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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cult violence

Image source

Six die in Edo cult violence. This is the headline that caught my attention yesterday and I could not help but wonder how it has all gone so wrong.

When will this violence stop? Your primary aim of going to college is to obtain a degree, yet you waste it killing yourselves over unnecessary agros.

It is disheartening that an idea which was setup to fight against societal ills has now being hijacked by the immature and those purveyors of hooliganism and destruction.

Day in, day out, mothers are weeping, sisters are lamenting, lovers sorrowful, fathers go to their graves with regret. The place that you call home is not safe anymore.

You who can take your fellow student's life because of some misplaced loyalty to a cult, how do you sleep at night? How are your dreams? What do you do when you dream of the tears of the beloved left behind by your wanton destruction?

Eiye, Black Axe, etc, what a waste of potential! What a disappointment! You have no useful contribution to the society. All you contribute is death, death and more death.

How long will this stupidity continue? When will you get back on the path of learning? When will you look around and realize there is more to life than violence? Look at the meaningful contributions of students in other societies.

The society is already reeling from the effects of bad leadership, evil politicians, armed robbers, kidnappers, plane crashes, evil and deceitful pastors, boko haram. You are the future, the ones who would be better placed to raise the nation above anarcy, yet you destroy yourselves, you destroy your dreams, the hopes of your loved ones. What a shame!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Earth Niteclub (Drogheda) and its shitty attitude towards customers

So, the past weekend, me and some friends and our families stayed over at the City North hotel (nice digs, by the way). We came from far and wide. Some people came in from Letterkenny, some came in from Kerry and some came in from London. We arrived on Friday and after settling in, we decided to check out the sites Drogheda had to offer. Myself and six others, who were not too tired, decided to check out the town and do some dancing. We called us a cab and based on the cabbies recommendation, we decided to head to the Earth Niteclub.

To our chagrin, the sign that confronted us was, 'Age Card and Membership needed for entry.' But we had come from far distances and we did not know anything about this policy, so we asked the bouncer how we could get the membership cards so we could go in. We were told we had to go on the internet and download the membership forms and fill out and we would be contacted in about a week or two as to whether our membership was approved or not! Un-fucking-real, right?

At this point there were up to three bouncers "guarding" the entrance as if with their lives. One funny thing we noticed was that people were coming and nobody was asking them for their IDs, or membership cards. So one member of the group went up to the bouncers and told them that in this group we were here to have a nice time and spend some serious money. he explained to them that our group was made up of four medical doctors, a diplomat, an IT professional and an accountant. They were not budging. he also let them know that we came from very far places and their club was recommended as the 'IT' place to be, the place were things happen. He tried to let them see the ridiculousness of asking us to go and fill out membership forms and then wait two weeks for approval, we did not even live in the area and would have left town by Sunday. These guys never budged an inch. The guy standing in the middle, all he kept saying was, go on the internet and register your membership.

Disappointingly, we had to leave but the experience left a sour taste. What with the economic woes which businesses are facing in Ireland today, one would expect that some people would be a bit more proactive when it comes to customer service. Between the seven of us, we would have spent nothing less than three to four grand or more that night, but out of some misplaced prejudice towards people from afar or non-Drogheda residents, this niteclub lost some serious revenue that night. I do believe the proprietors need to go back to the drawing board on this one. It is simply inconceivable, stupid and ridiculous to expect people traveling to your town to know about membership requirements of all niteclubs there. Before that night, I had never heard of Earth anyway, so they must suffer from some delusions of grandeur when it comes to how they view themselves.

So heads up guys. Anyone out there planning on coming to Ireland very soon and having Drogheda in your sights, avoid the Earth Niteclub like a plague. Well you don't have to avoid it if you have processed your membership online before coming to Ireland. Then when you get to Ireland, you have to visit the local Garda (police) station to have your Garda Age Card processed, which might take up to another week. Maybe.

