrow morning as a result of it? No, because changes are already in progress."

Test results in Prince George's County have improved in the past three years but remain better only than those of Baltimore. Under No Child Left Behind, the state board can order school systems to change their curriculum, replace executive staff, spend money in specific ways and pull schools out of the district.

Change the curriculum; replace executive staff, spending money in specific ways, pulling schools out of the district; I can tell by what they’re really doing: After-school program cuts, more focus into math, reading, and writing, and changing the public school into a charter school.
And the obsession with test scores, what about real education? Not everyone is going to college you know.

But wait, there’s more details of the “corrective action” that will be taken

The Prince George’s County school system has been placed under state oversight for failing to meet annual improvement goals over the last four years.

The announcement by state and county officials on Wednesday formalizes a punitive step, conceived as part of ‘‘No Child Left Behind” law, in which state officials play a more intimate role in a school system’s operations when local officials haven’t achieved desired results.
The federal law requires that all the nation’s public school students test proficient in math and reading by 2014.

Test scores on the High School Assessments and the Maryland MSAs are among the measurements of achievement, and although Prince George’s students have shown some improvement, they haven’t met goals set for them.

Deasy’s reforms include professional development for teachers to improve classroom instruction, putting resources into chronically under-performing schools to help with reading and math and requiring principals to take a more hands-on approach to teaching rather than operating simply as building managers. Deasy’s reforms also press for more help in taking and passing standardized tests as well as recruiting and retaining the best teachers.

After-school help and for students who have trouble passing the High School Assessments is also critical among Deasy’s reforms.

Once a school system fails to meet its targets for four years running, sanctions can range up to a complete takeover by the state.

Deasy said that the state could still take over the system, replace personnel or withhold money in the future if the system doesn’t make significant strides quickly.

Deasy’s administration has already identified 83 schools that need improvement, and about two dozen of those schools have been targeted for intensive help to bring up student achievement.

And from the Washington Post

That label has been given to only one other system in Maryland -- Baltimore schools -- and under the federal No Child Left Behind law, it carries a range of potential sanctions, including a possible state takeover of low-performing schools.

In March, the state board attempted to place 11 Baltimore schools under independent management, but Democratic legislators intervened and delayed the action by a year.
Although it raised the hammer, the board did not bring it down on Prince George's yesterday. State School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick recommended no sanctions, saying the county's new schools chief had presented a plan to address the district's most serious academic problems.
John E. Deasy, a California educator hired in May to lead the 134,000-student system, "understands what has to happen," Grasmick said before the board unanimously approved her recommendations. "He understands, as we do, the urgency."

Deasy has vowed to raise the county's test scores, which have increased in recent years, by reallocating staff to the system's worst-performing schools, bolstering teacher recruitment and retention, improving parental participation, and giving children more opportunities and better training to participate in Advanced Placement courses.

Grasmick also recommended continuing a course of corrective action for Baltimore schools yesterday and lifted a less-serious "school system improvement" status for Charles, St. Mary's, Allegany, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent and Somerset counties.

The board's actions coincided with the release of Annual Yearly Progress reports for the state's 24 school systems and for individual high schools.

Basically, the goal is to have every student proficient with math and reading eight years from now. The Annual Yearly Progress show the progress of those schools by not regular grades, but by test scores, standardized test scores, like the Maryland State Assessments, or MSA’s. I took these same tests and was tested on Biology, Algebra, Geometry, and Reading/English. If these schools do not meet their AYP goals for a consecutive two years, they will be placed on a “watch list”, and if they’re still on the watch list they’ll be under state oversight. State oversight sanctions can include the requirements I mentioned above. But if the school still does not meet it’s AYP goals for a conceutive four years they’ll be completely taken over by their State Government of the school is.

The problem with N[R]CLB is that not everyone can be proficient in school subjects. Hell I didn’t learned much high school math since the 10th Grade (long story) and have to take a remedial course in UMD called Math 003, it’s a struggle but I’m doing well in the course. The fact is that the way I see it, 99% of the most schools will probably not meet their AYP by 2014. And what if they get taken over by the State government? Let me guess: Charter Schools? School vouchers allowing students to learn at a private or religious school?

