Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Won't You Marry Me Bill, I've Got The Wedding Bell Blues

I can't even believe this quote is from 2004 but I guess it makes sense. I think about this all the time and to me it makes perfect sense. It reminds me of one of my previous tweets about the sheer amount of racism still lingering in this country. From Bill Clinton's speech inaugurating the new "Dole Center for Politics". It amazes me that this link is still up in 2011. But it is.
Now, I will leave you with one last statistic to put in your little box. My last year in the White House, Hillary sponsored a lot of these what we call "Millennium Evenings". We'd bring in people to talk about big questions. One night, Vinton Cerf, who sent the first e-mail to his profoundly deaf wife, now 22 years ago, and Eric Ladner, a biologist and genome expert from Harvard, came to talk about how the digital chip made possible the sequencing of the human genome. Forget about that. You know the most interesting thing that he said? Genetically, all human beings are more than 99.9% identical and the genetic differences among individuals within a given racial group are larger than the genetic differences of one group as compared to another. Now, next time you start to feel like you really need to demonize somebody, think about that. Biggest laugh I ever got at the State of the Union Address was telling the Republicans and the Democrats whether they liked it or not, they were 99.9% the same. There had been a lot of blood spread over that one-tenth of one percent, and all you really have to do is figure out how to free yourself to live by the other 99.9%. Thank you very much.

Oh! (HMC) The Places You'll Go!

So this entry is going to be a total mish-mash of random things that needed to be posted.

I love my parents and am so lucky that I have the amazing family that I have. The other day I forwarded a video that came from the chorus to a bunch of people in my circle of peeps.

So today I got a response from my mom and it just made me smile and almost had me in tears.
They express far more eloquently than I can exactly what Dad and I experienced at all of the concerts that we've attended. Heart-warming, soul searching, hauntingly beautiful music and messages. Looking forward to being part of it again.

So awesome. Again, it's hard for me to express how lucky I am to have such supportive parents and family.

So while I'm on the chorus kick I need to include this amazing announcement that I'm not sure that I wrote about or not previously. I know I said something about us performing at the new kauffman center but not this:

We are very excited to announce that HMC has been invited to perform for the Grand Opening Open House at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, September 18. We will sing at 3:40 pm in the beautiful and acoustically perfect Helzberg Hall. The open house is free to the public from noon to 5 pm. Come join us!

So amazing! I don't know if it really can be overstated how astounding this is. To be on the stage of this gorgeous new hall and to be featured as one of the groups during the grand opening is seriously something that I'll never forget. This is a really big deal people. A really big deal. To give you an idea of the new hall and the new acoustics here's a video of the Kansas City Symphony at the first rehearsal ever in the new hall. What a moment this must have been and I'm glad someone took the time and documented it for history.

So I know I did post about this next announcement on my blog but it's still pretty cool. Essentially it's that Dan Savage, founder of the "It Gets Better" project, will be joining us this spring to narrate our concert "When I Knew." So this whole concert is based on the stories from this book called "When I Knew". Google Books has this description:
When I Knew is a collection of smart, hilarious, and often poignant stories about that revelation for all gay men and women: when they first knew. In this gorgeously illustrated, cleverly designed, and colorful book, acclaimed fashion and celeb-rity photographer Robert Trachtenberg brings humor and style to the EUREKA! moments of more than eighty contributors, including B. D. Wong, Arthur Laurents, Simon Doonan, Stephen Fry, Marc Shaiman, Michael Musto, and more. Also mixed in are tales about when parents knew and when everyone else knew, as well as laugh-out-loud coming-out stories.

Readers will fall in love with these anecdotes, from the seven-year-old who looked under the television set to sneak a peek under Tarzan's loincloth, to the inquisitive grandmother who asked her grandson, "You don't like a girl to get married? You prefer a boy?", to the courageous field trip participant who passed up the universal favorite burger-and-fry combo in favor of the fruit plate with cottage cheese.

Filled with original art by New Yorker illustrator Tom Bachtell, historical images, and personal photographs from the contributors, When I Knew is a vibrant and witty celebration of that sometimes glorious, sometimes painful, but always captivating moment when everything suddenly makes sense.

It's almost too much to take in one sitting. Rehearsals start next week, and then we're off to the new stunning Kauffman Center for the Grand Opening, the holiday concert in December. Then the "When I Knew" concert and oh ya did I tell you that next year we're taking HMC on the road to Denver for the annual GALA Conference?

Mayor Sly James' son accused of punching a woman in the face at The Point bar

Ok, am I the only who thinks that he's sorta cute? in a I met you in jail sort of way? C'mon I know you thought of it too

[from the pitch]

Posted by Justin Kendall on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 8:03 AM

Kyle James: Problem child?
About a month after acting like a spoiled and privileged rich kid during a run in with police in the Power & Light District, Mayor Sly James' son Kyle is now accused of punching a woman in the face during a melee at The Point bar.
Fox 4 reported last night that the mayor's 23-year-old son is accused of hitting a 22-year-old woman from Lee's Summit during a fight at the bar. In an interview with the TV station, the woman claimed that a friend of the mayor's son told her Kyle James punched her. That friend was an unnamed member of the Kansas City Chiefs, according to the woman.

The woman also picked James out of a photo lineup for police.

KMBC reported that Kyle James turned himself in to police last night. He was bailed out a short time later.

No word yet from the mayor on his son's latest alleged issues. UPDATE: Here's the statement from Mayor Sly James' spokesman, Danny Rotert: "To ensure that both Kyle and his accuser get a fair day in municipal court, the Mayor will not have any comments on the matter now pending. Thank you for your understanding in what is a difficult time for all involved."

In the Power & Light incident, James was accused of refusing to pay for food that he ordered from Fran's Restaurant. He also threatened the job of a cop who handcuffed him and repeatedly asked the officer if he "knew who he was." There's a whole lot more to the incident, including Kyle James allegedly picking a fight with three men outside of the restaurant, telling them that he'd "fuck them like that sweet sixth-grade pussy on the playground."

Kyle James made a public apology after the Power & Light incident.

“This is not the first time I have apologized for what I have done and quite possibly it won’t be the last," Kyle James said in a statement (via the Star).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dr. King Weeps From His Grave

Absolutely brilliant. From Dr. Cornell West ala the NYT
Princeton, N.J.

THE Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was to be dedicated on the National Mall on Sunday — exactly 56 years after the murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi and 48 years after the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (Because of Hurricane Irene, the ceremony has been postponed.)

These events constitute major milestones in the turbulent history of race and democracy in America, and the undeniable success of the civil rights movement — culminating in the election of Barack Obama in 2008 — warrants our attention and elation. Yet the prophetic words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel still haunt us: “The whole future of America depends on the impact and influence of Dr. King.”

Rabbi Heschel spoke those words during the last years of King’s life, when 72 percent of whites and 55 percent of blacks disapproved of King’s opposition to the Vietnam War and his efforts to eradicate poverty in America. King’s dream of a more democratic America had become, in his words, “a nightmare,” owing to the persistence of “racism, poverty, militarism and materialism.” He called America a “sick society.” On the Sunday after his assassination, in 1968, he was to have preached a sermon titled “Why America May Go to Hell.”

King did not think that America ought to go to hell, but rather that it might go to hell owing to its economic injustice, cultural decay and political paralysis. He was not an American Gibbon, chronicling the decline and fall of the American empire, but a courageous and visionary Christian blues man, fighting with style and love in the face of the four catastrophes he identified.

Militarism is an imperial catastrophe that has produced a military-industrial complex and national security state and warped the country’s priorities and stature (as with the immoral drones, dropping bombs on innocent civilians). Materialism is a spiritual catastrophe, promoted by a corporate media multiplex and a culture industry that have hardened the hearts of hard-core consumers and coarsened the consciences of would-be citizens. Clever gimmicks of mass distraction yield a cheap soulcraft of addicted and self-medicated narcissists.

Racism is a moral catastrophe, most graphically seen in the prison industrial complex and targeted police surveillance in black and brown ghettos rendered invisible in public discourse. Arbitrary uses of the law — in the name of the “war” on drugs — have produced, in the legal scholar Michelle Alexander’s apt phrase, a new Jim Crow of mass incarceration. And poverty is an economic catastrophe, inseparable from the power of greedy oligarchs and avaricious plutocrats indifferent to the misery of poor children, elderly citizens and working people.

The age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy. Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable.

As the talk show host Tavis Smiley and I have said in our national tour against poverty, the recent budget deal is only the latest phase of a 30-year, top-down, one-sided war against the poor and working people in the name of a morally bankrupt policy of deregulating markets, lowering taxes and cutting spending for those already socially neglected and economically abandoned. Our two main political parties, each beholden to big money, offer merely alternative versions of oligarchic rule.

The absence of a King-worthy narrative to reinvigorate poor and working people has enabled right-wing populists to seize the moment with credible claims about government corruption and ridiculous claims about tax cuts’ stimulating growth. This right-wing threat is a catastrophic response to King’s four catastrophes; its agenda would lead to hellish conditions for most Americans.

King weeps from his grave. He never confused substance with symbolism. He never conflated a flesh and blood sacrifice with a stone and mortar edifice. We rightly celebrate his substance and sacrifice because he loved us all so deeply. Let us not remain satisfied with symbolism because we too often fear the challenge he embraced. Our greatest writer, Herman Melville, who spent his life in love with America even as he was our most fierce critic of the myth of American exceptionalism, noted, “Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges; hence the conclusion of such a narration is apt to be less finished than an architectural finial.”

King’s response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a re-evaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.

