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Black on Black Nihilism

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 7:37 PM EDT

I just read something both horrifying and so, so sad on The Root.

It happened two months ago, and this is the first, and probably only, time I'll hear about it: A young, bipolar black woman on an Atlanta bus went manic and terrorized an elderly black woman while the rest of the riders did nothing. Well, except for the ones who laughed and helped the deranged woman freestyle rap lyrics with which to terrorize all our grandmothers. And, of course, the one who was busy taking the video. The other riders didn't respond until she went after them.

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New Music from Around the Blogs: Dungen, Annie, Chemical Brothers, Bloc Party

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 7:11 PM EDT

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Everybody's favorite Swedish psychedelic rockers Dungen have released a track from their upcoming album 4, which is technically their 5th album, but maybe they count differently in Sweden. The track is called "Satt Att Se" (which an online Swedish-English translator says means "Was to See") and you can listen to it in 96kbps glory at their MySpace page. (For fans of: Jimi Hendrix, Beck, magical unicorns)

On the lighter side (and crossing the border to Norway), via Pitchfork comes a link to Pardon My Freedom, who has an mp3 of the new Annie single "Songs Remind Me of You." This song reminds me of New Order. Her new album, Don't Stop, is supposed to be out soon, but who knows. (For fans of: "Blue Monday," Kylie Minogue, chewing gum)

After the jump: is midnight too early for madness, and would you let these monkeys operate on you?

How is the "Blo & Go" Like the "Suck Kut"?

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 6:13 PM EDT

Earlier this year, the Washington Post's Robin Givhan brought us the story of the Blo & Go, an ingenious hair-drying invention of Laurie Coleman, a former model and wife of the Minnesota Republican senator Norm Coleman. Here's what the recently resurfaced Post piece has to say about the genesis of "Blo & Go":

Against the backdrop of this kind of marketing savvy, it is hard to believe that the name Blo & Go was not chosen to, at the very least, amuse. This, after all, is a world in which the term "wide stance" churns up easy chuckles.
Coleman's voice registers shock -- and dismay-- that anyone would make such a connection. "I didn't think of that," she says. And then she goes further to point out that the name wasn't even her idea. It came out of a committee. It was all in the brainstorming, during which "Freedom Styler" was rejected. And so it went: You get your hair blown out. You need a blowout. You get blown . . . out. And then you go. Bingo: "Blo & Go!"

Givhan (a Pulitzer winner) also extracted the line, "The whole key to this is the suction" from Coleman, whose husband is in a tough reelection fight this year against Al Franken. All of this reminded me of another classic suction-based hair care device. Who else remembers the Suck Kut?

Should 4 Dollar Gas=4 Day Work Week?

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 5:48 PM EDT

school-bus-170.jpgSchool districts across the country, reacting to wicked high gas prices, are shifting to four-day work weeks—and in some cases asking kids to walk a little farther to catch the bus.

While the potential benefits of having kids walk a bit more are intriguing, is it really possible to cram five days of student learning into four?

"Eco Nightclub" to Generate Electricity From Dance Floor

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 5:28 PM EDT

mojo-photo-electricclub.jpgHas anybody ever told you your dance moves are shocking? Wocka wocka! Ahem! A new nightclub in the UK has realized you can get tons of international press by incorporating a few token "green" tricks into your venue [Edit: as Nichole Wong already covered over here on Blue Marble, whoops]. Actually, that's mean, some of the ideas seem pretty good. The club, called Surya, will feature its own solar energy system and will offer free admission to cyclists and walkers (although how they know you didn't just get out of the cab around the corner is anybody's guess). Then there are the iffy ideas: "air flush" waterless urinals and low flush toilets might work at your home or office, but after seeing a variety of different nightclub bathrooms, let me just say I wouldn't recommend reducing flush capacity there in any way. Finally, there's the grabber: dance floor power!

The dancefloor uses the concept of piezoelectricity, where crystals and ceramics create a charge to generate electricity. "We estimate that if you had loads of clubbers dancing vigorously it would provide 60 percent of the club's energy needs," said the club's promoter.

Hey, baby, wanna join me on the floor and generate some sparks? No? Somebody used that line on you already? Like 300 times? Okay, fine, I'm heading for the air flush urinals.

As McCain Disavows Gramm, a Top Aide Implies Gramm Partly To Blame for the Economy

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 3:55 PM EDT

Phil Gramm is in the headlines today--being slammed by Democrats and disavowed by the McCain campaign--for complaining to The Washington Times that "we have sort of become a nation of whiners." Gramm, who chairs John McCain's campaign and who advises the presumptive Republican nominee on economic matters, pooh-poohed talk of a recession: "You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession." The former Republican Senator and current vice president of Swiss bank UBS dismissed talk of US economic woes and declared, "We've never been more dominant; we've never had more natural advantages than we have today. We have benefited greatly" from globalization.

