29 June 2004

An Open Letter to G.W. Bush...

An Open Letter to the President of the United States from the Western
Shoshone Nation

The Worst Case of Injustice to be Inflicted Upon American Indians in
More than a Century

Posted: June 23, 2004 - 10:58am EST
by: Hugh Stevens / Chairman / Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone

AN OPEN LETTER to the President of the United States, the U. S.
Congress, and the American People from the Western Shoshone Nation

Concerning the Worst Case of Injustice to be Inflicted Upon our
Nation’s American Indians in More than a Century

Dear President Bush, Members of Congress, the People of the United

Today, the Western Shoshone Nation is in a struggle for survival
against powerful forces within the U. S. Congress that are attempting to steal our ancestral homeland. While Western Shoshone warriors are fighting in Iraq to defend and protect the United States, certain members of Congress are attempting to illegally confiscate our homeland, which the U.S. Government promised to preserve and protect for the Western Shoshone Nation by the 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty.

If the Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Bill (H.R. 884/S.618) is
passed and approved by the President, our Western Shoshone warriors will not have a homeland to return to when they complete their tour of duty in Iraq.

Today, the Western Shoshone People are not being attacked by U.S. Army soldiers who are firing their rifles and swinging their sabers in
murderous attacks upon our people, as they did in the 1800s. Instead,
today, the Western Shoshone People are being attacked by a
Congressional juggernaut that has been fueled by false and misleading information that is intent upon stealing our sacred lands from under our feet.

While the direct frontal attacks of the 1800s were deadly and killed
many Shoshones, today’s Congressional attacks upon the Western Shoshone are far more devastating and destructive, since, if they are
successful, they will destroy the entire Shoshone Nation.

People say "How could this be happening in the United States of America in the 21st Century?" But it is happening, and the legislative conquest of the Western Shoshone will succeed unless stopped by Congress, the American People, and the President of the United States.


Members of Congress have been told that the Western Shoshone People want the distribution of the funds that were made available to the Western Shoshone Nation in 1979 by the Indian Claims Commission for damages inflicted upon the Western Shoshone People in 1872. The funding, which represents 15¢ per acre plus interest, is currently being held in the U.S. Treasury.


Seven tribal governments of the Western Shoshone Nation strongly oppose the distribution of the Indian Claims Commission funding which, if accepted, will extinguish their title and ownership of 24,000,000 acres of Western Shoshone lands that were guaranteed to the Western Shoshone by the U.S. Government by the 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty.

These lands have never been ceded or sold by the Western Shoshone, and remain the homeland of the Western Shoshone Nation.


In 1951, Western Shoshone filed a claim for damages with the Indian
Claims Commission for actions being taken by the Federal Government to illegally confiscate Western Shoshone lands. Twenty-seven years later, in 1978, the Indian Claims Commission got around to responding to the Western Shoshone claim. Finally, in 1979, the Indian Claims Commission attempted to make a final judgment on the Western Shoshone claim. By law, in order for the Indian Claims Commission to make a final judgment on a tribal claim, two actions were required. First, the amount of monetary judgment for damages had to be determined by the Indian Claims Commission, and secondly, a final report had to be filed with Congress that defined the basis for the judgment. In the case of the Western Shoshone claim, the amount of monetary judgment was established by the Indian Claims Commission, BUT THE REQUIRED FINAL REPORT WAS NEVER FILED WITH CONGRESS. WITHOUT BOTH STEPS BEING TAKEN, ANY SETTLEMENT AMOUNT WOULD BE INVALID, AND ANY PAYMENT BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE TAKING OF INDIAN LANDS WOULD BE ILLEGAL.

During the time period from 1946 to 1979 that the Indian Claims
Commission was authorized by Congress to address Indian claims, 320
claims were addressed, but 20 claims were not completed, since no final reports were filed with Congress on the 20 claims. The Western Shoshone claim was one of the claims that was never completed by the Indian Claims Commission before Congress abolished the Indian Claims Commission in 1979.

The Indian Claims Commission "final judgment" on the Western Shoshone claim remains incomplete as of this day, and can never be completed, since the Indian Claims Commission is no longer in operation.


Despite the fact that the legal responsibility of the Indian Claims
Commission was never fulfilled, the Secretary of Interior, acting as
the trustee of the Western Shoshone Nation, accepted the payment of 15¢ per acre, plus interest, as a "fair settlement" for the confiscation of
24,000,000 acres of Western Shoshone lands by the federal government, a settlement that included compensation for the richest gold fields in the United States from which $25 billion in gold has been removed from Western Shoshone lands without any compensation being paid to the Western Shoshone Indians, as required by the 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty.


The 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty was a treaty of "peace and friendship
between the Western Shoshone and the U.S. Government. Article II of the 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty gave the U.S. Government, emigrants, and
travelers across the Western Shoshone lands permission to have
unobstructed and free access to travel through and on Western Shoshone lands, but the Treaty never ceded ownership of the lands. Specifically, Article II of the 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty states:

"The sevaral routes of travel through the Shoshone Country, now and
hereafter used by White men, shall be forever free, and unobstructed by the said lands, for the use of the Government of the United States, and of all emigrants and travelers under its authority and protection,
without molestation or injury from them."

For the Indian Claims Commission to declare that the Shoshone "lost
their lands" in 1872, three years after the Ruby Valley Treaty was
ratified by Congress, is not possible inasmuch as "encroachment" by
definition means to trespass on or through territory, and the word
"trespass" means to enter without permission. The Western Shoshone gave their permission for the U.S. Government, emigrants, and settlers to pass through and use Western Shoshone lands; therefore, the taking of Western Shoshone lands by "gradual encroachment" was a fabricated myth that was made up by the Indian Claims Commission. It is not possible to trespass across lands if permission is granted to enter and use the lands, and that is precisely what the Western Shoshone Nation granted to the U.S. Government, to all emigrants and settlers by the terms of the1863 Ruby Valley Treaty.


Mr. President, and the People of America, please do not allow the
Congress to use the injustices and abuses of our nation’s American
Indians that occurred during the 1800s to serve as the standard for
which continuing abuse and mistreatment of Indian people will continue in the 21st Century, precisely what approval of H.R.884/S.618 would perpetuate.

The United Nations, the Organizations of American States, and the
National Congress of American Indians have all called for the U.S.
Government to enter into good faith negotiations with the Western
Shoshone Nation in an attempt to resolve this long-standing dispute
that threatens our people, our culture, and the very survival of the Western Shoshone Nation.

We are prepared to enter into good faith negotiations, and we sincerely believe that a fair and just resolution of this matter can be achieved.

We appeal to the President of the United States to issue an Executive
Order to the U. S. Department of Interior to direct the Secretary of
Interior to enter into good faith negotiations, on a nation-to-nation
basis, with the Western Shoshone Nation in an attempt to a reach fair
and just resolution of the land dispute related to the 1863 Ruby Valley
Treaty between the Western Shoshone Nation and the U.S. Government.

And we appeal to the U.S. Senate, please do not approve H.R.884/S.618 without at least giving the Western Shoshone Nation a hearing on the bill so that our voices may be heard.

Signed: Hugh Stevens, Chairman, Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone

This article can be found at http://www.indiancountry.com/?1088003040

NCOLT denounces Green Band

Cultural Fraud Warning!


It has been brought to my attention that there is a web sight titled

"Chickamauga or Western Cherokee"

that is soliciting Green family members to enroll in a newly formed
group calling themselves the "Green Band." Included in the web sight
under the heading of "background" is an alleged testimony by a Scott
Anderson, also, calling himself Blue Otter.