In concrete terms, this means support for progressive politicians like Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Mark Ridley-Thomas, a Los Angeles County supervisor; extensive community and media organizing; civil disobedience; and life and death confrontations with the powers that be. Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready for the next great democratic battle.

Cornel West, a philosopher, is a professor at Princeton.

How Many Innocents Have To Die Before We Get Honest About The Death Penalty? | Crooks and Liars

Can I get a hallelujer? From Crooks and Liars:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

We've written about how death penalty-happy Rick Perry is. But bless him, guest host Ron Reagan really narrowed down the question that we must address if we want to be honest about having a death penalty:

How many innocent people is it permissible to kill in order to exact vengeance on the guilty?

There's no easy answer for that if you're still advocating for the death penalty.

Personally, I'm against the death penalty. I've participated in protests and vigils against it. It horrifies me that we're one of the only Western nations still acting so barbarically. But besides that, the death penalty has inherent flaws:

[The application of the death penalty is often] racist, unfair to poor and the mentally retarded, and often ends in the state sanctioned murder of innocents.

Less than 1% of all murderers are condemned to death

2% of death row inmates are actually executed

Over 113 people on death row have been exonerated since 1973

68% of the death penalty convictions between 1973 - 1995 were reversed

Today more than 75 death row inmates have spent 20 years on the Row.

Capital punishment is applied to a higher percentage of minorities than whites.

It is not cost effective: Capital murder trials threaten to bankrupt townships costing taxpayers:

$2 million in legal fees to try a death penalty case, nearly 4 times higher than comparable murder trials.

The automatic appeal process costs up to $700,000 in legal fees.

$1.2 million in execution costs.

1973 -1998, Florida spent $57 million on 18 executions.

It is does not deter crime: The European Union (EU) is opposed to the death penalty in all cases and is "deeply concerned about the increasing number of executions in the United States of America (USA), all the more since the great majority of executions since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 have been carried out in the 1990s. Furthermore, in the US, young offenders who are under 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime may be sentenced to death and executed, in clear infringement of internationally recognized human rights norms." Russia and Turkey have abolished the death penalty which is condemned by the European Union and the World Court, which claimed that the U.S. violated the rights of 51 Mexicans on death rows in eight states. Despite a U.S. Supreme Court ban, Texas has continued to send mentally retarded criminals to death row. Will a Mexican immigrant's case correct this injustice? The two states with the most executions in 2003, Texas 24, and Oklahoma 14, saw increases in their murder rates from 2002 to 2003. Both states had murder rates above the national average in 2003: Texas - 6.4, and Oklahoma - 5.9. The top 13 states in terms of murder rates were all death penalty states. The murder rate of the death penalty states increased from 2002, while the rate in non-death penalty states decreased.Death Penalty Information Center

So it's ineffective as a deterrent, applied inequitably, unfairly focusing on the poor, mentally challenged and minorities, costs more than life in prison and we're basically applying the same punishment that countries we hold up as barbaric do?

What exactly is the benefit of the death penalty except for Rick Perry's bloodlust?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane IRENE Graphics

Hurricane IRENE Graphics:
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5-Day Uncertainty Track last updated Sat, 27 Aug 2011 02:58:00 GMT

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Maya Angelou's Abundant Hope

from the White House

The Martin Luther King Memorial was scheduled to be dedicated on August 28, exactly 48 years after Dr.King's historic March on Washington. The event on the National Mall has been postponed because of Hurricane Irene, but many of the of the celebrations are going on as planned, including today's Women Who Dare to Dream luncheon, which honored the women of the Civil Rights movement whose legacy of strength and dignity continues to inspire hope. Dr Maya Angelou shared this poem she had written for Sunday's dedication at the luncheon, where guests also paid special tribute to Coretta Scott King.

Reverend Martin Luther King

The great soul
Flew from the Creator
Bearing manna of hope
For his country
Starving severely from an absence of compassion.

Martin Luther King

The Great Spirit,
Came from the Creator
Proffering a sparkling fountain of fair play
To his country
Parched and deformed by hate.

The whole man came forth
With a brain of gentle wisdom
To persuade quiet
Upon the loud misery of the mob.

A whole man stood out
With a mellifluous voice
To bind the joints of cruelty.

A whole man came
In the midst of a murderous nightmare
Surrounded by demons of war
He dared to dream peace and serenity

With a heart of faith
He hoped
To resurrect his nation.

I open my mouth to the Lord,
And I won’t turn back.

Martin Luther King

Faced the racial
Mountain of segregation and
And bade it move.

The giant mound of human ignorance
Centuries old
And rigid in its determination
Did move, however slightly, however infinitesimally,
It did move.

I will go, I shall go
I’ll see what the end will be.

Martin Luther King

Brought winds of healing
To his country
Reeling unsteady
With the illness
Of racial prejudice,
Screams of vulgarity
Could not silence him.

Fire bombs and dogs
Could not take his voice away

Ona my knees,
I told God how you treated me
Ona my knees.

He knew himself
A child of God
On a mission from God, and
Standing in the hand of God.
He spoke to the hideous hearts
And to the bitter monstrosities
And asked them to transform
Their ways and thereby
Liberate his country.

Representing the grace of heaven
He spoke to the evils of Hell
Representing gentleness
He sang to brutes.

He brought the great songs of faith
Persuading men and women
To think beyond
Their baser nature.

Lord, don’t move your mountain,
Just give me strength to climb it.

He hummed the old gospels
Encouraging the folk to act
Beyond their puny selves.

You don’t have to move
That stumbling block,
Lord, just lead me around it.

Leader to those who would be led
And hero to millions.

Martin Luther King

Was father to
Martin, III,
Dexter, and,

He was lover
Friend, and
Coretta Scott King.

He spoke respectfully
Of the Torah.
He spoke respectfully
Of the Koran.

In India, walked in the footprints
Of Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi.

Christianity made him patient
With all religions
And his tremendous heart
Made him believe
That all people
Were his people

All creeds and cultures
Were comfortable in
His giant embrace
And all just causes
Were his to support and extol
Through sermons and allocutions
With praise songs and orations

He preached fair play and serenity
From hand cuffs and prison garb
From leg irons and prison bars

He taught triumph over loss
And love over despair
Hallelujah over the dirges and
Joy over moaning.

Fear not, we’ve come too far to turn back
We are not afraid, and

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
Deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome

© 2011 by Maya Angelou

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

OhTheBill Interviews Bukeka Shoals

This says 2006 but more specific dates cant be recovered

OhTheBill Interviews Bukeka Newby Shoals

Bukeka Newby Shoals is a pioneer, songwriter, singer, producer, and co-partner of CVE Network whose mission statement is: "Providing motivating presentations in music performance, professional development training, and educational curriculum which maximizes human potential and unifies the human spirit." I have had the great fortune of knowing Bukeka and developing a friendship with her through the years. I find that she is one of the most caring, compassionate, and loving human beings I have ever met. She honestly and truly reminds me of a manifestation of a Goddess. Her music is inspirational, her speaking engagements are provacative and inspiring. Working with her partner Jerome Johnson, her aim is to "motivate and inspire through spoken word and music and elevate the consciousness of the world" and that's exactly what she does. She fullfills her vision statement every single day by just being a wonderful inspriation to all those who come in contact with her. I had the opportunity to interview her and I am tremendously grateful to her for allowing me to interview her, and I hope you are as inspired as I am by her.

OhTheBill: First of all, thank you for doing this and letting me interview you.

Bukeka Newby Shoals: Of course!

OTB: Let’s start out really easy; tell me a little about where you were born?

BNS: Okay, I was born in Pontiac Michigan in 1962, and Pontiac is about 30 miles northwest of Detroit, and the timeframe in which I came into the world as far as that particular region and city and location was you know, very, interesting, because of all the car-makers. You know, every plant, every type of car, was American Motors, and General Motors, and Ford Motors, and there was Ford Truck and Bus, and you know, you didn’t you didn’t have anyone, or I guess, you always knew someone who was working at the plant, there was always someone associated with the plant like all big industries. It was also the early 60’s, and there was, and particularly in Michigan, being the size of the city and the scope of the city and the number of blacks in the city and everything, you know there was the Detroit riots, and all that, so it was very volatile, very volatile. But Pontiac itself is kind of a working-class town, it seats in Oakland County which is a rather prosperous County, but Pontiac itself was not reflective of that, it’s kind of like Merriam in Johnson County; you know it’s probably the same; it’s a working class town in an affluent County.

OTB: What is the name on your birth certificate?

BNS: Well on my birth certificate my name is Bukeka, I added that on my birth certificate, but my parents named me Gretchen Elizabeth. After my dad’s German piano teacher and my moms great aunt or something like that. But because we because of the environment that I was in, and so many African Americans were changing their names to African names, that they would consider slave names to African names. That was just the environment that I was in, and the other part that influenced it was that My Aunt and her husband and their family moved to Africa, and my uncle, was very connected to the going back to Africa movement and so they actually did move to Africa, and so their names, my cousins names were named, my first cousin name was born Sheria and that names means 'Islamic Law’ basically , and Nia is Swahili for ‘purpose’ and so between knowing that and really understanding that, and obviously and I think that Sheria and I are three years apart, when she came into the world, I was like 3 or 4 so it took me a while to really understand that that was a really different name that she had. But I don’t think I would have pursued having an African name of my own had I not been in that arena where so many people were doing that and that essential cultural things were going on.

