THINKERS PARADISE, FOOLS OASIS.
- Name: Will Powers
- Location: London, United Kingdom
Sunday, September 10
Thursday, August 31
What's new in The World?
There are some really great blogs out there and some really crap ones too and all the rest in the middle. But is anyone listening? Does it matter? If I blog for Me then my blog is no more than a personal diary of my thoughts. But then if it's purely for me why launch it into cyberspace for others to see. I mean, you wouldn't publish copies of your most innermost thoughts and reflections from your personal diary and hand them out to friends and foe alike, would you?
So I think maybe it's more than just for Me. I blog for Me and for others and that's fine, so long as I'm not in denial.
Friday, July 21
Tuesday, July 11
Word War III
Monday, July 10
Friday, July 7
Saturday, July 1
Tuesday, June 27
Tuesday, June 6
Monday, May 22
Friday, May 19
House Market Data
Median forecasts in this week's survey showed house prices -- based on the main house price indices -- would be six percent higher in the fourth quarter this year from the same period a year ago, up from 3.5 percent forecast in February's poll.
Housing market activity has picked up since the start of the year as confidence has grown that last year's downturn, when house price inflation fall to low single digits from a peak of more than 25 percent growth in 2003, is over.
The Halifax, Britain's largest mortgage lender, said its 3-month annual rate of house price inflation picked up to 8.0 percent in April, its highest in 13 months, while Bank of England data showed mortgage approvals jumped by the biggest amount since November 2003 in March.
"There is plenty more upside given the latest mortgage approvals figures but it may not necessarily get to 20 percent year-on-year," said Alan Clarke at BNP Paribas in London. The rebound in house prices also bodes well for consumer spending in Britain where two thirds of households own their homes. Retail sales, hit by a decline in consumers' appetite for debt in the last year as house price inflation eased, rose by more than expected in April.
Mortgage equity withdrawal -- where homeowners refinance home loans to extract cash -- also rose to the highest level in more than a year in the last three months of 2005 and many economists -- 10 of 18 -- expect to see further rises."It will help consumer spending as people have this resource they can tap into to augment their take-home pay," said Clarke, adding that this was one factor which may prompt the Bank of England to eventually raise interest rates from 4.5 percent.
House prices are set to rise by 3% during the year, barely enough to keep pace with inflation, the Halifax said.
A crash would be avoided due to high levels of employment, wages rises and interest rate cuts, the group added.
But at the same time,- well known market sceptics - Capital Economics warned that house prices could fall 5% in 2006. House prices rose by 2.0% in April and by 4.4% in the first four months of 2006, the bank has said. April's price rise was considerably up on March's figure of 0.9%. Halifax expects prices to rise further over the summer but then level off later in the year due to a "softening" of the labour market.
The Bank of England revealed that mortgage lending jumped by the biggest amount in two and a half years during March. Mortgage lending rose by £9.3bn compared with a forecast of £8.6bn. Loans agreed for house purchase rose to 116,000 in March from 114,000 in February. The strong showing by the UK housing market took many economists by surprise, particularly as the most recent data from the Nationwide had indicated that house price inflation was slowing.
Saturday, May 13
Thursday, May 11
Today marks the 25th anniversay of the death of the greatest black musician since Orpheus- Robert Nesta Marley. The man, the myth, the legend and his music transcended all boundaries, making him an Icon and giving reggae universal and long-lasting appeal.
Bob Marley was a hero figure, in the classic mythological sense. His departure from this planet came at a point when his vision of One World, One Love - inspired by his belief in Rastafari - was beginning to be heard and felt. The last Bob Marley and the Wailers tour in 1980 attracted the largest audiences at that time for any musical act in Europe.
Bob's story is that of an archetype, which is why it continues to have such a powerful and ever-growing resonance: it embodies political repression, metaphysical and artistic insights, gangland warfare and various periods of mystical wilderness. And his audience continues to widen: to westerners Bob's apocalyptic truths prove inspirational and life-changing; in the developing world his impact goes much further. Not just among Jamaicans, but also the Hopi Indians of New Mexico and the Maoris of New Zealand, in Indonesia and India, and especially in those parts of West Africa from wihch slaves were plucked and taken to the New World, Bob is seen as a redeemer figure returning to lead this planet out of confusion.
In the clear Jamaican sunlight you can pick out the component parts of which the myth of Bob Marley is comprised: the sadness, the love, the understanding, the Godgiven talent. Those are facts. And although it is sometimes said that there are no facts in Jamaica, there is one more thing of which we can be certain: Bob Marley never wrote a bad song. He left behind the most remarkable body of recorded work. "The reservoir of music he has left behind is like an encyclopedia," says Judy Mowatt of the I-Threes. "When you need to refer to a certain situation or crisis, there will always be a Bob Marley song that will relate to it. Bob was a musical prophet."
The country of Jamaica has produced an artist who has transcended all categories, classes, and creeds through a combination of innate modesty and profound wisdom. Bob Marley, the Natural Mystic, may yet prove to be the most significant musical artist of the twentieth century.
Today I dusted off my CD's and chilled to the mellifluous sounds of my hero; HERE'S TO YOU BOB!
Monday, May 8
Stop Making Sense
Wednesday, May 3
A Life of Crime
Tuesday, May 2
What's in a Word?
Friday, April 28
Sunday, April 23
"Not too long ago, British Asians used to joke that any graduates among us who weren’t working in law, finance or medicine must have bad parents. These days - every third Tuesday of the month to be precise - members of a more creative Asian scene descend on a basement bar in London called the Notting Hill Arts Club. In among the throng of stylish, spiky-haired students you can find bhangra and hip-hop artists, disc jockeys, MCs and even a former Tory parliamentary candidate. I have bumped into brown-skinned broadcasters, publishers, playwrights, actors, stand-up comics, photographers, fellow journalists, PR people, internet entrepreneurs and, of course, people who “work in fashion”.
