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Monthly Archives: November 2010

NASS and 25%

As though one needs convincing on how the Nigerian experiment has failed, and is consequently in dire need of restructuring, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi the Central Bank Governor intimates:

“If you look at the budget, the bulk of government’s revenue expenditure is on overheads, that is a big problem; 25 per cent of overheads of the Federal Government goes to the National Assembly. We need power, we need infrastructure, so we need to start looking at the structure of expenditure and make it more consistent with the development initiative of the country.”

There you have it folks—the Nigerian National Assembly comprised of 109 persons in the Senate and 360 persons in the House of Representatives, collectively gulp 25% of Nigeria’s revenue. This is the country with the largest population in Africa with well over 150 million citizens (if you can reliably reckon with the outcome of the last census). I will not begin to catalogue a host of pressing needs and demands facing the country, for which a judicious use of it’s over $340 billion dollar GDP, would have gone a long way in addressing. Why? It is painful to recount and at the same time maddening to realize how badly things are being mismanaged if 469 individuals could appropriate a quarter of the national funds for themselves. This is just the Nigerian National Assembly mind you. By the time you factor in Executive malfeasance, and the cuts which would be appropriated by other different governmental bureaucracies, it leaves you wondering how much Abuja actually sets aside to do the bidding of the people.

Then of course, as Abuja disburses funds to the states, you can definitely expect the chain of political malfeasance to continue all the way down the chain. Is it any wonder then that Nigeria could be so richly blessed in terms of material and human resources, but at the same time, be gripped with paralyzing stagnation and privation? The article goes on to list a number of things which are wrong with the country and which must be addressed to better the lot of the masses. I do not want to sound like I am deeply cynical, but at the same time, I don’t want to sound like a broken record either—at the risk of being considered nonchalant, I’ll say that Nigerians are very much aware of how things are not working just like they are also very much aware of steps which could be taken to correct things. They have and continually make their frustrations known regarding the dismal performance of the political ruling class. But honestly, is anyone listening? How long shall the masses cry?

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El Classico 2010

In the Spanish Primera Liga, there are indisputably two giant sides—Real Madrid and Barcelona. The meeting of these two titans of Spanish football, dubbed El Classico, is so huge that it attracts global attention.  And once again, an El Classico game is around the corner again. Tomorrow by 9pm local time, Real Madrid and Barcelona will square off again. Every true follower of the sport will definitely want to watch this match.

In the league standings, Real Madrid is at the top of the table; Barcelona is following closely behind, being separated from the top position by just 1 point. I need not tell you the amount of pressure that puts on Real Madrid to keep performing or they could easily be displaced at the top of the league table. So, if you are a betting kind of person, who are you going to bet on?

Well, let’s consider this:

Read the rest of this entry

Thanksgiving 2010

Well well well….another Thanksgiving Day is here again. It is the holiday that we gather with our families or our loved ones around a sumptuous feast to recount all the things in the year for which we are thankful. It’s as simple as that.

But, of course, there is that boring Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade to watch. And then, hurray–there will be FOOTBALL. This year, I am betting against the Cowboys in that match against the New Orleans Saints.  So Sorry Cowboys—but you are a miserable team this year; don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. 😀

Happy Thanksgiving everyone : go nuts on the Turkey. And don’t forget the Black Friday Sales that comes tomorrow.

Janelle Monae

Do you know Janelle Monae? I suspect you may not have come across her music before. But if you have, don’t you think she is entertaining? Her music is different- its like Outkast meets Michael Jackson. Her look is different and her movements are so fluid. I’ll stop raving because she is not really new. I didn’t just discover her either, but I just thought I should just share this wonderful gem in case there are some who may incidentally find her style deliciously attractive.

The Rise Of The Tea Party?

A Tea Party Rally

I have always wanted to make a little comment on the meteoric rise to prominence of the Tea Party movement. I just never got the chance to do so until now. If my memory serves me right, it was during the 2008 election that we began to notice a fundamental shift in Republican thinking and propaganda. The Republicans were traditionally opposed to the Democrats – that was a given, but in that dramatic and turbulent 2008 election period, the Democrats were mostly in control of the message of change and hope.

The Bush administration along with its many failures and compromises left many Republicans rueful about their prospects at the polls. There were a great number of Republicans who were frankly fed up with or displeased by the eccentricities and the sloppiness of the beltway republican establishment. And of course they were staunchly opposed to a Liberal or Progressive takeover of Washington. Thanks or no thanks to shrill republican media watchdogs, a lot of these dissatisfied Republicans and/or Independents began to fashion an identity of their own. Gradually, the Tea Party movement was born.

These scattered voices of rage and dissent against the Washington establishment found strength and support in right-wing radio and on some cable TV shows. They tried as much as they could, with their sometimes frighteningly exclusivist positions to win back broad-based support for McCain during the election period. But they failed to get McCain elected.  Ironically, the election of Obama was the best thing that happened to the Tea Party. In fact, it could be argued that the election of Obama as the 44th president of the United States kept conservative radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh gainfully employed. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and other new actors on the national stage, sensing an opportunity, decided to throw their weight and support behind this new faction of the Republican Party—the Tea Party began to grow exponentially despite being cajoled and maligned by the mainstream media.

Read the rest of this entry

Have You Laughed Today?

Check out these commercials. See if you can at least get a chuckle from them. Laughter makes the heart grow fonder.

For Colored Girls

I heard a lot of positive remarks about Tyler Perry’s new movie For Colored Girls. Most people who had seen the movie suggested that it was a movie that I needed to see and so, as you can predictably expect, my anticipation and anxiety grew.  After all, I am known for my love of movies. I became intrigued. This was clearly something that needed to be checked out.

If you are reading this blog and you have not seen the movie, but you seriously intend to see the movie very soon, then may I suggest that you should discontinue reading this review? If on the other hand, you have not seen the movie and you do not really care that much about the movie, then read on. If you still want to see the movie, but don’t mind reading one man’s opinion, then by all means carry on.

I am not going to bore you with the details of where I went to see it, or how I got there. Let’s just say, I got a comfy seat and mentally prepared myself for the upcoming ordeal.

I did not have long to wait.

The movie started out slowly. Gradually, we began to be introduced to the all-star cast. You could clearly see the characters beginning to settle into their roles.  After about 20 minutes, I began to notice that this movie did not have a nice continuous flowing narrative. It just didn’t seem like the movie had a central plot: at best, it seemed to be a fortuitous mishmash of painful or rather tragic experiences. There was this sinking feeling I had when I discovered, much to my chagrin, that my suspicion about this movie was right.

If you ever sought a cheap, bland, uber-emotional, stereotypical, feminist propaganda aimed at demonizing men, this is the movie for you. In summary, this movie is just cheap gynocentric emotional blackmail. This is the kind of movie one takes sad, depressed and disgruntled women to see so that they can turn all their frustrations and bitterness against the men in their lives or against men in general. Misery loves company, isn’t it? It was just one tawdry estrogen-packed pile of virulent misandry. I don’t know why men get suckered into watching these pieces of petty feminist propaganda anyway.

You see, before I went to see this movie, I had the vague suspicion, judging by the fact that this was a Tyler Perry movie involving a whole bunch of black actresses, that it was going to be nothing but another tiresomely repetitive catalogue of black women’s complaints against men in general. Indeed, everywhere you care to turn these days, you are assailed by the noisy whining of the shrill viragos that have hijacked the women’s liberation movement, and turned it into a man-hating feminist propaganda machine.

Let us examine some of this insanely twisted storyline.

a)      Kimberly Elise plays Crystal. She is a hardworking single mother to two children. She is also the breadwinner it seems because her live-in boyfriend and father to her children Beau, played by Michael Ealy, is a physically abusive ex-soldier who apparently cannot get a job nor adjust to civilian life. The movie is rife with his general assholery—including scenes where he repeatedly punches her. Apparently, the director thought it fit to suggest to us that the main reason for Beau’s general instability seems to be the disappointment caused by Crystal’s refusal to marry him. In the end, this crazy loon murders his own children in the full glare of the public by throwing the children down from a high rise when Crystal once again refused to marry him. And away he goes to jail. How convenient! The rest of Crystal’s character is spent tugging at heart strings; casting a most pathetic and disconsolate figure as she staggers and lays around bemoaning the loss of her children.

b)     Janet Jackson plays Jo. She is by all appearances a successful owner (or possibly CEO) of some magazine company. Her time is spent ordering staff around, and being the perfect completely detached, emotionally cold boss. She is trapped in a loveless marriage. Of course, her husband is to be blamed, if you go by the narrative. Apparently her cold, domineering and bossy ways do not count for anything. Her exclusive dedication to her job is ignored; the constant monitoring and harassing of her husband (she has more money that her husband you see) cannot be blamed for her icy relationship. When her struggling broker husband dips into their family fund and invests without telling her, he is removed from the account. When he doesn’t return her missed calls, he gets an earful. But apparently, by the director standards, all this is honky dory. In the end, another irredeemably unworthy man, confesses that he has been cheating on her with other men. She tosses the downlow brother and the marriage is ended. What is wrong with all these men anyway? Aren’t men just another word for “vicious evil”? But of course – isn’t it the way society is now? Ever noticed how that in most TV show families, the dads are goofballs? And how the mom has to keep the family together with her special “graces”? Who cares that the young are being informed that the father figures in their lives are often dumb, unfaithful bastards anyway?

c)      Loretta Devine plays Juanita Simms. She is the big hardworking, romantically tender nurse who has mostly been unfortunate in love. She has a lot of love in her heart to give a worthy man, but the men she had known always left her for other younger and possibly hotter women. So now she runs a centre where she gives pep talk to birds of the same feather. Sadly in her case though, no matter how hard she tried to leave her man, she just couldn’t resist the power of his kisses, his touch, and his manhood. In the end, another terrible specimen of the male species goes down when he steals half her belongings, runs off to another woman, is rejected and comes back to Juanita bearing flowers. He is dumped with a lot of fanfare and the man walks away with scarcely a show of regret—inviting the audience to shudder at the cold contemptuous and devious machinations of men.

d)     Thandie Newton plays Tangie. She plays a sultry hot bar maid. This was one of the funniest characters because she was just plain crazy. Coming from a sexually molested, bruised and battered childhood, this woman was concealing a lot of pain and resentment for her mother, sister and pretty much everyone. Her only source of comfort was in countless sexual encounters with strange men. Apparently, she craved the feeling of being desired and wanted by men who treated her like the sex object she really was. And those brief moments were enough for her.

e)      Anika Noni Rose plays Yasmine. This seemed to be the only genuinely happy and balanced woman in this whole movie. She taught a ballet dancing class for younger women in the neighborhood. She was quite elegant and beautiful I have to say. Then as the story goes on, she dates one seemingly stand-up guy—had a job, was gracious and funny etc. You know the usual superficial stuff that women go for these days. It turns out this man was a veritable green snake in green grass. He manages to get her to invite him into her apartment on a date. What happens next? Well, a guy whom the director had previously striven to present as a respectable gentleman suddenly notices Yasmine bending over to get something from the fridge. Then he attacks her in her apartment, overpowers her and rapes her. He gets his just comeuppance however when he is stabbed to death by one of his victims—a befitting end for such callous brutishness.

I could go on and on. It was a hodgepodge of absurd female victimhood and grossly exaggerated male complicity. But I think the picture is beginning to crystallize. It was like the script-writers deliberately went out of their way to present a gross misrepresentation of so-called gender warfare. There was no attempt at presenting a balanced and realistic picture of cross-gender interaction. There was no attempt at presenting credible scenarios. At times, the characters’ lines seemed like a poetry recitation. The men were the clear villains—and their villainy was hyperbolic to the point of annoyance. Perhaps all that is intentional. Perhaps, it is just aimed at creating emotional release for the multitude of women out there who have some cause to believe that the men in their lives are the banes of their existence.

I am not too sure there are any encouraging positive lessons that one is supposed to learn from this movie.  I am convinced that the feelings which a vast majority of unsophisticated, non-discerning impressionable younger black females will get from watching this movie is clearly that MEN ARE DIRTY, DOUBLECROSSING, DRUNK, DOWNLOW, DECEITFULLY DUBIOUS, DANGEROUS DEVILS.

And who can blame them? It makes me wonder what this portends for future black-on-black heterosexual relationships.

I hate to sound alarmist, but cheap non-edifying poison like this movie will simply help to bring forth a future generation of emotionally detached, violence-prone, selfish, materialistic, impulsive and paranoid vipers. Woe betide the good men left; woe betide the conservative old-fashioned average Joes – by the hands of their serpentine wives or girlfriends, they’ll suffer the full brunt of the waywardness of the morally lax male.

Go check out the movie if you want – but I wish someone had told me ahead of time to prepare for the hyperbolic emotional blackmail.

P.S – There were perhaps only 3 men that saw this movie with me. Two of them were white senior citizens; the other looked like a skinny Asian student. It was a good thing though that at the end of the movie when everyone filed out of the theatre, no woman, threw me any questioning, disapproving glances. I just want to believe that maybe it was because I watched it late with the mature crowd.

On Divine Omniscience and Freewill

Trite, superfluous and mundane as internet chat room discussions usually are, there are occasionally flashes of real serious and interesting debate or dialogue. It is usually at times like that that I would start paying very close attention to what different people often say when they start waxing philosophical.  It is usually at times like this that you would be truly impressed or disappointed at the astonishing depth or shallowness of arguments or viewpoints that one may not have bothered to contemplate closely.

One of such discussions was taking place recently, when a usually infrequent but popularly known regular of the chat room started a much-needed and thematic deconstruction of Christian Theism. If you asked him, he would deny that he was launching any personal attacks – as a matter of fact he simply maintained that he was just philosophically analyzing popular belief and pointing out the fatal flaws and inconsistencies of the positions advocated by Christians. This sort of critical analysis of faith-based or religious claims are usually seen by the majority Christian theists in the room as a premeditated attack on their faith, but I beg to differ. I welcome such philosophical ruminations, because it helps to strengthen and bolster theistic belief when it is properly understood and seen to be free of some self-referential incoherence.

At any rate, the young man – I’ll just call him Kendoll – made a statement to this effect:

God’s Omniscience negates Free will. They cannot both exist. It is either human beings have free will or God is not omniscient for both cannot exist at the same time.

That statement was very confusing to many people at the time, as I noticed.  Indeed, it was of a sufficiently complex nature to many people that he actually had to stop typing his viewpoints in order to get on the room’s audio feature to speak on it. When he did, he seemed to be quite passionate about the topic that he set out to discuss.

Before he got up to speak though, I had been partially engaging him on the subject to get a feel for how he would actually explicate the position. I have to say, in retrospect, that his answers to me were unusually brief and curt, and lacked the enthusiasm which I had expected of one who had decided on a philosophical interjection in a room dominated by theological banter.

But if we examine the claim critically, is it really the case that God’s Omniscience negates human free will? Is it really true that if God knows everything in the past, present and future then it is not possible for human beings to exercise their choice as free moral agents? Read the rest of this entry

My First “Aside”

I’ve heard lots of positive feedback and commentary about Tyler Perry’s new movie For Colored Girls, and I simply just can’t wait to go check it out. When I do, I’ll give you my review of the movie. I am hoping it is not a total flop! Oh by the way, you can expect regular movie reviews from GFP, because I am an avid movie watcher!

Congrats, Super Falcons!

LETS GO DANCING-•••Super Falcons are not only champions in women football. They are also champions in dancing. The girls showed off their stuff in dancing after tearing Equatorial Guinea to shreds 4-2 to reclaim the AWC trophy in South Africa.

It was less than a month ago that I was informed by Super Falcons defender, Ms. Onome Ebi, that she was finalizing her plans to travel from her base in Sweden to Nigeria. She was going back on a national assignment – the biennial African Women’s Championship. Before that, she had immersed herself in tough physical and mental preparations for the female version of the African Cup of Nations.

 

Onosky – as she is popularly known by in Bunibuni, a fast-growing internet community of diasporan Africans and friends of Africa – has one charming trait that always struck me. It is her general humility and quiet resilience. Each time we spoke as the days got closer for her departure to Nigeria, I couldn’t help but notice her unwavering patriotism, her sense of devotion to both club and country, and the ease with which she dealt with what must have been a very physically, mentally and emotionally challenging time.

Then she traveled. I contacted her briefly when she went back home and when she was getting ready, with the rest of Nigeria’s Super Falcons, for the flight to South Africa. I made the conscious effort not to call her during the tournament so as not to to become an unwanted source of distraction. I wanted her to sink all her energy and dedication, along with the rest of Super Falcons, into reclaiming the top prize. And, I am glad, to discover, as I was reading today’s headlines, that my bet paid off.

The Super Falcons are Champions again! Yes, they defeated Equatorial Guinea just yesterday!

They have demonstrated superlative football dominance in Africa. As a matter of fact, if the Nigerian male national team, the Super Eagles, were half as dominating as the Super Falcons are in these biennial African tournaments, I am sure that would be a great source of pride for Nigerians. To put it in proper perspective: the recently concluded female African cup of Nations is the 7th edition of that tournament – and the Super Falcons have carried the gold in 6 of those 7 tournaments. The 2008 winners Equatorial Guinea defeated the Falcons to win the gold. So, as you can tell, it was sweet revenge for the Falcons when they met with and beat Equatorial Guinea 4-2 in a most exciting finale.

Sadly, not too many Africans in the diapora knew that this tournament was going on; an even smaller number got to see any of the matches. I searched really hard and could not find anywhere on the air or on the web to see any of the matches. Nevertheless, my well-wishes were with Onosky and the Super Falcons. And indeed, they have done the nation proud. I cannot wait to call her with my profuse gratitude.

Bravo Falcons – keep flying high, keep your dazzle!

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