OTB: Tell me a little about your family and your extended family

BNS: My father is a professor of Sociology at Central Michigan University and has been there for several years and he got his PHD at Stanford and worked a lot in civil rights. My Mom, currently she is a teacher at Paseo High School here in KC, and most of her career has been teaching music, but she also spent 17 years as head of Community and Minority Affairs for Oakland County in Michigan. My sister Mikada is a pilot, an airline pilot, she’s flown commercial for several years and wanted to break into the corporate market and so she’s done that and she’s just got that job, which means that she has to go back to Michigan for 2-6 months but I’ll survive, let’s see, my Son is Delbert Shoals Jr. and is just amazing he really is just amazing

OTB: He was telling me that he has 21 days until he gets his license

BNS: Oh for the license, God help me! (laughs) but he is really amazing, he is very, very conscious, and very mature for his age. That is the core of the family.

OTB: That is a perfect tie in for my next question: What have you instilled in Delbert that your parents instilled in you ….and/or what have you not instilled in Delbert that you’re parents have instilled in you

BNS: That’s a good one, we don’t have enough time! Well, it’s really interesting, that’s a very, very interesting question because it really goes back to a lot of the cultural, African American cultural things that I’ve really, wrestled with in a lot of ways. For instance, and I’m sure we’ll talk about this at some point; I recognize, I’ve come to recognize a lot of core beliefs that I have and where they come from and so when Delbert was born, one of the things that I took it upon my own to instill in my mind as far as being his mother, that he was not mine…that I am basically here to make sure that he is well prepared to do whatever he is here to do. Of course I am his mother, but that is my role as his mother. So I don’t think that I have the kind of “you belong to me” kind of mindset that a lot of mothers do, that my mother has had, but that was important to me. One of the things that I came to understand is that he is an African American male, and at 2 years old, that’s when I was looking at T.V. and the news came on and it had some sort of statistic as far as how many, you know the statistics of African American males are, and I kind of looked at the TV, and I looked at him and said “Oh My God”. And so I had to really shift my thinking because I didn’t want to live in fear of that. But there are things that, absolutely do come up, that just, that is generational core beliefs that spring up totally unexpectedly, when you least expect like: We were out Christmas shopping one year, and he ran through the store as five or six year olds do, and I thought, “don’t run” not because it was impolite but because I didn’t want anyone to stop him because they thought that he might be stealing something and that just jolted me, that I would have that come up automatically. There are some things that I do have concerns about, that I, I instill in him that, we both have very strong spiritual grounding (yes, which we’ll get to later) we say this prayer every night: “The Light of God surrounds us, The Love of God enfolds us the Power of God protects us, The presence of God Watches Over us, Wherever We Are God Is and All Is Well

OTB: The Prayer of Protection?

BNS: Yes, the Prayer of Protection, right. And so, I say to him, especially now that he is a going to be a junior, he’s going to be going to college in a couple of years, and I’ll say to him “I know we say the Prayer of Protection every night, BUT (laughs) when you go to school, don’t binge drink, think, be very careful as you are driving, if a police officer stops you, put your hands on the wheel, do ALL those things, do ALL those things and know that you are still enveloped in the light and love of God, but do those things, I would be irresponsible knowing that our society has these beliefs these ideologies, and then some of the other things that my parents instilled in me that I could do whatever I wanted and all of that

OTB: Ok, I have to ask, what happened to you?

BNS: What do you mean? (laughing)

OTB: I mean, to me, you are a living manifestation of a Goddess! You are! I have written down that I didn’t want to make this a puff piece, but I’m going to puff!! puff!! puff!!! (both laughing) but something had to happen, your parents had to instill something in you to create this wonderful, positive, amazing woman.

BNS: Thank you

OTB: I’m saying that as a great admirer of yours and a friend of yours, but also, what also, what happened…what did your parents instill in you that allowed you to have such a grounded son, and to have such a prosperous life?

BNS: Well the thing that my parents did instill in me was basically watching their lives being affected by racism, and that they risked their lives, they took chances, they broke barriers, they were revolutionaries you know, and so that social responsibility is clearly their influence. When you see that, you don’t really feel like you have a limit, because you see your parents putting everything on the line.

OTB: That’s absolutely fascinating

BNS: It is pretty fascinating to watch, and I wonder if other children who had parents who were active with civil rights have the same kind of experience, and how we were all effected by that, and both my parents are musical too, my father is a drummer, my mother is a vocalist, so those talents came really natural to me, because I heard them and I heard my mom and my mom taught me so and they are both very, very, talented in that, both are phenomenal musicians and vocalists so I got all of that, and they didn’t really, I mean it can kind of looked in two different ways, they never said that there was anything that I couldn’t do. Ok….now at the same time I didn’t get a whole lot of direction either, it was like “oh you graduated? Now what do we do?” But that ended up being pretty cool because I just didn’t, I was never pigeon holed, I was never ever pigeon holed.

OTB: I was talking about this the other day, and how, I was watching Oprah, and Dr. Robin was on, and she was talking about, how no matter what circumstance you’re brought up in, somehow you know, the majority of people are wounded in their childhood, and they, when they grow up, they look in their adult relationships for the characteristics of their parents, that they didn’t get, or the love that they didn’t get when they are children and we think that we look for the positive characteristics but, unconsciously we look for the negative. I just think that’s totally fascinating.

BNS: Isn’t that fascinating?

OTB: If you had to give one talk, what would the topic be?

BNS: I would think that its one that I have been really working on called “Standing in Your Authentic Power.”

OTB: It’s the one that we did the Power Point together.

BNS: Yes, it’s the one we did the Power Point on. And I did the talk down in Georgia, in Savannah, and I revised it recently to present it to a local group, and the reason why, is because, it emphasizes that we really (because there’s a lot of things that we’re not doing right now) as a nation, as a society, were not saying, first of all we’re not caring for the whole of it all, and if were not doing that we were not being authentic because we are a part of the whole so if were not taking part of the whole, then were not taking care of ourselves, ok? And the second thing is that, so say we realize that, say we realize that something isn’t working, then we have to voice it, and we’re not voicing it, we are very suppressed, dummied down, numb nation, global, society right now, we really are.

OTB: I completely agree

BNS: and the other part, that it focuses on, that we really just need to live for the love and the passion of life. There’s this big façade, lets just say why the United States is looked at as it is by people that don’t live in the United States as this golden opportunity. It’s such a false hope and foundation, because they look at it from simply from the economics of it, ok, but they don’t look at the facts, but they hear that the United States is founded on the principles of freedom, and equality and right to be, when (as I referred to in this article) that were really founded on a nation of oppression and abuse, and everything that this country has was out of killing someone, annihilating something, raping and pillaging, and there’s just no denying it, you just cant go through a history book and say anything, even the ones that lie.

OTB: Right, the history books say that Christopher Columbus, you know, came over, and had a big ol’ dinner with ‘the pilgrims’…no, they raped and pillaged and decimated the Native American race.

BNS: Right, and even though that they are starting to not put that so much in history books, because it’s just an outlandish lie that nobody one can get around it anymore, but they still at the end of the day, once you get from just basic social studies about Christopher Columbus to the time that you graduate from high school studying US history, you still have this whole thing about the United States being a wonderful place of golden opportunity, milk and honey and all of that stuff, and that’s because we have a very, we have this big façade of wealth. Not that we don’t have wealth, because there is a lot of wealth in this country, we do, but it’s just not evenly distributed.

OTB: The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.

BNS: Right, and I think the last part of that talk is about that power, real power, authentic power, is not power that overtakes but power that is shared. That’s the most important thing I can probably give right now.

OTB: I was working on this, and there’s this website that I go to, and this man just infuriates me because he’s just so pro-war and so pro- everything that I’m

BNS: against

OTB: Right, but I keep on going back and were talking about Darfur, and he says “you know, it’s not in our economic interest…and…..I know I KNOW!!

BNS: I’m putting my hands over my eyes right now!

OTB: I KNOW, I KNOW, and the thing that I always come back to, is when Clinton gave a speech when the Dole Institute was founded and one of the last things that he said in that speech, that has always stayed with me, and I’ve used this as ammunition or talking points about this…and it blew me away at the time, was this quote “Genetically, all human beings are more than 99.9% identical and the genetic differences among individuals within a given racial group are larger than the genetic differences of one group as compared to another. Now, next time you start to feel like you really need to demonize somebody, think about that” so if we don't stop this genocide, if we don’t speak up about this we are dehumanizing ourselves

BNS: Exactly

OTB: I know that you’re into quantum mechanics and quantum physics, but I think that many or most who might read this interview don’t know much about this concept, so I wonder if you could, in laymens terms, explain a little bit about the Emoto experiments, and how that ties into "What the Bleep"?

BNS: Well basically the Emoto experiments are how we can change the molecular structure of pretty much anything, by thought, we can do that because our thoughts are things basically, it’s not just random.

OTB: So this piece of furniture, (puts his hand on the dinner table) was as a thought, someone had a thought of it before it was created

BNS: Exactly, so everything that is created that you can put on that is tangible, originated in thought, in the invisible. So in the Emoto experiments, what he did was to have the focus on really contaminated water, that if there was enough focus on the water that focused on love and peace and joy

OTB: and compassion

BNS: and compassion, that it actually changed the molecular structure of the water. And in his experiments that’s exactly what happened, he would test it beforehand and you can see all the contamination, test it afterwards and see that it is pure and perfectly crystallized, so that I know that is very strange to a lot of people, and that is because it kind of goes back to the guy that you were talking about, that people see everything as being separate. Now, on NPR the other day they just talked about a new experiment that the particles, I can’t remember the name of the particles right now but these are particles that are smaaaaaaaler than anything they’ve seen before. So they shoot these particles out of something (the particle accelerator) and it actually goes through hard surfaces and it ends up coming out somewhere out and going off into space and the reason why is because there is so little, so few electrons in there that it passes through everything, and the only reason why I can touch you and my hand wont go through your body is because there is so many electrons, we’re heavy, we’re heavy in weight, but what also actually happens is that there is an electrical charge that happens, that kind of bounces everything back, but all of those things are completely invisible, and that’s what we see in "What The Bleep", and why that is important and it goes back into that man’s discussion and the DNA and all of that, is that we are all in one web of the universe, and we are ALL completely interconnected, there is absolutely no separation anywhere of anything we’re all connected, and for whatever reason, in our humanity, in our thinking, in our consciousness, we somehow we actually think that we are conscious beings, that , we come to see the diversity and the multiplicity as separation, as opposed to diversity and multiplicity being just different variations of one. If people saw that there is different variations of one, one love, one source, it would pain us to no end that there is ethnic cleansing anywhere in the world, and we would never say anything like “it is of no economic interest”

OTB: And we would figure out that any person, or any group who demeans anyone else, is just dehumanizing themselves, that’s the whole point.

BNS: Right

OTB: Well Scott and I were talking about this concept, about how we’re all existing in this sort of ‘ all potentialities occur at once’ and we’re all in this ‘quantum flux’ and I asked a question about a car accident, why, do car accidents occur, because if we are all part of this variation of one, then the answer that we came up with was that ‘unconsciously, we all believe that matter exists, and that metal is strong, and that metal crashing into metal is going to ‘crumple’….so why do we believe that there is matter? Why do we believe that two cars are going to crumple when they crash into one another……can you sort of expound on that?

BNS: Well my understanding is for one thing, even though most of what we see in terms of matter is, like most of this table, the majority of it, is molecules and atoms, and those molecules and atoms from my understanding become more dense depending on the substance.

OTB: Say the wood of this table is denser than the pencil I am holding

BNS: Right, so I guess the only way that I can kind of explain it is that no1 we have adopted, which seems very logical to believe that we cannot penetrate, that this table is something impenetrable because our core belief’s are so strong

OTB: it’s an unconscious belief though, right?

BNS: It’s an unconscious, strongly held, deeply embedded belief that’s not only within us but its within everyone, so that you have that race consciousness going on too that supports the individual belief, and so it’s all of our collective beliefs that also help to form the one, and it’s not just in this event and time, we carry on, all the race consciousness beliefs that have ever existed, so that’s a lot, of just cementing that belief in our psyche.

OTB: from the beginning of our existence, we’re taught that wood is wood….

BNS: Right

OTB: I know that you’re studying to be a CSL minister

BNS: Practioner, yes, hmm mmm,

OTB: Practioner, can you sort of explain what the difference between say CSL’s mission statement and say, a Christian’s church’s mission statement?

BNS: Sure, well CSL, Center for Spiritual Living is a ministry under the United Church of Religious Science, and Religious Science is a “new thought” well that’s the phrase that’s coined from individual’s you know, way back in history, who began to see, actually ‘new thought’ is the westernized understanding that Christianity in that there is separation, and that there is a god that is a physical being up in the sky, “new thought’ is western philosophy’s opposition of that belief. Religious Science is an organization of thought; Science of Mind is a philosophy within the new thought movement. The difference being that, one, that there is really is no, again, no separation, and it brings in the whole idea of science as it relates to spirit. In traditional Christianity, even though there is some, in some instances you do hear some ministers in traditional Christianity relating science to spirit, but in this case, in Science of Mind, is absolutely looking at how the mind and all of our beliefs create all of our experiences. We don’t believe that the best of life comes after we die, we believe that the best of life happens right here right now, and that and it’s pretty irresponsible to even think that way, because that means the whole world will just go to pot, but it doesn’t matter, because we’re all going to be saved at the end, which means that all kinds of atrocities can happen, and that’s the way its supposed to happen that the worse it gets the closer we going to be in the rapture and all of that stuff. So that’s basically the difference, that everything is here right here right now, that we’re all connected and that God is within us and we are actual individualized expressions of God and there is absolutely no separation, that Jesus was a person, that actually got this, and that there is never a point in his ministry that said what you are to do is to follow, is to worship me, what Jesus was here to do was to basically to show us that we are one with God and that everything that God is we are.

OTB: and he also said that ‘everything that I’ve done, you can do better’

BNS: Exactly

OTB: You have a self titled album, and most, if not all, if I’m not correct, the songs on that album are original songs, correct?

BNS: There’s two songs that I did not write, one my mother wrote and that was the Kwanzaa song, and the other one is called “I’ll Give You Peace” which was written by a couple by the last name of “Yarborough”

OTB: Do you have any plans for another album?

BNS: I am working with Ken Lovern who is a jazz organist here in KC and we’re about to release a jazz CD which I’m very excited about. And the one thing about producing a CD is that you know, you got to have capital. And I think that’s the biggest challenge with independent musicians, you know, I’ve got so many songs, and I’ve talked to a couple of people and say “hey, I’m ready to go back to the studio” and they go “do you have a budget?” and I say “no” (laughs) so you just have to really find some creative ways of getting those things done, especially in the type of genre that I’m in. And is also goes back to the values that I have. For instance, I could probably do a lot more and what I’m really praying for right now is that I have some more support, because you just cannot do this by yourself. You’ve got to really have a support team. What generally happens with people who do what I do, who do concerts, is that there are those performers who are either playing in the bars, or small venues like that, or they’re doing medium size venues which are mainly conferences, which is where I am, or you have people who are doing stadiums, you know it’s kind of like (laughs) the richer get richer kind of thing but the way that people make it in the medium area is that you just have a lots of product, you have lots and lots of product and all the sales from your product you use to make more product, and you have to have the number bookings and so forth so that you can sell the product and then regenerate it. And so right now I’m kind of in that mid-stream right now I feel like I’ve done very, very, well, well I’ve done very well but then there are those who do the same thing I do that I’m learning from as to how to do that more, that have the support and have just more structure because they’ve been doing it longer. So that’s what I’m working on and I feel like I’ll be there (laughs)

OTB: I know I might have touched on this before, but…is there something, a core belief, that you remind yourself of, that you adhere to that you remind yourself of all the time that has brought you to here to where you’re at?

BNS: Well it’s funny you should mention that! (OTB laughs) because this has been a building block type of thing. Years ago, I developed my mission statement, and the process that I used was developed by a woman named Laurie Beth Jones and she wrote a book called “Jesus CEO” and she wrote another book and I can’t remember the name of that but anyway, it’s all about creating your mission statement. So I created a very simple mission statement which is: “I motivate and inspire through spoken word and music” then I began to develop and figure out, why am I doing this? (laughs) I know what I do but, why am I doing this? I figured that out which is “elevate the consciousness of the planet” So, my mission is to “motivate and inspire through spoken word and music to elevate the consciousness of the planet” still, time later, you know, how do you do that? Exactly how do you do that? Which leads me to the vision statement and that is this so I’ll just speak the whole thing “My mission is to motivate and inspire through spoken word and music to elevate the consciousness of the planet. I grow spiritually in ministry, in teaching, in meta-physics. I earn a sizeable income, that increases the natural process of my own expansion of my growth internationally, I have wonderful healthy relationships that are loving and supportive. I have healthy eating habit and I have an very energetic and fun-filled life.

OTB: Wow, that’s fantastic! I’m going to blatantly borrow from Oprah here and ask “What do you know for sure?”

BNS: The first thing that comes to mind is not a damm thing! (both laugh) But what I know for sure is that I’m here to be happy and

OTB: to elevate the consciousness of the world?

BNS: ya ya, and that brings me happiness, if you’re just, if you’re not going to just shoot for just being happy, or to have more happiness than not happiness in your life then that’s just a shame, you know?

OTB: Ok this is something that I have tested, and I have had some success with and then I’ve not have success with it, but speaking of mind-action, you know Scott, my partner is a chaplain at Unity Temple on the Plaza and he’s taught me to set the intention and release the expectation of the outcome.

BNS: Right

OTB: Which is huge,

BNS: It is huge

OTB: and it just blew my mind away, and it took me a while to really catch on to that, and I test it, when I drive, and I set the intention that I’m going to get green lights.

BNS: Isn’t that fun, I do that all the time

OTB: You do? Okay good (Both laugh) and I’m shocked that it works!

BNS: Do do you do it with parking spaces yet?

OTB: No!

BNS: Oh ya, you’ve got to do it with parking spots, that’s really fun

OTB: Oh! well that to me, is the most tangible example of how you can expect something and then for it to happen, and before I knew that I was you know, just sort of going through life, and then you realize that and it’s unbelieveable, so you do know about that and I’ll have to try it with

BNS: parking spaces; ya that will crack you up

OTB: But then I ask, what happens if I get a red light? Why is that? Was it that I didn’t release the expectation of the outcome or?

BNS: Well maybe you weren’t supposed to get that green light at that moment and the universe is supporting you perfectly in your travels.

OTB: Ok, that’s just astounding, well that was my next question…I find that statement is so simple and is so powerful. Can you give me an example of this concept in your life, and maybe results you’ve gotten from that?

BNS: Ya, ya that’s pretty interesting, that’s pretty fun, that’s pretty fun, because once you get the lights and the parking spaces down, you think, because there seriously has to be some fundamental belief changes that it can happen with all sorts of stuff, like, with, the money,

OTB: Health

BNS: Health, okay, but I have seen things like that happen in my life regarding health, regarding back pain, regarding all kinds of things

OTB: I just listened (sorry to interrupt)

BNS: that’s ok

OTB: I just listened to Chris Michaels last Sunday's talk, and it was about

BNS: healing

OTB: ya, and I listened on the website and he said that he’s seen people with HIV just completely disappear, cancer, a person that was in a satanic cult that came out of it to be a fabulous person….and so you’ve obviously practiced that concept

BNS: yes, and I’m learning more and that’s why I’m going through the Practicioner training is because for instance: One thing that I’m learning is that were given divine ideas constantly but it is our core beliefs that tell us that we cannot fulfill those divine ideas so there are lots of things you can do, lots of processes by which you can break through those barriers but no matter what you do, you still have to change the core belief and then you have to immediately act on your core belief, and the action itself flips the belief that tells you that can’t do it because you’ve just done it, you understand that there is something universal, divine, that not that is outside of you, that from within you that is revealed through you and you recognize it as genius you recognize it as wonderful and and most people, a lot of people, most people will just say “I can’t do that” so as soon as that comes its our responsibility to , it should be our intention to go ahead and follow through with that. Other things that you can do when you find a core belief that is destructive or not in alignment with a foreward movement is just to simply recognize it for what it is which means it’s hard for you to swallow and I can give you a perfect example: I was in Oklahoma, I gave a talk at the church there, no, we did a women’s retreat there and so a few months later I came back to do a talk at the church, and I was when I was at the women’s retreat one of the woman there was just this sweeet, sweet young woman, cute as a button, long blonde hair, bubbly bubbly bubbly, sweet as you can be, and she was going through a divorce and she was crying, and she was saying “I don’t know what I’m going to do blah blah blah, I’m loosing my house. That was in February, April I come back this woman has this house you wouldn’t believe I said “how did you do that?” and she said “well, I just decided what I wanted to do, what I wanted and I went for it, and I went immediately into action to go get it” and I was like "Wow" okay? Now we had this conversation while outside on the porch drinking margarita’s so I came back and I said “That is about the fastest manifestation that I’ve ever seen”

OTB: “Happen”

BNS: “How’d that happen?” So I go into my quiet meditation, I go into my quiet meditation and here is the belief that came up, and I was the only African American in the group, The belief that came up that white women are more successful and smarter than black women…it just bubbled up like a little bubble… boop. Now I could have said “oh that’s just malarkey, I don’t know why I would think something like that and dismiss it”

OTB: Hmm mmm

BNS: But I didn’t I’m like I believe that, there’s something in me that believes that.

OTB: Somehow it came up.

BNS: Somehow it came up, and my ego, if I stayed with my ego then I would have said, I would have never admitted that to myself, let alone anyone else, God forbid an interview, but if I don’t address that then it’s just going to stay there, so what I did was began to see how that belief was effecting every area of my life. I could not go to any professional women’s organization without wanting to get out of that situation as fast as possible, everytime I would go to Central Exchange, American Businesswomen’s Association (ABWA) NAWBO (National American Womens Business Owners), anytime I went to any of the functions that any of those organizations had, I felt like I wasn’t smart enough I wasn’t good enough that nobody really liked me, that I was just there to sing, and they really didn’t appreciate who I am “Oh Bukeka” they would ask me questions like “do you want to stay?” “No, I've got to go” I could not wait to get out of the situation. As soon as I looked at that belief and said ok I have to change this, so I just simply reversed it. ie: I am smart, I am beautiful

OTB: I am powerful

BNS: I am powerful blah blah blah, the next time I was invited to that event, to several events, it was the third one and I was like “Wow, I don’t have that feeling at all anymore, and now I present to those groups all the time and it doesn’t even phase me”

OTB: That is wonderful

BNS: Ya, ya! (laughs)

OTB: And I think we just touched on this before because you just mentioned silence and as a performer myself and you can speak to this yourself, I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of silence, because actresses and actors say that silence is more effective than the script

BNS: It is, ya I agree

OTB: In music, silence is as effective as the sound and I get fascinated with the end of the song, you know, you sing the last part of the song “woop woop de doo doot- ya" and there is this palpable, anticipatory, silence before the clapping that you can almost hear, and as a musician I’ve always been fascinated with how music plays with the concept of silence, can you tell me about your experiences with that…or is that a tool that you consciously use? Or are you aware of that when you’re performing?

BNS: Sometimes, I mean for instance silence that’s really where the magic is, if you didn’t have silence between notes, if there was no break, there would be no rhythm, there would be no rhythm to speak of, if you didn’t have silence, if you weren’t able to go into the silence and block out all the noise, then you don’t know what you’re really hearing, you have to block out the noise to be really clear about what you’re doing here…so when I’m speaking, and it’s also about breath, you just follow the natural essence of the breath, your heart,even though it’s constantly going, it’s also in rest, and rest is a part of silence so there’s always that flow in nature, that expresses and rests, expresses and rests, that’s animation, that’s moving, that’s energy, if there was just noise there would just be static and a lack of energy

OTB: If you must be the change you wish to see in the world, what change would you like to see?

BNS: Well I would definitely like to see people understand that we are all connected and even when Mr. Bush gets on the radio I have to understand that I am connected with you we are actually one so you ought to be thanking me right now that you’ve got me in your genes! I am the President! (both laughing out loud)

OTB: I was going to ask you about that, but we’ll get to that later (laughing) One of my favorite quotes is from Stevie Wonder (I failed to mention that it was from a song called Conversation Peace which was the album title as well, but anyway) that says “whether privately or publicly convened, may love, positivity, and life’s preservation be the basic theme”

BNS: Ya, that’s good stuff

OTB: although his new albums severely trumps that, but that’s ok, the last song of this new cd but anyway, is there any quotes that just come to you? Anything like that, you were talking about your mission statement earlier, are there any quotes that just bam you come back to?

BNS: Let’s see: Be still and know that I Am God, that’s just ingrained in my mind. I’m sometimes surprised as to when that might come up, If I’m ever in fear or something like that all of the sudden there is this thing “Be Still and know that I Am God” and I’m like oh, ya, ok, so that comes up…

OTB: Ok, I want to do a sort of a word association/ kind of brainstorming/ whatever comes up sort of thing

BNS: It’s like Family Feud (both laugh hilariously) I love that game, ok

OTB: One song that you would broadcast to the world?

BNS: Stevie Wonder : Love’s In Need Of Love Today

OTB:Oh I love that song!

BNS: Ya, it makes me cry

OTB: Ok, top 3, or whatever number, top 3 or 4 artists, I know…..I know its hard to do, because I would have the hardest time with this one

BNS: Wow, top 3 artists, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Jill Scott.

OTB: I Love Jill Scott too, I don’t have her second one.

BNS: Neither do I

OTB: but I love “One Is the Magic Number”

BNS: Ya, ya, ya that’s a good one!

OTB Potentiality,potential:

BNS: I wrote a song called “Free Spirit” and it talks about “potentiality unlimited” so we’re all pretty much free spirits with unlimited potential.

OTB: Compassion

BNS: there’s love and loving one another, that’s a big deal

OTB: Violence

BNS: Well, it’s just doesn’t….there’s violence that is somewhat natural when it comes to protection, especially when it comes to compassion. I might not physically act violent to protect my son, I might, I wouldn’t want to but it’s not something, there are violent things that happen in nature, in the universe all the time, things get crashed, things are

OTB: Destroyed

BNS: Destroyed, okay, but for it to be an intentional act is ridiculous! It’s absolutely ridiculous. I mean we can look at Hurricaine Katrina as being a violent, violent storm, it destroyed things, wiped out things, but we’re seeing it from the perspective of being the ones at a loss of that, ok? Now relative to the universe, it’s just wind, but you know it just really doesn’t make sense to inflict it.

OTB: synchronicity

BNS: what we’re doing synchronisity, being connected for one cause.

OTB: Did I ask you this before? The best advice you’ve ever been given?

BNS: My Mom, told me when I was first looking for a job she said two things: Keep your best suit cleaned (laughs) and if you don’t know what to say think of someone that you know that says it really well and say it.

OTB: Wow, that’s really powerful


OTB: I’ve always been completely fascinated with fellow artists’ drive to create, you know, this might sound like a generalization but I’ve often found that when a person finds their “art” or their voice in prose, or their muse, they can’t help but express it, and there’s that song we sing in the chorus “How Can I Keep From Singing?” How can you explain that? That drive?

BNS: Here’s what I think, I think we’re co-creators with God and whenever we are creating, we are tapping into that same source, how can we not? Because when we create we are tapping into that same source that god created everything so whether we are writing a song, or painting a picture, or creating an article, or whatever we are creating, we are creating it with the exact same momentum, as that which created the entire universe. It’s not that God said “well I’ve got this idea” and it’s somehow wrong…it’s all perfect.

OTB: Okay this is my last question, and then we have a set all to themselves: What would you like to achieve that you haven’t?

BNS: I would like to own my own house, it’s not a big thing, but I think it would be really fun, I’d like it to be grand, like my name!

The Famous Last 10 Questions from Inside the Actors Studio

1. What is your favorite word? Joy

2. What is your least favorite word? Dammit

3. What turns you on? Jerome, that would be one answer, new ideas

4. What turns you off? Perpetually negative people, I can’t and I don’t have to so I don’t

5. What is your favorite curse word? Shit

6. What sound or noise do you love? Water

7. What sound or noise do you just hate? Nails on a chalkboard

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Television Broadcaster

9. What profession would you not like to do? We were just talking about that Jerome and I, can you be a professional skydiver, I would never be a professional skydiver, hand glider

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I’d probably like him to say “hey let’s do it again”

Back to Interviews Page

Copyright 2006 OhTheBill.com All Rights Reserved

Interview With Missy Koonce

not sure what to date this....2005 maybe?