But the monthly club night, called Bombay Bronx, is not a networking event for arty Asians in Britain’s creative industries. The music is too loud, you see. And it is the music that everyone has come for. The records are spun by BBC Radio One disc jockey Nihal Arthanyake and the fusion of bhangra, RnB, Bollywood, UK garage and US hip-hop is a genre of its own, widely known as “desi beats”.
As well as Bombay Bronx, there are dozens of regular desi events held at nightclubs across the country. The desi beats scene has all the characteristics of other youth subcultures, but one feature is particularly important: for many young British Asians, it offers us something to wear on top of our ethnicity - giving us an alternative collective identity.
The word “desi” literally means countrymen and refers specifically to the diaspora. It is broader than terms such as Indian, Pakistani, Hindu, Sikh or Muslim, and yet narrower than the term Asian or even South Asian. It acts as a self-determined alternative to the word “paki” and the enthusiasm with which it has been embraced suggests a conscious decision against appropriating the offensive word paki and trying to turn it into a positive the way black kids have done with the word “nigger”.
Last year, “desi” appeared as a noun in the Oxford Dictionary of English, having been first introduced as an adjective in 2003. Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets have employed it for programming - such as the BBC’s Desi DNA show - and even an entire channel in the case of MTV Desi.
All this semantics is important because, as a result of the word’s development, desi is now closer to the term “latino” than “Hispanic”. And because it has come to refer to a loose subculture rather than a rigid ethnicity, desi beats is not exclusively Asian. Tune in to any of the above broadcasts or walk into Bombay Bronx and you will not be greeted by a sea of brown faces. When people talk about the failure of the cultural melting pot, it might be because they cannot appreciate the popular culture melting pot.
Traditional cultural forms usually associated with multiculturalism (such as folk dancing or religious headgear, for example) are by nature not particularly pliable. If you focus on them as characteristics of a multicultural society then, yes, Britain all too often seems segregated according to whether people are wearing turbans, headscarves, skullcaps, dreadlocks or adopting the shaven-headed look of a Millwall football fan. But unlike these more rigid cultural forms, the more demotic desi subculture gives kids a more porous identity. It is derivative in a positive sense that fosters social cohesion and inclusiveness - everything and everyone seems to blend together like the records being mixed up at Bombay Bronx.
This view of Britain might require some oversimplification, but it is surely a view worth entertaining given that it is conducive to both multiculturalism and social cohesion - instead of setting up a trade-off between the two. And while popular culture may not seem particularly politically empowering, it gives me and other British Asians a sense of real, constructive participation in whatever it is that constitutes Britishness.
It all looked so different nearly a decade ago, when I undertook a study of Asian youth as part of my university degree. Back then, my research had a much more pessimistic premise and conclusion. What I did not appreciate at the time, however, was that the seemingly bleak state of affairs was arguably a necessary stage in the evolution of the subculture I am championing today.
At university, I had wanted to know why brown-skinned kids back home in the west London borough of Hounslow were suddenly choosing not to integrate with white-skinned kids. Why they were discarding the British Asian youth stereotype of disciplined, academically and grammatically conscientious citizens and instead asserting their ethnicity with an aggression usually associated with black-skinned kids. This was ironic given the prejudices Asian families have typically had against black communities and so, finally, I wanted to know why Asian kids were becoming alien to their own parents and adopting cultural identities that had as much to do with US hip-hop as they
did with Bollywood.
When I asked Cambridge University’s social and political sciences faculty if they’d let me hang out with my mates back in Hounslow and then submit the results as my undergraduate dissertation, I didn’t think they’d say yes. After all, I was clearly more at ease in Hounslow than I was at Cambridge and so my proposed dissertation may merely have looked like an academic solution to homesickness. Fortunately Dr Susan Benson, an anthropologist and social scientist who sadly passed away last summer, agreed to supervise my research.
Not only that, but she did so with a suggestion that developed into a core theme of the study and its evolution into my novel, Londonstani: that I submit the dissertation under the faculty’s gender relations paper rather than the race relations paper. And, as a result, my work became an exploration of how the assertion of ethnic identities is sometimes better viewed as a proxy for the reassertion of masculinity.
Of course, this standpoint was not about downplaying the relevance of what many of my friends saw as a perennial fight against racism and discrimination - it was simply about deciding that those things should not be the focus of my work.
When I approached Dr Benson, I told her I wanted to study the beef between this relatively new breed of hardcore Asian “rudeboys” and “coconuts” - a term of abuse for Asians who, despite their brown skin, are deemed to be “white” on the inside because of their assimilation into mainstream British society.
Dr Benson refined my proposal to make it more academically acceptable, replacing “my mates” with “ethnographic informants” and the word “beef” with “boundary” - in the vein of those sociologists who argued that ethnicity is best understood as the boundaries between people rather than the “cultural stuff” within them. She also saved me from myself by adding the subtitle “Assertive ethnicity, masculinity and identity” to the title I had given the dissertation (which was “Chocolate flavoured coconut milk”).
At first I was apprehensive about Dr Benson’s emphasis on gender identities, but the wisdom behind it became gradually clear when I was back in Hounslow over Christmas for the first stage of fieldwork - a combination of loosely structured, taped interviews and participant observation. For example, it was uncanny how for many Asian kids, the term “coconut” was synonymous with a stockpile of slang for effeminate or homosexual - such as sap, ponce or batty.
Nevertheless, it seemed premature to conclude that “whiteness” was being simply dismissed as effeminate because, at that time, mainstream British youth culture centred on Britpop, personified by the likes of Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Suede’s Brett Anderson. Surely the androgynous look of these skinny swaggerers was just a passing phase, convenient at the time for some Asian kids to mock but not fundamental to what was going on in the playgrounds and on the high streets?