My candid advise? Well, if like me, you do not cherish the rigmarole, the inanity and the inconvenience involved with registering for a niteclub membership when others are free, then the Home Niteclub in Balbriggan would be your best bet. Music was good and the ambiance was okay, moreover it is on the waterfront.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

lifeless

On July 24, 2012 © Stani. All rights reserved


how does it feel never to exist
yet revel in the thrill of
dreams and hopes
that exist in mindless ramblings of truthfulness?


terrible words spoken regretted
stories started never-ending
twists and turns
all they had to hold on to


holding on to faith blindly
action speaks louder than words
walk through the maze
labyrinth of deceitfulness


what good is love
if all it brings is pain
heartrending coldness
suffocating to the uninitiated?


anywhere the wind blows
bending yet never breaking
hope held on to
belief that tomorrow will be better

Monday, July 16, 2012

King Leads the March on Washington

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Al Pacino's Inch By Inch speech from Any Given Sunday

I don't know what to say really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today. Either we heal as a team or we are going to crumble. Inch by inch play by play till we're finished. We are in hell right now, gentlemen believe me and we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch, at a time. Now I can't do it for you. I'm too old. I look around and I see these young faces and I think I mean I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make. I uh.... I pissed away all my money believe it or not. I chased off anyone who has ever loved me. And lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know when you get old in life things get taken from you. That's, that's part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game life or football the margin for error is so small. I mean one half step too late or to early you don't quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in ever break of the game every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch. Cause we know when we add up all those inches that's going to make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING. I'll tell you this in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch. And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch because that is what LIVING is. The six inches in front of your face. Now I can't make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes. Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you are gonna do the same thing for him. That's a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That's football guys. That's all it is. Now, whattaya gonna do?

Friday, July 13, 2012

In Nigeria, anything can happen – Stani Slaus

Corruption of Democracy in Nigeria, July 5, 2012 A

In good old Nigeria, the wife of the president has just being made a Permanent Secretary in one of the Ministries in the state of Bayelsa. This move has being described by some as "idiotic", "the height of idiocy", "lunatic", "sycophancy", etc, etc.

People are wondering what her Civil Service pedigree is, in what Civil Service parastatal did she work before becoming the first lady of Nigeria?

Anyway, though dumbfounded and dismayed by this move, most Nigerians are not surprised, after all, this is a country where anything gives, anything can happen.

I mean, this is a country where five political parties once banded together and named former dictator, Abacha, their sole, consensus candidate for the presidency of the nation.

This is the nation where the previous speaker of the House of assembly misappropriated or stole 40 billion naira (as the accusation) went, but he was let off the hook by an equally corrupt judiciary that said he had "no case to answer." A bank executive accused of stealing billions from her bank only received 6 months jail term which was spent "recuperating" in the hospital.

This is the nation where, the CBN governor decided to give CBN's money to victims of Boko Haram who were from his own constituency and ignored those others from other constituencies. In this nation anything can happen. Pension funds get diverted and it is highly likely that once the accused have "settled", they would be let off the hook.

In Nigeria, anything can truly happen. "Honourable" Farouk Lawan was charged with investigating fuel subsidy scam and irregularities, but as the accusation now goes, he decided to solicit for $3million dollars from one of those involved in the scams in order to "look the other way."

He subsequently received $620,000 with a "gentleman's" agreement from the payer that the balance would be paid at a later date. the payer subsequently squealed like a "pig to the slaughter." Farouk was caught, as they would say, "with his pants down" but, and mark this, it is very important, he says he did not solicit for and receive a bribe, he says he only "took money", to quote him properly, "I collected money not bribe".

In response, the House of Assembly has instituted committee after committee to investigate this issue. Meanwhile, the $620,000 has remained "lost in limbo" with no trace of it seen anywhere! To be honest, it seems, nobody looking in from the outside expects any coherent action or prosecution of this case. According to those who know these things, the police say they have enough to prosecute him with, so what are they waiting for?

Unreal as it may sound, it is safe to say that nobody in the nation is holding their breath for any sort of justice regarding the Lawan case. People have greeted the resulting rigmarole with a high dose of cynicism. Nothing has happened to those who have done worse and nothing will happen to Lawan. The case will eventually be swept under the rug and business will proceed as usual. Once the next scandal unfolds, this one will be forgotten.

It all becomes seriously laughable and ridiculous when someone is sentenced to death for stealing 1,500 naira (one thousand five hundred naira), that is not even up to $10. Yeah, I forgot to mention he also stole milk worth 400 naira. Meanwhile, people steal billions of naira everyday and all we hear from the lame-ass judiciary is they have "no case to answer." Corruption cases are being thrown out on cooked up frivolous technicalities. The same judiciary said James Onanefe Ibori had no case to answer.

Justice seemed to have fled Nigeria long ago. We can't seem to find her anywhere. She took a look at the future and realised Nigerians where too much for her. So she upped and left. all three arms of government have thrown their lot together and now anything goes because at the end of the day, they continue to look out for themselves, watching each others' backs.

So the rigmarole, the eternal grand charade of the corrupted and corruptible in Nigeria continues. Anything goes, anything continues to happen. Seriously, nothing surprises me anymore about this my country. If I wake up tomorrow and learn that Dame Patience Jonathan has being appointed to the Judiciary, I won't be surprised. If I wake up tomorrow and learn that Dame Patience Jonathan has being appointed a Commissioner of Police, I won't be surprised. Even if I wake up tomorrow and learn that Dame Patience Jonathan is now the President of Nigeria, I still won't be surprised, for after all, this is Naija and in this nation right out of the "twilight zone" anything can and does happen.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

new born baby blues

The meaning of life

Mario and the Princess


Monday, July 9, 2012

Afghan woman executed in public

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Slavery by Another Name History Background

Source Slavery by Another Name History Background By Nancy O’Brien Wagner, Bluestem Heritage Group Introduction For more than seventy-five years after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, thousands of blacks were systematically forced to work against their will. While the methods of forced labor took on many forms over those eight decades — peonage, sharecropping, convict leasing, and chain gangs — the end result was a system that deprived thousands of citizens of their happiness, health, and liberty, and sometimes even their lives. Though forced labor occurred across the nation, its greatest concentration was in the South, and its victims were disproportionately black and poor. Ostensibly developed in response to penal, economic, or labor problems, forced labor was tightly bound to political, cultural, and social systems of racial oppression. Setting the Stage: The South after the Civil War After the Civil War, the South’s economy, infrastructure, politics, and society were left completely destroyed. Years of warfare had crippled the South’s economy, and the abolishment of slavery completely destroyed what was left. The South’s currency was worthless and its financial system was in ruins. For employers, workers, and merchants, this created many complex problems. With the abolishment of slavery, much of Southern planters’ wealth had disappeared. Accustomed to the unpaid labor of slaves, they were now faced with the need to pay their workers — but there was little cash available. In this environment, intricate systems of forced labor, which guaranteed cheap labor and ensured white control of that labor, flourished. For a brief period after the conclusion of fighting in the spring of 1865, Southern whites maintained control of the political system. Desperate to recreate the previous social and economic system and control the movement and freedom of blacks, the white politicians enacted “Black Codes” that denied blacks the rights to testify against whites, to serve on juries or in state militias, or to vote. In response to planters’ demands that the freed people be required to work on the plantations, the Black Codes declared that those who failed to sign yearly labor contracts could be arrested and hired out to white landowners. Some states limited the occupations open to blacks and barred them from acquiring land, and others allowed judges to assign black children to work for their former owners without the consent of their parents. Reconstruction and the Birth of Convict Leasing and Peonage in the South In 1866, Republicans took control of the South’s political system and, in what became known as “Reconstruction,” attempted to rebuild the South’s economy, politics, and culture. Radical Republicans created the Freedmen’s Bureau to offer former slaves food, clothing, and advice on labor contracts. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were passed in order to attempt to bring equality to blacks. Initially, with federal laws and federal troops offering protection, blacks began to vote and gain political power. The Black Codes were quickly repealed in 1866. But in 1877, in part because of Northern exhaustion and Southern protests, the federal government withdrew from the South, and black disenfranchisement and unchecked oppression quickly followed. With Southern whites fully in power after the federal government pulled out, Southern states began to heavily enforce a series of laws that unfairly penalized poor African Americans for crimes. “Pig laws” made the theft of a farm animal worth a dollar punishable by as much as five years in jail. Vagrancy statutes made it a crime not to have a job or be able to show proof of employment. While these laws did not specifically mention African Americans, they were rarely enforced for whites. The result was a huge increase in the number of blacks arrested and convicted and the rise of the labor system known as convict leasing. Convict Leasing Initially, to save money on prison construction and later to actually generate revenue, Southern states and counties began leasing “convicts” to commercial enterprises. Within a few years states realized they could lease out their convicts to local planters or industrialists who would pay minimal rates for the workers and be responsible for their housing and feeding, thereby eliminating costs and increasing revenue. Soon, markets for convict laborers developed, with entrepreneurs