Missy Koonce: actress, director, producer, singer, all around swanky woman. She has been named Best Actor in the "Best of Kansas City" edition of Kansas City Magazine, She won a Drama Desk Award (which are the local theater awards) for Best Supporting Acress in a musical in 1999 in Schoolhouse Rock at the Coterie Theatre. Basically, she's one of the most sought after actresses in the Kansas City area. OhTheBill.com is thrilled to have Missy Koonce inagurate the interview section.

OTB: What is the name on your birth certificate?

MK: Melissa Jean Koonce

OTB: In doing research about you, I've tried to ascertain where you are from and come up with no answers…can you tell the international fans of OhTheBill.com where you are originally from?

MK: Born in Jefferson City, Mo then traveled around for many years going to 7 different elementary schools. My biological father was in the retail shoe business and was transferred quite a bit. By the 3rd grade my mother and father were divorced and I was back in Jeff City until I was 11 1/2 when my mother remarried and we moved to Grain Valley where I finished my Junior High and High School education. (I recently went back to my high school and spoke at the honor students dinner on succeeding in your chosen vocation). Then went on to college at Tarkio College (which no longer exists) and then moved back to K.C. where I have lived since, aside from a short stint in Denver, CO.

OTB: Your Mothers Name?

MK: Melanie Norris

OTB: Your Fathers Name?

MK: Troy Norris

OTB: Any siblings?

MK: Step brother Todd Norris

OTB: What kind of environment did you grow up in? Rural? Urban? What sort of things can you attribute to your development that has made you the woman that you are today?

MK: My mother and stepfather were very supportive. I was involved in ever school activity that they would let me in: Basketball, Volleyball, Track, Student Council, Junior Class President, Forensics, Choir, National Honor Society, Art Club, all of it. I went to a very small school and was able to do everything. The same with college, it was a small private Presbyterian liberal arts college. I went on a Basketball and Music scholarship and was very involved. Tarkio had a great theatre department and a professional Equity summer stock theatre program in the historic Mule Barn Theatre.

OTB: What different places have you lived?

MK: have lived in Jefferson City Mo, Grand Rapids MI, Champagne, Decatur, and Chicago IL, Upstate NY, Grain Valley MO, Kansas City MO, Prairie Village KS and Denver CO.

OTB: What was your ambition when you went to college? Your major?

MK: Tarkio College I was a theatre major with a vocal music minor. I wasn't sure what the hell hell I was going to be when I grew up.

OTB: What was your first acting gig?

MK: I did Carousel, Brigadoon and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas for The Mule Barn Theatre's summer stock. My first Kansas City job was at the Unicorn: Expiring Minds Want to Know or 6 women with Brain Death in 1989.

OTB: I've heard some things here and there about your new adventure Bar Natasha can you tell me more about it? What was the force in bringing that about? When will it be open? What's the environment like?

MK: Bar Natasha will be an upscale piano lounge. Open Wed thru Saturday 4pm to 1am. With live music nightly and high-end appetizers and desserts by Lou Jane Temple. We will have a great happy hour 4pm to 8pm and table service. All of the servers and bartenders will also be performers and can sing on demand. My business partners name is JD Mann and he has moved here from Taos NM to open this club with me. He comes from a business and marketing background.

OTB: As a musician myself I am driven to create art from the love I get from the audience and the process of creating itself; I have always been completely intrigued by other artists drive to create. What is it that drives you to act/sing/direct? Is it a different motivation for different venues?

MK: I can't imagine doing anything else. I don't really know life outside of the bar and restaurant business and performing. It's what I've always done and I imagine what I will always do. I love it, I love everything about it (for the most part!).

OTB: Is there any special ritual that you do before a performance that you are participating in? How do you prepare for performances in general?

MK: I am very team oriented, I believe in group warm ups, getting everyone fired up for performance, having that sense of ensemble before you ever hit the stage or the restaurant floor for that matter.

OTB: What's next for Late Night Theatre? I can only imagine all the outlandish projects that you've come up with Ron McGee, how do you get ideas for shows?

MK: Ron Megee will be performing in the David Sedaris one-man show The Santa Land Diaries for the holiday season. He's did that show two years at the Unicorn and now is bringing it back at Late Night. It will be the first time Kansas Citians have had the opportunity to see the show on a Friday or Saturday night at 8pm. It's very exciting!

OTB: What is the best advice someone gave you?

MK: "Follow your dreams" and "Learn your lines and don't bump into the furniture".

OTB: Who or what has been an influence on your work that might really surprise others who don't know you?

MK: My partner Laura has been my motivation more than anyone to get my shit together and be a success. When we started dating almost 5 years ago is when I really began to focus and my career began to thrive. There is something to say about the power of love and someones unconditional and constant support of you.

OTB: Other than sleep…what do you do with you free time?

MK: I enjoy getting together with friends and I also read a great deal, primarily fiction of all kinds. My favorite author at this time is Mauve Binchey, an Irish novelist.

OTB: A book you've read more than once?

MK: Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut

OTB: What is in your cd player at this very moment?

MK: Mary Chapin Carpenter's Stones in the Road

OTB: A peak experience from a concert that you attended (like a rock concert or something similar) that would like to share?

MK: 1984 the Eurhythmics, Annie Lennox came out in the rain with a big-ass umbrella and finished the concert, it was amazing!

OTB: You have an amazing bluesy/jazzy/smoky voice….have you received vocal training? If so, who have you trained with?

MK: I was a vocal music minor in college; I also have trained locally with Molly Jessup and Anthony Edwards.

OTB: If you had a song to broadcast to the world, what song would it be?

MK: Trust Love by Ricki Byers

OTB: Do you have a theme song? Do you and your partner have a theme song? If so, what is it?

MK: I think everyone knows my signature song is "Somethin' to Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt.

OTB: I saw you in The Laramie Project and you were amazing….the play as a whole experience was so intense, how did that effect you personally as a gay person?

MK: I was actually cast in The Female Odd Couple at the American Heartland Theatre and I left halfway thru the run to go and do Laramie. I couldn't imagine having the opportunity as a gay person to do that show and not do it. We performed on September 11th and had a talk back afterwards and the performance of that show on that day and the talk back after were two of the most powerful moments of my life. The parallels were uncanny.

OTB: What attracts you to characters? to theatre projects in general?

MK: Something that is fun and fulfilling, challenging and proves to be successful.

OTB: Is there a part that you are dying to play? If so, what is it?

MK: I've always wanted to play Anita in Westside Story, but I don't really see that happening!

OTB: Has being an 'out' celebrity effected your career at all? Positive/Negative?

MK: I think that being "out" has certainly not hurt my career. I have actually gotten a lot of support and a large following due to the fact that I have exposure in the gay community. One thing I will definitely say about the gay community is that they support their own, and the Kansas City gay community has more than been there for me.

OTB: Growing up, was your family very open to the idea of someone being gay or did you hear a lot of negative things about gay people?

MK: My family has been very supportive of me. I came out as a teenager and in college my house was a safe-haven for all of my gay friends. My mother and father were very welcoming to all of my friends over the years and gave them a place on weekends and holidays where they could be themselves and where they felt loved and comfortable

OTB: What is your take on the current political climate in the United States? In the world? Missouri? Kansas City? The War? The State of the Arts in America?

MK: I think we are losing our civil, women's and environmental rights left and right as the world focuses on the war in Iraq. There is a definite underlying campaign going on that is very dangerous to the progress that it has taken gays and lesbians and most definitely woman decades to struggle for and attain. It frightens me, quite frankly.

OTB: If "you must be the change that you wish to see in the world" what change would you like to see in the world?

MK: That we live our lives and kind and loving people whom support one another and don't pass judgement.

OTB: In the movie of your life, who plays you?

MK: Well I do of course!

OTB: What about fans? Have you had any crazy experiences with fans getting out of control or crossing the line?

MK: Not really. Sometimes people are a bit obsessive. My main audience are those 12 and under. They like autographs and hugs, I can handle that!

OTB: What haven't you done that you would like to achieve?

MK: I would love to go to Europe. I have never traveled abroad and I feel like I am really missing something there. My partner is Italian and we continue to try to schedule a trip to Italy, but as of yet, it has not come to fruition. Someday….

OTB: If you had to interview God, what questions would you ask? Do you believe in God? How does that belief or lack of belief play any role in your art?

MK: I believe there is definitely something larger than me. It’s my belief in that; I think that keeps me grounded and humble. I live life as it comes, I have no questions that will not eventually be answered by the outcome of how I live.

OTB: What do you know for sure?

MK: Luigi Pirrandello said, "There is no absolute truth, only perception" I defer to him.

Here are those famous 10 questions from "Bullion du Culture" stolen by James Lipton from "Inside the Actors Studio"
OTB: What's your favorite word?

MK: Words are so wonderful, how can you pick just one? Corucopia is a pretty good one, or Gregarious. I also like the word Pussy, it just rolls off the tongue.

OTB: What's your least favorite word?

MK: loser

OTB: What sound or noise do you love?

MK: A cat's purr. A waterfall.

OTB: What sound or noise do you hate?

MK: Snoring, water dripping or a clock ticking

OTB: What turns you on?

MK: A woman talking about her passion or something she is really smart about. That is very hot, a woman's knowledge.

OTB: What turns you off?

MK: Someone who does not have the capacity to listen

OTB: What's your favorite curse word(s)?

MK: Fuck

OTB: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

MK: None

OTB: What profession would you not like to participate in?

MK: A nine to five computer job or office job of any kind. "Don't fence me in" as they say.

OTB: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

MK: "Come on in!"