I remember starting to be swayed one Friday night when, after spending the evening with a group of kids in a local snooker club, we all drove down to a plane-spotting site near Terminal 4 so that some of the boys could sober up before going home. No sooner had they started up with their routine homophobic and misogynist banter than one of the boys pulled me aside and became watery-eyed as he talked about the way a girl he claimed not to fancy probably didn’t think he was manly enough because he wasn’t Indian enough. The boy in question was drunk, but what he was saying was pretty sobering.
Dr Benson had told me people might confide in me this way precisely because I was a stranger - that was why it was better to cultivate “ethnographic informants” instead of hanging around with my mates. Sure, it might make me feel like an idiot when I approached potential informants, but in the long term it would be a more efficient way of gathering insights into a community I’d presumed I already knew so well. Dr Benson was vindicated again.
The conflation of questions of masculinity and race had been well documented in studies of Afro-Caribbean communities, and each time I went back to Hounslow to conduct another stage of fieldwork yet more anecdotal evidence would convince me how useful it could be to look at ethnic identities as tools or props for the bolstering of boys’ gender identities. Sometimes those were religious, such as Sikh boys’ tendency to display holy symbols on their BMW windscreens. Sometimes, the props had racial undertones, such as the loud bhangra music being blasted from those cars. And then, of course, there were those props that illustrated how ethnicity can often refer to national identities as well as religious or racial ones - such as wearing Indian cricket shirts.
All this cultural stuff was being used by brown-skinned boys as a way of helping them stand taller, speak up louder and strut their stuff with greater gusto. Add a bit of the hip-hop paraphernalia that had for long fulfilled similar functions for black kids, and you had a new model of British Asianness that was much less vulnerable to emasculation by any racism in the dominant culture.
Back then, there was only a handful of texts about the crisis of masculinity, compared with the bookcases-worth we have today. But one theory that repeatedly jumped off the pages to become central to my thinking was the idea that if a boy’s maternal role model is stronger than his paternal one, he is likely to overshoot with his own definition of what it is to be a man and develop a form of “hypermasculinity”. It sounds complicated, but basically it means that if boys don’t have adequate emotional ties with their fathers, then they will have to develop their definitions of masculinity in opposition to their mothers rather than in relation to their dads. Thus they strive to be more manly than their mothers rather than simply being as manly as their fathers. If their mothers also happen to be domineering, more demanding of respect and generally more macho, then the resulting machismo of their sons might be all the more so.
The model could easily apply to people of all races and ethnicities - from tough guys in London’s East End to disaffected youth in New York’s Bronx. But clearly I could not ignore how neatly this theory fitted the lives of the people I was studying in Hounslow. Of course, applying it involved a degree of generalisation, but sometimes stereotypes exist for a reason. Indian boys are renowned for being mummy’s boys; Indian dads are renowned for being emotionally detached patriarchal figures; while Indian mums are renowned for being domineering, emotionally involved patriarchal figures. Although prescriptive hypotheses like this have a tendency to prove self-fulfilling, the usefulness of this theory seemed to be confirmed during interview after interview.
If Asian “rudeboys” were thereby overshooting their masculinity and looking for cultural props with which to do so, no wonder they’d also reached out to gangsta rap music, successfully blending the elements of machismo, misogyny and homophobia in their parent’s culture with that inherent in hip-hop.
This was also apparent in their language. As well as absorbing the steady supply of new hip-hop slang for effeminacy and creating a sorry situation where you simply couldn’t swear enough, our mother tongues became a source of strength. Not only could rude boys utter abuse at other kids, they could do so in a way that only they understood. This was particularly the case with Panjabi - spelt the local way rather than the British “Punjabi”. Indeed, while they were busy pulping the English language, their Panjabi generally adhered to strict grammatical rules and respect for the nuances created by silent letters.
Of course, language is also important in its own right, with rhythmic verbal abuse often acting as surrogate fists. Indeed, it is often as if boys’ tongues take on some kind of phallic symbolism - except of course there is no magic Viagra for those who cannot cuss properly.
Another such symbol is the mobile phone. Asians have typically been early adopters of new technology but even 10 years ago top-of-the-range Nokia handsets were being brandished by schoolboys in ways that they couldn’t always do with the latest sports car, widescreen television or video game console. But the study highlighted how mobile phones represent more than just fashion accessories doubling up as high-tech penis extensions. They are also weapons that enable a new kind of technological truce between domineering Indian mothers and sons, one that somehow gives both parties more potency. Boys are able to conduct their affairs in greater privacy while mothers can exert their overbearing presence even when their sons aren’t at home.
If another expression of virility is the ability to dictate a female’s sexual relations (as illustrated by hip-hop’s abhorrent glamorisation of the professional pimp), then it was little surprise to see aggressive ethnic identities employed by both Sikh and Muslim boys in order to punish those who had relations with girls across that traditional ethnic divide. Indeed, after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, when my reporting on the recruitment of Islamic fundamentalists took me back to Hounslow, a colleague seemed bemused when some informants divulged information not about potential terrorists, but how local Muslim boys were converting or “sisterising” Sikh girls through the age-old technique of pretending to be in love with them.
However, if my dissertation offered any additional insight for that reporting assignment, viewing ethnicity as a proxy for masculinity made for gloomy conclusions - especially in the context of today’s political debates about how best to engineer a deeper allegiance to Britishness without threatening our country’s rich multiculturalism. After all, while you might be able to devise citizenship tests and oaths to create more cohesive national identities, how on earth can anyone engineer against something as innate as a boy’s desire to be manly and virile? By promoting the androgyny of Jarvis Cocker? I don’t think so.
My dissertation did, however, highlight one optimistic interpretation of what might be going on among Asian kids. Sociologist Tariq Modood had written about how voluntary segregation along ethnic lines might give minority communities the strength and self-esteem to assimilate with mainstream society later on, but on their own terms.
