Some Countries take the War on Drugs very seriously

Although I’m not a fan of the death penalty, you have to respect the gangsta of a country that says “You will not transport, distribute, or sell drugs in our country”. Apparently America, if you actually plan to win a war on drugs, you have to do *something* to stop the drugs from entering your country. Something, that is, besides allow, aid in, and profit from the transportation of drugs into your country. Who knew??

From Drug smuggler’s fate sealed
Australian state official makes last-ditch plea to save man’s life

Wednesday, November 23, 2005; Posted: 11:38 a.m. EST (16:38 GMT)

CANBERRA, Australia (Reuters) — Nothing more can be done to save an Australian drug smuggler due to be executed in Singapore next week, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said amid calls for Australians to boycott companies linked to the city-state.

Howard said the planned December 2 hanging of 25-year-old Nguyen Tuong Van — who was convicted by Singapore of trying to smuggle 400 grams (0.9 pound) of heroin from Cambodia — could now only be stopped by the Singapore government.

Lawyers for Nguyen asked the Australian government on Monday to take the case to the United Nations International Court of Justice, but Howard said the court has no jurisdiction and that there was no point giving Nguyen’s mother — Kim Nguyen — any false hope.

“She is a dear woman who is understandably feeling completely desolate and distressed and I wished I could have found it within my executive power to have done something, but it is a matter for the government of Singapore,” Howard told reporters during a visit to Pakistan late on Tuesday.

Nguyen’s mother, who privately met Howard last week, and his twin brother visited him in Singapore on Tuesday. Australia has said Nguyen, who is from the southern city of Melbourne, was carrying drugs to help his brother pay off debts to loan sharks.

Australia asked for clemency on the grounds that Nguyen had cooperated and could be a witness in future drug cases.

Victoria state Attorney General Rob Hulls plans to travel to Singapore later on Wednesday in a last-ditch plea for Nguyen’s life and is due to meet Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee on Thursday.

Opposition Labor leader Kym Beazley said that while it was unlikely an appeal to the International Court of Justice would be successful, Australia should still proceed with the case.

“It’s not simply just about winning — it’s about putting on a bit of pressure,” Beazley told reporters on Wednesday.

A television straw poll showed on Wednesday that 43 percent of Australians believed Nguyen’s case should be taken to the International Court of Justice, while 48 percent agreed with Howard that nothing more could be done.

Internet lobby group said nearly 6,000 Australians have e-mailed Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, while Amnesty International has received several thousand text messages supporting its campaign opposing Nguyen’s hanging.

Although Howard has dismissed calls for trade sanctions to be imposed on Singapore over the case, human rights campaigners have suggested Australians boycott companies linked to the city-state.

“There can be a consumer strike — that is Australians can decide not to purchase products made in Singapore or services offered by the Singaporean government,” human rights lawyer Tim Robertson told Australian Broadcasting Corp. television.

“Most of the major companies in Singapore are in fact owned directly or indirectly by the government there.”

Howard said he would not raise Nguyen’s case at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta this week.

Copyright 2005 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Last Update: Thursday, December 1, 2005. 7:00am (AEDT)
Family, friends prepare to farewell Nguyen

It is now roughly 24 hours until convicted Australian drug trafficker Van Nguyen will be executed in Changi Prison.

Nguyen will spend his last full day alive seeing friends and family, as well as his two lawyers who have flown in from Melbourne.

He will be executed in around 24 hours.

His mother, brother and friends will be granted extended visiting hours today.

The last of his legal team, Julian McMahon, flew in from Melbourne late last night.

He and lawyer Lex Lasry will say goodbye to the 25-year-old this morning.

Mr Lasry says Nguyen is in good spirits, has been overwhelmed by all the support, and is ready to face his death.

Nguyen’s mother is still waiting to hear if she will be able to hug him one last time.

She will see her son for the last time this evening.
Sovereign right

Meanwhile Singapore has called on Australia to respect its sovereign right to apply its laws.

Singapore’s High Commissioner to Australia, Joseph Koh, says his country must apply the laws equally to foreigners and its own citizens.

Mr Koh says there have been many myths raised in the debate surrounding the mandatory death sentence.

He says the death penalty has been shown to deter drug traffickers and Nguyen’s punishment fits the crime.

Mr Koh says he hopes Australians will respect his country’s right to impose the death penalty for serious crimes.

“I think the law is legitimised if it is supported by the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans,” he said.

Mr Koh says he has been touched by the pain and anguish of Nguyen’s mother but if Singapore wavers, many more families would be shattered by drugs.

He also says his country has noted a request from the Federal Government to allow Nguyen’s mother, Kim, to hug her son before his execution.

i’m in pain.

my aunt died on saturday.

for a foolish 36+ hours i convinced myself (with the help of self-medication) that because 1) i’ll be home for Christmas in 3 weeks and 2) flight prices are flipping astronomical and 3) my mother has my little sister for support although my aunt is the first of her 10 siblings to pass, i could get by without going home for my aunt’s services. fortunately, as my head came out of a cloud late sunday night i came to my senses.

my aunt Christine is one of the few people that I have left that still told me that she loved me. she was always quick to compliment me and help me whenever she could, whether i asked her to our not. over the course of 5 years of sporadic visits home, i sat in the audience pews at church and noticed each time i looked up at her in the choir stand that she was getting smaller and smaller. stupidly, i think early on i may have commended her for finally losing that spare tire that most black women complain about for most of their lives. her hair thinned and changed colors, and i attributed it to age. (i often calculated the age of my family by using my grandparent’s 1933 marriage date for reference.) she has always been pretty quiet, and when she did speak, she’s always been soft spoken. she called me Neicey and often referred to me as Nikki (a good number of my family does) and that’s always been ok with me although it aggitates the hell out of me when other people do. she has my grandmother’s middle name and I’ve always enjoyed the ring of “Christine Corene”.

several years ago, my aunt lost her oldest son, who she buried near my grandfather’s, and later my grandmother’s, graves. earlier this year she lost her oldest daughter. i didn’t make it home for that service, although it pained me when i remembered how many people told me that gwen and i acted alike. i’d heard through the family grapevine that my aunt had been a bit estranged from her youngest son, who is 1 or 2 years younger than me, for reasons unknown. from time to time i considered the anguish that my aunt must feel, losing her children one by one in some manner or another, including those who moved out and started their own families.

although i’m not positve, i imagine that my aunt lived alone before she became weak and sick. a few months ago, my mother called and told me that my aunt had been admitted to the hospital for heart trouble, but that she would be fine and not to worry at all. she was later released and readmitted and released again last week to her younger daughter’s home. i think about my cousin renee and i remember how when i was much much younger she was the constant jokester and how now, years later, she’s her family’s matriarch.

i consider the hours she must have sat by her mother’s side, held her hand, and began mourning.

for me, the regrets have just arrived. i regret not going home when i first heard she was sick, i would have wanted to see her when she knew that i was there rather than the alternative. i regret not going home to visit my family more often altogether. shit, i regret living 1,000+ miles away. i regret never being close to some of my family members, and i regret the growing distance between me and others. i regret not having any type of written record of all of the stories that my granddaddy told me when i was little, or the legends that others told me about him – like how he beat the hell out of my aunt Christine’s ex-husband when he found out that the husband was beating on her.

i’m going home on friday to be with my family. my love for my aunt is not past tense and i know that her love for me will always be with me. tif has been very supportive and i really appreciate him for it. i lucked up on an acceptible itenerary that cost less money than i possessed. yesterday he suggested that i need to consider what i’ll do when i really cannot make it home. now i’m wondering, what in life could cause me to be unable to make it home?

i hope i never know.

“Sensual Woman” by Herbaliser

To become aware of my own sensuality,
I first become fully aware of my own tactile sense.
In dim light, I close my eyes and remove my clothes.

Do I lose his respect for being so wild?
Hardly. He treats me like a rare and precious jewel.
And he goes through the day proud of the fact, that with me,
He is the world’s most imaginative lover.

Men pick amazing places for sexual adventure.
The wildest adventure proposed to me was in a bathtub which was full of Jello!
All I could think of, was how many boxes it would take?
What would be the most alluring colour?
The most delicious flavour?
And how could that affect our oral explarations?
If the Jello gets firm, would I bounce?

As you look around for what’s new and different,
Remember these three important weapons that should be learned to keep a man in love.
Imagination, sensitivity to his moods and desires,
And the courage to experiment with new sexual techniques,
Enticing situations and places.