Back to Interviews

Old Website Content that I need to save!

Welcome to the my new digs, the new version of my old, antequated page, there might be a few missing links but basically, I was born in Chicago and moved to Kansas City, Missouri. You can chronicle the story in my journal page. I have this weird obsession with a couple of people in Hollywood, and in general, my biggest would be, and I still don't know where this comes from but the Queen of England. I just love her, I've sent her a bunch of letters and every time I get a response, I have to laugh. The last letter was in early in 2003, to ask the Queen to either write or call George W. Bush and ask him to resign. Check out the most recent response here, it's quite funny. She basically says through her "Chief Clerk" that As a Constitutional Soverign, The Queen is advised on foreign policy by her Ministers and is unable to do as you ask. It almost sounds as if she wanted to ask GWB to resign, but because of her title, she can't. How's THAT for international diplomacy eh?

Well, now that I've talked about my life as of 2006, I suppose I should talk a little about my past, ZOIKS! Well, I spent my formidable years in a little town called Lombard. I wasn't born there, I was born in Elmhurst, Illinois, which is just outside of Lombard. You can see a picture of my parents house from a satellite. I was born in the year of 1975, right at the end of the 70's and right in the beginning of those tragic years that we called the 80's. I am the youngest of five kids. I have two brothers and two sisters. We've all grown up to be fabulous adults, and there is actually one picture of us all at my brothers wedding here. I guess you could say that I had the typical family experience. I played baseball and soccer, although I never kept up with any sports really. Shocking for you who know me in my adult life :-)

At the ripe age of 10, I was introduced to the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus. There I was trained classically as a singer, and had the wonderful opportunity to sing in so many places, I hardly remember them all, but fortunately some of those experiences are readily available now, and can be purchased from their website. In that chorus, I also got a chance to sing at the then Orchestra Hall in Chicago and sing Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus. This is what one of my hero's said about the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus:

"I would like to say in what extremely high regard I hold the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus. They have shown their innate musicality as well as the highest standards of excellence. This is probably one of the finest such choruses in the world and its artistic discipline can only be described as exemplary"

the late Sir George Solti

What a truly awesome experience that was. There are few experiences that I have come across that rivals that one. To be on the stage of Orchestra Hall, have that young in my life, to be a part of people who were at the time living legends, is one I shall not soon forget.

Recordings that I have contributed my 'sahngin' voice to:

So after that, I went to junior high school, and sung in the choruses there, and eventually went to high school. I only keep in touch with oonly like two or three people from the high school experience. Anyway, after high school I went to Loras College, in Dubuque, Iowa. After about a year there, I came back to the dreadful Lombard, to attend the community college College of DuPage So, after a couple of years of being bored with that, and not really ever picking a major, or ever graduating from ANY of these institutions, the logical choice would be to MOVE OUT of my parents house. So I moved to Chicago, into the big bad city. My first job in the city was working at Buddies which is a stitch and a half. They are the nicest people over at that bar and restaurant. After about a year at that job, I was offered another job at the Chicago Public Schools I was with them for about a year or so, and I still keep in contact with a couple people from there, Nadine E. Headen, is the major woman I keep in contact with. Now if you're still reading this, I'll be amazed! One of the best things about my family is being an Uncle! I am now an Uncle four times over! with my sister's two girls (on the right with their two matching dresses at my brother Mike's wedding) Gabriella, and Juliana, my brother Thom and his wife Sue have a gorgeous little girl named Maddy, and then my sister Mary has a son and another on the way. I'll post more pictures when I get them...I'm now attending DeVry University and am slated to graduate with my bachelors of computer information systems in 2006.

Top 100

I know this was a fad....like ..years ago but I'm still going to post my old antiquated version anyway because it is sort of funny and many of the things are still accurate.

I was born in Elmhurst, IL
I am a Libra/Scorpio
I have lived in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas
I need to move to Sweden
I am a sexy mutha fucka
I am the youngest of five kids
I am one stubborn mutha fucka
I shine the light of God that is within me, whenever possible
I am currently trying to weed out anything negative in my life
I implore you to try it, it's not easy
I am loved
I am not my past, nor my body, nor my job and I refuse to judge myself on those things (or lack thereof)
I am hysterical
I love to make people laugh (even if it's at my own expense)
I just learned how to do a cartwheel from a 10 year old, within a rehearsal for an opera in English
I dislike opera in English
I am obsessed with Liza Minnelli
I am a classically trained singer starting from age 9
I hope to be a full time professional musician someday
I love this damm journal
I hate this damm journal
I am obsessed with Rufus Wainwright and his sexploits around the globe
I used to be obsessed with Jhames, until he found a boy in Atlanta (before then, actually)
My favorite food is Thai
I sincerely hate tomatoes, or anything remotely associated with them
I love my family more than I can express with words
I am working in a job that is way below my skill level
I am obsessed with black women
I was a black woman in a previous incarnation
I have never felt the need to do drag (save the time my best friend and I did the Mexican Sweenie Sisters for Halloween...plus a Gay Hawaiian Marriage show for CGMC.
I loved it the times I've done it
I can sew
I love children
I love taking baths and going under the water so I can't hear anything
I am currently singing in two choirs (HMC & Unity.)
I love White Castle
I am a coffee whore (iced venti white chocolate mocha breve with a shot of raspberry)
I drive a Toyota named Rocky
I have named every car I've ever owned
I hate viewing, participating or thinking about football
I am a Chicago Cubs fan
I had the highest average in my league (baseball) the same year that my brother's average was 0.0 (mind you I was in T-ball and he was in minor league, but whatever)
I am taller than one of my older brothers
I am a carnivore, therefore I eat meat.
I am a bleeding heart Democrat
I am a Libertarian Party Member, and a Green Party Member
I drink entirely too much water
I love lesbians
I love Sinead O'Connor
I love applying Jergens Cherry-Almond lotion generously to my skin throughout the day
I love having sex outside
I love old people
I am an upper second tenor
I love Momma Cass, God rest her soul
I looooove gospel music
My favorite movie is Harold and Maude
I sometimes think that there is no God, but then things happen and I cannot deny It.
I was born and raised Roman Catholic but rejected the whole notion of Catholicism when a friend of the family (who happened to be a priest) turned himself in for molesting children.....years and years ago
I think that our government is completely corrupt and the people of this nation need to revolt and take back what is rightfully ours.
I believe that this nation is based upon the rape and pillage of the Native American, a wrong that has never been righted, and until such time that such atrocities are corrected, we will never move forward.
I believe that the foreign policy of this nation is horrifyingly short sighted and intolerable
I don't want to even get started
I have a dirty mind
I have been known to drink in large quantities *cough* ...but I'm a happy drunk
I kiss people when I drink
I am in a relationship with a man that I love with all my souls capacity to love
I can size up a person within seconds, and I'm a great judge of character
I am nearly always right about #67
I have called 911 3 times in my life
I spread love throughout the galaxy
I am a completely messy person
I love every type of animals, but mostly rhinoceroses
I have two brothers and two sisters
My grandmother still lives with my parents, and has all of my natural born life
I used to think (when I was a small child) that a painting that was hung in the family garage was my mother.
I love smelling girlie
The best part of waking up for me, is not Folgers, but seeing the man I love in the bed next to me.
I think I scare my siblings and parents
As well I should
I only have a few friends that I can call 'friends for life", and for that I consider myself truly lucky
I have always been considered obnoxious by people who first meet me.
People either really love me or really dislike me
I have worked on my self esteem to a point where I give nary a thought to those who dislike me.
I am a gay man
I have written letters to the leaders of the world asking them to ask for George W Bush's resignation
I received two back
I believe that Al Gore is the President
I believe that Angela Bassett should be the President of the United States
I love the Queen of England, and have sent her letters also
I write to my Senators and Representatives at every chance I get
I am optimist
I am an artist
I love Dolly Parton
I believe that the war on terrorism is a joke, and that America is swiftly turning into a police state.
I will not be ground by the forces that are trying to destroy me
I love being on a soapbox
I shall be released
I love Nina Simone
I have been a hospice worker
I am a human being

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kansas City and Bahrain

According to the Bahrain Embassy in Washington, DC, nearly four decades ago, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa "was awarded the Freedom Medal of Kansas City from the Mayor and people of Kansas City." The Bahrain Government's PR machine is using this and other awards he has received from various parts of the world as "evidence" of the King's international credentials and appeal.

Does Kansas City really want to be associated with the violent crackdown on democracy activists over the last few months in Bahrain?

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has overseen a series of brutal measures since March – hundreds have been detained and there has been widespread torture and at least four deaths in custody. International human rights organizations, including Human Rights First, have documented these serious violations. In a June statement in Geneva, U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe cited Bahrain as one of the countries where there had been "violent repression of peaceful protests." She's right. I was in Bahrain last month on a factfinding mission and met dozens of released detainees who told me of the torture and harsh conditions they had endured. Doctors, nurses and others have been harshly punished for treating injured protestors. This brutality is also shaping media coverage from Bahrain, where reporters have revealed that dozens of doctors and other medical professionals are among those who have been detained and tortured in custody.

Since the King has been promoted by Bahraini embassies as a good guy, a guy who gets medals from places like Kansas City, we have written to Kansas City Mayor Sylvester James to request that he ask King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to return the Freedom Med

al of Kansas. This step would make clear that the city does not want to be aligned with the Bahraini government's appalling human rights record. We ask you to join us in that call.

Tell the King that his actions are out of step with the values of Kansas City. Sign here and add your voice to the list of Kansas City residents who want Bahrain's King to send his medal back. This is your chance to help peaceful reform and human rights in the Arab Spring. It's time for Kansas City to unfriend the King of Bahrain.

