Monthly Archives: June 2007

Hey,SiCKO…SEE THIS MOVIE!!! 16 June 07

*IN THEATERS JUNE 29th*

I just did. And the question comes up again…

“What can you do when being sick and tired of things that don’t make sense on purpose, are the very foundation of our daily lives?”

If you answered, “Honestly talk about them with any and everybody”, you answered correctly.

But let’s get something straight,it isn’t just a matter of “George W. Bush is a dick” or “White people are evil”, that type of simplistic thinking (though worthy of some serious analysis) serves it’s purpose in handicapping the very person that anchors any of their viewpoints (on anything) with that sort of illogic.

Love him or hate him, Michael Moore continues to approach topics that force us to take a look in the mirror. His latest movie “SiCKO” deals with the American world of managed health care providers ( Health/Medical Insurance Companies), in comparison with systems used by our allies as well as our enemies. In short he draws a hard line in the sand between humanism and gross financial profits . The results are of course compelling, informative, and an abundance of food for thought.

Follow the buzz on this one,because it’ll be interesting to see where exactly it all will lead to.

Hopefully people will demand that universal health care in the United States of America become a right for all people. But I’m just alone in the dark with ideals aren’t I?

************now here’s a piece about it from the L.A. Times************

Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko’ confronts American public

The filmmaker’s latest documentary asks why Americans don’t demand better healthcare.

By John Horn, Times Staff Writer

CANNES, France – Michael Moore and his movies have always been hard to miss. But with “Sicko,” his acidic new documentary about healthcare, there’s suddenly less of the filmmaker and his usual methods to be found.

Not wanting the limelight, Moore is forgoing the competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where he won the top prize with 2004’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” In “Sicko,” he isn’t chasing down insurance and pharmaceutical executives for confrontational interviews. The famously outsized filmmaker, having spent several years studying healthcare, even has lost 25 pounds-“One way to fight the system,” he says, “is to take better care of yourself.” But what’s most striking about “Sicko” is that Moore’s current target is much harder to pinpoint.

While the foils of his earlier films were obvious — General Motors in “Roger & Me,” the gun industry in “Bowling for Columbine,” the Bush administration in “Fahrenheit 9/11” — the ultimate protagonist in “Sicko,” opening June 29, is American indifference.

“When people say there is no confrontation in this movie, to me there is a big confrontation in this movie,” Moore said in an interview here. “Because I am confronting the American audience with a question: ‘Who are we, and what has happened to our soul?’ To me, that’s maybe more confrontation than going after the CEO of Aetna or the CEO of Pfizer.” The reason Moore feels compelled to ask this “Sicko” question is because, he feels, the country unthinkingly settles for substandard and ruinously expensive medical treatment, especially when compared with countries with universal healthcare.

Although the film is filled with terrible medical outcomes — the movie opens with an uninsured carpenter with severed digits who must decide if he wants doctors to reattach his ring finger for $12,000 or his middle finger for $60,000 — “Sicko’s” central thrust is to hold up models of superior, government-provided care in France, Canada and (in a twist that has landed Moore in hot water with the U.S. Treasury Department) Cuba.

“I don’t have to convince the American public that there is something wrong with our health care system. I think most American people already feel that way,” said Moore, who enjoys great coverage himself through the Directors Guild of America. “That’s why I don’t spend a lot of time in the film on the healthcare horror stories. I wanted to propose that there’s a different way we can go with this. I’m hoping that the American people, when they see this film, will say, ‘You know, there is a better way, and maybe we should look at what they are doing in some of these other countries…”

In a choice that certainly endeared “Sicko” to the local audience, Moore spends much of the film focusing on France’s socialized medicine. Doctors lead comfortable lives, patients receive attentive care, employers grant extended health-related leaves — all reasons the World Health Organization ranked France tops in its global 2000 survey of the best healthcare countries.

That the United States ranked only 37th on the WHO list, just two slots ahead of Cuba, particularly infuriates Moore: With more wealth and technology than any other country, we nevertheless have 50 million citizens without insurance, 9 million of them children. As “Sicko” anecdotally documents, many Americans eligible for insurance can’t afford it, and a long inventory of preexisting conditions limits the insurability of those who can.

Among “Sicko’s” villains are politicians who pocket millions from HMOs and pharmaceuticals while denouncing universal care as little better than a Communist plot. The film is particularly tough on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D.-N.Y.), once an advocate for universal care and now among the healthcare industry’s biggest money recipients. (Moore says “Sicko” distributor Harvey Weinstein, a longtime friend and supporter of the Clintons, asked him to cut the sequence, but he refused.) To highlight the shortcomings of U.S. healthcare, Moore at one point in his film focuses on the plight of several chronically ill Sept. 11 rescue volunteers. Convinced that enemy combatant detainees receive better care in Guantanamo Bay than these national heroes do in the United States, Moore and the volunteers take a boat to Cuba. Despite its poverty, Moore says, Cuba’s healthcare system is a model for the Third World.