Lovemaking is physical, and so its its language.
Suck, cock, fuck, and prick, are not bad words.
Used in the bedroom by lovers to describe parts of the body,
And physical activities,
They are very proper indeed, and they distinctly enhance sex.
Overhaul a prudish attitude.
Don’t whistle and stick up your nose, at least, not up in the air.

History of Central High School

As recorded in “The Red Man Handbook for Central Warriors”
(Student Government, 1945)

In September, 1911, Central High School, an outgrowth of the Memphis High School, opened at the site which it still occupies on the southeast corner of Bellevue ad Linden. Members of the present (1945) faculty who came from Memphis High School to Central are Miss Haszinger and Miss McGrath. Mr. Nicholas Williams was the first principal, and Mr. Samuel Hixon the first assistant principal. During the years from 1911 to 1918, Mr. Williams, Mr. Hixon, Mr. W.S. Dugger and Mr. C.E. Smith successively held the office of principal. Our own Mr. Charles P. Jester became principal in 1918.

In 1918, during the influenza epidemic, the school was closed for a month and used as a hospital to relieve congestion in the crowded city hospitals; at this time many of the teachers served as Red Cross workers.

Also in 1918, as a result of the policy of the Federal Government in establishing R.O.T.C. units in schools and colleges throughout the country, such a unit was established at Central. The school was very active in World War work during the First World War. The faculty and students sold thousands of dollars worth of bonds both in the school and on the streets. They participated in all sorts of drives. Many distinguished guests visited Central during the war. A large Service Flag was kept on the stage, and for each one of “our boys” that died they changed a star to gold. our school paper was one of the few in the country that continued to be published throughout the war. In 1924 Central, the first city school to introduce student government, adapted its present system. The Sigma Lambda Chi Chapter of the National Honor Society was chartered at Central in 1932. Among the other organizations are the H Club, started in 1911; the Photoplay Club, in 1933; the Spanish Club, in 1941; and the Speech Club, in 1930.

In athletics Central boys have always been outstanding, especially in football, basketball, baseball, track, swimming, tennis and golf. Central students have also won many honors in other activities, such as music, art, speech, and debating. The annual Latin Tournament for Shelby County has drawn many contestants and numerous winners from Central have carried away top honors.

In recent years many improvements have been made at Central. Perhaps the most important of these is the adequate library. The Central Gardens Club has been responsible for the landscaping of the school campus and has each year planted flowers, shrubs, and trees, using for this purpose money obtained through the annual magazine drives. In 1939 at a cost of over $20,000 our building was brought up to date by installation of adequate lighting, new auditorium seats, and improved heating system.

February 1937, brought a sudden change in activities at Central. Because of the great flood, the school, for two weeks became a refugee camp. All desks were removed and over 1100 cots put in their places. Again teachers served as Red Cross workers. Many students volunteered their services.

A unique feature of Central is our plan for Book Store scholarships, begun in 1928. We have raised money not only to give scholarships each year, but also to establish a loan fund available to our graduates to help them continue in college.

During the thirty-one years of its existence thousands of students have graduated from Central High School. Each year a great majority of these graduates have entered universities and colleges in all parts of the United States. Many of them have been awarded scholarships because of their outstanding scholastic records at Central. Reports from the colleges indicate that those graduates, as well as the thousands of others who have entered the business world, are still doing good work, and living up to the ideals and integrity which they learned to value at Central high School.

In the year 1941, the Southern Association of Student Government, of which Central is the founder, held its annual convention i Memphis. Over 400 delegates from fourteen different states attended. The whole school pitched in and made the convention a great success. Distinguished speakers from all over the country came to Memphis to address the students.

At the outbreak of World War II, the Bookstore began to sell Defense Savings Bonds and Stamps as an aid in the national war effort, selling in the school terms of 1944-1945 alone over $80,000 worth of Bonds and Stamps. Collections were taken for the China Relief Fund and other worthy causes. As before, Central tried to do its part in the nation’s ar effort. Many boys from the school entered the service. Central also took part in the registration of men and boys for the draft. School as dismissed two Mondays during the spring term and the teachers registered men that were eligible. When the Government started to ration sugar, the schools of the town were again called upon to aid. Central’s faculty, aided by a few student government officers, worked until 9 o’clock rationing sugar to wholesalers and retailers.