The fact is that the Act is nothing more than to destroy our public schools inside-out. If I were a congressman right now I would introduce a bill that will shame and repeal the act. This bill would be called the “The No Child Left Behind Repeal Bill”, it would repeal and “shame” the act giving a name: “The No Rich Child Left Behind Act”. Our schools were just fine by themselves without that Act. It’s needs to be repealed.

I’m Ndubuisi Okeh, and The Modern-Day Prophet Has Spoken

Is PGCPS CEO Well Prepared to Tackle School Gangs and Truancy?

How would he take on these problems?
Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO John Deasy told Langley Park residents that he is well prepared to tackle such problems as school gangs and truancy.

Deasy said the county school district can do more to teach educators about how gangs form and how to sway students from joining such groups.

A number of gang-related, violent incidents have occurred in Langley Park and the surrounding areas over the past few years. County police and schools have been working to stop neighborhood gangs from recruiting students, who in turn expand the recruitment effort to within classrooms.

On truancy, Deasy said the problem has to be confronted head-on. His approach includes getting businesses not to sell products to students during school hours.

He said most students do not drop out of school if they have people around them who care. Greater collaboration between families of students and school staff could help deal with this problem, he said. He plans to appoint 96 parent liaisons in schools by the end of this year. The liaisons will act as go-betweens for students and teachers.

Deasy also plans to target the negative attitude toward achievement. He said he does not subscribe to the idea that a child’s background or home life determines his or her level of success.
He proballu hasn't lived in black neighborhood within the county. He should
look for the real reasons why they skip school or join gangs. Besides, isn't this county majority african-american?

Elections 06: "Whoever Wins, We Lose"

(I changed the title to more fit in what my perceptions with elections in America are these days.)

To tell you the truth, I don't trust O'Malley at all:
Seven years ago, Baltimore’s black voters helped catapult Martin O’Malley to the mayor’s office. Now the question is: Can the white Democrat, after ruffling plenty of feathers, count on African-American turnout in his campaign against Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.?

No one knows the answer.

‘‘People are just disgusted with O’Malley,” claims Frank M. Conaway, Baltimore’s Circuit Court clerk and a former Democratic legislator, who has endorsed Ehrlich in radio ads.

Not so, respond O’Malley supporters.

They point to an endorsement he won this week from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the most influential group of activist clergy in Baltimore. That predominantly African-American coalition has been at odds with O’Malley in the past, and showed considerable support for Douglas M. Duncan before the Montgomery county executive dropped out of the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Yet campaign appearances suggest that African Americans are ambivalent.

At the Democratic Party’s Sept. 16 ‘‘Unity Rally” in Baltimore, where blacks form the majority of residents, only two African Americans were on the platform with O’Malley and a phalanx of white officials. They were Del. Anthony G. Brown, O’Malley’s running mate from Prince George’s County, and Aisha N. Braveboy, who won nomination for a delegate’s seat in Prince George’s.

The scene was repeated at an Oct. 9 event at Baltimore’s Federal Hill. So few black faces surrounded O’Malley and Brown before television cameras
But Ehrlich's no worse either:
GOP’s strategy?

The aim of pro-Ehrlich blacks is to ‘‘keep the [black] vote down,” says Carl O. Snowden, a Democratic workhorse who is an aide to Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens. ‘‘They are encouraging people to take a walk on O’Malley.”

The Ehrlich campaign denied any suggestion that it wants to suppress the black vote. ‘‘It’s groundless, outrageous and false,” said campaign spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver. The governor’s record is clear: He ran with an African-American running mate four years ago and has several blacks in his Cabinet, she said.
OK, black Baltimorians don't trust O'Malley, yet they can't elect Ehrlich since their own people are helping the GOP with voter suppression. I'm definatly not voting for either one, as a matter of fact Here's a real governor candidate. (Note, great site, too bad it's not updated more)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Technical Difficulties

For some reason Blogger had another outage, this time not allowing me to go to Americablog.

Regular blogging resumes tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

UMD Life

As promised, the pictures from last Saturday's Rocky Horror Picture Show screening at the Hoff:

The UMD Video Game Music Orchestra

The Preshow, it's about monkeys (or something like that)

Meet the two main chracters, Brad Majors and Janet Weiss (far left) ,and their family.