Predictably, liberal bloggers and Democrats blasted Gramm for being out of touch with the real world. The McCain camp initially stood by their man but then distanced itself from Gramm's remarks, with a McCain spokesman saying, "Gramm's comments are not representative of John McCain's views."

But as this tempest was under way, another Gramm story went little noticed: a top McCain aide indirectly implicated Gramm in the current economic mess.

On Thursday, Portfolio magazine released an interview with Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who is now a top adviser and surrogate for McCain. In that article interviewer Lloyd Grove asked Fiorina "who and/or what is to blame for the souring economy?" Her answer:

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Raleigh Man Chooses To Retire Instead of Honoring Helms

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 3:40 PM EDT

A 51-year-old employee of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture chose to retire rather than lower a flag to half mast in honor of the late former senator Jesse Helms, reports the Charlotte Observer.

And it wasn't like L.F. Eason III, a registered Democrat, hadn't lowered other flags during his 29-year tenure at the lab where he worked:

...Eason said he had no problems lowering the flag for former Sen. Terry Sanford or President Ronald Reagan. But he remembers wondering whether he would be able to lower the flag after President Richard Nixon's funeral.

Wonder whether Eason had mulled this protest over beforehand, or if it was a game-time decision. Given the fact that Helms was in the senate even before Eason got his job at the lab, he certainly had time to think about it.

Heather Mac Donald: The Thinking Bigot's Ann Coulter

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 3:20 PM EDT

I warned y'all to watch Heather Mac Donald.

The rest of us bloviators may have slowed down for the summer, but not Ms. Mac Donald. While the anti-Negro crusade remains her lode star, she takes a break now and then to dog women. I mean, feminism. Thank god that all those poor, oppressed white men have her to champion the sorry state to which they have been reduced.

I certainly understand the rigors of producing columns when nothing newsworthy strikes your fancy, but she spends a whole lotta words bemoaning the whole lotta words that the Times spent on a campaign at the no doubt ritzy Phoenix Country Club to equalize the sex-segregated facilities for which members pay bazillions each year:

Slang White People Like

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 2:51 PM EDT

I don't know much about the folks at Soft Skull Media. Apparently, it's some kind of underground publishing house, or used to be. I dunno. But, I got a 'please review this book' plea from them today, which is utterly unusual in my line of work, free books being one of the decidedly few perks of my job. If that sad benny is is meant to offset the myriad "why is Debra Dickerson so stupid" blog posts, it's failing miserably.

Anyway, just another day on the job, just another pitch for a book which, for once, sounds at least initially interesting, until I get to the sign-off: "Holler for review copies, eh?". Holler, not holla, but in either case: ironic wiggerness in the workplace.

I'm intellectually anal-retentive, so I can't help but burn daylight wondering: Did potential white reviewers get the same sign-off? Or have white folks developed several sets of 'pitch' macros with labels like "black, but an Uncle Tom who'll find this ironic," "white, but living in dream world wherein they're cool," and "confused, but too cowed to make waves."?

I don't know if it's better or worse that it's not a 'black' book...ok. It's better. But just what is it with white folks and black slang? And how do y'all know when it's appropriate?

And since we're on the subject: Why is the cabbage patch the universal dance of white joy?

I'm gonna ask the Soft Skull folks what up with the 'holler' and how long the staff meeting in which they debated the merits of 'holler' vs 'holla' was. Maybe they were being ironic. I often use formulations (with white institutions) such as "give a sister a...." etc—but I do it to be a bitch who makes her white friends uncomfortable in a way in which they can't respond. What's their motivation?

Glacier Growth Caused by Climate Change?

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 2:05 PM EDT

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As we already know, most of the world's ice is melting fast. Not so on California's Mt. Shasta, where glaciers are actually growing because of global warming.

Here's how it works: The Pacific Ocean is warmer now than in years past. Warmer temperatures mean more moisture, which in turn means more snowfall on Mt. Shasta.

This is not the case for other nearby mountain ranges. The Sierra Nevada range, which is just 500 miles south of Mt. Shasta, is losing ice—in fact, it has lost about half its ice over the past 100 years.

Like Antarctica's increasing sea ice, the Mt. Shasta glaciers are another piece of evidence that global warming is a little more complicated than most of us think.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons.