For over a decade, the Iranian Nuclear Program has progressed unabated. A historic agreement between Iran and six international powers will roll back key elements of the Islamic state’s nuclear ambitions. The United States, France, China, Russia, Germany and Britain joined forces to forge the agreement, which is only the first phase in a multi-step process of forging a deal that will protect the international community from the threat of a nuclear armed Iran while simultaneously resurrecting Iran’s decimated economy. Sanctions imposed largely by the U.S. have crippled the Iranian economy, leading to significant angst amongst the Iranian people and an unprecedented willingness to compromise from the Iranian state.
The deal, requires Iran to half any uranium enrichment above a 5% level and neutralize stockpiled uranium enriched above 20%. Iran will be required to half progress on its plutonium reactor and give nuclear inspectors additional access to their facilities. In exchange for the concessions Iran will experience a diminution of the sanctions stifling its economy. The economic concessions are modest. Iran can renew trade in precious medals like gold. The state can also begin receiving mechanic parts like airplane parts.
Despite the modesty of the concessions made by the U.S. and it’s allies, domestic critics in the GOP and hard liners in isereal are panning the agreement. They believe that it is foolish to lift sanctions that are just beginning to bear fruit and argue instead that the international community should increase the pressure on Iran, forcing them to acquiesce entirely to international demands. Iranian hard liners are suggesting that Iran’s new president is giving the U.S. far too much.
George Zimmerman has been arrested again. The former neighborhood watch fellow, acquitted of slaying Trayvon Martin once again finds himself in police custody. The charge this time relates to an unspecified domestic disturbance with a thus far, unnamed girl-friend. The disturbance took place in Seminole County’s Apopka. There are no details regarding the “disturbance”.
This is not Zimmerman’s first run in with law enforcement since his acquittal. Shortly after his release Zimmerman was pulled over and found to be in possession of a fire arm (entirely legal based on his acquittal). He was also detained and then released in an incident with his former wife. She alleged that George Zimmerman assaulted her father and then smashed her iPad which she claims had video of the incident. Zimmerman was never charged for the incident. She went on to state that she was no longer certain of her former husband’s innocence in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
In 2016, will it be Elizabeth Warren vs. Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden vs. Hillary? Who will attempt to take on the unstoppable juggernaut of Clinton Inc? Who would take on this fools errand? A simple sampling of the political landscape reveals that there is still one candidate, largely missed thus far by pundits. There is only one candidate, on the democratic side that has both a well known longing to be President and a compelling set of credentials to be President. That person is John Kerry! The current Secretary of State has run for President before and lost. While the typical cliche in politics declares that no one likes and looser, another popular political refrain notes that once someone gets the bug to be President, it NEVER goes away! And if this week goes well for the Secretary of State, John Kerry may have the only cogent argument a candidate can make against Hillary Clinton. If this week goes well, John Kerry might be able to say that he was a better Secretary of State then Hillary. The legendary Mrs. Clinton has developed a popularity and respect apart from her husband’s efforts, based on her mythical work ethic and often heralded competency. But if John Kerry is able to forge a strong agreement with Iran that curbs their nuclear ambitions he can claim to have done what Hillary could not. The truth of the matter is of-course more complex but in politics, truth isn’t just relative, it is malleable. This argument, in combination with the admittedly absurd Benghazi accusations undermines the mythology of Clinton’s competency. Pundits are in great error to exclude John Kerry in their endless prognostications of the next election cycle. He is qualified. He is capable. And most importantly, he really wants to be President!
MIA’s videos never disappoint. There is always a level of creativity that often merits watching the video more than once. MIA’S latest video (Y.A.L.A) is the ideal coalescence of all things cool. Always true to MIA form, the artist does the perfect job of killing you kindly with style without being a slave to fashion. Kenzo provides their signature eye for MIA’s garments and the brand’s signature video aesthetic of rapid imagery and vibrant colors are prominently displayed throughout the video. The video debuted on i-D’s site today. The magazine’s YouTube page described the video as a:
“Rainbow rave explosions with glow-in-the-dark Matangi goddess Maya. Let’s dance unto infinity with Y.A.L.A… You Always Live Again!”