The Criminologist who narrates the film, notice the shadowcast member to the left side shined with the spotlight.

Meet your callbacks, who "respond" to the film's chracters on film with pop culture jokes, sexual references, and general jokes.

My favorite callback: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Columbine High School Class of 2000 Reunion!" on the radio tower scene late in the film.

Don't forget the guy who handles the spotlight!

The shadow acting cast of the film the Satanic Mechanics (nice rhyme!) after the show. (shown on the stage above)

Dubya Finally Get's Off the Course

...and sets a timetable.

Acknowledging that weeks of escalating bloodshed have had a demoralizing effect on American perceptions of the conflict, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad spoke bluntly about the growing civil strife in and around Baghdad and the challenges it poses. Casey, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, said it was possible that the number of U.S. troops there would need to grow in coming months, before Iraqi security forces can begin to take control.

The military commander and the diplomat offered a strong defense of the Bush administration's policy in Iraq. The two men, who are among the principal architects of the current U.S. strategy to train Iraqi security forces in preparation for foreign troop reductions, emphasized that they do not view the U.S. campaign as never-ending and praised a call yesterday by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a crackdown on armed militias.

Khalilzad said Iraqi leaders have committed to a timeline for forging a national compact among warring factions and have promised to come to agreement on establishing universal political rights, sharing the country's oil wealth, bridging sectarian divides and disarming militias who rampage through neighborhoods unchecked.

He called such steps essential to decreasing U.S. involvement -- equal to or more important than curtailing attacks on U.S. personnel by anti-American insurgents.

"Militias are the infrastructure of a civil war, and they go against resolving disputes through the political process," Khalilzad said. "The prime minister is developing a plan by the end of the year, and we support that," Khalilzad said.

Note the part of the second to last paragraph: "decreasing U.S. involvement". It does not mean the US is not gradually pulling out of Iraq, it's just pulling out involvement in the security of Iraq. But it's not enough to stop the civil war that's been raging in Iraq for over two years.

Elections 2006

Republican in Disguise

Do you know Micahel Steele is actually a RID: Republican in Disguise. Even in his political advertisements, he portrays himself neither Republican nor Democrat. So does this Washington Post article:
In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2 to 1 -- and where issues such as the Iraq war and the government's handling of Hurricane Katrina might keep black Democrats from crossing party lines -- that might be all Cardin needs to win.

"A good Democratic candidate running a good campaign will beat a good Republican running a good campaign in a statewide race every time, just because of the numbers," said Donald Norris, a public policy professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

To counter this disadvantage, Steele has run a campaign that portrays him as above party, beyond party. In avoiding Republican-specific policy recommendations, however, Steele sometimes ends up sounding as if he's avoiding specifics altogether.

He offers policy proposals, including increased restrictions on lobbyists, tax exemptions for new businesses and a 120-day suspension of the federal gasoline tax.

But often, when pressed on domestic- or foreign-policy questions, Steele responds not with firm positions but with a call for larger, more inclusive discussions.

Energy? Get environmentalists, solar advocates and nuclear people in the room with oil and gas interests. Health care? Get all the players in the room. North Korea? Get China involved.

"We need to get them in the room. We need to get them at the table," Steele said.

The one thing he always mentions is Washington, how the culture of partisan bickering needs to change. Steele, however, is not above a bit of political gamesmanship himself.

At his Hagerstown speech, he criticized Cardin because Democratic Party operatives fraudulently obtained his credit report.

"Anyone who wants my credit report, I'd be happy to give it to you," Steele said. "If you want to know about me, ask me."
I've been to his webpage before and read his Plan for Change book (free downloadable Adobe Reader required). Just your garden variety modest reforms. Where's his position on abortion, any of the real hot issues? Well, he simply didn't list them.

News the Conservative Controlled Media Does Not Want You to Know

Here's another round up of news the "mainstream" media ignore.

In those living Prince George's and Montgomery County, you're going to see a almost 50%
rate hike for water and sewer services.