The actions of some Asian kids might have looked unnecessarily aggressive and sometimes even ugly, but racism and discrimination were once very real threats.
Indeed, some of the infamous west London Asian gangs that predated my dissertation and filled the local press with stories of rampages on the local high street may have originally been responses to racist attacks on Asians. But by the time I started my fieldwork those gangs were more legends than reality and the threat of racism appeared more imaginary than real. Similarly, the tendency of kids to ghettoise Hounslow to make it sound like a Bronx-style hood implied another kind of imagined threat in a local economy that remains relatively healthy thanks to having Heathrow Airport on its doorstep.
As the threat of racism receded, surely these kids’ aggressive, anti-assimilation ethic would follow? Perhaps that dynamic that Modood called “assertive ethnicity” and the evolution of Asian boys from victims to predators was a necessary step in the creation of a truly British Asian subculture - allowing kids to integrate on their own terms, bringing their own brand of Britishness to the table.
And so the Asian boy as victim (represented by the word “paki”) may have given way to the aggressor (represented by the names of some gangs such as Shere Panjab, where the word “Sher” translates as lions or tigers). And, in turn, that may have led to a social equilibrium between victim and aggressor implied by “desi”.
However, at that time I saw no evidence of British Asian kids using their newly-asserted ethnicity to assimilate on their own terms. They wanted to live in a separate society and, accordingly, there was little by way of a sustainable cultural scene that was as British as it was Asian. Some form of this holy grail may have enjoyed a heyday in the late 1990s thanks to the musical genius of artists such as Nitin Sawhney and Talvin Singh, but the reality is they were embraced more by mainstream society than British Asian kids on the streets.
By contrast, today’s desi beats artists such as Jay Sean may sound more like black US urban acts than anything remotely Indian. But Hounslow-born Jay Sean is British, not American. And if his success here and in India means kids look up to him as a British Asian role model, then so what? The fact that today’s desi scene borrows so much from popular black culture hardly makes it less worthy or authentic. After all, Elvis did the same thing - that’s what popular culture is about.
The success of contemporary desi artists and events such as Notting Hill’s Bombay Bronx - which celebrates its second birthday next month - suggests my earlier pessimism was misplaced. Indeed, at a time when many observers have grown gloomy about the state of Britain’s multicultural project and when posses of Asian youth are often viewed as potential fanatics ripe for new race riots, I have revisited my dissertation with more optimism than when I did it in the 1990s.
If it is arguable that what is being asserted today is no longer simply an ethnic identity but a new, sustainable subculture, it is important to stress its Britishness. Not only was it born in the UK, it has been exported around the world - including back to India. Just as hip-hop culture is neither West Indian nor African, but American, so too desi beats is as quintessentially British as punk rock was in the 1970s, acid house was in the 1980s and Britpop was in the 1990s.
This view was for me crystalised not during the course of a university social sciences dissertation or my reporting on Islamic fundamentalism for the FT, but the slightly more frivolous setting of the Po Na Na nightclub in Hammersmith. It was a Thursday night in October 2003 and the club had been hosting the British Asian Music Awards ceremony, a celebration of all aspects of the then-fledgling desi subculture. I remember it well because I was late and just caught the presentation of the final award and was amazed to see it go to someone with white skin - the opposite of a coconut, if you like. Hounslow-born Markie Mark, a DJ with the Panjabi Hit Squad who earlier this year was named head of music at the BBC’s Asian Network digital radio station, had been voted for his “Commitment to the Brit-Asian scene”.
By allowing our ethnicity to give birth to a British subculture, the Asian scene that a few years earlier had seemed so insular was much less so. There are sweet ironies in the way nightclubs all over London and the Midlands regularly hold what have been described as “brown pound nights”. This is because the collectives of Asian DJs that first emerged in places such as Hounslow during the 1980s and sowed the seeds of what became the desi beats music genre, did so largely to provide local venues for Asian boys who back then simply couldn’t get past the bouncers of central London’s nightclubs.
It is worth highlighting here the unique role of the BBC as a kind of cultural glue - helping to take the subculture from the underground and making space for it within the British mainstream (but without infecting it with naffness). Nihal Arthanyake, for example, presents a Radio One show with Hounslow-born Bobby Friction. He is also a presenter on BBC2’s Desi DNA programme. BBC 1xtra, meanwhile, broadcasts a weekly Desi Beats show hosted by the Panjabi Hit Squad. And where the BBC went, so commercial radio groups such as Emap have followed with their own desi beats show on Kiss FM fronted by the Rishi Rich Project.
So while the bhangra and Bollywood remixes that Asian kids blasted out of their Beemers in the 1990s may have been intentionally inaccessible to others, Asian kids now cannot take exclusive ownership of the desi beats genre even if they want to. But the optimistic thing here is that they don’t want to.
The compatibility of the desi identity with Britishness is also evident in the realm of sports - perhaps best symbolised by the sight of Pakistani kids from the Midlands dancing around in the Union Jack to cheer on British boxing hero Amir Khan. The contrast with the infamous Tebbit cricket test (where the former government minister questioned the allegiance of British Asians who failed to support the English cricket team) could not be starker. Even when England’s cricketers have had brown skin - such as former team captain Nasser Hussain or Mark Ramprakash - British Asians have still tended to cheer for the opposing side (be it India or Pakistan).
I would argue this contrast would still exist if Khan were to take on a boxing champ developed in the Indian subcontinent. And the reason he makes for a more effective British Asian role model than the likes of Hussain or Talvin Singh lies in the fact that Khan simply oozes desi subculture. He has the right hair, the right swagger, the right speech patterns, the right clothes - and, being characteristics of “desiness” rather than “Pakistaniness”, all of these things are no less British than Hussain’s cucumber sandwiches. It will be interesting to see whether Monty Panesar, the Sikh spin bowler who recently buoyed England’s performance, can bridge the gap. In the meantime, Khan’s street credentials have been cemented by his appearance in the latest Reebok “I am what I am” advertising campaign, following in the footsteps of other urban youth culture icons such as rappers 50 Cent and Jay-Z.
But this rosy new perspective is not without qualification. The Amir Khan billboards underline the extent to which the desi beats subculture is part of the broader urban youth scene, which encompasses other music styles such as hip-hop, garage and RnB. Borrowing from these other subcultures may not matter per se, but there are real problems insofar as the urban scene does not just bolster masculinity, it frequently does so through misogyny and homophobia. Also, it is the first subculture to celebrate rather than counter conspicuous consumerism. Its golden dictum is neatly summed up by 50 Cent’s album and film title Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
While there is a genuine debate to be had about the social and economic implications of this attitude crowding out the traditional material restraint of British mainstream society, there are also repercussions for the debate about multiculturalism. Just as British Asian boys have fused the misogyny of their parents’ culture with that of hip-hop culture and thereby reinforced both, so too there is a fusion of the materialism inherent in Indian culture and urban youth culture. At best, this just accentuates the worship of flash mobile phones, bling bling jewellery and luxury cars. But at worst, it means any social cohesion achieved by the desi subculture might be undermined by the individualism unleashed by this materialism - illustrated, for example, by the rampant tax avoidance in the Indian subcontinent and the dog-eat-dog principles of hip-hop culture. Tax evasion and grey economies could evolve into symbols for another kind of anti-assimilation ethic.
However, the crowd that gathers for Notting Hill’s Bombay Bronx might argue this pessimism is misplaced too. After all, those in the creative professions generally earn a lot less money than those working in law, finance and medicine."
Monday, March 27
When I was seven years old my mother told me that humans only used 2% of their brains. I found it hard to grasp that we barely used our brains at all yet managed to do so much like split the atom and put astronauts on the moon and.....think. 2%! Is that all? I pondered. Well, now I question whether that percentage is accurate but it is widely accepted that we don't utilise all or even half of our cerebral powers and I can't help but wonder what could we achieve if we did. Arguably, the greatest minds have had what we have - a brain, the difference being, theirs were "wired" a little differently or they used theirs to a greater degree than we do. Either way, the potential is there. If one brain can envisage helicopters 500 years before their "invention" then somewhere out there is another mind being used to envisage say, faster-than-light-travel. The point is even if every person is not a polymath genius, every person has the potential to use their mind to accomplish something extraordinary. The question is how do you tap that potential? Historically, bright sparks have been spotted, nurtured and challenged to push beyond the boundaries of what was considered achievable in order to accomplish great things; sometimes it just "happened", but what if we as a soceity specifically held every person to be a genius of sorts? What if we taught in schools that all children are gifted, just in different areas and that identifying, refining and polishing that gift is the goal to strive for, instead of passing a spectrum of brain-dulling exams? If we only use say 50% of our brains and we've come this far, then using the other 50% would literally mean we would be "Gods" - we would have invented the technology to re-create our physiological selves, jeez, we're already half way there with genetic manipulation! We would have eridacted death as it is merely a cellular error not a necessity. We'd be travelling intergalactically, hell, between universes - as we would have thought beyond the speed of light being the universal speed limit. In fact, with enough mental effort we could create reality, any reality with just a thought. If that sounds preposterous, consider that every invention from the wheel to the space shuttle, from the printing press to the internet and from herbal cures to gene therapy - all began as a concatenation of thoughts - it became thought-materialised. If you think you can fly, you're already airbourne.
Thursday, March 23
Sunday, March 19
Secrets of the Alchemist Dar, by millionaire author Michael Stadther, will incorporate riddles leading to 100 gems hidden around the world. A single jewel described as 'one of the most precious stones on earth' is worth £530,000.
Claiming that someone in this country has the same chance of finding them as someone in Afghanistan, Stadther is secretive about what form the hunt will take. 'It might be physical; it might not. People might have to get in cars or on planes; they might not,' he said. But he did give one hint: 'I have found the power of the internet - it's vast.'
In 2004, Stadther published A Treasure's Trove in America, sending thousands of 'trovers' looking for 18-carat gold coins that he and his wife had scattered around state parks across the country. The coins, hidden in the bark of trees or under debris, were redeemable for jewellery encrusted with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, all based on the story's animal characters.
Jason Davis, a student in cognitive neuroscience, borrowed money for a two-day bus journey from California to Foss State Park in Oklahoma to retrieve a coin that he later redeemed for jewels worth £150,000.
Inspiration for the book came from the artist Kit Williams's Masquerade, which sold more than a million copies. The jewel-laden hare was uncovered beneath a stone cross in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, after two years of people arbitrarily digging up the countryside - something Stadther is keen to discourage: his coins were stowed without disturbing nature.
Secrets of the Alchemist Dar is due for international release in September but of course there'll be much more hype about the book before then to get everyone clammering up the preverbial beanstalk.
Call me cynical but I smell the blood of a publicity stunt-man. Why not just cut to the chase and pay people out right to buy your book?!
Monday, March 13
The contours of a persons character are better shaped by a long shore drift of knowledge and refined by the coarse hand of experience than by the contorted machinery of convention.
Divorce: is it a human invention? Can an electron divorce itself from its atom? Can an atom of hydrogen divorce itself from a molecule of water? Can a molecule of water divorce itself from the cytoplasm of a living cell?
Sometimes all you have to do is close your eyes to see the same situation from a new perspective.