buying and selling convict labor leases. From county courthouses and jails, men were leased to local plantations, lumber camps, factories and railroads. The convict lease system became highly profitable for the states. To employers and industrialists, these men represented cheap, disposable labor. The costs to lease a laborer were minimal, and the cost of providing housing, food, clothing and medical treatment could be kept low. Replacement costs were cheap. Unlike in slavery, there was no incentive to treat a laborer well. (Slaves were expensive to purchase, but might create new profit by having children who became more slaves, and could live with a family for generations.) But for victims and all Southern blacks, convict leasing was a horror. Prisoners were often transferred far from their homes and families. The paperwork and debt record of individual prisoners was often lost, and the men were unable to prove they had paid their debts — and were otherwise assumed they hadn’t. Working conditions at the convict leasing sites were often terrible: illness, lack of proper food, clothing, or shelter as well as cruel punishments, torture and even death. Though the profits from convict leasing brought funds to the states’ coffers, the public (both Southerners and Northerners) became uncomfortable with the practice of convict leasing. As part of a series of reforms, Alabama created an office of prison inspector to oversee conditions for convict laborers. The inspectors described wretched conditions for convict laborers. New rules for leasing began to require minimum standards for treatment and rules for punishments. These reforms brought only modest improvements. Peonage Another way that blacks were forced into labor was through a system known as “peonage.” Peonage, also called debt slavery or debt servitude, was a system where an employer compelled a worker to pay off a debt with work. Peonage had been in use in New Mexico Territory before the Civil War. Although Congress deemed that peonage was illegal in the Anti-Peonage Law of 1867, the practice began to flourish in the South after Reconstruction. A loophole in the Thirteenth Amendment that declared involuntary servitude illegal “except as a punishment for crime” was used to ensnare blacks into peonage. In many cases, defendants were found guilty of real or fabricated crimes and were fined for both the crime and additional court fees. When the men were unable to pay, a local businessman would step forward to pay the fines. The convict would then sign a contract agreeing to work for him without pay until the debt was paid off. A second method involved a defendant who, when faced with the likelihood of a conviction and the threat of being sent to a far-off work camp, would “confess judgment,” essentially claiming responsibility before any trial occurred. A local businessman would step forward to act as “surety,” vouching for the future good behavior of the defendant, and forfeiting a bond that would pay for the crime. The judge would accept the bond, without ever rendering a verdict on the crime. The defendant would then sign a contract agreeing to work without pay until the surety bond was paid off. In other cases, workers became indebted to planters (through sharecropping), merchants (through credit) or company stores (through living expenses). Workers were often unable to re-pay the debt, and found themselves in a continuous work-without-pay cycle. Often struck in remote company towns or isolated plantations, workers were prevented from attempting escape by chains, cells, guards, dogs and violence. If they did attempt to flee their workplace or the spurious debt, they risked a very high chance of being picked up, found guilty of abandoning their debts, fined court fees, and eventually returned to the same employer — or worse, “leased” to a convict mine. There was little interest in prosecuting the employers who abused their forced laborers: the employers were rich, white, and often politically connected. Worse, many of the laborers had “agreed” to their unfair treatment when they had signed the contracts agreeing to work off their debt. Most were unable to read. Sometimes, the contracts stated that the men agreed to be locked up, to be physically punished, and that any expenses due to health care, new clothing, or re-capturing due to an escape attempt could be added to the total. Progressivism and the Beginning of the End of Convict Leasing By the 1890s, blacks in the South were suffering the worst treatment they had endured since the end of the Civil War. After the Supreme Court’s 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, segregation became even more ensconced through a battery of Southern laws and social customs known as “Jim Crow.” Schools, theaters, restaurants and transportation cars were segregated. Poll taxes, literacy requirements and grandfather clauses not only prevented blacks from voting, but also made them ineligible to serve in jury pools or run for office. “Separate but equal” wasn’t just an unspoken custom, but a formal law. Meanwhile, a new social and political movement was growing in the North. In response to significant economic, social, and political inequalities, “progressivism” advocated that the government should lead efforts to change society’s ills. When President Theodore Roosevelt took office in 1901, progressivism became a powerful national movement. He advocated for fair trade and pro-labor laws, including a decreased workweek, child labor restrictions and workplace safety rules. Roosevelt’s attitudes on race fluctuated, though he was generally considered a moderate during his era. As governor of New York, he ended school segregation. As president, Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington, a black civil rights leader, to dine at the White House. The resulting uproar over the perceived impropriety appeared to restrain Roosevelt, who never repeated the invitation. However, he did continue to advocate for a “square deal” for all citizens, appointing progressive judges and encouraging the prosecution of peonage. While progressive leaders often focused on the needs of the poor and immigrants, they did not organize to promote black suffrage or equal rights. However, many black activists, journalists, and thinkers such as W.E.B. Du Bois, and the members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) fought for civil rights. During this time, dramatic stories of the abuse and wretched conditions of convict laborers began to be publicized through trials and newspaper accounts. The egregiousness of the violence and corruption of the system began to turn public opinion against convict leasing. Public outrage over scandalous tales of abuse led Tennessee to stop leasing convicts to coal mines in 1893, and to stop all leasing to other industries by 1896. South Carolina (1897), Louisiana (1901), Mississippi (1907), Georgia (1908), Arkansas (1913) and Florida (1923) followed suit. Public concern about eliminating convict leasing did not reflect a desire to create political, economic, or social equality for blacks. In fact, during this time, new laws made private peonage even easier to establish. In Alabama, where convict leasing persisted, changes to contract labor laws ensnared more men into peonage. Previously, if a worker skipped out after receiving an advance, an employer had to prove that fraud had always been the worker’s intention. A new 1903 law no longer required any evidence of bad intention by the worker; instead, any white employer could claim a black worker had taken an advance and not repaid it, and Alabama courts would not accept black workers’ testimony in court. Georgia passed a similar law in 1903 and Florida in 1907. Throughout the 1920s, a series of sensational crimes and trials brought attention to the pockets of convict leasing and peonage that remained. By 1928, Alabama became the final state to eliminate convict leasing by the state. Chain Gangs Though many Southern citizens and politicians wanted to abolish convict leasing, the problem of the expense and difficulty of housing convicts remained. Chain gangs developed as a popular solution to that problem. Chain gangs were groups of convicts forced to labor at tasks such as road construction, ditch digging, or farming while chained together. The improvements they made to public roadways had significant impact on rural areas, allowing planters to more quickly and easily transport their crops to market. Chain gangs minimized the cost of guarding prisoners, but exposed prisoners to painful ulcers and dangerous infections from the heavy shackles around their ankles. An individual’s misstep or fall could imperil the entire group, and chains prevented individuals from moving away from aggressive or violent prisoners. The Final Chapter of Forced Labor Across the South, new technologies and shifting economic patterns decreased peonage. The dust bowl and Great Depression shifted many sharecroppers off their land. After Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected, he instituted his “New Deal,” a series of economic programs intended to offer relief to the unemployed and recovery of the national economy. Though blacks were not the intended audience for these programs, they benefitted as many citizens did. Labor laws that encouraged union organization and defined a minimum wage also supported black workers. However, peonage remained — generally hidden in the rural counties of Southern states. In 1940, with the help of the International Labor Defense (ILD), a group of people in New York and Chicago organized the Abolish Peonage Committee and began to pressure the Justice Department to try cases. In 1941, in response to the outbreak of World War II and amid fears that racial inequalities would be used as anti–United States propaganda, Attorney General Francis Biddle issued Circular No. 3591 to all federal prosecutors, instructing them to actively investigate and try more peonage cases. Finally, the federal government was willing to act aggressively to protect all its citizens from this forced labor. © 2012 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Nigerian Bags Global Scholar Award

A NIGERIAN business and management professional based in the United Kingdom, Trevor Uyi Omoruyi whose agitation compelled the Libyan government to pledge a review of its treatment of Nigerians, has won a major international award in the United States. He is one of eight recipients of the ‘International Graduate Scholar Award’ conferred on deserving academics by The Organization, a prominent intellectual community based in the United States, in conjunction with the renowned ‘Common Ground Publishing.’ They will receive the awards tomorrow at the University Conference Centre, Chicago, Illinois during The Organization’s ‘Twelfth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change Management.’ Uyi is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Business and Management at the University of Salford, England after graduating with a distinction and receiving a Masters of Business Administration from the institution. He also has an MSc in International Business and Management from Sheffield Hallam University and a BSc (Hons), Accounting and a Certificate in Finance from London School of Economics and Political Science. Source: http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=91552%3Anigerian-bags-global-scholar-award&catid=1%3Anational&Itemid=559
 
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