Swipe-Free Card+$200 commercial RFID reader anyone can buy=Idenity Fraud

White-collar crime, Blue-collar crime, and now Plaid-collar crime?

We're already living beyond our means


Dubya Administration not prepared for the case of mental disorder paitents from the Iraq War.

Monday, October 23, 2006

UMD Life

I Survived Rocky Horror

There is simply too much I could explain in one post without making a MS Word document. The shadowacting, callbacks, the dancing, the insanity, as only the UMD Satanic Machanics can bring it. I enjoyed it, it was awesome, and this was the first time I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show, as a Virgin; and I was initated as one, along with the 30-40 people who come to see the film for the first time. Videos and a complete report coming soon. However I will say this, I will do it again next time they'll perform.

I tryed to upload the pictures of the event with commentary, but blogger has been acting up. So I'll try again as soon as I get the chance.

Elections 06 MD-The "Tension" heats up.

MD election campaign are at the final two weeks, here's an excert.
Addressing a Jewish congregation in Rockville, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martin O'Malley defended his record on crime and education as mayor of Baltimore while lashing out at Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) for being "out of step with mainstream Marylanders."

Ehrlich's running mate, Kristen Cox (R), who also spoke at the forum, said Ehrlich is committed to relieving traffic congestion in the Washington suburbs, in part by extending Metro's Red and Green lines and constructing a Purple Line, a proposed light-rail link between Bethesda and New Carrollton.

Aren't both candidates are out of step with mainstream Marylander's? (When they mean mainstream Marylanders, they mean Affluent White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) Since no matter who we vote for, they will really change nothing.

As for Ehrlich, if he's committed to relieving traffic congestion in the DC suburbs,
why not invest to improve the Maryland Area Rail Communter? And why did he approve the InterCounty Connector, even though it would not cut traffic congestion at all?

Subways, Trams, and Buses

Here's an interesting aritcle on the Washington Post on the Dr. Gridlock section about a project to revive trolleys in the Nation's Capitol.

Post staff writer Paul Schwartzman reported this year that the city plans to lay down tracks along H Street for a light rail line that someday could connect the Metrorail stop at Union Station with the one across the Anacostia River at Minnesota Avenue NE.

That's a smart idea. The crosstown bus routes that use H Street already are pretty popular. Combine that with the revival of the neighborhood as an entertainment zone, and prospects are good for a modern light rail that offers frequent and reliable service.

News the Conservative Controlled Media Does Not Want You To See Nor Hear.

Sorry for the long lull, it is because of two words: Rocky Horror. More on that later.

OK, here's today's round up:

Bush family member took advantage of of No [Rich] Child Left Behind.

Israel finally admits to using white phosphorous illegally


FBI incomplete Hate Crime's Report get's ire from Anti-Defamation Leauge

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Vast Wasteland

NBC Lays Off 700 jobs to Make Savings (read: profit) of $750 Million

NEW YORK -- NBC Universal announced Thursday it will cut 700 jobs, abandon MSNBC's New Jersey headquarters and shift spending from traditional broadcast TV to digital entertainment, reflecting both hard times at the network and changing times in the media world.

The company, a unit of General Electric Co., said the various moves were expected to save $750 million by the end of 2008.

In what's partly a real-estate move, NBC said it would close MSNBC's headquarters in Secaucus, N.J., splitting studios and office space between NBC's headquarters in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center and another NBC facility in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Similarly out West, NBC will consolidate network, Telemundo and local news facilities in Burbank, Calif.

In a reflection the network can no longer support high programming costs in an atmosphere of diminishing advertising revenue, NBC said it would no longer show expensive scripted comedies or dramas during the first hour of prime-time at 8 p.m.
That means more reality or game shows like "The Biggest Loser" or "Deal or No Deal" at that hour. NBC's new drama "Friday Night Lights" was critically acclaimed this fall, but costs more than twice per episode to make than "Deal or No Deal," and is drawing a smaller audience.

NBC's cost-saving plan involves laying off people from the company's 11 news divisions, including on-air talent, but no details were immediately available.

Great, while these pigs make more money, we're stuck with repeats and more reality-tv shit.

