Friday, December 03, 2004

MuslimHipHop.com -> Muslim rappers seek to combine Islamic beliefs with popular music

MuslimHipHop.com -> MuslimHipHop.com on AP Wire! CHICAGO - When David Kelly - aka "Capital D" - raps, he doesn't follow the mainstream hip-hop mantra: women, cars and jewelry.

Instead, the Chicago rapper uses his rhymes to dish out praise for Allah, criticize the war in Iraq and blast corporate America.

Kelly is among a new group of Muslim hip-hop artists gaining popularity among Muslim-Americans looking for music that reflects both their mainstream music tastes and their religious beliefs.

"Muslims in the United States are not going away. They're part of the culture, but they're not creating their own culture," said Kelly, 34. "I try to show them that you can be creative, artistic, happy and still be Muslim."

Islam is not new to hip-hop. Nation of Islam and other nontraditional sects have influenced hip-hop through lyrics and images since the late 1970s - with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan repeatedly mentioned and his voice featured in raps.

But this new wave of Muslim-influenced rap music seeks to convey messages and images more in line with orthodox Islam.

ANNA JOHNSON
Associated Press

ON THE NET

MuslimHipHop.com: www.muslimhiphop.com
Muslim Artists Central: www.muslimac.com
Inner-City Muslim Action Network: http://www.imancentral.org
All Natural Records: http://www.allnaturalhiphop.com
Remarkable Current: http://www.remarkablecurrent.com

Xzibit 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'

Xzibit 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' - Thu, November 25th, 2004: "Xzibit's new album, 'Weapons of Mass Destruction,' to be released Dec. 14 via Columbia is a 16-track set features guest appearances from Busta Rhymes on 'Tough Guy,' Strong Arm Steady on 'Beware of Us' and 'Crazy Ho,' Keri Hilson on the single 'Hey Now (Mean Muggin)' and production from Timbaland, Battlecat, Hi-Tek and DJ Muggs, among others.

The 16-track album includes State of the Union in which Xzibit takes direct aim at George W. Bush, comparing him with the violent terrorists he often rails against and Cold World in which he comments on the war in Iraq. Polsong


Thursday, December 02, 2004

Score one against activism?

Score one against activism?

The removal of the president of California's largest public pension fund has raised questions about whether pension funds, endowments and other big activist investors can keep wielding clout in corporate governance campaigns.
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The change at the top of America's largest pension fund also underscores a growing awareness of the political and economic power lying largely untapped in the United States' retirement money - roughly $6 trillion - and an escalating dispute over how that power should be used. The fund, the California Public Employees Retirement System, or Calpers, manages $178 billion.
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Sean Harrigan, who was removed as its president on Wednesday, said the action was a payback for the campaigns that he and others had been leading to change corporate behavior at companies like Walt Disney, Safeway, the New York Stock Exchange and Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts.
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Even when the initiatives failed, they often pitted Harrigan, a union official, against business groups.
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Harrigan had expected to lose his job, but he remained defiant. "Removing one person will not reduce the strength, the commitment nor the resolve to fight for our members," he said in a statement.
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But other activists saw a much broader effort under way to change the leadership of many U.S. pension funds, which in the last few years have struggled because of market losses and increasing liabilities.
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Richard Ferlauto, director of pension investment for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said Harrigan's removal was an early success in a campaign to wrest control of pension money from a Calpers board now controlled by Democratic trustees and put it to work in projects more in keeping with Republican ideals. "Clearly, we're seeing a Republican attack on public pension systems," Ferlauto said. "And California has been targeted in a very strong way."
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The Calpers board, with 13 members, has been dominated by Democrats in recent years. Ferlauto said he thought that if Republicans could regain control, they would seek to make two fundamental changes: put an end to the corporate activism Calpers has engaged in, and reshape the traditional, defined-benefit pension fund as something more akin to a 401(k) plan. "There will be a legislative attempt this spring to mandate that all plans in California become defined-contribution plans," he said.
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A spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, Karen Hanretty, said that it had no position on how the state pension fund ought to be structured, but that one Republican state legislator was planning to introduce a bill in 2005 that would make it more like a 401(k) plan.
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Frederick Rowe, a money manager in Dallas and the chairman of the Texas Pension Review Board, said he thought that Harrigan's dismissal would be seen as a warning by other institutional investors. The removal "would temper anybody's ambitions to be an activist, and I'm sorry about that," said Rowe, whose board monitors public pension funds in Texas.
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Harrigan was removed from the Calpers board by a government body, the State Personnel Board, that handles labor-management issues for California's civil service. The Personnel Board has the authority each year to elect one trustee to the pension fund's board, and it had originally elected Harrigan in 1999 and returned him each year since then, until now. He was elected president in 2003. The Personnel Board voted three to two against Harrigan. The two Republicans who voted against him were joined by one of three Democratic members, Maeley Tom, who had supported Harrigan in the past.
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To replace Harrigan, the Personnel Board elected Ron Alvarado, a 55-year-old Republican who was a Calpers trustee from 1996 through 1999.
.Pension fund firing puts clout in doubt