In those and other emergencies Central has always made an effort to help out. Always have students been glad to cooperate with the faculty. It is for these reasons that we have one of the best rated school in the South. Let’s all keep it that way.

all of a sudden everybody wants to be “black”

and this is the obligatory day-after-thanksgiving post…

black friday is upon us. the air is electric. the news is even exciting. net flunkies have been stealing sales ads for months and delivering them to their chosen guru to post online and further perpetuate the season of commercialism. on wedneday, a coworker showed me a list of bestbuy’s supposed BLACK FRIDAY sales including a laptop for $379. my 14 year old sister put a laptop on her Christmas/Birthday list and since i’m a sucker for my sister, i decided to check it out. on that day, advertised the same laptop for $999. i asked dude “so you mean to tell me that they’re going to just knock off over $600 on this thing? good luck with that.”

in my ever increasing age, i’ve discovered a certain penchant for shopping. i attribute this mostly to the fact that i make more money than i ever expected to during my career along with my new beauty lady having the habit of making me so damned pretty (shameless narcissm). but chile, i’m cheap. not even frugal. i’m just plain cheap. i do not believe there’s a such thing as full price on anything. clothes, makeup, plane tickets, electronics, cable, water, electricity, NOTHING! consequently, i’m a sucker for a good sale, but it takes more than just a sale offer to turn me on. give me something buy 1 get one free and i’m there. give me buy 1 get one half off, and i’m there to look. give me 50% off of something i’ve had my eye on and its mine instantly. offer me 10% and i’ll wait til it goes on clearance. i don’t buy shit on sale that i wouldn’t at least want when its not marked down.

please be careful people. nothing in life is free. and there’s rarely a such thing as a good deal. if them folk can give it to you for half off, they can surely afford to give it to you for 60% off.

most importantly, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all, let us not forget the “reason for the season”. You don’t have to buy gifts in order to tell someone close to you that you love them. The adults in my family no longer (claim to) exchange gifts. Its got nothing to do with the observance of the birth of Christ or the celebration of life and love amoungst family and loved ones. A hug is much easier to wrap than a dvd player (what the hell does that mean? LOL).

the obligatory thanksgiving post

quiet as its kept, i’m not really into thanksgiving which is why i haven’t made an effort to get home (memphis) for the bootleg paid-time-off day since my freshman year of college. plane tickets are sky high at this time of year, and unwaveringly i go (and will continue to go) home for Christmas a short 3 weeks later. i love my family, they love me too. i don’t even think they have a big dinner together anymore. and since my household has never been into leftovers, i really don’t think there’s any last thursday dinner at all.

but anyway, on to the point. i wanna tell you what i’m thankful for this year besides the usual love, life, and happiness.

* i’m thankful that we moved to a bigger place that actually has secured entrance. i was getting tired of getting up in the middle of the night and stalking around the house like aeon flux only to find out that it was just the wind rattling the windows. Tif’s almost had has ass shot off 3 or 4 times, so I’m sure he’s thankful too.

* i’m thankful that we finally started to blog.

* i’m thankful that i’m not single. and contextually i’m thankful that my blog isn’t filled with sad, sorry stories about how much it sucks to be single. if i’m ever single again, i won’t waste precious blog space on the past.

* i’m thankful for other folk’s blogs, because i finally have insight into the minds of crazy people in their own words. taking a casual random sample of people’s blogs has helped me realize that EVERYONE has issues, even those people that outwardly have it all together. everyone’s walking around insecure and wrapped up in their own neurosis.

* i’m (guiltily) thankful that my stylist got himself arrested and that i was finally able to switch to Nikki, my new Beauty Lady!

* i’m thankful that the patch hasn’t killed me.

* i’m thankful for On-Demand and for whole seasons of shows that come on dvd like Arrested Development, Barbershop, Weeds, Entourage, and a few others.

* i’m thankful that the cafeteria at my job now serves Lox and Bagels for breakfast to help satisfy my inner Jew.

* i’m thankful that i can safely say that i don’t have any *enemies*. also, i’m thankful that i got to trim some social fat by considering some folks “dead to me”. Buahahhahahaah

* i’m thankful that i’m comfortable with my body and my size. now if i could just get a handle on these ashy legs. which reminds me how thankful i am to finally have found a pair of knee high boots that fit my voluptuous calves.

* i’m thankful for netflix. i’ve learned a lot about myself and my tastes.