Much of the information allegedly authored by Mr. Anderson is
erroneous. For any part that is true, he displays no knowledge that
has not been previously published by me concerning our Northern
Cherokee history and the Green family of Cherokees.

The group purports to be seceding from the Northern Cherokee Nation
of the Old Louisiana Territory and other splinter groups for
traditional reasons. There is no evidence in the web sight that they
were ever a part of us.

Like groups who have broken away from the original Northern Cherokee
Nation and/or have been formed by the inspiration of the existence of
the same, this one again is evidently trying to nibble away at the
membership of the Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana

For example, he says they are breaking away for traditional reasons,
and I would venture to say that the authors of this web sight have no
idea of our Green family traditions. In his list of chiefs, Benjamin
Franklin Green is wrong. Benjamin "Franklin" Green was not the father
of James Green. The middle name is erroneous.

Benjamin Green, James Green and John Harvey Neal were my direct
ancestors, and I am very aware of their tradition, which values we
follow closely today.

Isn't it ironic that those who wish to break away from us, attempt to
display continuity to the old nation through the ancestral leaders of
those whom they are allegedly trying to break away from. These
groups evidently are not aware that they can never attain federal
recognition by using our ancestral leaders. If they are legitimate
Cherokees, they must do the research to find their own bonified
leaders, and not piggy back on us.

I am not aware of a Scott Anderson on our membership roll; he
certainly has never taken a leadership roll or assumed a role of
influence among the original Northern Cherokees. This appears to me
to be no more than another Indian membership-card mill which, like
others, may be to only get funds for a card, identifying one as a
Cherokee, but doing no research of genealogy to affirm such to be

It would be nice if all these groups who know nothing about us, yet
try to steal away our identify and history, would at least come and
learn something about us, so that instead of having 100 fragramented
groups, we could be united again into a great nation.

Beverly Baker-Northup
Principal Chief
Northern Cherokee Nation Old Louisiana Territory
Jan. 4, 2001

25 June 2004

Custer Died for His Sins...

...and don't let anyone tell you different! Here is a excerpt from an editorial that was printed in the Chicago Tribune on 7. July 1876,  a mere13 days after the Battle of the Greasy Grass:

 "Custer ... was a brave,  brilliant soldier,  handsome and dashing,  but he was reckless, hasty and impulsive,  preferring to make a dare-devil rush and take risks rather than to move slower and with more certainty, and it was his own mad-cap haste, rashness and love of fame that cost the service the loss of many brave officers and gallant men.  No account seems to have been taken of the numbers or leadership of the Sioux,...  no account was taken of the fact that General Gibbon was coming to the Little Big Horn with re-enforcements,  only a day's march behind, although General [sic] Custer was aware of it.  He preferred to make a reckless dash and take the consequences,  in the hope of making a personal victory and adding to the glory of another charge,  rather than wait for the sufficiently-powerful force to make the fight successful and share the glory with others.   He took the risk, and he lost." 33).

The first Native killed was a fourteen year old boy,  Wicohan,  who ran to warn the village of the Cavalry's approach. Six Lakota women and four infants were also killed in Custer's assualt upon their village. These un-named women and infants were the next victims of Custer's undisiplined and uncoordinated attack.  Before any warriors were confronted and engaged by the Seventh Calvary and their scouts,  11 defenseless women and children were killed.  There are many still  who defend Colonel Custer's actions at the Greasy Grass. They seldom mention this crucial part of the story.  We should remember...

Long Live the Lakota Nation!
Hoka Hey!

Put Tecumseh on the $20 Bill

This is a grand idea! In the meantime, I'll be marking my twenties with the words "Indian Killer" under Jackson's picture...


People's Weekly World Newspaper Online - Whose mug shot on the currency?

Author: Emile Schepers

People's Weekly World Newspaper, 06/24/04 15:01

Realizing that it will be impossible to drag out the Reagan funeral ceremonies until Election Day, the new PR ploy the Republicans came up with is to put him on our currency. On Madison Avenue this is called “subliminal selling.”

The symbolism of putting him on the dime, now adorned with FDR’s visage, is a little too heavy-handed. FDR was put on the coin because of his leadership during World War II, but also because it was under him that we got some of the safety nets that Reagan and his followers proceeded to dismantle. Ousting FDR to put Reagan in his place would thus be, in a sense, appropriate – trash his policies, oust his image – but it might make people think about these things. We can’t have that, now can we?

Somebody said Alexander Hamilton should be kicked off the $10 bill and Reagan substituted. But now they’re talking about ousting Andrew Jackson from the $20 to make room for Ronnie.

Jackson was a Democrat, the first U.S. president to identify himself as such. I don’t remember how he got on the $20 bill in the first place. Jackson was arrogant, violent tempered and pro-slavery. His detractors called him “King Andrew I.” Hamilton was killed in a duel, but Jackson has the distinction of being the only U.S. president who killed someone else in a duel (before he became president). But the worst national memory of Jackson is his brutal expulsion of the “Five Civilized Tribes” from their homeland in the southeastern U.S., a traumatic migration in which thousands died from exhaustion, exposure and hunger. These tribes – the Cherokee, Muskogee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole – had done nothing to merit this rough treatment except that they possessed land which some white people, Jackson’s people, wanted. So Jackson drove them out, clean over to Oklahoma. When the Supreme Court declared the State of Georgia’s initial expulsion of the Cherokees to be unconstitutional, Jackson shouted “[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!” Then he used his federal authority to kick out all five tribes. So in my opinion, ousting Jackson from the $20 bill is a good idea.

But replacing him with Iran-Contra Ronnie? With the “spinach is a vegetable” Gipper? No way. Notice that on our major currency, there are no women or minorities represented, except for Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea on not-often-seen coins. This is not because we only put “dead presidents” on the money – Hamilton and Franklin are on currency, and they were never presidents. It is because rich white males rule here.

I say, oust Jackson from the $20 and replace him with a minority and/or a woman – one who fought for justice. Poetic justice would be to replace him with Tecumseh, the Shawnee war leader who tried, but failed, to warn the southeastern tribes that people like Jackson would be their ruin.

Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez would be good candidates.

And why stop with the currency? It is a rotten shame that the city of Gary, Ind., bears the name of the hanging judge from the Haymarket Trial. Re-name it as Du Bois or Robeson, Ind., and perhaps its fortunes will have an up-tick. In Evanston, north of Chicago, there is a Custer Street, which should be changed to Sitting Bull Street.

Look around your hometown and you will see that the symbolism of naming things is linked to the way power is held and exercised in society. Though most things are named for white males, you will have to search hard to find a Eugene V. Debs Federal Building or a John Reed Avenue or a William Z. Foster Branch Public Library. The symbolic code reflects the material reality, and is designed to convince the average person that the social order is natural and immutable. By fighting to change the symbolic code, we undermine, in some small way, this mystified version of reality. Let’s do it!

Emile Schepers is a frequent contributor from Chicago. He can be reached at pww@pww.org.

Lisanne Pohl: UPDATE

German exchange student and BCC member Lisanne Pohl was severely injured in the accident which claimed the life of Stacy King, her host mother and also a BCC member...


Exchanging high school for healing
By Sarah Hoye

The sound of screeching wheels and images of blurred asphalt flashed before Lisanne Pohl's eyes like a movie.

Lisanne, 17, and Stacy King, 26, were bicycling on Ky. 169 in Jessamine County on May 8 when a car hit both of them.