The removal of the president of California's largest public pension fund has raised questions about whether pension funds, endowments and other big activist investors can keep wielding clout in corporate governance campaigns.
.
The change at the top of America's largest pension fund also underscores a growing awareness of the political and economic power lying largely untapped in the United States' retirement money - roughly $6 trillion - and an escalating dispute over how that power should be used. The fund, the California Public Employees Retirement System, or Calpers, manages $178 billion.
.
Sean Harrigan, who was removed as its president on Wednesday, said the action was a payback for the campaigns that he and others had been leading to change corporate behavior at companies like Walt Disney, Safeway, the New York Stock Exchange and Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts.

Richard Ferlauto, director of pension investment for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said Harrigan's removal was an early success in a campaign to wrest control of pension money from a Calpers board now controlled by Democratic trustees and put it to work in projects more in keeping with Republican ideals. "Clearly, we're seeing a Republican attack on public pension systems," Ferlauto said. "And California has been targeted in a very strong way."
.
The Calpers board, with 13 members, has been dominated by Democrats in recent years. Ferlauto said he thought that if Republicans could regain control, they would seek to make two fundamental changes: put an end to the corporate activism Calpers has engaged in, and reshape the traditional, defined-benefit pension fund as something more akin to a 401(k) plan. "There will be a legislative attempt this spring to mandate that all plans in California become defined-contribution plans," he said.
.
A spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, Karen Hanretty, said that it had no position on how the state pension fund ought to be structured, but that one Republican state legislator was planning to introduce a bill in 2005 that would make it more like a 401(k) plan.
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Frederick Rowe, a money manager in Dallas and the chairman of the Texas Pension Review Board, said he thought that Harrigan's dismissal would be seen as a warning by other institutional investors. The removal "would temper anybody's ambitions to be an activist, and I'm sorry about that," said Rowe, whose board monitors public pension funds in Texas.
.
.
Harrigan was removed from the Calpers board by a government body, the State Personnel Board, that handles labor-management issues for California's civil service. The Personnel Board has the authority each year to elect one trustee to the pension fund's board, and it had originally elected Harrigan in 1999 and returned him each year since then, until now. He was elected president in 2003. The Personnel Board voted three to two against Harrigan. The two Republicans who voted against him were joined by one of three Democratic members, Maeley Tom, who had supported Harrigan in the past.
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To replace Harrigan, the Personnel Board elected Ron Alvarado, a 55-year-old Republican who was a Calpers trustee from 1996 through 1999.
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By Mary Williams Walsh
The New York Times

InfoWorld TechWatch: Word of The Year: Blog

InfoWorld TechWatch: Word of The Year: Blog: "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and other papers this morning ran a story stating that blog was the most common word visitors to Merriam Webster's online site sought a definition for throughout 2004.
The mild irony, perhaps, is that blog is not yet in the dictionary; then again, its newness must be precisely why so many people looked it up.
Merriam-Webster's editors, the story said, already had plans to include it in next year's hardbound edition, and due to the overwhelming number of lookups, have already added it online.
The fact that blog is not yet in the hardbound edition, and was only recently added to the online version, reminds me of an English teacher I had in high school who used to say that any dictionary worth its weight is obsolete by printing time, because the language evolves at such a rapid pace that dictionary compilers cannot keep up via annual editions. "

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

HOW FRANCE ELECTED MICHAEL MOORE

In France, President Bush’s re-election had been greeted with so much joy I didn’t think a message of congratulations on the F911 blog was really needed. No prominent politician of ours, even in the fascist parties, made more than half-hearted statements, and the only party to openly rejoice was Democratie Liberale, who defends the MEDEF’s agenda (that is, the French national union of CEOs). A poll revealed 82 % of the French would have voted for Kerry. A figure only outdone by the Germans, who rejected Bush by a massive 92 %.

On the other hand, die-hard pro-Moore/anti-Bush French channel Canal + (and affiliated PPV channels) released no less than three documentaries about Michael Moore around election time : an exclusive interview (“Bush de la” – “Move from here” with a pun), an analysis of the F911 phenomenon (“L’effet Moore”) and a report about Mr Moore’s part during the campaign (“Welcome to Amoorica”). The latter was rather rosy and hardly mirrored the actual nastiness of the campaign, but the two others were of high interest. Canal + has also just released the French version of “The Awful Truth” in DVD under the title “L’Amérique de Michael Moore” and will be broadcasting “Bowling For Columbine” by Christmas (F911, for obscure reasons, not being released until January). The message to Mr Bush is rather clear.

On the Internet, a Michael Moore Unofficial site saw the light of day in October and is looking for contributors (mainly for translations). It is still under construction and consists in news and translations of unreleased works by Mr Moore.

http://www.michaelmoorefr.com/

In spite of an undeniably colder welcome given by the critics to F911 compared to his other movies (it was blamed for not being artistic enough), the Palme d’Or enjoyed a public acclaim as hot as anywhere else, and, though no poll has confirmed it, Mr Moore seems to be the American figure who, to the French, stands the most significantly for America’s true values and democratic ideals. Which is a bit odd for a simple filmmaker – but is Mr Moore a simple filmmaker ?


CNN.com - Annan 'disappointed' son didn't tell all

CNN.com - Annan 'disappointed' son didn't tell all - Nov 29, 2004: "Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday he was 'disappointed and surprised' to learn that his son, Kojo, had remained on the payroll of a company involved in the Iraq oil-for-food program, the subject of several corruption probes.

Kojo Annan received money for consulting work done in Africa for Geneva, Switzerland-based Cotecna Inspection, which was hired to verify whether food, medicine and other goods entering Iraq were on the approved list under the $64 billion oil-for-food program.

The United Nations previously said the payments stopped after Kojo Annan left the firm in 1997."

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Michael Moore to Be Honored Tomorrow Night at Gotham Awards

Michael Moore to Be Honored Tomorrow Night at Gotham Awards: "'Fahrenheit 9/11' director Michael Moore will receive this year's Filmmaker Award Wednesday night during the 14th annual Gothams, IFP/New York announced Monday. Nine honors will be presented during the event, which will air live on IFC for the first time, with the broadcast set for 9 p.m. ET."

Michael Moore wears suit and tie for 'Tonight Show'

Michael Moore wears suit and tie for 'Tonight Show': "BURBANK, Calif. - Michael Moore has a new look. Instead of jeans and a T-shirt, Moore was dressed in a suit and tie on the 'Tonight Show' Monday night.

The scruffy beard and ball cap were gone, too.

A surprised Jay Leno asked if Moore has gone Republican. Moore said just wants to look sharp for his IRS audit."

Monday, November 29, 2004

Reuters: U.S. General Warns Iran Against Exploiting U.S.

Top News Article | Reuters.com: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. commander in Iraq warned Iran and others in comments published on Monday to think twice before trying to take advantage of the U.S. military at a time when it is fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
'Why the Iranians would want to move against us in an overt manner that would cause us to use our air or naval power against them would be beyond me,' Army Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command, said in an interview with USA Today.
Abizaid, who was speaking in Qatar, was asked about concerns in Congress that a shortage of U.S. troops might tempt nations such as Iran or North Korea, both accused by Washington of trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Abizaid, the top U.S. military commander for Iraq and Afghanistan, said the armed forces were not overextended. "

Sunday, November 28, 2004

David Rovics - Message Board Comments

David Rovics - Band page with free MP3 music downloads on SoundClick: "Hi David!
I like your songs very much. I also understand the people who get upset by the provoking texts. My guess is that they can't feel other people's suffering as well as you can and I hope that's not a permanent state of their minds.

War is not between countries, between religions. It's between people. Some people would not kill until their lifes were immediately threatened. And some people would kill just because they are angry. That's the problem we need to solve.
Perhaps genetic engineering can solve that; think of a world where people can't become psychopath's...yeah, I'd like to live there.

Speaking about psychopaths...It would be great to hear a song about Putin.

Best Regards

/DMDF
Sat November 27, 2004

---------------------

I understand your fallujah song. It both angers me and brings me to tears. I hate war and as much as I hate it I can see why a young man who just watched his older brother get murdered by an American, or an Israeli soldier, would pick up a gun or strap on a bomb and take the lives of those that took the life of his family.

I can see why and how these innocent soldiers are made. They are soldiers because they have no other choice but to join a war to protect the lifes of those they love but, they are also innocent because if you ask them, they never wanted war and would prefer to have the loved ones back that they lost over having to kill or be killed.

Congrats on your courage and I pray that people understand this song for what it is. But I will also pray for us as Americans that we may learn GODS will for this country.

....and with every tear that falls, a bullet will fly.
....and for every freedom born, a soldier will die.
....and even after his spirit is gone and his heart beats no longer.
....I will never forget this worlds innocent soldiers.

crow 2004
Sat November 27, 2004


As of today, there are 53 comments on David's SoundClick Message Board.

Fallujah, The Song with Iraqi Images

Fallujah, The Song and Iraq Images, created by F911 and A Half Blog and presented through ACIDplanet.com: "Fallujah, The Song is written and performed by singer/songwriter David Rovics.

'David Rovics is the musical version of Democracy Now!' -Amy Goodman, host, Democracy Now!

Today, Falluja - The Song, is #1 on the SoundClick Folk Chart.

Iraq Images are from journalist Dahr Jamail blog photo gallery. Every image has a story. To find out the context of why the photos were taken, visit Dahr's online gallery

Dahr Jamail the Baghdad correspondent for The NewStandard. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Dahr writes about the effects of the US occupation on the people of Iraq, since the mainstream media in the US has in large part, he believes, failed to do so.

All Iraq photos are copyright Dahr Jamail and are used by permission.

Non-Iraq photos: Jack Olmsted, F911 and a half blog. f911.blogspot.com


Small boy with burns. Lack of fuel in Iraq has led to a 300% increase in burn victims during the winter months.

Continuing Gas/Electricity Shortages

As the fuel shortage continues, the CPA (General Sanchez) announced that they feel it is due to half a million more cars being on the road in Iraq. They feel that things are getting better though, and that the main problem causing the fuel crisis is that it is a distribution problem. They feel a solution is that they are importing four million liters of gas from Iran and Kuwait. (more)

Posted by Dahr_Jamail at December 9, 2003 11:04 PM

Iraqi guardsman quits after insurgents' warning

Iraqi guardsman quits after insurgents' warning: "BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The warning left in the garage of Omar Hameed, an Iraqi national guardsman, showed two bloody swords and a message: ''If you don't quit your job in three days, you will be killed.''

The next day, Hameed, still recovering from a leg injury after gunmen attacked his patrol, gave his reply in signs he hung in the market of his hometown of Mahmoudiya and on the street leading to his home: ''I wash my hands of the Iraqi National Guard.''

He said the decision to give up his job, which paid a relatively hefty $190 a month, was easy because he knew the alternative.
''They have killed many people,'' Hameed said. ''They can reach you anywhere. They can easily break into homes to kidnap or kill you.''

As the Jan. 30 election approaches, insurgents aiming to wreck Iraq's democratic transformation have been targeting members of the country's fledgling security forces with increasing brutality and precision."

BY MARIAM FAM

Iraqi guardsman quits after insurgents' warning

Iraqi guardsman quits after insurgents' warning: "BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The warning left in the garage of Omar Hameed, an Iraqi national guardsman, showed two bloody swords and a message: ''If you don't quit your job in three days, you will be killed.''

The next day, Hameed, still recovering from a leg injury after gunmen attacked his patrol, gave his reply in signs he hung in the market of his hometown of Mahmoudiya and on the street leading to his home: ''I wash my hands of the Iraqi National Guard.''

He said the decision to give up his job, which paid a relatively hefty $190 a month, was easy because he knew the alternative.
''They have killed many people,'' Hameed said. ''They can reach you anywhere. They can easily break into homes to kidnap or kill you.''

As the Jan. 30 election approaches, insurgents aiming to wreck Iraq's democratic transformation have been targeting members of the country's fledgling security forces with increasing brutality and precision."

BY MARIAM FAM