* i’m thankful that i found a way to record the Wendy Williams show online so that i can laff my ass off when the mofos at work insist on getting in the way of my personal life.

* i’m thankful for the cheifers that i know. they’ve taught me a lot and i wouldn’t be able to self-medicate without them.

* thank you for my loyal readers. both of you have been an inspiration to me. one of you i can pay back with sex. *smile*

* i’m thankful that its 2:41pm and that i’m being released from work at 3pm today.

also, has anyone heard the thing about how the pilgrims decided to land at plymoth rock primarily because they had run out of beer and didn’t want to go and look for shit else?

“Note on Commercial Theatre” by Langston Hughes

You’ve taken my blues and gone—
You sing’em on Broadway
And you sing’em in Hollywood Bowl,
And you mixed’em up with symphonies
And you fixed ‘em
So they don’t sound like me.
Yep, you done taken my blues and gone.

You also took my spirituals and gone.
You put me in Macbeth and Carmen Jones
And all kinds of Swing Mikados
And in everything but what’s about me—
But someday somebody’ll
Stand up and talk about me,
And write about me—
Black and beautiful—
And sing about me,
And put on plays about me!
I reckon it’ll be
Me myself!

Yes, it’ll be me.

chicken soup for the shopaholic’s soul

lately, i’ve begun to fear that i’ve become a shopaholic. i’ve been “shopping” up to 4 times a week for shit i don’t need or really even want. i recognized the increase in frivilous spending quite some time ago, but it didn’t begin to bother me until i realized that Christmas is like tomorrow (!!!) and i still haven’t started buying anyone but myself anything. mind you, i’ll never be considered a “shopaholic”. these hauls average about $50-$75 bucks per trip (although over the summer i went on a spree that had a comma in it). and i still spend more money online than i do in real life.

but lucky for me, an unsuspecting stranger has helped to put an end to my selfish, luxist shopping campaign. this past saturday a friend and i were stopped in nine west where i had previously laid out over $300 a couple of weeks ago. my friend wanted to try on some knee high boots that i swore fit those of us with sexily curvaceous legs (sorry to the stick figures out there, i wouldn’t trade my plus-sized calves for anything). when the misguided young store clerk returned with the boots in my friend’s size, she also brought an extra box of shoes that she told my friend were “great with jeans” and were on sale for only $29.99! piquing our curiousity, she opened the box with a flourish and set them on the floor next to the boots.

ugly shoes
Click pic for a better look at these shits

my friend and i just stared into the box on the floor, neither of us wanting to comment, just in case the other one of us actually took a liking to the pair of atrocities she had been given. finally i bust out laffing, and pulled out my phone to take a picture. “what the hell was she thinking?” my friend snickered. we both looked across the room at the saleslady to see if maybe ashton kutcher was peeking from behind her. neither of us moved, not wanting to betray our disgust. “it was a good try tho,” i said “how much did she say they were?” “i’m pretty sure she said a number over $2 and that’s just too much”. we fell over laughing. its actually a good thing that the boots didn’t fit my friend very well so we wouldn’t have to give that saleswench any commission. anyway, that did it for me. i guess maybe i had developed the “i’ll buy anything on sale” beady eyed glazed over look and having to stare at those ugmo sale slides shocked me out of my shopping jones, i think. i’ll know later tonight when i go out this evening to help a girl i know pick out the right holiday party shoes. as long as she finds her shoes, and i don’t find another 3 pair, i’ll know i’m cured.

“That Particular Time” by Alanis Morrissette

my foundation was rocked my tried and true way to deal was to vanish
my departures were old I stood in the room shaking in my boots
at that particular time love had challenged me to stay
at that particular moment I knew not run away again
that particular month I was ready to investigate with you
at that particular time

we thought a break would be good for four months we sat and vacillated
we thought a small time apart would clear up the doubts that were abounding
at that particular time love encouraged me to wait
at that particular moment it helped me to be patient
that particular month we needed time to marinate in what “us” meant

I’ve always wanted for you what you’ve wanted for yourself
and yet I wanted to save us high water or hell
and I kept on ignoring the ambivalence you felt
and in the meantime I lost myself
in the meantime I lost myself
I’m sorry I lost myself¡-.i am

you knew you needed more time time spent alone with no distraction
you felt you needed to fly solo and high to definewhat you wanted
at that particular time love encouraged me to leave
at that particular moment I knew staying with you meant deserting me
that particular month was harder than you’d believe but I still left
at that particular time

School concert song insults blacks, dad says

By Shawn D. Lewis / The Detroit News
A bale of trouble?