"I didn't even have a second, and my body was flipping over the car," said Lisanne, 17, an exchange student from Germany who spent the last school year at West Jessamine High School. "You couldn't do anything. If I did, something worse might have happened."

Hurt and confused, Lisanne lay alone at the University of Kentucky Hospital in critical condition with shattered kneecaps, a broken pelvis and broken bones in her left arm and left leg. She later learned that King -- her host mother while she was in the United States -- had died...

24 June 2004

Quote of the Day

“These soldiers are gifts of Wakan Tanka. Kill them, but do not take their guns or horses.  If you set your hearts upon the goods of the white man, it will prove a curse to this Nation. . .”

-- Tatanka Iyotanka (Sitting Bull) Hunkpapa Lakota
18.June 1876, prophesizing victory at the Battle of the Greasy Grass


March On Washington

Black Indians Announce Plans To March On Washington

"The Final End Of The Trail Of Tears"

Freedmen Descendants of the 5 Civilized Tribes, Inc. and Black
Indians United Legal Defense and Education Fund will take the final
steps of their Trail of Tears on behalf of their ANCESTORS and

Plans are underway to continue their Journey to the States Capital,
Washington D. C. to present their Congressional Resolution Project
and Recommended Remedies in an effort to obtain a Congressional or
Presidential Resolution to Cure the Ethnic Exclusion, Racial
Discrimination and Unequal Federal Recognition and Disparate
Treatment of Black Indian Citizens of the United States.

Edgar Molette, President of Black Indians United Legal Defense and
Education Fund says "I will be wearing Black, as should all Black
Indigenous Native Americans, to demonstrate that we are in mourning
because we are still being negatively affected by the unresolved
Trail of Tears."

The journey set to start August 3 and 4th 2004 from across the United
States with all Black Indian Citizens (anyone whose grandparents said
you are part Indian) culminating with a convergence at the Reflection
Pool at the U. S. On August 6, 2004. Our Purpose is much like that
of the Late Great Dr. Martin Luther King who on August 28, 1963 in
Washington D. C., at the Lincoln Memorial; spoke in behalf of the
Negro slave when he said,

"Fivescore years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we
stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The momentous decree
came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who
had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a
joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one
hundred years later, the Negro still is not free; one hundred years
later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles
of segregation and the chains of discrimination; one hundred years
later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of
a vast ocean of material prosperity; one hundred years later, the
Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and
finds himself in exile in his own land."

The Late Great Dr. Martin Luther King could not speak for the Black
Indian Citizens of the United States for we were not included as a
part of the Emancipation Proclamation, rather our plight was
addressed and rights were granted thru the ratified Treaties of 1866
with the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee and Seminole nations
commonly known as the Five Civilized Tribes.

And in the same words that the Late Great Dr. Martin Luther King said
in his magnificent speech "I have a Dream";

"So we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition" that has
been allowed to go on since `the signing of the 1866 Treaties'. "It
is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note
(Treaties of 1866) in so far as her citizens of color (Black Indians)
are concerned" Instead of honoring this sacred obligation. America
has given the Black Indian people a bad check; a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

Eleanor "Gypsy" Wyatt, Chairman of the Freedmen Descendants of the 5 Civilized Tribes, Incorporated and Angela Molette, Vice-Chairman
explains that "not only were tribes of Black Indigenous Native
Americans and "Dark Peoples" living freely and unfettered in the
United States from what is now known as Florida to America's Interior
(North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama,
Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas and even remote
Montana) they were also historically documented as having dwelled
here as early as the year 1540 by the Explorer Hernando DeSoto and
his men. Some of those Black Indigenous Native Americans from the
Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes migrated out of Mexico some 5,000 to
6,000 years ago and are the authors the Mobilian Language, the mother tongue of Choctaw and Chickasaw Lingua and the most widely used Trade Language of Pre-European America." The descendants (our ANCESTORS) of those Black Indigenous Native Americans were included prominently in the Treaties of 1866 after European Contact as "Slaves" of other Indian Tribes. However, according to the Treaties, the Black Indians of the 5 Civilized Tribes were to be treated equally, without differentiation and given land, rights and accommodation as all other Indigenous Native American peoples now Federally Recognized.

Sadly, Federal Agencies involved and charged with Fiduciary and Trust
Responsibilities of the Indian Nations since 1824 have encouraged,
formulated and have stood idly by as they Unequally Federally
Recognized Black Indians of the 5 Civilized Tribes, and allowed the
Tribal Governments of the 5 Civilized Tribes to hide behind and use
their Sovereignty to Ethnically Exclude, Racially Discriminate and
nearly annihilate the Ethnic Class of Black Indian Citizens of the
United States. Driven by Greed and Fueled by Ancient Jim Crow
Sentiment, those Agencies with their Genocidal Policies and carefully
crafted Practices and Sleight of Hand Maneuvers in rewriting Tribal
Constitutions, harbored Genealogical Records maintained by the Tribes
and re-drafted Citizenship Requirements to Prevent Black Indians from
attaining in their self determined efforts modern citizenship,
learning, communing and reconnecting with their True Sovereign
Ancestral Heritage in violation and clear defiance of U.S.
Constitutional, Civil Rights and International Laws, as well as the
undefeatable Guarantees of the Treaties of 1866.

In using the words of the Late Great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Eleanor "Gypsy" Wyatt states, "we the Sovereign Unified Collective of
Freedmen Descendants of the 5 Civilized Tribes have presented to ALL
our Congressional leaders including but not limited to the
Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian
Affairs, Secretary of the Interior, the Office of Tribal Justice and
the Sovereign Tribal Governments of The Five Civilized Tribes,
Cherokee Nation, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Creek Nation,
Seminole Nation, and their Predecessors, successors and/or assigns
with our Congressional Resolution Project and Recommended Remedies.

On August 7, 2004 we will present the project to this Nation and the
United Nations on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. For any person
of color whose grandmother told you, you are of Indian descent you
need to get there"? 138 years of disenfranchisement MUST END.

Oleta Adams, Kansas City's great Jazz singer, in her song "Get There"
sings you can get there by Railway, Trailway, Air Plane, Caravan,
Sail Boat, climb a tree and swing rope to rope, Wind Surf, Carpet
ride or Balloon, it does not matter how you get there but get there
if you can. And as Charles Dutton would say "Get on the Bus".

UPDATES to our Continued Trail of Tears: will be posted on the
following web sites. Start saving your funds to travel the last
miles of our Trail of Tears.



22 June 2004

Sir, Alfred Merhan : Man behind "Terminal" Still Living in Airport

This puts a very sad, tragic twist on Spielberg's and Hanks' funtime at the movies...


"As far as Steven Spielberg's "The Terminal" is concerned, the experience of being trapped inside an airport for a year can lead to friendship, comic high jinks, and even romance.

But it's hard to see the life of Merhan Karimi Nasseri through Spielberg-colored glasses. Nasseri is the inspiration for the movie — a real-life Iranian refugee who arrived at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport in 1988 without a passport and without papers to enter another country. He's been stuck in Terminal One ever since. Like a lost suitcase, he has been claimed by no one. . ."

19 June 2004

Happy Juneteenth!!!

Have a happy and safe Juneteeth!

"Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863..."

17 June 2004

Hotmail bounces Gmail invitations

Looks like Hotmail doesn't want to play nice...