Tuesday, March 7
When I walk along the sandy shore on a beautifully miserable day and beneath my feet I sense the coarse, crunch of an infinite number of dense, soaked fragments of silica and I gaze toward the horizon where Sky and Earth are integrated, continuous, as one - I am transfixed by the unique freedom of nature, the earth, the universe and as the moment becomes the moment that was, my divided self enters a phase of undulated eloquence. It is between these moments that I belong.
As the continuum of that of the above and that below glides toward my beckoning pupils there is no glamour simply composure. The unforgiving urge to roll with the tide to see as the sky to disintegrate as the rain and to pervade as the wind, at this moment is stunning in its authenticity, only a matter of contaminated thoughts separate the willing unconscious from the discontinuation of the conscious. A glimpse now, will be a panorama soon.
When I walk along the sandy shore on a miserably beautiful day and my presence is approached by the torrent of the air, the rain, the tide - I am stirred by the sudden realisation of how fragile this precious moment will be after the passing of the storm. Though the event will unfold before my eyes for a lifetime its completion occurs in the moment gyrus and sulcus become the horizon. In this instant, the moment and my thought are one.
Tuesday, February 21
Which do you like?
"An aphorism can be to an essay what a short-story is to the novel: a seedling to be nurtured in the mind and fleshed out by the imagination."
"To be or not to be? That is the question. To be AND not to be. That is Life's answer."
"The more you know, the more you know you know no more."
"Yesterday is tomorrow's today, but tomorrow is yesterday's today and yet today is yesterday's tomorrow. Time appears to be illusive, as real as you want it to be."
"Working in a job you loathe but which remunerates well is as irksome as buttering fresh, soft bread with cold, hard butter."
"Madness is a stranger with whom we are all acquainted."
"Sometimes you find that it is not until you tear up the past that you can begin to piece together the future."
"Those who spend their lives fighting every battle realise eventually that there never was a war. Life isn't about winning or losing; it's about living."
"If Gain and Risk were so harmoniously inseparable, then how come Loss is the latter's bastard child?"
"Behind all clear blue skies lie black windows."
"The only thing that's worse than not being talked about is being talked about in your presence in the third person."
"Jealousy is hungry and voracious. Feed her trust and she dies quickly of starvation!"
"Man is perfect for 40 weeks in his whole life. Then he is born."
"I have little doubt that woman is smarter than man. She has to be; the fate of the species lies in the palm of her womb."
"In keeping with Newton's third law of motion, a force of marriage and its accompanying ceremony will elicit one which is by nature, equal and opposite, that is: divorce and its associated acrimony.Vast amounts of energy are therefore required if a body of marriage is to succeed in circumventing the natural laws of physics."
"If you want to teach a child the beauty of arithmetic, take her to the art gallery for a day; for it is here that she will discern the inner nature and significance of numerical operations by gazing upon canvasses displaying in glorious colour and rich texture the precise antithesis of such operations."
A penis gains much publicity, yet is merely a genetic periscope. Breasts gain even more publicity and are ultimately...biological vending machines. The Brain is a universe between the ears and yet it is hardly noticed at all.
"To live, die and be remembered is as good as not dying at all."
"Coincidence is a whisper by Circumstance to pay close attention."
Monday, February 20
You get to where you want to get to, only to discover that you're no longer sure this is where you belong. In the absence of alternatives, it would be simpler. But that would necessarily mean a restricted existence.
When you begin to doubt the course of your life, perhaps it's the coarseness rather than the course that's the problem; the road may be long, long enough to make you wonder whether you're headed in the right direction but if the road is filled with pot-holes you'll be even more unsettled and disrupted. The only solution for that is to drive around them, as many as you can, if you can. The smoother the ride the more resolute you become to finish it.
Thursday, February 16
Friday, February 10
At first glance, this appears to be shocking news, but the reality is far less worrying. That's because repossessions hit a 23-year low in 2004, and so the increase, although large in percentage terms, is still low in absolute terms.
For the record, mortgage lenders seized 5,630 properties in the second half of 2005, up two-ninths (22%) on the 4,620 repossessions recorded in the first half of the year. Hence, the total number of repossessions in 2005 was 10,250, up a whopping 70% on the 6,030 repossessions recorded in 2004. However, 2005's figure was the third-lowest annual total since 1983.
To put these figures into context, repossessions peaked at 75,540 in 1991, when 1 in 130 properties (0.77%) was seized by mortgage lenders. The figure for 2005 was 1 in 1,131 (0.09%), a mere fraction of 1991's result.
What's more, home-ownership has risen dramatically over the last thirty-five years, and rising house prices mean that British homeowners now have around £3,300 billion of housing wealth.
The amazing increase recorded in the Eighties was thanks to Mrs Thatcher's policy of encouraging people to buy their homes. Mrs T's policy certainly worked, as the number of mortgaged properties rose by 3.2 million, an increase of more than half (52%).
Growth in the Nineties was much more subdued, up by less than a fifth (19%), or 1.8 million mortgages. Over the last five years, it's slowed to a crawl -- up less than 4% from 2000 to 2005.
Nevertheless, over ten thousand homes were seized in 2005, which means that around 25,000 people either handed back their keys to their mortgage lenders, or lost their homes through the courts. Furthermore, things are set to get worse, with the CML predicting annual repossessions will rise to 12,000 for both this year and next.
As well as mortgage repossessions, the CML released data on mortgage arrears. At the end of 2005, 59,700 mortgage borrowers were between three and six months in arrears, up 11% on 2004's total.
A further 32,470 were between six and twelve months in arrears (up 21% on 2004), and 13,820 were more than a year in arrears, up 23% year-on-year. The total of these three figures comes to just short of 106,000, and the CML expects arrears cases to rise to 120,000 in 2006 and 2007.
The CML's advice to homeowners worried about keeping up their mortgage repayments is to review their financial commitments, cut back on unnecessary spending, and shop around for a better mortgage deal. Writes Cliff D'Arcy of the The Motley Fool.