But I found out local news stations, who is going to be the first to go in NBC owned Channel 4 in Washington,DC:

Our sources at NBC 4 say Hudson was "informed" today that he is being "let go" as part of a round of massive cuts coming to NBC, including at its local stations, like WRC. His last day will be in early January.

News the Conservative Controlled Media Does Not Want You to Neither See nor Hear.

Just implement tution free college education already

Dubya plans to imperalize space

Interesting article about how gambling proponets lobby for approval of video gambling (So they can probally put them in black and minority neightborhoods in DC)

Voting suppression in by a xenophobic group


Problems from 2004 elections are still unresolved.

College Park's safety fund, not nearly empty,,,

In todays issue of the Diamondback, it reported that the City of College Park raised taxes and devoted more than$500,000 to imporving public safety yet only 12% of that money (or $60,000) has only been spent.

Although the budget allows for the equivalent of 4.5 full-time officers for the city's contract police force, Ryan said recruitment of off-duty Prince George's County Police officers has been unable to keep up with funds available.

"We're over budgeting, charging too much in taxes and we're not spending the money in the programs we've allocated it to," Perry said. "Until we have the personnel, we can't spend it, but the mayor can run around and tell everyone how wonderful he is for putting that money in the budget."

Ryan said the city is working to expand the current pool of 15 county police officers, hoping more officers will allow more flexible scheduling.

"Every police force in the region, and I mean the entire metropolitan region, is having trouble recruiting police officers," Calvert Hills Citizen's Association President Morgan Gale said. "All these people are competing against eachother for employees that are qualified."
This leaves out one question, what did the city spend that 12% of that fund on?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Vast Wasteland

I found interesting article on entitled Crime is on TV, but TV is often The Bigger Crime:

The airwaves, as we know, belong to all of us, but thanks to regulations shaped by big industries, they were allocated (i.e. handed out) FOR FREE to big commercial enterprises who then used their clout to monopolize the marketplace and dominate the spectrum.

There are many crime shows on TV but few if any ever deal with TV itself and how our broadcasting system was hijacked for the greater glory and ever escalating profits of a handful of moguls and their "brands."

I perfectly agree with him, the purpose of the Communications Act 1934 is to allow companies to rent valuable spectrum for the public interest. But the definition of the phrase "public interest" was deliberatly vauge by the tv corporations to maintain their licenses. Eventual end result:

Suddenly we were bombarded with tons of choices but without many distinctive new voices. It became largely a market-driven recycling operation aimed at key demographics. Public TV watched as its nature programs and historical docs were cloned and spun off by specialized commercial outlets. Home shopping became a vogue and recycled news a commodity. There was soon more on the air but less to watch as Bruce Springsteen sang in 57 Channels/Nothings On. Now there are 500 channels with very little worth watching.

They said they created or transmitted new channels to give the public more to watch-but actually it fragmented the audience-and enabled them to get paid two ways-with fees per subscriber and advertising. Their only "payback" to the public were public access channels with offerings that remain poorly produced and promoted.

I perfectly agree. Most prime time television programs these days, with a few execeptions are:
  1. Crime drama
  2. Reality tv
  3. Sitcoms

Even with cable you'll get plenty of channels, but due to the fact that there is a monopoly of media corporations, you still see the same programs. So it's plenty of channels but same choices. (Probally that's what I think when lobbyists argue for media consolidation it is for competition: The illusion of competition). As for PBS, true: while there are a few programs I enjoy, most of it's programing either consists of British imports ended long ago, cooking, and stupid Suze Orman pledge specials.(Public Broadcasting my ass) The same for public service channels, they're rarely prmoted and if they did promote them, the quality of those programs by those who knew of such a channel would suck.

Beleive me, in Comcast (Prince George's, MD) we have University of Maryland Television, Bowie State University Television, Prince George's Community College Television, and two channels for Prince George's County School,which it seems like no one watches, a public safety channel that a PowerPoint knockoff of America's Most Wanted and lease access channel that repeats the same shows and episodes every week.

Today, there is a new fight underway to keep the internet free. Remember, the underlying technology was created not by Al Gore but with taxpayer funding and Defense Department know how first as a way for academic scientists to communicate with each other, and then in a few years, became a global medium touching the lives of billions.

