Archive for April 2015

Like I said before, this is The New Civil Rights Era   Leave a comment

 

Abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman fought to end Slavery during the 1800s. Martin Luther King fought to end Jim Crowe Laws, which was the American equivalent of Apartheid. August 2014 was when The New Civil Rights Era truly began.

Pastor James H. Bryant

 

This is one of the leaders of The New Era at least for right now. The comparisons being made between Pastor Bryant and Dr. King have been going on since Monday though it looks like the media hasn’t picked it up yet (no surprise). Dr. King started out as a small town pastor and ended up becoming the face of the Civil Rights Movement not by design but by necessity. He came in at a time he was greatly needed to bring calm and to help (then) young people channel their energy to bring out change by using peaceful methods.

Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton were supposed to carry the torch in the 70s and 80s but they were proven to not be up to the task. The movement needed a strong voice willing to talk not just to the black community but to the world.

It finally came this past week when Pastor Bryant announced he would be doing Freddie Grey’s funeral. On Monday he came out in front of the media and called for calm on the streets of Baltimore, telling young people to come to his church so he can teach them how the protest peacefully. Yesterday, he was instrumental in bringing rival gangs together and become a part of the solution, not part of the problem. Last night, he held a town hall meeting at his church for the public to talk about their concerns and their issues with the police.

Like Dr. King, Pastor Bryant didn’t ask to take on the role he is now in. The people of Baltimore will be looking to him for guidance. Let me pause and set something straight: I’m not saying he’s the new Dr. King. Only he is stepping into a role very similar to MLK.

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Democratic Presidental Candidate Hillary Clinton made it clear in comments she made this morning the system is broken and is stacked unfairly against African American men. President Obama said in comments yesterday federal legislation needs to be passed to stop the cycle. The Left has been loud and clear. Other than Maryland Governor Larry Ford (Republican), the Right has been silent. Governor Ford moved his office from Annapolis to Baltimore in 2 days’ time so he can better help its citizens. Major props for that.

No surprise. When it comes to Civil Rights, the Right has always been reluctant to act. Lyndon B. Johnson waited until Bloody Sunday in Selma to pass voter registration laws. Abraham Lincoln waited until the Civil War in a stalemate before he freed the slaves. So yeah. If the Right wants any hope of improving their image, they know what they need to do. As a reminder, this is HISTORY being made. The last thing they want is once again being recorded as being on the sidelines. They need to get out there and show they can be a part of the solution.

…I will grade the media’s coverage so far in a separate post.

 

Trust between Police and Minority Communities are Important   Leave a comment

Eric Garner (New York City), Mike Brown (Ferguson, MO) and now Freddie Grey (Baltimore). Three black men who died at the hands of police officers in the last 8 months. For once, the pundits and community organizers are on the same page: We can no longer call these killings isolated incidents. I’ll stop short of saying “it’s open season for black men by law enforcement” but the facts speak for themselves. We can no longer dismiss testimonies from people across the country as just “You did something to deserve it”.

Context is everything.

 

That said, I’m going to share something that happened with me this past Thursday afternoon. I’d just stepped out of the Bank of America in Cleary Square when a Police SUV pulled up onto the sidewalk inches from the steps of the bank. I was at the bottom of the stairs when the SUV jumped the curb and stopped next to the steps. I jumped back thinking it was going to keep going and motioned for the vehicle to keep going. A police car pulled up a moment later and two cops jumped out. One of them told me they’d just been notified moments ago the bank was being robbed.

I’m going to pause it there to tell you what I was thinking in that moment: Is the suspect still inside and are they armed? My second thought was to stand right there and wait. I wasn’t thinking “I’m black and these cops are white” (which was the case) . I wasn’t thinking “Do they think it was me?” and mind you I had my backpack with me. In that moment, my only thought was my own mortality. I only saw them as cops doing their jobs.

So I waited for about 3 minutes before the all-clear was given. The cops didn’t ask me anything. No guns were drawn. As I walked back toward the square a couple black guys asked me what happened and if I was ok. I’m sure that for both them and the cops, what happened in Baltimore was fresh in their minds.