Dear Mayor James:

I am alarmed about the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain and that the Bahrain Government is promoting the King of Bahrain’s credentials by citing his medal of freedom from Kansas City. The people of Kansas City value democracy and human rights, and we do not want to be associated with regimes that crack down on peaceful protestors. Please ask the King to return his Freedom Medal of Kansas City, a move that will make clear our community’s commitment to freedom, democracy and human rights.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CQ Behind The Lines

Factor in the inflation-adjusted estimated $636 billion that Uncle Sam has spent since the Sept. 11 attacks on homeland security “and you’re at the edge of $8 trillion in national security spending for the last decade-plus,” Chris Hellman calculates for Salon . “The defense budget grew from $316 billion in 2001 to $708 billion in 2011 . Federal spending on homeland security , which includes everything from airport security to border control, also rose dramatically,” The Associated Press ’ Jonathan Fahey similarly surveys.

Feds: President Obama told CNN that he worries more about a deranged individual striking on Sept. 11 than a large scale, coordinated al Qaeda attack, CBS News ’ Dan Farber reports. Three ATF supervisors , heavily criticized for their role in a failed sting operation that sent firearms into Mexico, have been promoted , the Los Angeles Times ’ Richard A. Serrano reports. The FBI has assigned a new counterterrorism chief to its Gotham field office who will head the city’s Joint Terrorism Task Force , The New York Times ’ Joseph Goldstein updates — while The Saipan Tribune ’s Clarissa David hears an FBI official urging Rotary Club members to “be vigilant for any activities that may lead to terrorism” on that Pacific island territory .

Homies: With the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11 looming, meantime, Janet Napolitano yesterday unveiled new TV ads pegged to DHS’s “If you see something, say something” campaign, CNN ’s Paul Courson recounts. After conservatives “freaked out about” a 2009 DHS intel report on right-wing extremism, the department effectively dismantled a unit tasked with tracking it, AlterNet ’s Rania Khalek rebukes. A Border Patrol supervisor assures that his agents have plenty to do on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula “despite another agent’s assertion to thecontrary,” The Peninsula Daily News ’ Paul Gottlieb relates — while The Arizona Republic ’s Daniel Gonzalez sees illegal immigrant deaths along that state’s southern border dropping 38 percent. CBP is hiring additional Border Patrol agents, perhaps a thousand of them, to monitor the southwest perimeter, The Yuma (Ariz.) Sun says.

State and local: After receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from DHS since the Sept. 11 attacks, Oklahoma has suffered a steep drop in homeland receipts in the past two years, The Tulsa World leads. Damning “a controversial program that has led to an unprecedented number of deportations,” some 200 immigrant activists stormed out of a Los Angeles federal task force hearing Tuesday, The Orange Country Register reports — while California Watch touts an interest group report quoting local sheriffs on Secure Communities’ “downsides.” Under an alleged ethical cloud , Essex County, N.J. officials have inked an agreement with ICE to expand an existing Newark facility to accommodate more detainees, The Asbury Park Press relays. Indiana’s Department of Homeland Security tells The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette it had no jurisdiction for licensing the temporary State Fair stage whose collapse last weekend killed five.

Bugs ‘n bombs: “If you know how to mash an avocado and dry herbs in the sun you can make ricin from castor oil beans ,” The First Post promises, in re: an alleged al Qaeda bid to weaponize the deadly toxin. “The most likely biothreat comes from nature , but the most significant threat is from a bioterrorism attack ,” National Defense Magazine muses. “As the United States faces the growing threat of individual acts of terrorism, farmers are honoring their national duty by supporting DHS regulations on ammonium nitrate,” The Voice of Agriculture assures. A 90-minute National Geographic Channel doc debuting this Sunday details Britain’s 2006 liquid bomb plot , which has so resoundingly affected airport checkpoints worldwide, Raw Television tells.

Ivory (Watch) Towers: With the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre justifying SWAT-style university policing, “campuses are increasingly becoming unsafe — not because of a lack of security but an overabundance of it,” CounterPunch spotlights. A former Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student, relatedly, is in court for making an alleged terrorist threat against the school three years ago, St. Louis’s KMOV 4 News notes — while The Tampa Tribune sees an expelled student arrested for plotting to blow up his high school on the first day of classes. “I am now convinced not only that we do not need a distinct homeland security discipline , but that its successful emergence could prove harmful to the enterprise itself,” a Homeland Security Watch poster posts. “Indiana’s new immigration law is raising concerns among international students who worry they won’t be eligible for tuition waivers or fellowships that help pay for their U.S. educations,” AP spotlights.

Close air support: “Some black women with natural hair report receiving hair pat-downs from TSA employees — in some cases while white women with similar hair sailed through,” Jezebel jabs — and see The New York Times . TSAers at LAX found a loaded . 38-caliber Walther pistol in the carry-on of a passenger, the L.A. Times tells — as The Torrance (Calif.) Daily Breeze highlights a $4.7 million contract to fortify LAX’s perimeter security fence. “Ten years after 9/11, airline cockpits are vulnerable every time a pilot takes a bathroom break. So why isn’t the FAA making secondary barriers a requirement?” The Atlantic asks. In India, Bangalore airport officials were shocked to discover children entering the airport through a gaping hole eroded in a perimeter wall by heavy rainfall, The Deccan Chronicle recounts.

Keeping track: Ohio’s Department of Transportation says a 1996 law cloaks accident reports “whose release would reveal rail operations and security to terrorists and others with ill intent,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Among the many critics of Jerusalem’s SNAFU-plagued new commuter line , whose debut has again been postponed, now to Sept. 14 , “are those who believe that, in a city with a long history of bombings , the new light railway is vulnerable to attack,” The Guardian spotlights. A Russian newspaper says security agents foiled a plot by alleged North Caucasus militants to blow up a high-speed passenger train between Moscow and St. Petersburg, The Moscow Times mentions.

Courts and rights: A lawyer for an elderly South Florida imam and his two sons accused of abetting the Pakistani Taliban argues that a government secrecy request could give prosecutors an unfair advantage, The Miami Herald mentions. A federal judge has handed mor than four years in prison to an Iranian national who admitted trying to illegally export U.S. missile parts to Iran, The Chicago Sun-Times tells. A group of nearly 1,000 American terror victims is suing a unit of Germany’s Deutsche Borse for allegedly assisting Iran’s movement of $250 million in frozen assets out of the United States, The Wall Street Journal relates. “Forty-eight unfortunate souls in Guantanamo Bay will never get a trial, will be presumed guilty and will die in Guantanamo without ever having stepped into a courtroom,” a defense attorney tells CNN .

Over there: State has designated a top Afghani Taliban commander a “global terrorist,” allowing Washington to freeze his assets, bar him from financial institutions and prosecute him for terrorist activities, The Long War Journal relates. “Peru’s new president has vowed to take a hard line against the country’s Shining Path guerrillas, and appears to have modeled his strategy on Colombia’s counterinsurgency successes ,” The Christian Science Monitor spotlights. The Philippines’ prez , meanwhile, wants legislators to strengthen a 2007 anti-terror law by easing safeguards against abuse that have deterred authorities from using it, AP reports.

Over here: Anti-Sharia activists have penned columns attacking GOP White House wannabe and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s longstanding friendship with the Aga Khan , leader of the Ismaili Muslim sect, Salon says. (“Can Rick Perry maintain his good ties with Muslims as a GOP candidate?” The Christian Science Monitor also mulls.) “One small but critical way St. Paul police fight crime and also terrorism on the streets [is taking] a group of mostly Somali youths out bowling,” the Pioneer Press spotlights. Jihadist and Islamist commentators are advocating exploiting the rioting in England, both for stepping up operations and for increasing calls to spread Sharia law, IPT News notes.

Holy Wars: The “war on terror may be a cover resolve,” but America wants “to keep [the Afghan] government in the doldrums, to insult Islamic values and above all to destabilize Pakistan ,” The Peshawar Frontier Post pummels. In a bid to “criminalize Christians, the Anti-Defamation League characterizes anti-Jihadist evangelicals as ‘haters,’ whose inflammatory criticism of Islam inspires anti-Islamic terrorists like” Norway’s Anders Behring Breivik , the Rev. Ted Pike protests in Al Jazeera . “Breivik represents more than his own act of violence. His is a new creed of right-wing extremism, a Christian version of al Qaeda ,” a New York Review of Books essayist asserts. “To thwart the Taliban, U.S. Marines in one Afghan province are teaching the locals to read the Koran,” The Atlantic relates. “Can we say Osama bin Laden was a hero or villain in the formation of al Qaeda ?” a Nigerian Tribune columnist questions.

End of The Line: “Following a flood of complaints from frustrated commuters , Transport for London has today named Amersham on the Metropolitan Line as the official station for killing yourself,” NewsBiscuit notes. “‘It’s really not fair that a few thoughtless “ jumpers ” cause such disruption for so many,’ said a TfL spokesman . ‘From now on we’ll be asking the suicidal to travel to Amersham and wait in line for their turn. They’ll know it’s their moment in the headlights when they hear our special announcement — “ Don’t mind the gap .”’ Details of the scheme were unveiled a day after ex- psychiatric patient John Morton, who had suffered depression since losing his wife and daughter in a road accident , was forced to apologize for causing almost 25 minutes of rush-hour travel chaos after his botched attempt to throw himself under a train. ‘Thankfully I glanced off the train and was thrown clear,’ he said. ‘If I’d ended up on the tracks the hold-ups could’ve been well over an hour.’”
Source: CQ Homeland Security