Hotmail bounces Gmail invitations - ZDNet UK News:

"Invitations to join Google's free email service, which have become much-desired, have been bounced by some MSN Hotmail accounts

Receiving a coveted invitation to open a free email account on Google's Gmail is a thrill that's literally lost on Microsoft... "

Many Cherokee "Tribes" Are Not What They Seem

?"http://www.coolrogue.net/native/manycherokee.html">"What looks, acts and sounds like a federally recognized Cherokee tribe but really isn't? Any one of approximately 50 groups across the nation, some of which offer benefits similar to those of the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokees but just can't deliver..."

Maria Naylin AKA "Maria Yraceburu"


The White Mountain Apache Cultural Preservation Office says Maria Naylin and her teachings and claims are utterly fraudulent. "She and her works are among the latest in a long line of misguided efforts to make unauthorized and inappropriate use of Native American culture and history -- cobbled-together half-truths and fabrications intended to deceive and derive profit from the hopes and fears of those seeking to understand themselves and American Indians," according to archaeologist John Welch.

The "Quero Apache" simply don't exist. Naylin uses Navajo words and claims they are Apache, and teaches a ludicrous hodgepodge of Hinduism, New Age knockoffs of Plains Indian ceremonies, "core shamanism," and even stories about Atlantis. Naylin even uses the tribe's museum logo without permission, ignoring requests to stop.

16 June 2004

Quote of the Day

"Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams—they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do—they all contain truths..."

--Muhammed Ali (Muslim), surveying the WTC wreckage after 9/11

Christain Fundamental Groups Spreading Over Africa

This is most disturbing information... The parallels between this situation and what missionaries did to Native American are quite sobbering.


May 29, 2004 taz Magazine Dossier, Dominic JOHNSON S.

I-II Africa's Seductors


Christian fundamentalist groups and Pentecostal churches are spreading over Africa. They promise salvation by submission. They are the most grotesque side phenomenon of Africa´s social crises.

(By Dominic Johnson)

The RCCG is one of the oldest and biggest of the countless Pentecostal churches and protestant sects in Nigeria- one of the centers of the confusing, multicoloured landscape of speedily growing Christian fundamentalist communities set out to offer security in Africa´s shattering societies. They have long since achieved to become a stable part of African life: the prayer services lasting all day that draw the faithful from the slums in their best apparel, with beaming faces, gathering in parks, sports stadiums and certain big event areas. Those charismatic preachers with their rock star sound systems and their sermons going on for hours. The miracle healings on TV.

The Pentecostalists, also called charismatic churches or Erweckungskirchen, are the fastest growing religious current in the world, with a count of approximately 680 million followers today, 30 percent of those in the US, aiming at growing to 920 millions over the next 20 years, according to the German sect expert Katharina Hofer. Their fundament: absolute faith in the biblical word. Their basic belief: individual salvation. Their method: total control. The overall number of different religious communities of this kind in Africa is an estimated 10.000.

They are offering countless stories of how entering one of them will change life. One may have found constant work, another gained a visa for the States, one was able to solve his monetary problems, still another may have quit drinking. Their recipe is the age old core of protestant faith: that everybody is responsible for his own faith. It is laid out in the Bible how to do rightly. Whoever sticks to that, will be saved, while hell is waiting for the rest. The church is leading the way: do what the preacher says, don´t smoke, don´t drink, don´t commit any sins, abstain from temptations. Work for the church and ye will be rewarded, either in this life or afterwards.

One has to experience by oneself the preachers spending hours in some shack filled with hot tropical air interpreting any biblical quote until the complete worldwide political situation as well as all principles of righteous living are drawn out of it in order to grasp how hard these preachers work to keep the faithful under their spell. One cannot but note that if politicians put as much effort in explaining the UN Human Rights charter or the principles of a democratic constitution to the citizens, Africa´s democracies would be stable. Here though the only thing stable lies in the certainty that God rules, and every human accepting this and opening up to the Holy Spirit will be saved. “Born again” is the word. The demons of old sins are driven out, the soul is turned to God.

Thus those sects appear as a phenomenon accompagnying the modernization of Africa that goes along with multiple ways of social disintegration and the fading of ancient traditions, where many lose their hold and feel themselves in desperate need for new certainties. They are, above all, a part of the expanding metropolis. In countries such as Congo and Nigeria, where social decline and misery are omnipresent, the promises of those churches may seem like oracles: You can make it. Just do as we say, and you will be prospering. For the people listening, there is no other way towards happiness. As it turns out, joining rates are extremely high amongst the groups of people suffering the most, like the survivors of the ethnocide in Ruanda oder the orphans of war in Liberia.

21th century christianity will be “bigger, younger, louder, softer, more shining- and more black”, as US-scientist Danny McCain, a minister himself, sees it. In his view, the triumphant procession of the charismatic churches is fueled by their tactics of fitting Christian beliefs into African traditions, and vice versa; they offer a “biblical version of the supernatural”, taking belief in spirits and ghosts as well as miracle healings serious.

In fact, many of the Pentecostalist churches are on similarly tense terms with the established churches as the democratic movements are to the established states. While the old churches offer stately buildings and imported rituals, the new churches eagerly include traditional popular beliefs - if only to force it into even stricter moral boundaries which challenge the individual in every aspect of his daily life. According to Congolese scientist Sedecias Kakule Kahotole, most of the Pentecostal churches were originally founded by lay priests that did not find a place in regular theological education. Quite often an unsuccessful minister would reinvent himself as head of a new church by God´s revelation. “due to their simple structure and their grounding in the masses with no diocese control they collect and include those outcast of the established churches.”, he points out.

Results are obvious. The biggest Catholic church in Africa´s largest city is located only a couple of houses away from the inconspicuous RCCG prayer center. St. Dominics Church in Yaba, Lagos, is a stately building erected in the 90s displaying beautiful windows - “made by a Muslim” as a priest tells with pride. But there are only few that wander the bright and airy rooms. No born-again-Christian would ever pass its treshold.

Priest Paul Oye considers his uncherished neighbours, the RCCG, a threat not only to his church, but to the people as well. “The Pentecostalists are preaching the gospel, but their real interest is money. They are using fear. They tell the people to live by their dreams, as to them, dreams are true. So, if somebody dreams his friend wants to poison him oder his father wants to kill him, it is considered a fact, and one has to abandon his friend or his father. People are taught to be afraid of their own dreams. It´s always evil, the devil, doing his work in them. That makes the people crazy, slowly but surely. And then they say: if you have bad dreams, come to us, we will heal you.”

In the meantime, many churches have their own TV channels, airing films of miracle healings, in which born-again-Christians confess their sins and bear witness to their salvation by the Holy Spirit. Films of this kind coming from Nigeria have grown to be notorious around half of the continent. Educated observers may well see through them: a street child is dragged in front of the camera and made to tell how priest x freed him from witchcraft and saved his soul. Due to these films, in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo and stronghold of the sects, the shégués, marauding street kids, are persecuted as “incarnation of
evil”, and sometimes lynched. The congolese newspaper Le Potentiel reported that nightmares, fear of the deep dark night during electricity breakdowns or of certain animals like lizards and cats are spreading among children exposed to those films.

It is obvious that the new churches are less liberation movements than instruments of power. Those endless sermons do not serve education, theyare scare tactics; exhausted by standing still for hours and praying all night long, the disciples will do anything they are told. Furthermore, money plays a huge role in the services; it´s a question of honour to donate hundred-dollar-bills. Church activists are expected to give part
of their income to the church. In return, by some sort of snowball-system, they themselves profit from drafting new disciples. “They say: God is rich, so when you´re rich, you´re close to God”, as Catholic bishop Pius Ncube, helplessly watching the corrupt elite of his land sharing business with the charismatic priests, puts it.