Even so, my main point is what happened in Baltimore, New York and Ferguson would not have happened in Boston. Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis deserves alot of credit for working hard to repair the culture of distrust between police and minority communities. When he took the job, the first thing he did was get officers out of patrol cars and walking around the streets of Boston. New Officers and Veteran Officers were encouraged to talk to community members and visit businesses to build thrust. It worked. While Ed Davis’ work during the Marathon Bombing investigation and the ensuing manhunt is what he will always be known for nationwide, his work to close the rift between police and minority communities should not be overlooked. In fact, it should be used as a blueprint nationwide.

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Boston was one of the few American cities that didn’t burn during the 1968 riots when Martin Luther King was asassinated. When Baltimore burned, the damage was never restored and the businesses that were destroyed never came back to this day. A state of the art shopping center was built at New Market Square in Dorchester in 1995. Stores have come and gone but it is still there 20 years after being built. A new Commuter Rail Station was built and Four MBTA bus routes were rerouted to service the shopping center that contributes millions in commerce and job to the neighborhood.

To say there is a vested interest in giving the people of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan what they need would be a bit of an understatement. I can’t say the same about New York and Baltimore. If anything, Baltimore city and state leaders should be held accountable for failing to meet the basic needs of ALL of their citizens. Boston definitely isn’t perfect but there is alot it can teach nearby major cities.

 

Hillary Clinton FINALLY makes it official   Leave a comment

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She will be the next President of the United States. The Campiagn and Election are just formalities.

For once in a long time, I’m not being sacrastic. On the subject of politics, anyway. Putting partisan politics aside, she literally IS the best person for the job at this time. The “best” the Republican Party has to offer (so far) are all Tea Party-backed right wing extremists: Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum. All three like Clinton are former Senators.

Jeb Bush, who is pulling a Hillary (teasing the media before he throws his hat in the election) literally has his last name working against him: His brother George technically wasn’t elected in 2000, looked the other way while his inner circle fixed the 2004 election in his favor and left the country trillions of dollars in debt with two wars by the time he left office. His father George’s record isn’t much better for that matter. And he is the Republican Party’s best candidate.

While the Republican Party was quick to point out H. Clinton and Bill Clinton’s faults, they pale in comparison to the war crimes and blatant civil rights violations committed by the Republican-controlled Congress and White House over the last 15 years. Unlike 1992, the new generation of voters remembers 2000-2008. They lived it. TRUST ME, they DO NOT want to go back to that.

While my preference for 2016 was an Independent with popular support getting in the White House, as of right now Hillary Clinton is our best shot at avoiding this country’s implosion. Paul, Cruz and Santorum are all anti-establishment and that’s fine with me. What I do have a problem with is their affiliation with the Tea Party and their extremist viewpoints. I actually don’t have a problem with Jeb Bush as a candidate but like I said before, he’s got his last name working against him. He has no chance of actually getting elected and deep down, I’m sure he knows that.

So, now that the Election Cycle has picked up I will begin my usual self-imposed TV Blackout for the next 18 months. I already know who I’m voting for so…yeah.

So, White Hat’s been convicted (No Surprise) 2 Years Later   Leave a comment

You know who I’m referring to. The Media’s said his name to death–no pun intended, LOL–for 2 years now so I’ll leave it at that. He was found guilty on all 30 charges against him.

…That’s like losing to all 30 NBA teams in a row XD

All that’s left is to find out if he’ll get life in prison or the death penality. That can go either way though I think he will get Life. For the Death Penality, the jury must vote unanimously. If even one of them disagrees it’s automatic life.

Justice has been done. All that’s left is for the period to be written.

That said, remember that I never used the surviving Boston Marathon Convict’s name in ANY of my blog posts. As I said in the beginning, this is something I feel very strongly about.  I’ll say the same two things now that I said then:

  1. White Hat’s name should NOT be remembered. He should be forgotten to history once the sentencing phase is completed next week. The only people who should care are the victims, their families, the suspect’s family, law enforcement and/or the Attorneys involved.
  2. Four people were murdered and 178 people were maimed for no reason. THEY are the ones who should NEVER be forgotten.

(Left to Right from the top): Kristine Campbell, Martin Richard, Sean Collier and Ling Zi-Lu

White Hat and Black Hat’s actions were prettymuch Boston’s 9/11. The people of Boston are a hardy bunch. We are the epitome of what it means to defy expectations. It’s what we do.

This is the last time I will talk about the Marathon Bombing on my blog. I will do what those who were directly effected by that day can never do and move on.

AB2015 Days 2 and 3 Recap: The Show of Shows   Leave a comment

Ah, good times ^_^

Or rather, that’s what I wish I could say about Saturday night. I talked about this on the Anime Boston forums as well as Facebook but due to technical difficulties with the equipment I ended up having to cut 45 minutes worth of content from the panel. Despite the handicap, I did the panel anyway. As I told the Tech Staff in the room, the show must go on.

And it did.

I was too busy being upset with my technical problems to remember to take a picture with the two lucky winners of the Pokemon OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire games I gave away during the panel. That said, I’m going to do things a little different and do a VIDEO recap of the panel later this week.

 

After the panel I went home, got 3 and a half hours of sleep and then was off to the Con for Panel #2. Like the night before, I went to the room 30 minutes before its start time. Unfortunately, also like the night before, there some logistical problems and we couldn’t get into the room until about 10 minutes before the panel was set to begin. By “we”, I mean me and my 4 copanelists. Distorted Genjits returned as Nagisa Furukawa only she was also joined by some mutual friends of ours. Everyone except me cosplayed someone from Clannad. We had two Tomoyas and a Kotomi in addition to Nagisa. There was also a Kyou, Fuko, Akio and Sanae cosplayer in the audience. It was AWESOME!

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So, after the panel wrapped up I wandered around for a bit.

Then I went to Pokespiracies, which went from 1:45 to 2:45. Huge waste of my time. It was an exercise in stupidity. The 3-person panel focused on talking about their bizarre, nonsensical theories on various mechanics and stuff from the Pokemon Universe. The random Sylveon gag they kept pulling every 2-3 slides made no sense whatsoever and was very unfunny. I seriously hope that panel doesn’t come back next year.

After that travesty I went to Closing Ceremonies where I saw this:

All kinds of awesome ^_^

As is the tradition, the AMV Winners for the year got an encore showing after the Credits. Here’s my two favorite vids:

Repeat Stuff – Judge’s Choice

Warning: Video NSFW and not kid-friendly.

Anime 404 – Best Editing

Warning: Video NSFW and not kid-friendly.

 

Finally, the theme for AB2016 was also announced:

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Next year’s theme will be SPORTS!

I have some ideas on panels, too. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Clannad: The Place Where Wishes Come True (90 Minutes): It WILL be back for the 5th year in a row at AB2016. As it happens, there are some sports-related stuff that takes place in the Anime. I will play some of the relevant clips next year ^_^
  • Baseball: Made in America, Played in Japan (30 Minutes): A new theme-specific panel. I will talk about the huge popularity the game of baseball has in Japan. A love of the game that has been featured in various anime.
  • Pokemon: 20 Years Later 2.0 (2 Hours): Not gonna lie, I thought it sucked this year. And I’m the guy who ran it. If it’s not done right, it’s better not to do it at all. Though, in my case I didn’t have a choice other than to do it with technical difficulties. It WILL be back, I will be giving away another physical copy of both Pokemon OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire (unless the next gen games are announced between now and then, which I doubt) AND I will also be giving away some eShop cards next time. Look forward to it!
  • Persona 4: Pursuing My True Self (60 Minutes): It was waitlisted for this year so I will resubmit the panel for next year ^_^
  • Tales of Symphonia: 10 Years Later (60 Minutes): It’s the panel I submitted last year but later decided not to do. After the poor excuse for a Tales panel I attended this weekend, I’ve decided to bring it to AB2016!
  • Fire Emblem in the United States: 13 years Later (60 Minutes Later): It’s been 13 years since Fire Emblem saw its first US release on the Game Boy Advance. At this panel, we take a look at all of the Fire Emblem games that were released in North America including the recently announced Fire Emblem IF.

…Six panels is ALOT, I know =O

I can see the Clannad, Pokemon and Symphonia ones getting approved no problem. The rest depending on what other folks submit. I’d like to have a repeat of last year where I had multiple panels approved but I was able to request room changes as long as the panels I swapped with each other had the same time length XD

Whew…the one post took me 3 days to complete. Glad I put this post on a timer in advance XD

AB2015 Day 1 Recap: Back to Back Action!   Leave a comment

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…That’s the best way I can think of to describe Friday.

Due to technical difficulties I had with my iPod, I left home 90 minutes later than I planned to. And to add insult to injury, I was only able to get a third of the music on my iPod. The silver lining of course being I don’t do panels on Fridays. Otherwise, I’d have been in serious trouble XD

The delay made me miss Opening Ceremonies. To me, it sets the tone for the weekend-long convention. The consolation is I did get to give my camera and bluetooth speaker a stress test. They passed with flying colors =O

Due to the weather forecast I decided not to go to the Swap Meet last night. When I got back to Hyde Park at around 9:30PM there wasn’t a cloud in the sky (LOL!). I look outside and I see sunshine and no rain. It was forecast to rain from 8:00PM Friday night to 2:00PM this afternoon. That’s ok as I was still able to get all of the Swap deals I made in advance taken care of Friday afternoon. That leaves me with ALOT LESS stuff to carry tonight to the Swap Meet I usually go to ^_^

Now let me talk about the panels I went to:

  • Viz Media and Aniplex were both industry panels. The panelists talked about upcoming Anime and Manga releases. I was disappointed to get confirmation the revived Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, Sailor Moon Crystal and Ranma 1/2 Anime Dubs were prettymuch Hulu exclusive. I asked the Viz Media panel to consider bringing them to Netflix and they dismissively said tell Netflix. I will of course but I suspect Hulu and Viz have an exclusive deal but just didn’t want to say it. I was impressed Aniplex gave Toonami a nice plug letting folks know Sword Art Online airs at 1:00AM (EST) Saturday Night/Sunday Morning. It was also announced the final 3 volumes of the Bleach Manga will be coming to the US sometime this year. Finally, there was confirmation the English DVD/Blu-Ray release of Sword Art Online II will be released as two 13-episode half seasons with the first set coming in June. I gave both panels 3 stars on the Guidebook App.
  • The panel “How to Host a Good Anime Convention Panel” (In all Caps in the Guidebook App) was surprisingly good and informative. As some of you remember, I submitted an application to do a panel like this for AB2015 but it was rejected. Having attended this panel myself, he was clearly the best person for this type of panel and not just because he is a professional. While the panelist didn’t talk about anything I didn’t already know, he did pull back the curtain a little bit and talked about the aspects of running a convention like Anime Boston. I’m talking about the stuff your average congoer never thinks about and griefers never take into consideration. I gave it 5 Stars on the Guidebook App.
  • Tales of Tales was a massive disappointment and it was the panel I’d been looking to seeing. The irony is the previously mentioned panel was the one I’d just come from. It was a panel of 4 people yet only 2 of them talked the whole time. I think it was nerves or lack of preparation or a combination of both. The speakers looked uncomfortable. Listen: I was sitting in the FRONT ROW no more than 3 feet away. They used microphones and I could barely hear them 80% of the time. It was a massive snoozefest for me. They definitely could’ve used their time much better. They spent the first 40 minutes going over all of the flagship Tales games. 25 of those 40 minutes was video clips they likely pulled from You Tube. I’m both mad and relieved I didn’t resubmit my planned Symphonia panel from last year. Mad because of how disappointed I was yet relieved when I think about my panel being rejected in favor of this one. I gave it 1 Star of the Guidebook App.

Oh before I forget, I finally met my artist friend in person in the Artist Alley yesterday. Remember this picture?

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My friend made it for me. Click here to go to her page on Deviant Art.

So by the time you’re reading this, it’s after 6:30PM (EST). I scheduled this post to go live then as I plan to leave for Anime Boston by that time. I will do a recap of Day 2 and my Pokemon Panel as soon as I get home TONIGHT. I will post the recap for tonight’s panel on my Game Blog and my recap of the evening overall on this one. The recap for my Sunday panel and Day 3 overall will come tomorrow.

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