...Murcdoch gobbled up MySpace in an effort to commercialize the personal creativity of those millions and their "friends" who are posting away like demons. Google paid over a billion for YouTube with plans to do the same.

First they gone after the public airwaves, then cable, and finally the internet. This is just shameful. It's true that the only thing they want money, not for the interest of the public, just money. But corporations have every right to do, as long their regulated to serve a democratic society. Yet, since most Republicrats are one and the same, that may not happen anytime soon.

Adventures in Video Gaming

Tonight I played PSOX in two games, one as a short rump through Forest, and in the same game we played Towards the Future. The Dark Falz battle was the toughest I've been through since my teammates did not brung any handguns. So a 5 minute fight actually took almost 12 minutes to complete. At least I level up my Force,named Murellos, from 62 to 65.

Just When You Think in Maryland This Election is Going to Be Easy...

I know the candidates I want to vote for Maryland Governor, State Assembly, and the US Congress. But there's the candidates I've never heard of, like for the School Board, Auditor, and these ballot questions :

Prince George’s residents will be voting for more than their candidates of choice in the general election on Nov. 7.

As if sifting through 18 school board candidates and choosing the next senator and governor weren’t enough, voters will be faced with 13 ballot questions.

One of the most controversial questions will ask voters if big-dollar contracts should be cleared through the County Council in addition to the county executive. The charter amendment would require Council approval for individual contracts over $100,000 and for other multi-year contracts over $500,000.

Another question asks if the Council should have to approve higher staffing levels of any agency.

And another asks if the Council should have more time to hold hearings on any executive appointment to the head of an agency or member of a board or commission. The amendment extends the time period from 30 to 45 days after the nomination is submitted.

Five of the questions ask whether the county should be able to issue bonds to raise money for various facilities.

Good thing that the Maryland State Board of Elections has the full list of questions here

Just leave, NOW!

The end is near for the Iraq War, Dubya is not ready for it.

As Common Dreams reports

While Bush, true to his self-image as an uncommonly firm leader in the mold of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, is undoubtedly sincere in his determination to press ahead, political circumstances -- not to mention the accelerating slide into an appalling civil war in Iraq -- are clearly conspiring against him.

The signs of eroding support for Bush's "stay-the-course" strategy are virtually everywhere in Washington, where senior Republicans, such as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John Warner, are moving into open revolt against what they see as a rapidly deteriorating situation and Bush's bullheadedness in still believing that Iraq will somehow become a model for democratic transformation in the Middle East.

Here's my list on what happened since Dubya brought democracy (read:imperalism) to Iraq in 2003:
  1. Revival of Shiite and Sunni faction war resulting of bunch of innocent civilians killed for their only crime is being born sunni or Shiite,
  2. Death Squad's representing the factions disguised as Iraqi Police
  3. Rising iraqi civilian death toll
  4. A rising Islamic state.
  5. Al Queda and other terrorist elements in Iraq that were not there before the 2003 invasion.

Need I say more?

At the same time, the neo-conservative New York Sun reported last week that the so-called "Iraq Study Group" (ISG), a blue-ribbon task force created last spring by Congress to develop a bipartisan strategy on Iraq, was considering four basic options, two of which, including a "stay-the-course" strategy and an immediate withdrawal, had been ruled out its members.

Of the two left, according to the Sun account, one, "Stability First", calls for continuing efforts to stabilize Baghdad, major new initiatives to coax Sunni insurgents into the political process, and a regional effort, including Iran and Syria -- with which the administration has refused so far to deal directly -- to cut off arms supplies to militias and help reduce the violence.

The second option, called "Redeploy and Contain", appears similar to a plan floated last year by the Center for American Progress and subsequently endorsed by most Democratic lawmakers. It calls for a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops to bases outside Iraq from which they could strike against terrorist targets in Iraq or elsewhere in the region.
The reason why all this crap is happening in Iraq is that we are there. Iraq has elected their leaders, formed a government and has soverignity rule. We just need to leave Iraq, NOW. Once we leave, all the terrorist will have no reason to terrorise Iraqis's. It's either that or the same thing will happen to Iraq as in the Vietnam war.