But what makes for one of “Sicko’s” most memorable sequences also sparked the wrath of the treasury department, which said the visit violated the Trading With the Enemy Act. Moore said he had until Tuesday to respond to government requests for information about the trip, and that the penalties conceivably could include confiscation of the footage and criminal prosecution. “The lawyers are cautioning me to not treat this as a joke, which was my initial reaction.”

If the Cuba inquiry put the spotlight back on Moore himself, the filmmaker says that wasn’t his intention.

“I’m not going to be the one sticking my neck out here,” he says. “People are going to have to come along. They are not going to be able to say, ‘Let Mike go after this. We’ll come along later when it looks safe.’ And I don’t need to convince the American public that there is something wrong here. I am hoping to inspire them in some way, to become active, and to do something.”

john.horn@latimes.com

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Young Gifted & Super Black 12 June 07

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There are a few things I’d like to take some time and share with you guys…somehow it all ties together (as it normally does).

First of all I’d like to give props to Me’Shell N’dege’Ocello for putting on a ridiculously dope show this past Saturday in San Francisco (right down the street from the crib, walk to a jammy jam? Blessings).

I’m liking homegirl’s “new & improved” performer/self.

I’ve seen Me’Shell on a number of occasions where I felt kind of ripped off (Bitter tour, Cookie tour, Spirit Music Jamia tour) due to her clear disatisfaction about whatever…it made for bad shows. I’ve also seen her give completely killer live shows (Peace Beyond Passion tour), so recognize that I’m no masochist…she’s just kind of hit or miss live.

Well…don’t miss her now. The entire ethos of her latest live incarnation is focused on stripped down, muscular, feminine rock/funk/jazz. Considering the corporate take on the rock genre nowadays (whiny,pissy,moany…& a bit too “faggy” for my taste) it was refreshing to see/hear her interpretations of various forms of Black Music (ska,dub,fusion,go-go) through her own distinct sound, with the energy turned up.

Gone were the heavy handed grumpy spoken word passages swamped in swirly femme-jazz. Me’Shell was channelling simultaneously Miles Davis genre pushing fusion, as well as the sounds of The Police & Return to Forever.

Now if you turn on your local black radio station, you’d be hard pressed to find anything that even remotely suggests or refrences all of the information I’ve given you about a maverick artist such as this woman.
Which again urges me to beg not just Black folks, but everbody to question, “who’s programming your entertainment?”

It’s getting easier to use your choice and your voice.

I also got to see a surprise show from none other than Dave Chappelle last night here in San Francisco (props to Carmen,Sean & the ABC School ) at the Punchline Comedy Club.

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Oddly enough I was watching the Block Party dvd when Sean called me about the ABC School annual benefit @ the Punchline . We chatted for a solid ten minutes before he slipped in the fact that Chappelle would be performing an unscheduled show after the ABC School Benefit (which kicked ass as well)…of course it was already sold out…but yeah…(did I mention that it was Sean who came through with the Chappelle hook up on 11/06/05 ??? Well yesterdays date was 06/11/07, and yes indeed I was wearing the exact same outfit,n*gg*!!! ((psyche)) But that schitt is weird,yo and someone’s inverted birthday all over again).

So yeah, Chappelle killed it. He suggested that the “game” being played on the American public by “whomever” (*cough* old rich white guys *cough*) could be peeped in Iceberg Slim’s “Pimp”. Solid analysis, funny analysis, on point analysis.

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And since we’re talking about books…get yr ass over to your favorite independent bookstore and pick up a copy of Brian Coleman’s “Check The Technique”.

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This book is the extended remix to “Rakim Told Me“, and adds & subtracts from the original . The format has artist talking about the making of their seminal albums in Hip-Hop’s “Golden Age” of the late ’80’s, early ’90’s.

Where Rakim Told Me covered some straight up obscure artists going from urban obscurity to becoming the first wave of one of the most popular art forms in the world. Check The Technique ups the ante with more popular acts The Fugees, Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, the Pharcyde, the Beastie Boys & the Roots show up in this one whereas Ultramagnetic M.C.’s, Mantronix, The Jungle Brothers, The D.O.C. & Dana Dane end up on the editing room floor. But not to worry, because you still have the compelling tales of Public Enemy, MC Lyte, EPMD, Biz Markie, Geto Boys, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Digital Underground, Boogie Down Productions, RUN DMC and so many others taking you back to when they put the Boom & the Bap with the Bip.

If you’re a fan of HIP-HOP this book is not to be missed.

So there it is…

A skimming of the surface of some of the things that keep me a young gifted & super black individual.

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