We must agree that we love the description and the video.
Lily Allen. What can we say? We have just added Ms. Allen to our growing list of Worthy Women of The Year for producing perhaps the most epic social commentary of the year. In her recent video, “It’s Hard Out Here (For A Bitch)” Lily satirizes the Pop and Hip Hop World, particularly for it’s exploitative visual presentations of women. In the video, Lily is on an operating table, receiving lipo (and presumably implants) as her body is critiqued by a caudrey of elderly white executives. She tries to help them understand that she has had two children (like many women) and then the camera flashes to a music video of a multicultural (albeit largely African American) assembly women, scantily clad and dancing provocatively. This, presumably is where the accusations of racism begin. Lily satirizes the absurd, stripper inspired dance routines that have become a mainstay in Hip Hop videos by hilarious parody. She fingers her own crotch and dances through a graphic of balloons that spell out that “Lily Allen Has A Baggy Pussy”. Those critical of the video are largely complaining about the visual images of black women pouring champaign on themselves, smacking and giggling their own asses and licking falic symbols like bananas. Lily Allen, they argue is obviously a racist!
We have one simple point/question. If the images of black women pouring champaign on themselves, and giggling their asses are disturbing for these protectorates of the black community, we (at Worthy Magazine) must ask where in the hell have these folks been for the last two decades of hip hop.
We won’t be coy here. The images in hip hop and pop music are not just deleterious to the African American community, they are debilitating. They have undermined the self image of African American women and the level of respect they enjoy both in the black community and outside of the black community. The term objectification is barely adequate when we consider the linty of songs that discuss black women as having little value beyond the sexual. Our little girls are now expected to hold in esteem female rap icons that flaunt their buttock implants to create an expectation that isn’t just unrealistic, it’s unhealthy.
We don’t actually believe that any of Lily Allen’s critics would take issue with any of our points. Any thinking person observing hip hop/pop imagery has become increasingly concerned about an industry that seems wholly fallacious. When broke artists are compelled to make endless anthems about money they don’t have, cars their labels lease for them and cribs that are rented, the industry itself can be seen as perverse. When musicians allude to date rape, drugging groupies, running trains and discuss sexuality with lyrics that are at minimum tinged with sexual violence- as images that depict black women are whores have become normative – reasonable people can conclude that perhaps, we have gone a bit too far. Again, we don’t think any one of Lily’s critics would take issue with our points. They take issue with the fact that these points came from a white woman.
The image of black women on their knees, twerking their asses, surrounding a Bentley isn’t new in music. In fact it’s so repetitive that it is trite. Where have these critics been when this same image is used in virtually every video of note. “I pray my dick gets big as the Eiffel Tower, so I can Fuck the World For 72 hours. God Damn I Got Bitches, Damn I got Bitches, Damn I got Bitches, wifey-girl friends and mistresses” is chanted with the professional precision from one of Hip Hops best M.C.’s as a gorgeous black queen is instructed to pop her ass vigorously next to Kendrick Lamar’s head. We are certain that images like this disturbed Lily Allen’s critics, yet they are angrier at her for a parody of them then they are at the actual images that inspired the satire. And why they are suddenly aroused to anger, is the most offensive of all. Her status as a white human being somehow means that she is unfit, or unallowed to poke fun at, or slam, through social commentary the denigration of black women? But if NAS wants to declare Gwenneth Paltrow “a real nigga” the twitter verse wont be calling for his head.
The real racist in this affair are in fact Allen’s critics, who cannot simply agree with the entirely valid points of a creative and socially responsible artist, because they don’t like the color of the person making the point.
We like the Allen video! We like the way she shows the elderly white male executives that drive the business that pays young blacks pennies on the millions of dollars in sales. We like that she shows that behind the cameras directing pops most sexual videos are often elderly men ordering beautiful black and white women to dump champagne on themselves and make their asses clap. We like that she shows that hip hops most denigrating images are not often the result of the creative expression of artists but rather of monetarily motivated geriatrics. We like the Allen Video! And we hope that it’s critics will reserve their fury for the industry that produces the images and not the satirist that lampoons them.
Here is what Lily Allen had to say about the accusations of her being racists.
“The video is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture,” she wrote. “It has nothing to do with race, at all.” She said that she tried for weeks to get her own twerk moves down but couldn’t get it right, and so hired the best dancers for the job; and that the reason she was more clothed was insecurity about her figure (reminding fans that she did have two children recently).
“I’m not going to apologise because I think that would imply that I’m guilty of something, but I promise you this, in no way do I feel superior to anyone, except paedophiles, rapists murderers etc., and I would not only be surprised but deeply saddened if I thought anyone came away from that video feeling taken advantage of, or compromised in any way,” she wrote, before concluding with an invitation to “Ask the ladies yourselves @shalaeuroasia @monique_Lawz @ceodancers @TempleArtist @SelizaShowtime @melycrisp.”
The latest trailer for Maleficent has been released. While it seems like most people are in love with the idea of casting Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, there has been some concern about the casting Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) who is played by Elle Fanning. What are your thoughts will you be heading out to see this film on May 30th? The dark, scary film will be told from Maleficent’s point of view an interesting side for Disney to take.
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Smartwatch is going to be this holiday seasons Most successful tech product. The iPad Air and new plastic iPhones won’t stand a chance. Apple’s latest versions of the IPAD and iPhone may sell more numerically, as a result of marketshare but this season’s envy inducing- must have tech toy, will be the Galaxy Gear. Samsung’s Galaxy watch was panned by most critics, who charged that it was useless, unforgivably ugly and sure to turn off female consumers. They jeered that no one would want to take awkward and grainy pictures with a camera, oddly positioned on their wrists. They seem baffled by the notion that anyone would want to take calls on an low volume speakerphone, also positioned oddly on their wrists.
Its worth noting that many of these tech geniuses panned the first iPad as a useless toy. The critics are all too fond of using the term D.O.A- dead on arrival when new products are introduced to the market. How do we know that they are wrong? Ask any normal consumer who has purchased the device. They love their new Samsung Watches! There is a chasm of taste between the tech critics and the consumers they pretend to write for. Much like the world of film and food critics, a superficial snobbery has infected the ranks of tech writers. They seem to turn their noses up at products that most of us would take great pleasure in utilizing, as if their propensity for being persnickety will be interpreted as discerning taste. The Samsung Galaxy watch is the unfortunate recipient of unwarranted slings and arrows and much like the iPad it will thrive when the critics declared its demise.
With this in mind, it occurs to the tech staff at Worthy Magazine, that Samsung’s daring watch won’t be experienced by the majority of consumers. Most of the writers in our office use iPhones and Apple is dragging it’s feet in the wearables race. The Galaxy watch must be used with one of Samsung’s flagship phones. If you don’t have a Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 2, S3 or S4 then you will have to miss out on the smart watch craze (using the Galaxy Gear). However, an admittedly terse consideration of the tech behind the Galaxy Gear leaves our office full of iphone users with an idea. The Galaxy Gear uses Bluetooth tech to act as a relay for data that is coming from the handset of your phone. Without a phone the watch is rendered impotent. The major processing takes place on the “phone” side and not within the watch itself. The watch is effectively just a portal for a limited range of data. This leaves us wondering why we need Apple or even Samsung to do this. A third party vendor could just as easily “Bluetooth” out this limited range of data. Just as third party vendors make headsets or earpieces, they could begin making “smart watches”. There is of course an issue of apps for the phones as most phonemakers are trending towards closed ecosystems. A level of cooperation with phone makers like apple may be required to avoid making issues of coding even more problematic but if Apple isn’t interested in making a smart watch or other smartphone vendors aren’t well positioned to break into this emerging market, a third party vendor could make a compelling device.
Our conclusion is simple. If Apple won’t then perhaps someone else will. This strategy doesn’t have to be limited to iPhones either. It should be even easier for would be third party smart watch makers to apply this strategy to the myriad of Android phones irrespective of their carriers.