News That the Conservative Controlled Media Does Not Want You to Neither See Nor Hear.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Pro-Business Group Pumps Money Into State Supreme Court Election Campaigns.

A study by two public interest watchdogs, the Brennan Center for Justice and the Justice at Stake Campaign found that pro-business groups such as the American Tax Payer’s Alliance are the biggest spenders on television ads for state Supreme Court elections.

One of the ads explained in the article, sponsored by the Partnership for Ohio’s Future supporting incumbent Republican Justice Terry O’Donnell disguises his promises to rule in favor of businesses by stating “a fair and balanced judiciary means more jobs”.

Yeah right, what he really means that “a conservative pro-business judiciary means more profit for big box retailers.”

Special Interests Top Spenders on Supreme Court Political Ads

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Life as a Terp

It's was raining all day today, my PHIL 140 class was canceled since my prof was sick. Which gave more time to work on my blog.

Adventures in Video Gaming

I've been a long time veteran of Phantasy Star Online. I played PSO Xbox last night. Since I'm in college I can play the game during my free time, and play all day long on the weekends if I want. But before then, I didn't play the game much during between 2005 and 2006, but played all day and night when I get the chance. Since last Christmas Sonic Team USA/Microsoft has the server stuck on Christmas lobby mode. I never knew why it happened.

Although I was lucky to get into a Very Hard game, with the release of the Xbox 360 and Phantasy Star Universe the only games I see are either Towards the Future (a very popular online quest in PSO), locked with only one person playing, or full with 10 year old brats boasting their hacked weapons and items. Even the non-cheating servers, Celestite and Davburite (sp?), are ghost towns. My people in my friends list who used to play PSO had already moved on. So essentially I'm the lone legit hunter, until I get PSU, which I may not be getting anytime soon, because I don't have a Xbox 360.

News the Conservative Controlled Media Does Not Want You to Neither see Nor Hear

For Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The New Standard
LAPD Bullies Homeless on Skid Row, Defies Federal Appeals Court Ruling

Los Angeles Police cracks down on homeless residents on skid row as part of LA’s Clean Streets Initiative. The crackdown comes after months of federal appeals court ruling that citing and arresting people sleeping on sidewalks is cruel and unusual punishment since they have no place to go.

News Source

The Death of Habeas Corpus: President signs Unconstitutional and Un-American Military Commissions Act 2006 (aka Unitary Executive Enabling Act 2006)

President Dubya signed most possibly the most unconstitutional law since the founding of the United States of America. The American Civil Liberties Union took out a full page advertisement on Today’s Washington Post expressing calling itself the most conservative organization in the US.

The Act allows the following:
1. Allows the President with approval of Congress to declare anyone even if the person is born outside the US an Enemy Combatant, which is a term that does not exist in international law.
2. Indefinitely hold people who are declared as such without charge,
3. Take away protections against horrific abuse towards people declared as such,
4. put people on trial based on hearsay evidence declares as such,
5. authorize trials that can sentence people such people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses,
6. And slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions for citizens outside the US who is determined to be an enemy combatant.
7. Not to mention retroactively gives the Bush Administration a Get Out of Jail Free card for any War Crimes committed during the War on Terror (aka War for Imperialism)
This effectively legalize Islamiphobic and racist programs such as Abu Grahib and the extraordinary renditions that primary target many innocent Arabs and Muslims that condemn the 9/11 attacks.

News Source:
Wikipedia article about passed Act:

From One World United States
Democracy comes to Democratic Republic of Congo

Refugees International released a report titled “Seizing This Moment of Hope: Towards a Secure Future in the Democratic Republic of the Congo” Which calls for the international community and the Congo government to end the violence by rehabilitating the Congolese armed forces, expanding the UN peacekeeping force in the country and enforcing an existing embargo on arms and natural resources.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I reason why I’m opening this blog is for a good reason. I’m sick, I’m sick of the mainstream media wasting their money and time not doing their jobs: Speaking truth to power. I’m sick of the newspapers that don’t actively cover Maryland politics, even in the city where the newspaper is covered. I’m sick of the fact that in America, the land of the “free”, our people are zombified by the establishment through the so called mainstream media or should we say the corporate media. The real America, the America that grew out of the origins of the Imperial Britannica our teachers, everyday workers, students, pastors,farmers ,union workers, artists, are different from Imperial Americana, the people who control our media, companies, and government. The real America is silenced by corporate media who rather sedate them rather than doing their sacred duty, are left powerless.