Basically, the system is just the logical processing of Protestantism: Success is the measurable result of righteousness; the miserable have failed before God, they are bad and have to take the blame themselves.
This basic rule is the key to the success of the new churches. They are climber churches. And everybody wants to climb the social and financial ladder. When in 2001 the RCCG in Nigeria proclaimed that God decided He wanted to have ten thousand millionaires in the church, this was both an incentive for the followers and an invitation to the rich to enlist. The RCCG, founded in 1952, proclaims the “twelve keys to prosperity”:
accept the yovereignty of God; be willing to get rich; follow God´s will, give, sow, donate the first part of any new income; work hard; increase your capacities for blessings, pray, get ready for the battle; praise the
Lord, and unite with the owner of the keys, Christ, through his church. Thus, personal enrichment and alimentation of the church are closely linked and offered in the language of business.

In Kenia, the charismatic churches are holding private universities and business schools, in Nigeria they are at the forefront of internet expansion and the use of modern technologies altogether. “Many churches started out as real estate transactions” , Nigerian journalist Jahman Anikulapo explains.” During the economic crisis in the 80s, speculators were buying abandoned factories and got their money back by holding prayer services there. In fact, they got very rich by that.” In Nigeria, many kings of the underground economy discovered religion, together with internet fraud, to be very profitable. In some cases, the heads of both branches are said to be even identical.

As sect specialist Asonzeh Ukah from Ghana, author of a thesis about the RCCG, expresses in an analysis of sermons by RCCG minister Adeboye, the “prosperity gospel” of this church consists of a perverted form of the principle of corruption: “you can´t make something out of nothing”, as in: one has to pay to get, and in order to get some blessing out of the Lord, one has to pay him as well. “This idea is simple and attractive”, Ukah explains, “Jesus has already done everything that´s needed to get the good things in life. By his poverty and passion, he has opened a credit for uns we´re free to draw from, since he sacrificed himself for us. So, when you´re poor, it´s because you don´t believe.”

Like many of their competitors, the RCCG has become an economic empire, with subsidiaries in other countries like Great Britain. Meanwhile, the church owns a “redemption camp” of ten square kilometers close to the highway from Lagos to Ibadan, where big events are held frequently, and a gigantic service with millions of participants and a duration of several weeks is taking place. An event that also gets economic sponsors to cue up in line. Their leaders are allowed to hold services in Nigeria´s presidential palace - President Olusegun Obasanjo, who in his coming into office by democratic election 1999 ended sixteen years of military dictatorship in Nigeria, calls himself a born again Christian, and his takeover was celebrated as an evidence for the power of God himself by the Pentecostalists.

It seems no miracle that these days the bloodiest of religious wars are fought in Nigeria. The rebellious forces of the revival churches prove to be politically relevant. Metaphors of “revival” are used by almost all of the African presidents that by their seizing of power seemed to end the previous state of misery and dictatorship, and not few of them are registered members of these churches. Francois Bozizé, president of the Republic of Central Africa, who reached power by a takeover coup in 2003, is leader of the local branch of the “Eglise Christianisme Céleste”, founded in Benin. Laurent Gbagbo, President of the Ivory Coast and warlord in his own country, is depending on radical Christian sect leaders in Abidjan to win the unemployed youth and recruit them for militia.

When in Zaire in 1996-1997 Laurent Kabila´s rebels took on the fight against the corrupt Mobutu dictatorship, their leaders linked protestant asceticism with millenary expectation of salvation. “We have driven out the devil” the kid soldiers bragged amongst the debris of the wrecked barroom in the devastated city hotel of Bunia in spring of 1997 when their movement was just about to march towards Kinshasa from their location in the east of the country. There was talk of “new moral”, “battle against decadence” and “spiritual recovery”; whether that was Christian or Maoist was not quite clear. Later, in power, they succumbed to the lure of the flesh and of corruption just as their motubistic predecessors, and in the great war in the Congo 1998-2003 sects were influential on all sides.

Today in Kinshasa, poorest of the African metropoles, priests and pop stars are the idols of the youth. It´s only logical that Congo´s biggest singing star, Papa Wemba, joined forces with the biggest female church leader, Maman Elisabeth Olangi, whose gigantic mass events are frequently visited by the higher ranks of politicians. When “archbishop” Fernando Kutino of the Congolese “victory church” took a stand opposing president Joseph Kabila, recruiting followers for a “let´s save the Congo”-project, the regime was alarmed, the church was prohibited, opposition leaders demonstrated in favor of the “archbishop” while he himself moved to Paris. Congo´s wrecked capital is overcrowded with sects preaching the healing of the soul, the most successful of their leaders eben expanding their realm into the US.

Being asked by a congolese interviewer why there´s more and more churches and priests in Kinshasa, Freddy Shembo, who had moved his “Mount Carmel Church of God” from the city to North Carolina, answered: “Why? People are hungry for God. If there´s more and more hospitals and doctors, it´s a sign for development, too.”

Caveat Emptor: American Indian Dog Hoax

Beware of (the false) Dog!

A “Buyer Beware” Warning

"Before you buy a puppy from breeders making various claims about the ancestry of their dog breed, beware of possibly fraudulent claims, exaggerations, misinformation and outright fantasy – whether it is due to misguided delusion or purposeful and willful deceit by the breeder. Several breeders are active in various US states and Europe, promoting elaborate tales of a lifelong quest and claims of having “saved the American Indian/Native dog from extinction”, of having bred the “Aboriginal dog”, “American dingoes” or a “rare breed with bloodlines of dogs that crossed the Bering Straits with the first American people”. . ."

American Indian Dog Hoax

15 June 2004

Quote of the Day


Yellow wakes me up in the morning.

Yellow gets me on the bike everyday.

Yellow has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice.

Yellow makes me suffer.

Yellow is the reason I'm here.


Wear Yellow, Live Strong on June 16!


Advocates Across U.S. Wear Yellow to Support People Living with Cancer Lance Armstrong Foundation Raises Awareness in Washington, D.C.

AUSTIN, Texas - June 14, 2004 - The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) is asking all Americans to wear yellow on Wednesday, June 16, to show support for people living with cancer. For Lance, yellow is the color of hope, courage, inspiration and perseverance - as well as the color of the leader's jersey in the Tour de France. On Wednesday, June 16, yellow will be the color worn by LAF staff, board members, supporters, cancer survivors and advocates across the country who want to raise awareness for the 10 million Americans living with cancer today.

The LAF will be in Washington, D.C. on June 16 to participate in a Capitol Hill briefing for lawmakers and their staff. The briefing will present findings of the LAF and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joint National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship and the President's Cancer Panel's recent report about cancer survivorship. Participants will include officials from the CDC, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the President's Cancer Panel. LAF cancer advocates will also meet with members of Congress and their staffs.

The LAF hopes that citizens in all 50 states will wear an item of yellow clothing on June 16. Groups of yellow-wearing supporters can submit a digital photo at www.laf.org.

Supporters can also wear yellow by purchasing a $1 yellow Live Strong wristband. As a tribute to Lance Armstrong's inspirational fight against cancer as well as his historic attempt at a sixth Tour de France win, the LAF and Nike launched the Wear Yellow Live Strong campaign last month. Nike will donate $1 million to the Foundation and is leading efforts to raise an additional $5 million through the sale of yellow wristbands engraved with Lance's mantra, Live Strong. All proceeds will benefit LAF programs that help young people with cancer live strong.

