SMV™: Songs In The Key Of Whodahellizdatby?! (SMV™concept courtesy SassyWho)

by matttbastard

My exceedingly awesome significant other (aka boomgate) recently turned me on to Kiwi D&B juggernauts Concord Dawn, who, it turns out, I’ve actually (unknowingly) been a fan of for quite some time – that’ll learn me to ignore track lists on mix sets (“Damn, who does that song at 11:27?!”) “Broken Eyes” mixes deep, rolling bass with sumptuous pop melodies and a razor-sharp guitar hook.  Ever since I first heard this tune in a John B set several years ago it has been on ‘repeat’ in the play list of my mind.

Bonus:

Concord Dawn – Morning Light

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PSA: Solidarity With Aboriginal People In The Northern Territory

Via Fire Fly:

Stop the Invasion!

International Day of Action, November 17th

In June this year, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, announced that there would be a ‘National Emergency Response’ to combat child abuse in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. The measures announced included the quarantining of half of all welfare payments, the abolition of the Community Development Employment Program, the appointment of managers for 73 prescribed communities, compulsory sexual health examinations of children, and the abolition of the permit system, amongst other things.

These measures are a violation of human rights, and is obviously racist and authoritarian. The passage of the Emergency Response legislation is dependent on the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, and the Northern Territory Native Title Act. Federal police and the military have been sent into the NT to enforce these measures.

Aboriginal people that work through the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) manage their own wages and money. Abolishing CDEP will push people onto welfare and the welfare income management system that allows for quarantining and tight control of how people’s money is spent. Many people running businesses on CDEP in remote outstations are already being forced to move into larger regional towns. The extraordinary measures give the Federal Government power to seize lands and property without compensation. The owners of those lands and properties have no right of appeal. Lands will be leased for five years, but the government has plans to extend these measures for 99 years. It is entirely up to ministerial discretion whether rent is paid on those lands or not.

The Federal Government has appointed non-Indigenous business managers to the ‘prescribed’ communities. These managers have the power to decide who lives in a community and who must leave; they can observe any meeting of an organisation working at the community, they can change any local programme. Many Aboriginal communities consider these measures, often being administered by under-prepared military personnel, as an invasion rather than an intervention.

These measures return Aboriginal people to the days of mission stations, where life was tightly controlled by authoritarian managers. It is a return to times of colonial control on Aboriginal life, and the complete absence of any autonomy or self-determination. The removal of basic property rights as enjoyed by all other Australians, with the abolition of the permit system, is a gross violation of human rights. Even the Northern Territory police oppose this measure, for the likely adverse effect it will have on crime.

Some $570 million is being spent on these measures. Half of that money will be spent on the salaries of 700 new bureaucratic positions created to regulate this intervention. $88 million will be spent on measures to control the incomes of Aboriginal people on any government payment (including aged pensions and veterans payments).

This is an insult to the hard work of Aboriginal people who have been campaigning for basic services in remote communities. Roads, schools, health care, housing and social services are desperately needed by these communities. It is estimated that the housing backlog alone for Northern Territory Aboriginal communities is half a billion dollars. Moreover, with the publication of the Closing the Gap report by Oxfam earlier this year, it has been shown that Indigenous life expectancy is 17 years below that of non-Indigenous life expectancy.

A week and a half ago, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, announced the Federal election for November 24th.

This came shortly after Australia voted against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples (along with Canada, New Zealand and the USA).

It is time to stand up for justice for Indigenous peoples everywhere, to demand either a change of policy, or a change of government!

One week before the Australian Federal election, on November 17th, various groups across Australia will be taking action to show opposition to the Federal government’s intervention into the Northern Territory. We hope that those outside Australia will join us in calling for an end to this government, an end to racist, colonialist policies towards Indigenous people, and support for the strong self-determination that Indigenous people demonstrate every day.

With allegations that the Australian Federal government is manipulating international media about the intervention, it is vitally important that information about the intervention and views of Indigenous people in the Northern Territory are widely disseminated through social justice networks. Please use your community and activist media to promote the interests of Indigenous Australians, and Indigenous people worldwide!

