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Like plenty of people, today I’m mourning a passing. The n-word is dead, as per NAACP mandate. Nigger is now officially out of the lexicon. Whoops. Forget I said that. I shouldn’t, because since I’m not a minority, I’m not allowed to be racist (only minorities can be racist…..thanks Carlos Mencia). But is the n-word dead?

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N-word, you’ve gotta be crazy! Like a lot of guys, I enjoy watching Sportscenter, on ESPN. As some may have noticed, they’ve employed the talents of T.I. for their ‘Who’s Next’ promotion. T.I. wrote a Sportscenter version of ‘Big Shit Poppin,’ especially for mass consumption. But let’s see how the song really goes. Here’s the opening verse.

<< Do it (3x) what u waiting for
Do it (3x) what u waiting for
Do it (3x) what u waiting for
Now Lemme hear you say
Big shit poppin, and lil shit stoppin (3x)
Ball on these niggas being broke is not an option>>

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Apparently T.I. didn’t get an invitation to the funeral. Still, it illuminates that the n-word is alive and kicking.

Personally, I think the whole idea is ridiculous. Next thing you know, people won’t even be allowed to say n-word to describe the n-word. N-word, are you kidding me? Is there a point when things have veered away from sanity and reality, and into the realm of sketch comedy? This latest public spectacle is getting eerily close. What’s next? Hispanics will put beaner to rest? But then how will Carlos Mencia feed his family?

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I may be a little jaded and cynical, but I think this sort of pomp and pageantry simply fosters ill will. It’s espeically striking when you consider who uses nigga, nigger and n-word the most: blacks of all stripes. So if ni**er is defunct, let’s see if we can push the envelope. I propose (and have actually been doing it for a while) using the phrase ‘n-word’ rather than nigg**. Why? To see how long until there are calls to ban the n-word……which would lead to the logical progression of morphing ‘n-word’ into n. From there the only plan of action would be to ban the letter N.

That’s the day I can’t wait for: when the NAACP is holding a funeral for The Letter N. The problem is that the n-word isn’t dead. Do you think Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and every other hip hop icon of the last quarter century is going to go back and dub ‘n-word’ in every time ‘nigger’ is said? And do you think rappers will stop? N-word please!


I spent Independence Day last week up in my old stomping grounds, Boston.  I went up with a friend from college to visit some other friends from Boston University.  Nothing major planned, just some good times with good friends.  It was a good time, although the fireworks on the 4th were dampened by rain.  But all in all, the trip has gotten me thinking about things.

For one, I don’t do hard drugs.  It’s a decision I made when I was young, only a 6th grader.  My parents had been divorced for a few years, and I was spending the day with my father in the city.  He took me over to his friend Bruce’s apartment, near the East River.  Well, you can tell Bruce never had children, because when pops and I went up to his apartment, he pulled out a vial of cocaine.  In front of me.  Smooth Bruce, smooth.  I can remember my father turning to him and saying, “Not in front of the boy.”  So my ever responsible father gave me a wrist rocket, to go play with up on the roof of Bruce’s apartment.  Smart guy.

Well, it was from there on out that I decided not to do stuff like that.  These were two regular buffoons, and I could already see that at the age of 12.  And to this day, I’ve never gotten into any hard drugs, which is exactly what made this past trip up to Beantown so odd.  All my friends up there were blowing coke.  That I don’t mind.  I’ve got plenty of friends whose substance of choice happens to be alcohol back in New York, so it’s just another fix to me.  That’s what got me thinking, tho.  The underlying thread between both my friends in Boston and New York was they appeared happiest getting wasted.

Now I’m far from an angel.  Although I probably shouldn’ broadcast this on the internet, I smoke pot.  Too much, some would say, although that’s a subjective statement.  I also come from two alcoholic parents, and have a knack for blacking out.  So I tend to stay away from the booze, lest we have a repeat of this scene.

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The New York Mets have an International Week, where they celebrate different ethnicities at games during the week.  They used to have Irish Night, with a 7 p.m. game.  The year after this gem was taken, it was changed to Irish Day, with a day game.  It’s tougher to get blind drunk before noon.  Irregardless of the semantics of it, I know that liquor and I, while chummy, bring out the worst in each other.  Yet as I reflect on how people live their lives, alcohol and drugs are their path.

For many, life is a marathon.  For some of those marathoners, it’s a drinking binge, an endurance test to see how long you can stay standing, drink in hand.  This endurance test I’m losing, not that it’s the end of the world.  Yet to a certain point, it’s turning my back.  At this juncture of my life, there are two tracks: the responsible adult track, and the sophomoric adolescent track.  As people couple off, get married and have children, they begin the long, dull walk down the responsible adult track.  Then there’s the adolescent track.  While I’m not on the adult track, being single and childless, I’m struggling on the adolescent track.

While I clearly realize that I’m fighting a losing fight, life isn’t about getting blind drunk.  Nor is it about taking key hits in the bathroom stall of a bar.  Nor is it about ripping bonghits until your brain’s fried.  Yet when you look around, it appears people are racing towards blackout, towards oblivion.  Is that all there is?  If you’re not shacking up and having kids, are you resigned to spending your time getting wasted?  Perhaps I’m a fatalist, but that looks to be the prevailing trend.

So Boston was fun.  But it also showed me how cold and lonely the path can be.  Sadly, these days respect is earned not on thoughts and insight, but on how many shots you can down.   Maybe in other places, different things carry more worth and value, but not here in America.  It’s an alcohol and drug fueled funny car down a long highway.


It’s not often that I get to quote My Girl, Whitney Houston, but today I’m blessed.

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I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Never before have so truer word been spoken, especially today. But you know what? Where it’s important, we’re not leading the way. Stem cell research, which should be the most heavily invested R & D department of every medical, pharmaceutical, health care and biotech in America. Unfortunately, we’ve got a flock of shegulls on Capitol Hill that are mollifying less than a third of the polling public. This poll data has quite a few polls over the past few years on stem cell opinions (just scroll down about a third of the way).

I wish that were all. Not only do a solid majority of Americans support ALL types of stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research. Embryonic stem cells givedoctors the potential to create the highest quality pluripotent cells. For those that don’t know too much about the stem cell debate, think of pluripotent cells as bags of fresh cement to a contractor….they can be turned into anything! With the current federal ban on stem cells line besides the 64 that were in circulation we’re left in quite a predicament. Just like any other organic material, even stem cells degrade over time, hence why we need new lines of stem cells.

The real tragedy here is all the potential going to waste. Yes, I used the word tragedy. Say a couple goes in to a gynecologist to have some eggs frozen, in case anything happens in the future. Unless they live in a state with a permissive policy towards stem cell research (basically, California, Wisconsin and New Jersey), those extra eggs are merely medical waste. Not to sound coarse, but those eggs could be placentalicious gold mines of medical research. In America, in 2007? Not a chance. Medical waste.

When you take a step back, tho, it gets worse. Considering Israeli authors wrote almost three times as many articles per capita than American authors from 2000-04, we’re not doing nearly enough on the research end. Hell, if we picked up our articles per million citizens to Swiss levels, that would be a 62% increase in articles published. More information and knowledge is never a bad thing. That is, unless you’re living in 21st century America. Sad that things have come to this, where all people can do about the most important technological breakthrough since gunpowder was fashioned into bullets, is complain about how individual states need to pick up the research burden themselves.

That the federal government is doing nothing to combat the strident beliefs of the hard right is nearly scandalous. Too bad real scandal these days is Lindsay Lohan flashing beaver.  Part of me hopes people will actually start talking about this, hopefully getting their states to pick up the slack where the feds are, quite frankly, shitting the bed.  But deep down, I know people don’t care enough to pick up the debate.  My god, I could ask 5 of my friends who Mitt Romney is, and 4 wouldn’t know.  21st century America, what a place.


My friend JP and I were sitting around, just hanging out one day. He was telling me about how he thinks it would be a crime deterrant if prisoners were forced to dress in clown costumes. Could you imagine it? Gangbangers and thugs, thieves and pedophiles, all subjected to wearing floppy shoes, bushy wigs and bright polka dotted jumpsuits.

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Perhaps some of you believe this to be cruel and unusual punishment. I guess you’ve never heard about Joe Arpaio. He’s the Arizona Sheriff who has made pink underwear mandatory uniform, while subjecting them to quote, “patriotic songs.”  Sherrif Requires Jailed Immigrants to Listen to ‘Patriotic Music,’ Wear Pink Underwear So which cliche shall we use? Has the die been cast? Maybe the genie’s out of the bottle. Whatever trite blurb you want to attach, precedent is set. So let’s push the idea of patriotic songs a little bit.

Why? Because that’s exactly what JP and I started doing. It just so happens that I’ve got an incredibly bad collection of mp3’s, everything from Shaq rapping (How to Rob the NBA League is a gem) to Whitney Houston to Wang Chung to Slayer to Sublime to Immortal Technique to Madonna to Nas, with everything in between.

Wang Chung Wednesdays just sounded right. Picture the first sound an inmate hearing as the melodic tunes of Wang Chung, and the last sound an inmate hearing as the melodic tunes of Wang Chung. Every day would be dedicated to one song. Monster Mash Mondays, Linger Tuesdays, Wang Chung Wednesdays…..you get the idea. I’d go on, but I’m in the process of crafting a proposal for The Geo Group, or perhaps CCA. Any privatization firm willing to listen, really. Can you dispute the notion that having to listen to The Cranberries or 4 Non Blondes, wearing clown gear would deter recitivism?

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I’d imagine a lot of criminals would be deterred from returning to prison.  Cruel and unusual?  Only if you think humiliating is cruel and unusual.  That’s where the deterrent comes from.  So if you think straightening people out in unconventional ways is cruel, then give me a suggestion!  Until I hear something better, I think this would be the most effective prison reform.  Time to craft a methodology to write the study on the possibilities…….


One thing that’s really nagged me about the entire argument concerning the wars abroad is, most pundits and people cease to realize why exactly we’re in military gridlock, stuck in Iraq until we get the green light, say 2011. We’re doing little to no physical reconstruction of real institutions. Try doing a google search for schools built in Iraq. I found three noteworthy articles. Harry Browne has this slightly scathing article on the reconstruction effort(http://www.harrybrowne.org/articles/IraqQuestions.htm) , but it’s from 2005. A couple of articles come up from the past few months. Middle East Onlinebrings us the tale from Samawa of local villagers taking things into their own hands, never a good sign of foreign led progress (http://www.middle-east-online.com/ENGLISH/?id=20893).

But we do hear of the Minnesota Soldiers who just finished building a school in Balad (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1844853/posts).  We see that progress is being made, but is it enough? Try searching for official White House figures. If you find any, point them in my direction….I can’t find them.

There’s no use in side stepping the real question I’m trying to illuminate: if we’re not replacing infrastructure, how in the world can we ever expect to be done in Iraq. I don’t want to argue about the merits of our jaunt into the Persian Gulf. Enough’s been said. But what needs to begin is a dialogue, namely on doing our best to replace and drastically improve the Iraqi infrastructure. This does not mean rebuilding the Oil Ministry (that was secured first thing, hence no need to rebuild), but taking the time and effort to make life a little more livable for regular citizens.

Some postulate, “But Drew, if we build schools and hospitals, terrorists would only try to destroy them.” Let ’em, I say. If we put in the work and actually construct beneficial facilities, whatever happens afterwards is out of our hands. Hell, even if some fanatics bomb a new school, all that would do is tip public opinion towards us. Is that bad? Not at all. What’s bad is that we haven’t heard anything about rebuilding the infrastructure in Iraq. How can an ideological war be won without engendering goodwill and extending an olive branch?


I believe in the idea of America. Sadly, I’ve lost faith in the country. A few years back, I ventured out to Europe, to backpack around for a few months. Definitely the best experience of my life. At that point, I thought the United States was the best country on Planet Earth, with the most freedoms afforded to its people.

As time goes by, though, things change. In this instance, people change. I’ve grown more cynical, and now stand on the fence. What’s changed? For one, I’ve taken a more critical look at the freedoms Americans have been granted. They’re not as impressive as one would imagine. Freedom is more than rhetoric and patriotism, which leads us to the problems facing the U.S. Through my eyes, everyday people are not necessarily more free than other countrymen.

Consider my friend Logan. He recently moved to Los Angeles for a job, and to follow his aspirations to produce music. Moving to L.A, can you guess what the first thing Logan did?

He bought a car. Had to…..how else would he get to work? Public transportation? That’s a pipe dream out that way. Now this is not me railing against Los Angeles. Anywhere, everywhere, you need an automobile. Just take a look at the American infrastructure. We’re a nation built on highways, rather than say, the German model, which is built on railways. So right off the bat, if you want to chase down the American dream, your first act is to put yourself into debt.

While not an American concept, debt is something most everyday people have wholeheartedly embraced. On a sidenote, people also embrace an ‘in the moment’ perspective, deferring responsibility and consequences for the future. People, if they’re free, are shareholders. Living in a free market democracy leads to inequity.

Like any marketplace, there are buyers and sellers. But unlike any other system in the world, American corporations were given the rights of people. Where else is an abstract entity given the rights of everyday men and women (especially the right to privacy)? Due to this, the sellers exert incredible influence over buyers, literally in every aspect of life. Look in your child’s school. Dollars to donuts they’ve got a soda machine. Why is this worth mentioning? It’s simply one more avenue for trans-nationals to cultivate brand loyalty.

See, this is essentially the problem I’m grappling with. In the American system, there are two types of people: tangible and intangible. The intangible people, they’re corporate entities. When the supreme court decided in 1873 to grant 14th amendment rights to corporate entities, the shift towards oligarchy began. How can profit driven entities be the same as people? Show me the person you know whose only interested in making money, and I’ll show you a materialistic, shallow, rather petty shell of a human being. People seek out more than bottom line profits. They want love, understanding, a shoulder to lean on, to laugh and cry and all the other emotions entwined with the human condition.

Granting humanity to entities? That’s a stretch. But as they say, the die’s been cast, and that’s the world we’re living in today. This is the problem, as I see it. People have lost touch with people, through myriad of modern conveniences, from GPS systems to social networking websites to strip malls to everything in between. And that’s why I’m on the fence. As great a country as America may have the potential to be, we’re not that country. I’d still rather live here than, say, Bolivia.

As you look back, though, things are simply happening again? Iraqi wmd’s? Sound like the Gulf of Tonkin? What bothers me about everything that’s happening today is people are being spoon fed rhetoric and lies, and they like it! In my few years on Earth, I’ve learned one hard lesson. People don’t want to hear it. Doesn’t matter what you’ve got to say, they don’t want to hear it. Let me take you back to high school football practice. Coach Wiederkehr used to warn us of getting fat and happy; his words had meaning, carrying us to the Long Island title. But his warning, not to be fat and happy, is something that others need to hear.

For most Americans, if you have a secure job, a car you enjoy driving, some semblence of a family or social life, you’re content. I believe that’s because people don’t critically question the things going on around them. That’s why I’m on the fence, because I don’t know what merit there is venturing into the fracas. As much as I’d like to help a few other people see the elaborate shell game taking place on our dime, I don’t think it’s that easy to change minds. The closing of America’s collective mind is the saddest tragedy of our time, and something that won’t stop until people begin questioning the fundamentals of contemporary society. America’s a great idea….by the people, for the people. Let’s try and make it happen one of these days.