I got an e-mail yesterday, with the headline: Racist Girl Group Makes Billboard Charts:
September 22, 2006...What does it mean for Black America that a hate preaching music duo could debut on the Billboard albums chart? This week, the Billboard albums chart's top five is packed with nothing but new releases, with Bakersfield, CA Pop duo Prussian Blue shocking the nation by taking the [the number 4 slot] after selling 91,000 copies of "End of A Black World" its first week out. The album is also serving as the soundtrack to a remake of one of the most controversial movies in U.S. history "Birth Of A Nation". "End of A Black World" is the third and most successful album for 12 and 13 year old Lamb and Lynx, who have recently relocated to a private compound in Salt Lake City, Utah after their last album gained them national attention and death threats.
It goes on with a complaint by "Ted Shaw, civil rights advocate and president of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund," who called "for black artists to boycott Billboard." It has a Jessie Jackson quote. Lynx was apparently distressed about Dave Chapelle's sketch "depicting a blind, African American, Ku Klux Klan leader who was unaware that he was not white."
The problem is: I couldn't find this album ANYWHERE, including on the sisters' website; they are 14-year-old twins, BTW. What made it initially plausible were the links to the real ABC News stories here (a YouTube video) and here. In fact, the first part of the Ted Shaw quote comes from the linked article. This doesn't appear on my favorite mythbuster Snopes.com, but this is bogus. I always wonder who has the time or the inclination to make up such garbage.
Those of you not from the area may have missed the story about 2 guilty in sting case: Muslim immigrants face up to 25 years in prison:
Two Muslim immigrants who were targeted in an FBI sting were convicted on Tuesday of charges they supported terrorism by taking part in a fictitious plot to launder money from the sale of a shoulder-fired missile.
Yassin M. Aref, 36, a Kurdish refugee from northern Iraq whom the FBI identified as their "ultimate target," was found not guilty on 20 of 30 counts filed against him. But Aref was convicted of several key charges, including money laundering and conspiracy to support terrorism, arguably diminishing the effect of the jury's acquittals on two-thirds of the indictment against him.
Mohammed M. Hossain, 51, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Bangladesh who arrived in the United States more than 20 years ago aboard a cargo ship, was found guilty on all 27 counts he faced, including conspiracy to support terrorism. Hossain, who co-founded the Central Avenue mosque where Aref was the spiritual leader, owns a pizzeria and was targeted only because of his close relationship with Aref, authorities said.
The case was launched in 2003, after Aref's name and Albany address were recovered from debris or notebooks in three suspected terrorist encampments during the early stages of the Iraq war. By that time, Aref already had been interviewed by FBI agents who had been assigned to visit mosques and ask Muslims to report any suspicious behavior.
The sting case began in July 2003 when an undercover informant went to Hossain's small pizza shop and befriended him while posing as a wealthy importer. At the time, Hossain was struggling to keep his business afloat while managing a couple of rental properties he purchased through a county property auction.
The informant offered to loan money to Hossain. The pizzamaker suggested Aref, his mosque's imam, be brought in to witness their loan transaction, which was what the FBI had hoped would happen.
Authorities contend the pair went along with the deal, even after the informant showed Hossain a shoulder-fired missile while disclosing that he earned money selling weapons to terrorists.
Defense attorneys countered the informant never made it clear the loan was connected to a terrorism plot or a specific terrorism organization, which the indictment alleged. They also said language barriers -- the three men all spoke different native languages -- prevented the defendants from understanding what was unfolding.
The case drew criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and other critics of the Bush administration's post-9/11 counterterrorism tactics. The ACLU had joined the case at one point, unsuccessfully challenging the judge's decision to allow the government to make numerous classified filings in the case that remain sealed.
Earlier stories noted that "Aref also faces three separate charges for allegedly lying on a green card application and while being interviewed by FBI agents about his ties to a Kurdish political party." Much of the information was provided by an informant, who was under indictment in another matter.
This case troubled me in so many ways. Not surprisingly, the verdicts are being appealed, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the appeals are successful because:
* The informant is squirrely, and helped in entrapping the others.
* The language barrier was great. The two men convicted and the informant all had different native languages. Indeed, some of the original documents that placed them under suspicion were mistranslated by the government, with one of the men thought to have been addressed as "commander" when the actual word was something more benign, such as "fellow member".
* Most important is the judge's instruction to the jury, which stated that the FBI had reason for taking the action they did. It's not only prejudicial, it seems actionable by the entity that administers judges.
The local paper has a blog with a weekly feature, This week's 2-faced heads. "Every Friday, we pass along a little collection of potentially double-meaning headlines culled throughout the week from newspapers, wire services and online sites." Well, I found one in that paper Tour boat owner remains in cases. If you think of "remains" as a noun, this is a very funny headline about a very sad case, described in the subhead, "Mohican vessel operator kept as a defendant in Ethan Allen deaths", and the first paragraph: "ALBANY -- Two Lake George tour boat companies faced off in U.S. District Court Tuesday over the sinking of the Ethan Allen in which 20 senior citizens drowned."
One of my fellow bloggers, knowing I used to work in a comic book store, sent me a link about The Secret Origins of Batman, how Bob Kane (or his assistants) swiped a lot of work. This appeared a few months ago in a column I generally read, but somehow I missed it.
He also sent me a piece on pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, who did pretty much the same thing; there's even more info here and here. I never "got" Lichtenstein, whose fame I never understood, yet outstripped those he copped, except in the narrow world of comic books.
You'll find a picture of Mark Foley here. Apparently it's a real picture, but so what? A Republican President with a Republican member of Congress. Eh.
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