Tuesday, February 7
Charles John Huffam Dickens was born today a 194 years ago.
Charles Dickens, novelist and humorist, was born at Landport in Hampshire, in February 1812. His father, John Dickens, was employed for some years in the Navy Pay Department, but at the conclusion of the war with France was pensioned, and became a parliamentary reporter. In this pursuit his son was soon distinguished for uncommon ability; and after a literary engagement -- at a very early age -- upon The True Sun, he attached himself to the staff of the Morning Chronicle. In this newspaper he gave the first evidence of his talents in the lively essays, entitled Sketches by Boz, published in 1836.
Encouraged by their success, he undertook to write the letterpress of Adventures of Mr. Pickwick, the illustrations of which were to be executed by the then more famous Mr. Seymour, a comic artist. The Pickwick Papers became an enormous commercial success, commencing an era in English literature. It was the first of a series of fictitious works exhibiting the life and manners of the middle and lower classes, which up to that time had had scarcely any exponent. In one respect, however, this book had neither predecessor nor progeny. Neither before nor since has there ever been such a literary embodiment of healthy animal spirits. There is none like it for unflagging but never unwise entertainment -- for humor that is very much the reverse of dry.
Since Pickwick, Dickens has given us many works more admirable in other respects. Nicholas Nickleby, his next effort, was, as a story, greatly in advance of it. It was also the first of those social novels which form so marked a feature in the literature of the next hundred years. It was aimed at the wrongs and cruelties inflicted upon their wretched pupils by the cheap schoolmasters of Yorkshire -- and it hit its mark. Since then Dickens has set lance against many a social monster.
He may be sometimes wrong, but he can scarcely be accused of want of honesty of purpose; while quite as little can partisanship (except that he is always for the poor) be laid to his charge, since at the very time that the country gentlemen were shaking their heads at him for his lack of reverence for "land", he incensed the manufacturing interest by the publication of Hard Times. His sarcasm is of a rather peculiar character; too good-natured to sneer, and with eyes, notwithstanding their indignant fire, that never lose sight of the ludicrous side of things, his style is mocking argument.
After Nicholas Nickeby came Master Humphrey's Clock, containing the Old Curiousity Shop and Barnaby Rudge. In the former of these, and in the character of Little Nelly, he first exhibited that power of setting forth child-life and child-thought which may have been said perhaps, before the publication of George Eliot's works, to be peculiarly his own. Barnaby Rudge was his first, and, with the exception of his subsequent Tale of Two Cities, his only attempt to describe the past; and it was a successful one. It is probably, with reference to plot and circumstance, his best novel, barring David Copperfield. The Old Curiosity Shop began in a curious dreamy manner, which, although obviously a favorite one with Dickens, he soon perceived was unappreciated, and had the prudence to discontinue. This disposition of his mind towards the weird and grotesque he subsequently developed with greater success in his Christmas Stories.
After a voyage across the Atlantic, Dickens published in 1842 his American Notes for General Circulation; but a much more admirable result of that expedition appeared in his Martin Chuzzlewit. This was certainly the greatest of his humorous works since the Pickwick Papers, and it may almost be said to have been his last. From this period, his animal spirits -- a rare gift among even comic authors, and rarely lasting so long as in his own case -- appear to have deserted him. His humor, except in some rich creations, such as Mr. Micawber, is no longer so apparent, while, on the other hand, his with and pathos have increased. Dombey and Son was considered a falling off in one who stood so high; but his death of little Dombey brought tears to the eyes of lawyers.
When men were expecting that he should wane and weaken like other prolific writers before him, he produced a novel as fresh as the dawn. In this, for the first time he adopted the autobiographical form, and that perhaps offered him some advantages; but at all events, the result was admirable. David Copperfield is perhaps by far his greatest work, and will endure -- though for very different reasons -- as long as the Pickwick Papers. Its Agnes is one of the most charming female characters in the whole range of fiction. Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorritt, the Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations, have since succeeded one another with almost periodic punctuality, and an audience larger than any English author ever had has awaited each. No prose writer was ever more quotable or quoted than Dickens, and his works hold a unique place in the canon of English literature.
The good characters of his novels do not exert a wholesome moral tendency, as many of them act from impulse, and not from the influence of moral or religious motives. In 1845, the Daily News was started under Dickens' auspices, but he soon withdrew from it. In 1850 he commenced Household Words, which has since been merged into All the Year Round. In 1867 he again visted the United States, and was cordially received. He died 1870 at Gad's Hill Place in Kent.
Here's to you Charlie, cheers!
Sunday, February 5
I thought about this statement, this declaration of independence. Bloggers blog because they have something to say and a need to be heard. When a blogger declares he has nothing else to say or is no longer dependent on being heard, what happens then?
Photo bloggers post photos for others to see when they could just stick them in a photo album or save them to their hard drive. Daily bloggers use the internet as a "weblog" - a diarised account of either what's happening in their lives or the lives of significant others. Commentators blog the news and other ramblings about the world through their own unique perspective. There are blogging bloggers for just about everything and anything, but perhaps with censorship this will soon change.
Perhaps the future of blogging will be shrouded in political correctness gone mad. Hopefully NOT for that's not a bright future.
But for the mean time, blogging seems to provide a voice for people who want to SCREEEEEEAM but who find that when they turn to the significant others in their lives, they are met with the stark silence of misunderstanding or disinterest. In this way, blogging is a microphone; someone, somewhere will care to hear what you have to say and moreover will tune in to your frequency and be on your wavelength.
This is our show, google, msnspaces, et al are the DJ's, WE are the MC's, Master of Ceremonies, thank you very much.
Wax lyrical, logical, spiritual, nonsensical, visual or whatever takes your fancy!
It's YOUR blog.
Well, this one's mine...but you get my point!