Both Democrats and Republicans, especially ones in Maryland are one and the same, joined by the hip. The hip represents the wallet, inside of it is mammon, or money, or in the American sense: the Almighty Dollar ,which they worship more than their God. When they talk about the issues, they talk about working for working families. Which working families is he talking about? Why are they’re not into the real issues: Poverty, environment, agriculture, health care? No, because if they did the American people would be politically self-aware, just like Skynet from the Terminator trilogy. Ironically, if it did happen the end result would be a better society, rather than a nuclear apocalypse. In short: Republicrats are all rhetoric, no action.

Instead of complaining to myself and thinking of innovate things to resolve this crisis, I’ll do something about it, by bogging. I’ve give imperial Americana something to fear about in all levels of the establishment: The truth the reality. I’ll feature stories that the Maryland newspapers and TV stations will never cover or they’ll simply omit. I’ll bring real investigative journalism to every story I cover, which includes the University of Maryland, the university where I’m learning at. (I’m looking at you The Diamondback) Even on crime stories, I’ll investigate the causes and the details behind it.

I like to call this section “News the Conservative-Controlled Media does not want you to neither see nor hear”.

The best part of the blog will be The Modern Day Prophecies. These are the meat of my blog, where you’ll get my commentaries on almost everything, but mostly on topics related to politics. The reason why I titled these commentaries like that is that in order to prophesize the future, you must study the past.. Since the topics I talk come root in history. As we say in order to predict the based on the present future you must research history.

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. And history has been repeated over and over (especially in America.)

But everything will not be serious.

Real Bible Study

Every Sunday you’ll read an actual sermon of not only the Christian Bible, but the Jewish Bible, and the Quran. Only thing is that it deals with the context and history and reading the entire chapters.

UMD Daily Life

These postings would be about my life as a Terp, as told through pictures and the word of the Prophet.

Photo Gallery

I take a lot of photos; you’ll see them in these postings. Did I mention I post videos too? They have action, mundane stuff, garden-variety, and interesting stuff.

The Vast Wasteland

The Vast Wasteland is a about the growing vast, toxic wasteland of so called main-stream media, trashy PG-13 films, and mind-numbing television and radio. It’ll also include public broadcasting because public broadcasting is just like commercial broadcasting: just trade in 18-34 year olds with under 10’s, senior citizens, and AWASPs

(Note: AWASPs stand for Affluent White Anglo-Saxon Protestants; you’re going to see this acronym a whole lot)

Subways, and Buses, and Bikes

When I was a teenager, I used to search endlessly for information about subways and trams and public transport. I also ridden on bicycles before, but often for ridding around the block and often they eventually get a flat tire. These post would be about all things public transport and bicycling. And those who oppose real choice like the money greedy Highway lobby.


I love books, this is my post about books I’ve used to read or books/magazines I’m currently reading

Adventures in Video Gaming

Yes, I do play video games, not a much I’m gradually getting to the point where I have a balanced gaming life. These posts would consists about video gaming and my adventures in Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II , Final Fantasy XI , Halo 2, Second Life, and There

The Black Otaku

I love anime, but often times I don’t have the money or the time to complete anime collections. But that will not stop me for posting about anime from a Negro perspective.

If you’re curious, yes, I’m African-American. But I’m not your stereotypical gangsta rapper, Pentecostal, misogynic, macho-shit, sport addicted Negro. I listen to other music other than hip-hop and rap, anything except country, gospel and Christian. I do not watch BET, since it’s controlled by AWASPs; I read a lot of books and magazines. I seem to be the only Black American to read and understand the Christian Bible. Oh and did I mention I’m a UMD Terp

And if you think that this blog is just a joke, I consider this week a soft launch. The real stuff begins next week.

The Modern Day Prophet has spoken.