About the Lance Armstrong Foundation

The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) believes that in your battle with cancer, knowledge is power and attitude is everything. From the moment of diagnosis we provide the practical information and tools you need to live strong. The LAF focuses its activities on community survivorship programs, national advocacy initiatives, scientific and clinical research grants, and survivorship education and resources, including Live Strong, the LAF’s comprehensive resource for cancer survivors. The LAF was founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong and is located in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit www.laf.org and www.livestrong.org.

Contact: Michelle L. Milford -- Public Relations Manager
Lance Armstrong Foundation
(512) 236-8820 x178 -- michelle.milford@laf.org

Lance Fights Back!

Lance Armstrong is being slandered in the lead up to the defence of his Tour de France title...



Date: June 14, 2004

To: News Desks and Legal Departments
Lance Armstrong has reacted with concern and dismay at
the false allegations made by David Walsh, Chief
Sports Writer of the Sunday Times.  The allegations
appear in a forthcoming book entitled ‘LA
Confidential', co-written with Pierre Ballester and to
be published in France.  Extracts from the book have
appeared in L'Express and some of the book's
allegations were repeated in yesterday's Sunday Times.

Lance Armstrong utterly denies ever having taken any
performance enhancing drugs.

Accordingly, Lance Armstrong has instructed his
lawyers to immediately institute libel proceedings

1) In the High Court in London against the Sunday
Times and David Walsh seeking an injunction and
substantial damages
2)  In Paris, against David Walsh, Pierre Ballester,
the publishers of ‘LA Confidential' and the publishers
of L'Express.

Proceedings will be filed in the High Court tomorrow.
Issued by Schillings, Royalty House

Munich Slams the Door on Windows

Well, at least the Germans can the read the writing on the wall... Hmmm, I wonder how long it will take for some Microsoft shill to label the city of Munich as anti-American supporters of terrorism? At least Munich's taxpayers will get their money's worth from Linux.


Munich Linux decision official: "Bloomberg News reports that Linux has officially won 14,000 municipal desktops in Munich, Germany, after a year-long decision process that saw Microsoft reduce their pricing and merited a visit from Microsoft CEO Steve Baller. The 82-member city council formally votes tomorrow on a proposal to dump Windows NT for Linux. Bloomberg says a published agenda for the meeting notes the switch to open source.
In April 2002, German Heise Online reported that the city was examining Linux over privacy concerns and yearly fees. Munich selected Linux and issued a press statement regarding the move from Windows just a year later...

Microsoft Races to Plug IE Hole

SSDD! Windows is broken again, what else is new?


Microsoft races to plug IE hole

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, is racing to solve a flaw in its internet browser that may allow hackers access to computer systems.

The net security watchdog, the Computer Emergency Readiness Team (Cert) has issued a warning, saying there were signs it was being exploited.

Problems arise when a user unknowingly clicks on a bogus web link, triggering a download of software.

Malicious hackers could then have access to data and files on the PC.

'Actively exploited'

The danger lies in the fact that the links can be disguised to look like bona fide URLs and the software is installed without raising any alarms.

The US's Computer Emergency Readiness Team has issued a warning about the problem late on Friday.

"Publicly available exploit code exists for this vulnerability, and US-Cert has monitored incident reports that indicate that this vulnerability is being actively exploited.," it said in a statement.

Microsoft's Windows software runs on about 90% of the world's desktop computers.

The company said it hoped to have the problem sorted before its monthly release of security updates.

Since the beginning of 2004, Microsoft has released 17 security warnings.

This compares to 51 issued last year, of which 20 were classified as the highest category of threat.

While it works on a fix to the problems with Internet Explorer, Microsoft is recommending that web surfers adopt so-called "safe browsing" practices.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/06/14 08:08:43 GMT


13 June 2004

F is for...

F is for...Frybread!
What else would "F" stand for?

Happiness is a plate piled high with fragrant, warm slices of Frybread, fresh from the fryer and even warmer Friends to share it with...

Here's my wife's Frybread recipe:

Johnna's Frybread (Wigliun Kagapi)

* 3 cups Flour
* 1 tsp. Salt
* 1 tbs. Baking Powder
* 1 1/2 cup water
* 1 tbs. Shortening (cut in)

Mix ingredients and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Break off a ball of dough about golf ball size and pat out no thicker than 1/4 inch. (In some tribal traditions a hole is always made in the center which has spiritual significance).

Fry in deep hot oil to a light golden brown, turn once to brown both sides. A deep fryer works best. (Oil is hot enough if a small test piece of dough dropped in the oil begins cooking almost immediately and rises to the top.) Drain bread well and pat with paper towel to remove excess oil.

Keep covered in a bowl while cooking to keep bread warm.

Serving - Usually eaten like bread with soup, stew or posole

Variations - Eat with honey, powdered sugar, cinnamon.

Enjoy! --ryan

E is for...

Continuing with the fuel theme:

E is for...Ethanol!

"Team Nasamax is the first team ever to run wholly-renewable fuel at Le Mans. The team first received special dispensation from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest in 2003 to run bio-ethanol fuel rather than regular gasoline..."

If it works on a race track, then why not on our roads, in our cars?


D is also for...

D is also for..."Diesel!"

The State of Sequoyah

This is a most interesting bit of history from the Cherokee Nation's newsletter (Cherokee.org).


State of Sequoyah

The U.S. government attempted to abolish the governments of the Five Civilized
Tribes effective March 4, 1906. This was through the Curtis Act. Most of the
members of the United States Congress were in favor of Indian Territory and
Oklahoma Territory combining into one state. Most of the Native Americans, and
some whites who legally resided in Indian Territory, were adamantly against
united with Oklahoma Territory.

In April, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt promoted single statehood at each
stop of his railroad campaign throughout Indian Territory. However, a separate
state, consisting of the Five Civilized Tribes located in Indian Territory, was
proposed. The name of that state would be "Sequoyah."

J.A. Norman wrote, "Oklahoma has already thrown down the gauntlet of statehood
by holding this summer a convention to form a constitution for Oklahoma and
Indian Territories as one state. We, as Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw,
Seminole, and Osage Indians, together with the whites and blacks in our midst,
have the same right to call a constitutional convention, to adopt a constitution
for the Indian Territory’s new state, called "Sequoyah," and submit it to the
next congress to ratify as it is already duly bound to do so by sacred and
solemn treaties. American citizens, the loyal patriotic matter is now us to

It was said that Norman’s letter "Lighted a match and set the prairies on fire."
Norman later joined with Cherokee Chief Rogers, and Choctaw Chief McCurtain, and
called for a constitutional convention. They were soon joined by Muscogee
(Creek) Chief Porter and Seminole Chief Brown. However, Chickasaw Chief Johnston
was in favor of joint statehood with Oklahoma and refused to participate.
However, he later sent William Murray who was his private secretary.

The convention convened on August 22, 1905 and was held at the Hinton Theater in
downtown Muskogee, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Indian Territory. The hall was
decorated with pictures of the Cherokee inventor Sequoyah, pictures of the Five
Civilized Tribes’ Chiefs, as well as American flags and a picture of Theodore
Roosevelt. The festivities were embelished by the Muskogee Merchant’s Band. The
Muskogee Phoenix reported that ". . . hardshelled single staters figuratively
wept bitter tears."

The elected Chairman of the Constitution Committee was W.W. Hastings (Cherokee)
of Tahlequah. Some of the hottest debates were the boundaries of the proposed 48
counties, but suffrage for women was also a topic of much discussion. Due to the
matrilineal structure of the Cherokee society, the Cherokee representatives
fought earnestly for the right to vote being given to both sexes.