Learn more:

National Aboriginal Alliance: http://www.nationalaboriginalalliance.org/
Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory – alternative to the government’s Emergency Response: http://www.snaicc.asn.au/news/documents/CAOreport8july.pdf
Women for Wik: http://www.womenforwik.org/
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation: http://www.antar.org.au/
Oxfam: http://www.oxfam.org.au/world/pacific/australia/
Koori Mail: http://www.koorimail.com/

Things you can do:

1. Organise a protest outside the Australian Consulate in your nearest city. Make it clear that the Howard government’s shameful opportunism on human rights is gathering international criticism.
2. Donate to the National Aboriginal Alliance. Find out more on their website, here: http://www.nationalaboriginalalliance.org/
3. Spread the news of this horrendous violation of human rights to as many people as possible. Write an article about it, post to your blog about it, send the news to your friends via email. Encourage your friends to speak out about it as well.
4. If you are part of a political organisation, collective, or group, please send your words of solidarity and support to the National Aboriginal Alliance. Send messages of solidarity to: secretariat at nationalaboriginalalliance dot org.
5. Write letters to Mal Brough, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, or John Howard. You can find guidelines here: http://www.antar.org.au/action/current_actions/

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Errant Algorithms Or Malicious Intent?

by matttbastard

I’m sure this really was simply the result of an error, but still:

Last week marked a watershed moment for two stars of the business world. By chance, an abrupt end seemed imminent for the careers of Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons and Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O’Neal. Both had reached pinnacles rarely scaled in corporate America by African-Americans. And their fates dominated business headlines worldwide last Friday, Oct. 26. Online at Google News, however, the coverage was, in a word, shocking.

A keyword search for “Richard Parsons” generated a flood of stories about the executive, accompanied by a photo of two rhesus monkeys. Clicking on the image linked users to a story on neither monkeys nor Parsons. Instead, a speculative account on O’Neal’s waning support among Merrill directors appeared on screen. Other than the lynch mob’s noose and the Klansman’s hood, few images of racism are as offensive to African-American as monkeys. Yet the bizarre juxtaposition of image and stories persisted through the week. And even after Google was specifically contacted this week, it continued.

An unstoppable racist hacker? Hardly, according to a Google spokesman. It was an inside job. The perpetrator, however, wasn’t human. The search giant blames its computers and algorithms. Despite its cutting-edge advancements, Google is simply incapable of a performing a skill typically mastered by first graders: matching the right words with the right images. The problem generally has plagued Google since June when it introduced the “Image Version” of Google News to pair the top headlines with illustrative photos.

Unfortunately, Google’s tight lipped ‘Do No Harm (To Our Image)’ policy isn’t helpful in this instance:

Google acknowledges the situation, but declined to openly discuss details of the primate episode. Surprisingly, it was even unwilling to go on record and explicitly disavow any racist motivation. “While we don’t comment on individual stories on Google News,” spokesman Gabriel Stricker told NEWSWEEK, “crawling thousands of sites across the globe is a complicated task, and we’re confident that the quality of the crawled pages is extremely good for the vast majority of news sources on our site.”

Um, yeah, but:

Despite Google’s technical explanation, there’s a twist to the Parsons-primate episode that could lead online users to suspect hacker involvement. Over the weekend, the company appeared to have corrected the mismatch, at least temporarily. At times, the primates photo was substituted with a photo of a formally attired Parsons posing with an actor in a Bugs Bunny costume. (The character is owned by Time Warner, which declined to comment for this story.) Later, however, the rhesus photo reappeared, supplanting Parsons and Bugs Bunny. Google denies it was hacked and insists the incident was again, simply a result of its computer systems.

Again, I don’t believe there’s anything more to this other than a series of unfortunate fibre-optic events. But it would be nice if Google’s PR army would just admit they fucked up, instead of standard CYA obfuscating. Regardless, I’d wager Dog The Bounty Hunter wishes he could blame his recent career-torpedoing racial faux pas on a mere computer glitch.

Related: This is gonna hurt, but, via Racialicious (*deep breath*), Perez Hilton (*winces*) has posted audio of the now-infamous Chapman family phone conversation. Hilton also notes that Chapman, qua Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, “has reached out to the Rev. Al Sharpton” in an attempt to salvage what’s left of his rapidly dwindling reputation continue the healing process. Uh huh.

Carmen nails it:

I am so sick of these stories of white males caught on tape saying racist shit, and then running to Al Sharpton for forgiveness. Seriously I am so over this shit.

Word. Al Sharpton ain’t the POC Pope. He doesn’t possess the authority to magically absolve anyone of racist sins (“Say three hundred ‘hail MLKs’ and everything’ll be copacetic!”)

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