Thursday, February 2
Breasts gain even more publicity and are ultimately...biological vending machines.
The Brain is a universe between the ears and yet it is hardly noticed at all.
Persicope. Vending machine. Universe.
Madness, isn't it?
Sunday, January 29
See the original post at:
beth shalom-quantum musings of a student of kabbalah: The Anger of Righteous Indignation
...As for Global Warming, it is tragic, but, Nature dictates to us, to animals, to all manner of flora and fauna- what "will be." Scientists are quick to apportion blame to us messy humans leaving our "carbon-footprints" all over the world, but I seriously doubt that we are "destroying" the planet.
Earth gave birth to us, not the other way around. We are the "stuff of stars" made from cosmic stardust, how then can we destroy what is insuperably infinite? 165-200 million years ago Nature, The Universe, call her what you will, decided it was time for a change and the dinosaurs "were no more". How tragic was that? How impossibly incongruous?
To allow such a marvellous species to evolve from single-celled organisms over hundreds of millions of years, and then in one fell-swoop - wipe them all of the face of the Earth/Gaia with a cold lump of rock? How meaningless? But Ayin sees the big picture, n'est pas?
Without seeming to indulge in schadenfreude, I would suggest that, had not for that apparenty senseless act of violent vandalism which eradictaed the Goliaths of Earth, we wouldn't even be here to contemplate the incomprehensible, would we? Their evolution and dissolution lead to the way for mammals such as ourselves to take pride and place in the world. If they were still here, we wouldn't, couldn't be.
Our temporary dominion, regardless of "our carbon graffiti" or "other-species-insensitivity" is only that - temporary; empires rise, and empires fall. Nature, Earth, The Universe is unfathomably profound and interminably inexhaustible; if species become extinct becasuse of our doing, it is ultimately the doing of Earth itself, just like the dinosaurs. It will all work out in the end because it already has, just we can't see it.
In 200 millions years time, they'll probably not be a humanbeing in sight because someone else would have taken our place, and as for all the damage we've wrought? It will have long since been repaired and refurbished, after all, we're only tenants, and students at that!
Friday, January 27
Wednesday, January 25
Sunday, January 22
Wednesday, January 18
www.com or www.con
U.S. stocks fell, eating away at this year's gains, after Intel Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. reported results that trailed analysts' expectations.
Twenty of the about 70 S&P 500 companies scheduled to release earnings this week report today.
Shares of Apple Computer Inc., the maker of the iPod digital music player, fell before its results after the close of trading.
The announcements from Intel and Yahoo followed a start-of- year rally in technology stocks. A gauge of computer-related companies was the second-best performer among 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 this year, adding 5.2 percent, on optimism about increasing demand for products such as laptops and MP3 players.
Shares down $2.76, or 11 percent, to $22.76 for the worst performance in the Dow average. The world's biggest computer- chip maker said yesterday that fourth-quarter profit was 40 cents a share on sales of $10.2 billion.
Sales in the first quarter may also fall short of estimates, as Intel forecast revenue of $9.1 billion to $9.7 billion, compared with an average analyst projection of $10 billion in a Thomson survey.
UBS says "neutral", Citigroup says "hold" on Intel, not very encouraging news to those of us with a few shares in our back-pocket. JPMorgan has reduced its estimate for Intel's per- share earnings this year to $1.13 from $1.39. Oh dear.
The world's most-visited Internet site, dropped $4.92, or 12 percent, to $35.19 for the steepest loss in the S&P 500.
Shares of Google Inc. also declined. The world's most-used Internet search engine dropped $14.84 to $451.27.
The world's largest maker of personal computers, lost 99 cents to $29.39.
Microsoft does a dip too
The biggest software maker, slid 23 cents to $26.76.
The good news is IBM is up 80 cents or so, but how long for?
Tuesday, January 17
Spoken, not said.
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 languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.
So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.
You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
"Free at last! free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Yesterday, Monday 16th was a public holiday in the US - the King holiday. Each year on the third Monday of January schools, federal offices, post office and banks across America close to celebrate the newest American national holiday.
15 years after Dr. King's death President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law making the third Monday of January a national holiday celebrating the birth and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but it was a tough time getting the bill passed.
First a bill had to be introduced by a member of the House of Representatives. The Speaker of the House assigned the bill to a committee where the bill was discussed in detail. Meetings were held where supporters and opposers could discuss their positions. The committee then agreed that bill should be sent to a vote. The Rules Committee scheduled a debate on the issue. The House of Representatives then voted on the bill. It passed the House with a vote of 338 to 90. Then it was sent to the Senate.
Again the issue of the King holiday had to pass through committees and public hearings before a final vote was taken.
There were many who opposed the idea of a holiday for Dr. King. America had only honored two individuals with national holidays - George Washington and Christopher Columbus. Many felt that there were other Americans that deserved a national holiday, such as Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
One barrier to the confirmation was the Senator from Georgia who had denounced Dr. King as a communist. Others feared the King holiday was meant as a way to make up to African-Americans for slavery. Other feared the cost of the holiday, with the extra overtime paid to federal workers who had to work on the holiday as well as millions to those federal employees who were paid for the day.
Senator Bob Dole pointed out to those critics '"I suggest they hurry back to their pocket calculators and estimate the cost of 300 years of slavery, followed by a century or more of economic, political and social exclusion and discrimination."
It took many years for Congress to decide to celebrate the holiday. In the years leading up to the official decree many African-Americans celebrated the birthday themselves with a few states declaring King's birthday a state holiday.
The bill was finally passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and was signed into law on November 2, 1983.The first national celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday took place January 20, 1986.
Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had been graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951.
With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955 In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family.In 1954, Martin Luther King accepted the pastorale of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation.
He was ready, then, early in December, 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement.
The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles.
In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, "l Have a Dream", he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.
At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated.