Friday, September 30, 2005

Stuck in a Rut

Estimados Señores:
Working on some high-level marketing homework and at the point of desperation. I am fearing inadequacy in the worst way and I know that's the last thing that will help me to finish this thing. I've had about 6 cups of coffee today and it's wearing off...Another cup might just blow a fuse and that would not be good. I have to meet with a colleague tomorrow at noon to exchange and review each other's projects. I have a feeling mine will pale in comparison and I won't get an A on this portion....why the hell wasn't I this anal in undergrad???

P'al carajito me voy, me voy, me vooooyyy....
In other news, my other half just informed me that he will be applying to go to Kuwait to train Iraqi police officers for 6 MONTHS. Just freakin' peachy with créme fraiche. Coñazo del diablo con legiones de demonios...Of course nothing is set in stone, but do I really need this stress? I will have to keep myself VERY busy during that time to keep my mind off of oh I don't know, DESTITUTE SOLITUDE?
More random ramblings...feeling insecure about my writing. I guess I'm not producing the level of quality I used to since people who once read my blog faithfully don't anymore...but I suppose my focus has shifted and I really don't pay much attention to theirs so it works out in the end.
Found a suit for the interview on Wednesday. A grey wool Caslon (Nordstrom brand) pant suit-trouser leg which is currently being altered for perfection. Looking forward to getting this interview over and done with. I will, of course, study and rehearse until my eyes bleed.
As long as the hemorrhaging stops by 4pm on Wednesday I'll nail it.
I probably need to eat something right now, I think the malnutrition is going to my head, or not...OK. Done. Now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Quantitative Thinking for Dummies

As I come to the end of the 1st month as an MBA student, I am really starting to understand where I come up short and what I need to work on. I got an OK score on the GMAT- enough to get me into the school of my choice but nothing to brag about. The problem is I was highly skewed on my skill sets. Let's put it this way: on the verbal section I was in the 82nd percentile, on the quantitative I was in the 25th. Now, as I am tackling subjects such as Operations Management, the quantitative skills are sorely lacking and I am scrambling to figure out how to be a math whiz before the final in December. From a conceptual standpoint, math is not that difficult for me. The problem is I don't automatically think in quantitative terms, and it is a huge problem. I found a book online that people have raved about in the reviews, but it is backordered to late November. I need to be smart now. It is totally apparent to me that quantitative thinking is one of if not the most important skill in the business world, I just need to learn how to translate information into those terms.

My passion is marketing. Even though on the outside marketing looks like pretty colors, glossy magazine spreads, and catchy jingles, there are numbers behind each and every one of those components. Research is something I devour, but being able to solve business problems with an equal balance of soft and hard data is a little more challenging to me. I am going to do whatever I need to do to learn the skills I need including reading books outside the assigned class materials just so I can catch up.

I am competitive, but internally more than externally so. I didn't care or try as much as I should have in undergrad so I am making up for it now..... I hate to admit it, but I have a lot to prove to myself and the rest of the world. Will anyone really take that much notice when I accomplish these things? Probably not, but I will tell you that I heard some information yesterday that reminded me of my potential success. The President of U.S. Operations at my company started out in my position (Quasi-Peon). He is also an Italian-American, which if for nothing else makes me proud of my heritage and shows me that even we wops can make a (legitimately) decent life for ourselves.

As far as the job front goes, remember the project I was doing for the dream job I applied for in JUNE? Well, I finally got an interview and it's scheduled for next Wednesday. I will be swinging by Ann Taylor Loft this evening to purchase a new suit and Aldo to get some classy professional shoes. The recruiter said they loved my project, and I am only competing with ONE other candidate who just happens to external. Survey says: odds are in my favor as an internal candidate. Now hold on a minute there, I didn't say I had the interview dialed...but I do have the questions and I will be studying everything I can like a maniac until 4 pm next week. I've said it before and I'll say it again, success is right around the corner and it is going to taste like a cold Malta India on a hot summer day. Keep me in your prayers folks, I need all the love I can get!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Fulanito- ¡Presente!

I know I said I was going to post a picture of the Fulanito concert, and here it is! From left to right: Pickles, La Otra Ajena, Edwin, Me, Dose, and Jay "El Boricua" half-pictured. (That's the quality you get from a drunk Venezuelan photographer/security guard). Had a great time kickin' it backstage with the crew...not an everyday occurrence here on the Oregon Trail! Looking forward to getting them out here for a corporate event next year, we'll see! Well, at least I felt like a movie star for a few hours....let's hope for more of this in the future.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Because I'm a Marketing Nerd....


• “Between 2000 and 2001, half of all new consumers in America were Hispanic.” 1

• "Miami is quickly becoming the biggest offshore center for private banking and real estate. Historic low interest rates and perceived stock market instability have further pushed high net-worth South Americans, fleeing political strife, to put their money not just in Miami bank accounts, but increasingly in residential and commercial real estate..." 2

• “Dollars spent by advertisers in the Hispanic market may be more profitable than dollars spent in the general market…” 3

• The US Hispanic market is richer than any Spanish-speaking country in the world, with purchasing power of $580 billion. 4

• Hispanics are an attractive marketing audience because they tend to spend more of their disposable income on goods and services than non-Hispanics. 5

• For US Hispanics, advertising in Spanish is five times more persuasive than advertising in English. 6

• Hispanic household income has doubled during the past decade and US Hispanics consume more products per household than non-Hispanics. 7 Top categories include: automotive, telephone, cellular, food & beverage, personal care, and apparel. 8

• Hispanics read magazines at the same rate and for the same amount of time as non-Hispanics (between 66% and 68%). They are the group most likely to read print media. 9

• “Hispanic magazines in the U.S. are gaining ground. In 2003, advertising revenue surged by 23.7% and the number of ad pages increased 6.5%... according to Hispanic Magazine Monitor...” 10 far outpacing growth of general marketpublications. 11

• "The number of Hispanic households earning more than $100,000 a year grew 126 percent between 1991 and 2000,compared to 77 percent for the general American population.” 12

HISPANIC PURCHASING POWER1 Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA), “The Right Spend II”2 Charles Davis, Private Banker International, July 2002 US Hispanic Market3 USA Today4 The Selig Center, Terry College of Business, April 20025 Magnet White Paper “Marketing to the U.S. Hispanic Population, Part I: An Overview”6 Roslow Research Group, “Advertising Effectiveness Among Hispanics”7 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Division of Customer Expenditure Survey8 The Hispanic Consumer Market Report, DRI/McGraw-Hill9 Strategy Research Corporation, 2002 US Hispanic Market10 Hispanic Market Weekly, January 19, 200411 Media Economics Group12, “Affluent Hispanics” Jul 11, 2003
- Subha B arry, Multicultural and Diversified Business Development Group , Merrill Lynch

404 Washington Avenue, Suite 650 • Miami Beach, Florida 33139 • Tel: 305.532.2544 Fax: 305.531.2132

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Los Angeles' Hip-Hop Summit Tells Young Adults To 'Get Their Money Right'

Tuesday - September 20, 2005By: Jay Casteel

On Saturday (September 17), the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) held their Los Angeles Hip-Hop Summit, where they urged young adults to "Get Your Money Right," via a discussion with a celebrity panel -- the main topic being financial empowerment.Hosted by Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President/CEO of HSAN, the Los Angeles Hip-Hop Summit was free to the public and included the likes of Xzibit, the D.O.C., Jalissa of BET's "106 and Park" and Sheehan from "Def Poetry Jam" to help do away with poverty by educating young adults about managing their finances and the importance of maintaining their assets."We're not only trying to inspire some people today, but hopefully motivate some of our young brothers and sisters on the right financial path," Dr. Benjamin Chavis said to reporters at Saturday's Summit. "If we want to talk about ending poverty, to end poverty, you have to get your finances right, get your money right and get your mind right."A big supporter and title sponsor of the Hip-Hop Summit over the past month has been Chrysler Financial. For the first time, one of the world's leading financial institutions has partnered with the HSAN to help young people build a solid financial future. Russell Simmons, Chairman of HSAN and William F. Jones, Jr., Vice President of Chrysler Financial have pledged to work together to coordinate this national campaign under the theme "Get Your Money Right.""We're Chrysler Financial and when you talk about the theme of Financial Empowerment that's what we're all about," Chrysler Financial Vice President's William F. Jones, Jr. told"We want to help people realize their dreams. And it’s so important for young people to understand the importance of starting out right, keeping their money right and taking care of business. That's what's gonna help them realize their dreams down the road."The Los Angeles Hip-Hop Summit was the seventh and final Summit of the tour, and is part of an unprecedented national campaign to raise awareness among millions of young adults 18-35 about the importance of financial literacy.Before any of the celebrity panel could talk about the topic at hand, up-and-coming R&B group, One, performed acapella before an LA crowd, after which, Dr. Chavis took stage to begin the program's agenda: financial literacy, basic banking, repairing and understanding credit scores, asset and wealth management, auto financing, home ownership and entrepreneurship."Money is easy to get, but it's harder to keep," Xzibit said before those in attendance at Los Angeles' Wiltern Theater. "It's important to get your economics right because we live in a society that thrives on the money that we make and the taxes that we pay. So, if you can't take care of yourself financially, you can't take care of nobody around you. That's how important it is for your very life to have your money right. Everything that we do revolves around dollars and cents. So, if you don't have that correct, you won't be able to survive in this society."Others such as the D.O.C. and Dro (Russell Simmons' first artist under his Russell Simmons Music Group label) spoke about their own life experiences and how it related to being in control of your financial status.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Una Musulmana Gana el Concurso de Miss Inglaterra

En el mundo de la ironía, Hammasa Kohistani, una musulmana nacida en Uzbekistán, de apenas 18 años y participante como Miss Maya, fue la ganadora del concurso de belleza en el Reino Unido, obteniendo la corona de Miss Inglaterra sobre otras 39 oponentes.
Kohistani, cuya familia vivió en Afganistán tras ser desplazados por la guerra, es la primer chica musulmana en ostentar el máximo título de belleza en Inglaterra. Hammasa Kohistani participará en el Miss Mundo en el mes de Diciembre, concurso que se realizará en China.

Moraleja: La belleza no sabe de religión
En el concurso de belleza que se llevó a cabo en el Teatro Olimpia de Londres, cuatro de las cinco finalistas eran musulmanas. Incluso, en días previos al evento se mencionó a Miss Nottingham, Sarah Mendley, como una de las favoritas a la corona, sin embargo, la actual reina resultó superior."Estoy haciendo historia y estoy contenta por eso. Espero no ser la última", fueron las primeras palabras de Hammasa Kohistani externando el orgullo de su origen musulman frente a la prensa inglesa.Vestida en un traje de noche de seda color marfil, vestido que diseñó su madre, Hammasa Kohistani de 18 años externó su alegría de haber ganado la corona."Cuando anunciaron que había ganado, no escuché bien. Pensé que no era yo y me tomó un segundo sincronizarme", dijo la también modelo.La morena que habla seis idiomas, incluyendo Ruso, Persa y Francés, ya ha recibido ofertas para aparecer en una película del llamado "Bollywood". Entre las participantes que derrotó Kohistani, se encontraba otra participante musulmana, Sarah Mendley, 23, quien era la representante de Nottingham. Miss Mendly de origen iraquí, fue señalada como favorita para ganar el Miss Inglaterra, pero también fue criticada por un instituto islámico de Liverpool, mismo que pidió que abandonara el concurso debido a que las participantes portaban vestidos escandalosos.Ahora, la ganadora Hammasa Kohistani deberá prepararse para el siguiente concurso de belleza Miss Mundo, a celebrarse en diciembre en China.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Signs of Intelligent Life Might Exist on the Anti-Bush Front

I caught this article today on , it is one of the first anti-Bush articles I can truly relate to. I was a little miffed about the "You're doing a great job Brownie" remark as well. I understand that it was not solely a state or federal problem, but to tell FEMA they were any more than steaming piles of bureaucratic horse sh**, is horrific at best.

September 12, 2005
By Simon Dumenco

The last couple of weeks we’ve been learning some truly awful, unbearable lessons. But one of the lessons has been perversely prosaic: PR only goes so far. Not only have we been parsing anew the limits of public relations, but the limits of people who have become perilously, mindlessly dependent on PR in place of action. Their leadership limits, their moral limits.
When George Bush made his first, belated stop in New Orleans, touching down at the city’s airport, he actually viewed his visit as an appropriate occasion for a little light comedy. Here’s the official White House transcript: “I believe that the great city of New Orleans will rise again and be a greater city of New Orleans. (Applause.) I believe the town where I used to come, from Houston, Texas, to enjoy myself -- occasionally too much (Laughter.) -- will be that very same town, that it will be a better place to come to. That’s what I believe. I believe the great state of Louisiana will get its feet back and become a vital contributor to the country.”
It was, of course, just the latest highlight in his career as chief marketing officer for the Rove/Cheney/Rumsfeld neo-con agenda. It’s a job that entails always sticking to a breezy, upbeat storyline.
It’s no surprise that Bush took this PR-trumps-action tack for Katrina. For much of his five years in office, he’s seen that putting a faux-cheerful, faux-hopeful spin on even the worst calamities (see also: the war in Iraq) meant that a cheerful, hopeful spin would automatically float to the top of the memepool, at least momentarily. If he kept repeating these faux-cheerful, faux-hopeful things ad nauseum, he’d have a great shot of at least partially obscuring all the actual rotting nastiness lurking below the surface.
Of course, the problem post-Katrina is that, unlike Iraq -- where journalists are no longer in the thick of things (with most abandoning the idea of embedded reporting) -- New Orleans had real journalists showing us the reality behind the rhetoric. And enough of them were sufficiently appalled at the government inaction that they basically ended up begging the feds, on the air, to come to the rescue. (Of course, that didn’t stop FEMA from issuing an absurd directive last week that journalists avoid showing dead bodies during the recovery process. Anybody who’d seen Oprah Winfrey’s Sept. 6 show, which offered devastating close-ups of victims’ bodies being left to rot, will feel outrage at the agency’s hapless, belated attempt at covering up just how murderous its glacial response was.)
On the very day the levees were about to give way in New Orleans, the buzz in medialand was about a Miami Herald article linked on Jim Romenesko’s media site. Romenesko summed it up thusly: “Is journalism in danger of losing its young idealists to PR? Edward Wasserman says young people want to do something ‘active’ -- to make things happen instead of reacting to events the way they do in newsrooms. ‘Students come back from summer PR internships with exciting tales of scanning the next day’s papers for stories they helped bring about,’ he wrote."
That’s where our heads have been in this country, and that’s where the president’s head is: PR is considered action, while actual action is an afterthought. Which is why Bush was able to publicly say to FEMA Director Michael Brown, with a straight face, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” Whereas Bush & Co. have mostly been able to explain away troop shortages and strategic errors in Iraq (by simply denying shortages and errors), the troop shortages in New Orleans -- and the calamitous lack of federal strategy and response -- could not be dismissed by the president’s cheerful quips.
Still, all he knew to do was keep up the PR talk, as if leadership were made up solely of spin as opposed to, say, actually leading. And so he continued with the PR-ification of life post-Katrina, uttering this gem from Mobile, Ala.: “Out of the rubbles (sic) of Trent Lott’s house -- he’s lost his entire house -- there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.”
Sure, as Nicholas D. Kristof noted in The New York Times, the deeper scandals are New Orleans’ grinding poverty, and the fact that nationally “the number of poor people has now risen 17% under Mr. Bush,” after having declined sharply under Clinton Administration.
But from the Bush P.O.V., there’s a simple solution for that hateful reality: Sell ‘em something else. Here’s the pitch: close your eyes and imagine Lott, in an SUV, driving to the nearest Home Depot to pick up some TimberTech all-weather composite decking. It’ll be grey. With white railings. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t you, too, like to sit on a porch like that?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

¡Dame el Pollito!

So I put my husband on a plane bound for the Dominican Republic this morning.... the eagle has landed. Now, as much as I adore and cherish my finer half, I must say I am looking forward to a little R&R around the house. I came home and immediately threw 7 pieces of chicken coated with Adobo Goya (con pimienta) to sauteé in extra virgin olive oil for about 5-10 minutes on high heat. I then added sweet onions (cut the whole onion in half then start slicing from the right side so you get something that looks like crescent moons), crushed garlic cloves, and black pepper. I let that sizzle for a few minutes then I add fresh diced tomatoes, 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes (no extra spices included) fresh minced cilantro, white vinegar, ginger powder, and a splash of white wine. To that I added 2 packets of Sazón Goya (con culantro y achiote) and let it boil boisterously for about 10 minutes. I then turn down the heat to simmer and cook the chicken until the meat is almost falling off the bone. I will serve it with yellow rice and a cabbage salad, estilo Dominicano. If I had platanos I would cook those as well, prefiero los maduros quemaditos... (Take that any way you want)
I will leave you with that for now, but know that this evening I will be living like a movie star...yes folks, I will be kickin' it with one of the biggest names in Latin hip-hop/merengue right now...Fulanito. I'll be reporting back tomorrow with pictures, stories, and mucho fanaticismo....(don't ask me if that's a real word, you got the vibe I'm puttin' down, ¿no?)
Ciao for now mis queridos, I will keep you updated on the mayhem I get into this weekend...

Friday, September 9, 2005

A Democrat With Class...

"When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world."
-Barack Obama, 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address

Notice he says win the war. Not pull out because of protesters, not cater to the whim of every conspiracy theorist who fancies him/herself a film maker, not pull out because France doesn't like us anymore (oh right, they never did). He also said secure the peace. Now, this doesn't sound like a hot-aired windbag to me. It sounds like he actually understands that a.) war is sometimes necessary and b.) when in war, a country needn't be cuddlycozysnugglebunnies with the enemy so they won't "hate us". Respect does not necessarily come from doing things the way others want you to. Respect comes with consistency, demonstrated respect, and showing you know right from wrong.

Think of the hardest teacher/professor you ever had. Now think about all the rotten things you said about him/her. Think about all the times you cursed and cried because it was just "too hard". Fast forward to today. What lessons did you learn from that person? Do you appreciate the work ethic you earned in that class? How about the pride you felt if your hard work paid off and you actually got a good grade? Well that's war folks. It's not easy, it's not glamorous, and it sure as hell seems like the worst thing we could ever do as a country, but a few million people around the world have been liberated, slavery has been abolished, and fascist dictators have been dethroned as a result.

I am not implying that every war is justified. I am not saying that innocent people don't die. You might say "well if one innocent person dies, that's too many". So they can die at the hands of a megalomaniac, but if they die because their OWN people put them in harm's way and they make it look like we, with plasma-dripping fangs went in and annihilated thousands of civilians as an act of genocide, it's ok? I don't think Saddam Hussein is the only dangerous leader in the world. I do think that the people who use that as a reason to get out of Iraq (if we can't end world injustice simultaneously, then why bother?) would cry bloody massacre if we put the termination of every crazed world leader on our agenda.

I want us to win the war and bring our men and women back just as much as the next red-blooded American, but I do not believe we should pull out without finishing what was started. We need to be honest with ourselves about why we're there, and truly find a way to reach the common goal which is to get in, get out, and bring our people home.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

I Only Roll With the Best!

Not to toot our curvacious horns...but we are a fabulous lot! :)

Aquí Estoy con mi Mafia Cubana

Posin' in the Beer Garden of Salsa en la Calle '05 Portland, OR. Yes, we have a Latino community here, and those brothas are CUBAN. Para que lo sepan....

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Fruitless Efforts

I have been back and forth all this week and last week with different political ranters, activists, citizens, near defectors, Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarians, and the like. I have given myself an ulcer everytime I open up a blog truly wanting to find some tangible, rational, analytical posts. I have found a few, but the ones with absolutely nothing but a bunch of hysterical hot air have really gotten under my skin. I have tried to expose erred logic, blatant propaganda, resistance to change, and ignorance of information. In every case, the hysteria became more chaotic and someone even said "Bush wanted people to die"...and they were serious. I am not sure where all this mania is coming from, even though I know what they would say. I don't think our President is perfect, I don't think he has done everything right, but the demonization of George Bush by not only the radical Left but moderates as well has become absolutely intolerable. I have realized that it is like unleashing a stampede of banshees to suggest support for our President. I realized that people who have an irreconcilable agenda in mind will stop at nothing-including lying to prove their point. Will I vote Republican in the next election? Not sure. Why? Because I have no idea who is going to run. For all the people who thought I "blindly" voted for Bush, here's a clue: I had never voted for the president before because I had never wanted someone to win as badly as I did in 2004. I have never openly supported a presidential candidate in my life, but after seeing Bush's simple, yet sincere efforts to lead our country, he made an ally with me. Now I know I will receive hell in a handbasket for suggesting he doesn't eat his young, but what I have come to realize is I don't care. We will never agree, and I honestly can't wait until this term is over so they will shut the HELL up. I have never wanted to silence people as much as I do now. These are people who claim to want "peace" in the world, but their utter HATRED for one man, their propensity to blame him no matter what he does is totally repugnant. I can't change them, though. I truly hope that the hatred they hold in their hearts is healed by a spiritual intervention but I know that even if Bush was tortured, raped, thrown into a pit of piranhas and skinned alive, they would still not be satisfied. If he cured world hunger, freed all political prisoners, saved the whales, sewed up the ozone, donated a lung to a child in need, he would still be seen as a demoniac with a trumped-up self interest. I'm tired, I'm done, and I am losing respect for their lack of intellectual discourse.

Joe Sets the Record Straight

I know I said I wasn't going to post anything about Hurrican Katrina anymore, but for those of you who are tired of the federal blame game we are playing on the news, please see below.
***You should also check out Joke's rebuttal to those who believe this storm was sent by Bush and his Klan of henchmen.

September 2, 2005 4:26 p.m. ET
A national disgrace (Joe Scarborough)
BILOXI, Mississippi — New Orleans is the city that America has seemingly forgotten and its politicians have let down in its greatest hour of need. And here in Biloxi, a place where, when we traveled around, we couldn't find enough federal agents, enough state agents, enough emergency personnel around to even begin to take care of those young children and elderly adults that are still without food, still without water, still without the most basic of necessities. I have got to tell you, I have been involved in a lot of hurricane relief before, and what I have been seeing these past few days is nothing short of a national disgrace. Those storms started hitting on Sunday, and yet, four full days later, still, we just aren't seeing emergency relief agents on the ground, in the neighborhoods that have been affected the most. There's video that we have been taking all throughout the day of people that simply aren't getting water. They are not getting food. They are not getting the basic necessities. It's a disgrace here. But if you think it's a disgrace here, the situation in New Orleans is beyond description. The Associated Press reported yesterday, “storm victims raped and beaten inside the convention center; 88 officers also beaten back by angry mobs.”The scene in New Orleans keeps getting more apocalyptic by the day, and many Americans on both political sides of the American scene are wondering where Washington politicians and where Louisiana politicians are. As we have said before, the Senate has approved a $10.5 billion relief bill for this devastated area. It's time for that aid to get down here. Also, the House is about to convene, and I am sure they will pass it unanimously. The president will sign it. And, hopefully, that money in Washington, D.C., 1,500 miles away, will make its way down here. As a former Congressman, I understand how difficult some of these situations are. But don't you believe in the coming days that this storm caught people by surprise. We knew in Pensacola, Florida, that this was going to be a killer storm. It was going to be a Category 4. We were saying on Friday, it would be a historic storm. So, any politician in Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi that tells you they were surprised, they don't deserve your trust or your vote next time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

¡Déjate el Abuso Peluso!

¡Buen Día a Todos!
Hope you all had a relaxing Labor Day. This will be my last entry regarding Hurricane Katrina for awhile. As most of you, I have been obsessing about what's going on down there, and instead of talking about it I am just going to continue to DO what I can to help. When the smoke has cleared, we can start talking about politics. To be honest, I am tired of talking and tired of people's lack of respect and class. However, one person (a celebrity even) who has impressed me is Miss Macy Gray. She has displayed grace, class, humanity, and the common sense to look beyond whatever she is feeling right now and got to work for the people. Let's give this woman her props everyone; she is a shining beacon among a lot of darkness right now.

Singer Macy Gray Volunteers at Astrodome

The Associated Press© 2005

It wasn't for a concert. R&B singer Macy Gray came to town specifically to help refugees from the flooding in New Orleans.

"I just really wanted to help out," Gray said after spending Saturday handing out clothes and toiletries in the Astrodome. "I think the most important thing to them is their futures. They are here, and they have gotten out of that disaster but it is, like, now what? Because they can't live like that forever."

About 18,500 survivors were housed in the Astrodome and an adjacent meeting hall. More than 120,000 refugees were in 97 shelters in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and dozens of smaller cities across the vast state, Gov. Rick Perry's office said, with another 100,000 in hotels and motels. Uncounted more were in churches or private homes.

"It is crazy when you don't know what is going to happen to you the next day and suddenly that is what their lives are like," Gray said of the refugees.

The Grammy winner said she was able to lift the refugees' spirits and many were excited to see her.

"It is very humbling, but I loved every second of it," Gray said. "It was really gratifying and I had a great time."

With more than 220,000 hurricane refugees camped out in Texas and more coming, Perry warned Saturday that his enormous state was running out of room.

"Texas is committed to doing everything it can to help our neighbors from Louisiana, but we want to make certain that we can provide them with the medical care, food, shelter, safety, education and other services they need to start getting their lives back together," Perry said in a statement. "Local officials are beginning to notify us that they are quickly approaching capacity in the number of evacuees they believe they can assist."

Buses continued to arrive at the Astrodome, where many were redirected to other evacuation centers after people were processed and evaluated for medical conditions. (AP)

Friday, September 2, 2005

New Orleans Hip Hop Community Pulls Together

They're the type of brothas you see on BET spittin' lyrics through platinum-trenched mouths surrounded by bikini-clad bunnies shakin' their goods to a Dirty South twang. To many young people they seems untouchable, stellar even... but Master P. and Juvenile have been affected by Hurricane Katrina and are pulling together to help out their community. They have both lost their homes, and Master P. has not heard from his father or his sister-in-law. He has organized a relief effort called Team Rescue One. If you would like to make a donation to this fund to help the New Orleans community through one of their own, please call 888.886.7377

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Stop the Nonsense: Get on Your Knees

So like most of you, I have been reading coverage of the Hurricane Katrina distaster in Louisiana and Mississippi this week and I don't have words for the heartbreak and desperation I see through my far-from-the-anguish-eyes.

I have seen the biased coverage comparing the "looting" (black folks) and the "finding" (white folks) of food and other goods, I have heard everything from "it wouldn't have been this disastrous if Bush would have ________ blah, blah, blah....

People, when are we going to sit down and shut up for a minute? When are we going to realize that at a time like this the only thing that will have a serious impact is our prayers? Yes, send money to charities, take in your homeless family members and friends, volunteer if you can, but even if you do all those things, take time out to pray.

God sent the rain, and God will dry it up, but all our hot air won't do a thing.

Take time, in silence, to get on your knees and pray. Forgive our brothers and sisters for their acts of desperation (right, wrong, and indifferent) and instead ask God to provide for them and keep them safe.

I've said too much already, God bless our people in need.