The Principal Chiefs stated on October 1, "Indian Territory has reached to
period of transition from tribal government to that of statehood. The policy of
the United States expressed in treaties and upheld by the United States
government has always consistently maintained the position that out of the
country owned and occupied by the nations of the Indian Territory at the right
time a state or states should be formed by its people. This time was fixed by
the agreements closing the tribal governments March 4, 1906. Through this
transition our present government shall not be annihilated but transformed into
material for a nobly builded state. This shall we have life, not death." It was
signed, "the Principal Chiefs of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole and Creek

The Sequoyah Constitution was published on October 14, 1905 with an election on
November 7. 65,352 votes were cast, and 56,279 were for the ratification of the
constitution. Only 9,073 were against.

A copy of the constitution, along with the results of the votes, were sent to
U.S. Congress. However, Congress would not even consider it. The St. Louis
Republic editorialized, "the Indians are powerless to enforce the bargains which
Congress made with them, and organized government is absolutely necessary to the
whites who have gone, and are still going fast, into the Territory."

A handbill promoting the State of Sequoyah stated, "These treaties so far as
they apply to the lands owned by the Five Civilized Tribes, and to those lands
alone, have never been repealed, but expressly ratified in later treaties. . . .
If these promises are not binding upon the United States, then our government
and people can be
bound by no treaty. If we do not scrupulously respect the rights flowing from
these treaties no one can reasonably place confidence in our national honor.

In 1907, Indian and Oklahoma territores were merged into one state whose name is
a Choctaw word for ‘home of the red man,’ – Oklahoma.

11 June 2004

D is for...

This is an Alphabytes 2004 post:

D is for drunk!

We already know all too well how important it is to look out for drunk and reckless drivers on the roads of Kentucky...but drunk CYCLISTS?


(0.248 percent!!!)

Bicyclist Charged With Drunk Driving

Thu Jun 10, 6:57 PM ET

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. - Police charged a Hopkinsville man with drunk driving Wednesday morning after an officer saw him riding a bicycle in the middle of the road without a headlight.

Hopkinsville Patrolman Clayton Sumner noticed that Terry Anthony Murrell, 41, was weaving in the road shortly before 2 a.m. CDT, a police report said. Murrell's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.248 percent, the report said. In Kentucky, the level of presumed intoxication is 0.08 percent.

Murrell was charged with operating a non-motor vehicle under the influence and not having lights on his bicycle.

Quote of the Day

"A bicycle is the long-sought means of transportation for all of us who have runaway hearts..."

-- Lance Armstrong

10 June 2004

Ray Charles, 1930-2004

In my opinion, "America, the Beautiful" as sung by Ray Charles, should be our national anthem...

R&B music legend Ray Charles dies:

The legendary R&B musician Ray Charles has died aged 73, in Los Angeles, his publicist has said.

Charles, who has been blind since the age of six, had had a low public profile for almost a year.

Complications with his hip surgery forced him to call off a performance in New York last month.

Despite recent ill health, he had been working on a CD of duets with performers such as Elton John, Norah Jones and Johnny Mathis.

Charles is considered a pioneer of soul music with hits including Georgia on My Mind and I Can't Stop Loving You.

The 12-time Grammy winner played his 10,000th concert on 23 May 2003 in Los Angeles.

Born Ray Charles Robinson in Albany in the south-eastern state of Georgia on 23 September 1930, Charles went on to become one of America's most enduring musicians.

'The Genius'

After the blood disease glaucoma left him blind as a child, Charles was sent to a school for the deaf and blind in Florida, where he developed a lifelong talent and passion for music.

The young pianist later made his way to the north-western city of Seattle where he first performed as a solo act, modelling himself on the late musical legend Nat "King" Cole.

He was a master of many styles, dabbling in country, jazz, big band and blues.

Battling childhood poverty and adult drug addiction, his intense renditions of classic songs earned him the nickname The Genius.

His last public appearance was alongside Clint Eastwood on 30 April in LA.

The city has designated the singer's studios, built 40 years ago in the centre of the town, an historic landmark.

Charles died in his Beverley Hills home of complications of liver disease, according to his publicist, Jerry Digney.

"It's devastating," Mr Digney told the AFP news agency. "He's been ailing for while now and it started out with a hip situation and went from there to other things, primarily the liver."

Family members and his manager were present when he died.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/06/10 20:37:01 GMT


09 June 2004

A Bicycle Built for Ruth

Ruth sounds like a remarkable woman. You never know, perhaps you'll run into her out on a training ride someday...


"Ruth Thomas left Spokane, Wash., June 10, 1998, with the intention of visiting the smallest incorporated town in every state.

By bicycle.

Now 78, the retired schoolteacher has ridden 10,462 miles and visited the smallest towns in 35 states, including one so small it had zero population.

She has biked over the Rockies several times. She was run off the road and injured in Iowa and ran into a skunk party in North Dakota..."

Getting It Right...

Once again, I count upon the BBC News to serve up the hard facts:

"As tens of thousands of Americans file past the casket of Ronald Reagan, some observers are quietly - and not so quietly - beginning to question the accolades heaped on the late president since his death.

Many obituaries have highlighted his sunny charm and good humour, while others have credited him with helping to end the Cold War, restore America's confidence in itself and 'get government off people's back', as he himself would have put it.

But critics point out that there was another side to his presidency - record budget deficits, economic pressure on the middle class, human rights abuses in Central America, and the Iran-Contra scandal.

Correctives are being issued even to the claim that he was the most popular president in modern history. "

Mind you, it's not my intent to speak ill of, or to slander the dead, I merely tell the truth. I was alive and kicking during the Reagan Years and I know what my life was like during that time.

Death Offers a Living History Lesson

Regardless of your politics, the events surrounding the Reagan funeral will offer a unique opportunity to witness the highest, most solemn ritual of the U.S. government.

"Washington has not staged an event on this scale since the funeral of President Lyndon Johnson in 1973..."


Sgt. York's solemn trek

"He was no winner on the race track, but a skinny Standardbred from New York is set to capture the nation's heart when he serves as the riderless horse in Ronald Reagan's funeral procession.

Sgt. York, a 13-year-old trotter who rarely won in three years at Yonkers and Freehold raceways, will walk stoically behind the caisson bearing the 40th President's flag-draped coffin to the Capitol tomorrow night, an Army spokesman said yesterday."

For a few hours he'll be the most famous horse in the world...

A Fierce Young Hellraiser...

What an interesting contrast: Ronald Reagan passed his torch on long ago, while Peg is still kickin' ass and taking names, yet both are the same age. Both our country and the World could few more like
Peg McIntire, may she live long and prosper!


D is for...

D is for "Do-oh!"


C is for...

An Alphabytes Post!

C is for...Chicken Ranch!
Got a spare $7 million?


08 June 2004

Quote of the Day

"It is fortunate for those in power that people do not think."
-- Adolf Hitler

06 June 2004

B is for...

An Alphabytes Post!

B is for Brule!

One of my favourite bands. Paul La Roche's story is one of the most inspiring Lost Bird accounts I've ever encountered...


05 June 2004

Carb Counters: Take Note

I was going to blog about my feelings on this subject, but this link says it all! Thanks Byron!



Bush Gets Lawyered-Up

From Arthur D. Hlavaty:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush has sought a lawyer to represent him in the criminal probe into who was responsible for a leak that was seen as retaliation against a critic of the Iraq war, CBS Evening News reported on Wednesday. 'President Bush has sought legal representation in the grand jury investigation into who leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media last year,' the network said.

