The Tuskegee Experiment

Thinking about what Jeremiah Wright said regarding AIDS and I dug up the following passage regarding the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis where 399 men where used as human guinea pigs to see what happens to the body after syphilis kills you. The study ran from 1932 to 1972 even though a standard cure for the disease, penicillin, was found in 1947.

The following is from the Tuskegee University Website:

The Legacy of Tuskegee
In 1990, a survey found that 10 percent of African Americans believed that the U.S. government created AIDS as a plot to exterminate blacks, and another 20 percent could not rule out the possibility that this might be true. As preposterous and paranoid as this may sound, at one time the Tuskegee experiment must have seemed equally farfetched.

Who could imagine the government, all the way up to the Surgeon General of the United States, deliberately allowing a group of its citizens to die from a terrible disease for the sake of an ill-conceived experiment? In light of this and many other shameful episodes in our history, African Americans’ widespread mistrust of the government and white society in general should not be a surprise to anyone.

I have to admit not knowing my history here. This is disgusting, and it was done to black citizens by the government.   This is what I’m referring to when I say that   being black in this country comes with a legacy that clouds everything. This is what Mike Huckabee was referring to also – that you really have to walk a mile in the shoes of the oppressed before you start making moral judgments.

More About the Tuskegee Experiment:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NPR: Remembering the Tuskegee Experiment

Wikipedia: Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male  

W: The Movie

I cannot believe that there is a George Bush movie in the making. It will start filming on April 21 starring Josh Brolin as the President and James Cromwell as senior. Apparently it covers just how the shrub became President regardless of having a less than stellar career (hasn’t improved once becoming President). It will be directed by Oliver Stone if you’re wondering if it will be fair and balanced. Here’s the internal positioning statement:

W is the improbable story of a man who went to the White House despite getting fewer votes than his opponent; who became commander-in-chief despite having avoided military combat himself; and who became the least popular president ever to be elected to a second term. W will shock and surprise you and leave you questioning everything you believe to be true.

I can’t wait.

Newspaper’s should stay out of blogging

Yesterday in Philadelphia there was a senseless crime – 36 year old manager of a Starbucks was killed by a gang of students from Simon Gratz High School at 2:30 in the afternoon.   He was simply leaving work for the day and never made it home.   This kind of violence is so upsetting; children in the middle of the day taking a man’s life.   The school district, the teachers, the parents, and of course the students seem to be a lost cause – essentially allowing the human version of pack dogs out on the street to murder.

All of that said – I was reading the account of this on and the comments of readers and the vileness of the responses are disgusting.   Racist rants threatening violence from the illiterates of our society.   It’s disgusting – and this is on a newspaper   website- not a blog.   I’m all for web 2.0 – but I wonder if all this free speech is worth it when in crosses with the delivery of news.   I know people like to talk and argue, but the discourse found at these websites is generally not intelligent.

I don’t know why I expect more.

American Idol – the popularity contest

God I can’t wait for real TV to come back.   Last night Kristy Lee Cook – the worst singer known to mankind (who is lucky enough to be blonde and cute), was passed on again in favor of letting more talented people go.   She’s like the star football player in high school who never learned to read.   Chikeze didn’t do himself any favors with a bland retelling of the classic Luther Vandross song “If Only for One Night”; but honestly I write about all this because I think I must be a masochist – I know I’m going to hate American Idol – but I’m watching it anyway.   Eeek – someone save me.

Let me say that Cook’s singing Lee Greenwood’s crappiness “God Bless the USA” (you know the song: I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free) was sheer brilliant manipulation.   OK – I know this “song” is supposed to be patriotic – but it may be the worst “song” ever written.   Can’t we get someone who knows how to write a song, to write a patriotic song?   Cloying and amateurish, there’s only one reason to choose that song: it would be unpatriotic not to vote for her.   What’s she going to sing next week – the national anthem?


Some nice finds from a couple other bloggers:

Record and Release – Gnarls Barkley and The Raconteurs

The music industry seems loathe to change. At least they seem loathe to change until they’re forced to. Kudos to the management of Gnarls Barkley and The Raconteurs for releasing their CDs much earlier than normal. Gnarls Barkley released their most recent CD in advance of an April release date last week. The Raconteurs did even better – they finished their CD earlier this month and released it today.

There is no reason for the long turns between recording and releasing a CD. The long gnarlsbarkleyoc.jpglead times lead to bootlegging and lower sales. Record and release. Don’t even create CDs – or don’t wait for them to be ready.

As for the CDs: I can only comment on the Gnarls Barkley CD and it’s better than the last one. No break out hit like Crazy, but it’s more complete, complex and a better listen from beginning to end.

The Raconteurs ought to be good – Brendan Benson and Jack White makes for good music. I’ll owe you a review when I listen to it.


Trailer Park Tuesday: Tropic Thunder

tropicthunderew.jpgI don’t know how long this feature is for the world. It’s easy, but I’m realizing I just don’t like movies. The following trailer, is just a teaser trailer, but it’s of note because it’s about Tropic Thunder – a comedy starring Ben Stiller. You might have heard about this movie because it stars Robert Downey Jr. – playing a black man (actually he plays a white actor who plays a black actor). He’s in the middle in the picture to the left – better than C. Thomas Howell.

Concert unfinished business

I’m pretty good about seeing my favorite bands in concert.   As reference take a look at this list (story to follow).

Here’s my top 10 artists from Last.FM:

  1. Michael Penn
  2. Elliott Smith
  3. Aimee Mann
  4. Radiohead
  5. Wilco
  6. Spoon
  7. Foo Fighters
  8. Fiona Apple
  9. Sleater-Kinney
  10. U2

Of this list the only one I haven’t seen is Spoon.   (Good thing I’ve seen Elliott Smith [dead] and Sleater-Kinney [broken up]).   Matter of fact, on this list Sleater-Kinney is the one I’ve seen less than twice.

Spoon is kind of a surprise, because I’ve never been fanatical about them – but every album they’ve released just kicks ass.   Their last three albums (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Gimme Fiction, and Kill the Moonlight) are among the best things released this past decade, but no one knows who they are.   Actually you probably do because their music is a staple of music, television, and commercials, and movies – but you still don’t know who they are.   (Funny – I started writing this and Kristen turned on the movie Stranger than Fiction where Britt Daniel, Spoon’s lead singer does the soundtrack – by the way – a friggin’ great movie).

Anyway (I start too many sentences that way when I write),   on April 10th, 2008 I will scratch Spoon from my not seen list; I can’t wait.   I’ve heard they are great in concert, and with that – my top 10 is complete.

By the way my top 20 is missing just Kanye West – which is not going to happen until he learns how to breath when he raps.