Remember: Like Jose Padilla, he is innocent until proven guilty."

Son of bluesman Robert Johnson Gets his Due

Interesting how the big record labels and RIAA spares no effort or resource to hunt down and serve warrants on schoolkids and housewives for downloading, and yet it took so long to find Mr. Johnson to pay him what was due...


Son of bluesman Robert Johnson gets his due

Fast-Food Factories?

Remember when, in 1981, the recently deceased Ronald Reagan deemed ketchup a vegetable? Well his protégé, G.W., seems to have taken a page from the Gipper's playbook: "In the New Economics: Fast-Food Factories?"

Some of us remember Mr. Reagan's TRUE legacy, not this misty-eyed, American Pie-in-the-Sky crap the news networks are piling high and deep now that he's gone!


Nicole LaRoche: 2003 Best Instrumental Recording Artist

Nicole Rocks! --ryan

ICT [2003/12/04] 2003 Best Instrumental Recording Artist

LOWER BRULE, S.D. - Nicole’s second CD, "Night Tree" (SOAR/Natural Visions records,) won Best Instrumental Recording at the 2003 Native American Music Awards (aka the NAMMY’s,) held on Nov. 15 in Albuquerque, N.M. The classically trained flutist, Nicole LaRoche, is a member of one of Native American music’s biggest success stories, Brulé, which is lead by her father, Brulé (aka Paul LaRoche). As a group, Brulé won the same category last year of their album "Star People," and also picked up the NAMMY for Group of the Year. "Night Tree" features the entire Brulé band as her backup players with her father producing. "It’s basically Brulé," Nicole told Indian Country Today, "but the difference is that on a Brulé album I might be on four songs while on a Nicole CD I will be on all of them in a feature part."
Brulé is known as "The Native American Yanni," which is both a blessing and a cruse (depending on how much respect one has for Yanni,) but the Nicole CD is considerably more experimental and allows the group to explore new ideas. "With the Nicole CDs we’re going to focus on different kinds of styles," Nicole said. "I’m really into the techno, not dark techno, but ambient stuff. Even with the rock-influenced part we’re getting it more ‘band-sounding.’ We’re looking at exploring all kinds of different outlets, but still with a general underlying of our own sound. We’ve kept it pretty safe so far, just to feed people slowly so it doesn’t shock anyone. We also have a lot of older people in our audience and going way out on one end will just throw them for a loop. We do what works for everybody, and what works for us too."

"Night Tree" is being marketed as new age, but Nicole sees the label as simply a marketing tool. "New age is a general category for putting it in stores and it’s a pretty broad category. I think because our music is instrumental, and because it has some of that Yanni-style to it, it would be considered new age, but there are a lot of other ways we can go with this too; sometimes there’s more rock, sometimes we’re more techno, and we have a lot of other styles. New age is just getting it in an area where people are going to look at it."
What is most distinctive about Nicole is that she plays a classical western flute in orthodox western keys, rather than the traditional flute that dominates Native American music today. She has studied the instrument since she was eight years old. "When we started performing we originally thought about having some Native flute," Nicole said. "We were doing a lot of the Native circuit and we always want to respect the culture when we go out; because we mix the contemporary with the traditional, we try to make sure there are respectful barriers. In our tribe, in the Lakota, the Native flute was still supposed to be for the men. I never really liked to go along with anyone’s rules, so I thought I could make my flute sound like a Native flute, but that comes out more in live performances more than it does on the CD."

Nicole talked about how she collaborated with her father on the album. They have been working together for seven years. "The main difference is that on the Nicole albums he works on the background music. I’ll come in with him with ideas, but he’s the master who can get the music out and he has the studio, so he works with my ideas and pulls some things together, and I tell him what I like and don’t like and we work together. We usually start out getting a rhythm going. He can come up with things; he can hear melodies in his head. I can hear them too, but he can put them out, and I can tell him what I’m looking for in words; I can say ‘It’s like walking through an enchanted forest,’ and he will play something and it’s exactly what I’m talking about. We usually start with a rhythm and start laying the melody over that, then putting the layers in."

When asked about her influences, Nicole noted that she like Enigma and Portishead, but really sees the experience of living in two cultures the major force in her music. "Our main influence is just our story of not knowing about our heritage or our culture for so many years and growing up in middleclass society and going into a regular school, and listening to all of the regular stuff and then finding out about our culture. It’s kind of like the two worlds of us combining, so there are many influences."

Nicole said that Brulé’s audience, which has purchased more than a million copies of their albums, is a mix of everyone. "It’s all kind of people, young, old, everybody. There are people who use it in massage therapy and we’ve had people come up from schools for mentally challenged people, they said that it really helps them to concentrate and get their emotions out sometimes, so a lot of people use it for different kinds of therapy and all kinds of people really like it. Because it has no words, people can make of it what they want to."
For more information about Nicole and Brulé, visit soundofamerica.com.

A is for ...

A is for Alphabytes 2004...


France Honours Brave Americans

Who says France is anti-American? I've never thought the French were anti-American, they're just anti-idiot (you know who I'm talking about!).

Reaping a country's gratitude

Playing With Their Food

Those wacky Austrians really know how to have a good time!

The First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra

Vienna has a long and illustrious history of musical invention, so maybe it's no surprise that it should produce the world's first (as far as I know) Vegetable Orchestra. This nine piece are devoted to "the interpretation and reconstruction of electronic music with organic means", using various vegetables as their sound sources. Are they serious, or is this just an arty joke? (sorry). Well, it's a bit of both. There's a whiff of humour in their presentation (check the rather lovely sleeve, which features diagrams of instruments such as the 'Radisynth' and the 'Vegetal synthesiser 3.03'). However, sonically the orchestra have plenty going for them, and approach their music with a commitment that transcends Dada pranksterism.

Sculpting their veggies into flutes, marimbas and sundry other precussive instruments, the orchestra blow, stroke and beat them, guided by various forms of notation. Most of the pieces revolve around insistent, primitive beats, topped off with a drizzle of rustling, breathy stabs, squeaks and keening whistles. The Basic Channel-esque "Greenhouse" is powered by a bassline that could have emerged from a knackered old synth, while the aptly titled "Noiz" is a texturally dense, tightly arranged slice of abstraction that'd give Merzbow a run for his money.

Though the orchestra employ two sound engineers, their job is to catch the presumably tiny sounds generated rather than mess them around with DSP trickery. That would be missing the point; the orchestra are interested primarily in live performance. Their virtuosity (yes, that is the right word) shines through on the two cover versions included here, particularly their take on Kraftwerk's "Radioaktivitat", which suggests that Ralf and Florian may have been just as well off with a trip to the local grocers as with a roomful of moogs.

The beauty of this record is that after a while you can stop wondering about exactly what they're doing and what they're doing it with, and lose yourself in the strange little sonic landscapes this lot conjure up. Plus if you go to one of their gigs, you'll also get to eat the soup they cook with the instruments at the end of the performance. Now you don't get that kind of service with Autechre, do you? Recommended.

Reviewer: Peter Marsh

Using Technology to Better the World

Here is a company that uses technology to approve the everyday lives of REAL people around the world. My hat's off to ApproTech for all of their good works! We need more corporation and companies like this...


04 June 2004

Quote of the Day

"...What one fears, One destroys."
~~Chief Dan George

03 June 2004


These kids are simply amazing! How cool must it be to walk around with so much information in your head...

14-Year-Old Indiana Boy Wins Spelling Bee

01 June 2004

Quote of the Day

"Sell a country? Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?"

--Tecumseh, Shawnee Nation