OAK PARK — China Montgomery simply wants to sing. It is her first love, not including math and Barbie dolls.

But when the Anderson Middle School student showed her parents the lyrics to a song her school choir is scheduled to sing in a concert Wednesday, they were appalled.

The title: “Pick a Bale of Cotton.”

To China’s parents, the song glorifies slavery in a shameful era of U.S. history. It is called an “American folk song” on the music sheet the children are learning.

Greg Montgomery, China’s father, is African-American. He appealed to everyone from the school’s principal to the superintendent of the Berkley School District to pull the song from the concert. The school is mostly white.

There are several versions of the song, including at least one with a racial slur repeated twice in one verse. The slur does not appear in the version the 30 choir students — six of them African-American — were asked to sing.

When Montgomery’s pleas to pull the song from the concert were met with what he described as resistance, he decided to remove his daughter, 11, from the concert.

“We just buried Mother Parks, and this is happening only a few weeks later,” he said. “It’s mind-boggling that people don’t understand sensitive issues.

“When I told my 81-year-old Aunt Minnie Ridout, she told me to tell the school administrators to come see her back,” Montgomery said. Her back is still affected by the countless hours she spent bending to pick cotton as a girl, he said.

“She said she was not jumping around and singing while she was picking cotton in Alabama and the Mississippi Delta as a young girl.”

The school principal, Steve Frank, was not available to comment. The vice principal, Jim Cowdry, said he only knew “bits and pieces” of the issue and deferred to Superintendent Nancy Campbell, who deferred to Gwen Ahern, communications supervisor for the Berkley School District.

“We used to sing that song when I was in school during the ’50s,” she said. “It’s like a Southern type of folk song. I remember it being perky. It was more of a song that people just sang for fun.”

Ahern then proceeded to sing the song over the telephone.

“This is going to be a folk music concert, and children will be performing songs from Germany, England, Mexico and other places.”

Asked if she knew about the Montgomerys’ concerns, Ahern said yes. “As far as I know, they’re going ahead with the concert,” she said. She added that district officials will study the origins of the song.

The children will be singing, in part, “Jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton. Gotta jump down, turn around, Oh Lordie, pick a bale a day.”

Dr. Eugene Rogers, president of the North Oakland County NAACP, called the situation unbelievable.

“Some people think they should be able to do anything, and we should be able to adjust and not take it personally,” he said. “But I’ve lived through all of this, and I’m still living through it.”

Rogers said it is insensitive to proceed with the song. “People shouldn’t have to be subjected to this, especially our children.”

Geena Guice, a Wayne County psychotherapist who works with African-American children on issues including self-esteem, said the song perpetuates the stereotype of the happy black slave.

“I am shocked that educators of our children would have so little concern about cultural diversity or support for a developing adolescent’s self-image.”

Guice said being asked to sing a cheerful song about slavery marginalizes a black child. “It singles her out in a derogatory manner, and would definitely challenge her identity development and self-esteem.”

China said she’d never heard the song before her class started learning it. But it didn’t take long for her to figure out what the song is about.

“The first day that we got it, I didn’t understand that it was a bad song, but about two or three days later I finally understood what the words meant,” China said. “I understood that it wasn’t a nice song to sing because it’s talking about African-American people.

“They were bringing back the memories of how African-Americans picked cotton, and it wasn’t a good memory. It was disrespectful to African-Americans.”

Later Friday, Ahern said she spoke with the superintendent and assistant superintendent.

“We’re going to investigate the origin of the song to see what the climate was at that time,” she said. “We want to see if it was uplifting or derogatory, and then we’ll decide.”

Asked if she knew there was a version with a racial slur, Ahern said yes.

“It’s been an American folk song forever,” she said, “and it’s been sung in schools forever.”

Karen Bouffard contributed to this report. You can reach Shawn D. Lewis at (248) 647-8825 or

Song lyrics

According to the Smithsonian Institution, “Pick a Bale” frequently was used as a dance tune during the slave era and some versions included a racial epithet. Here are partial lyrics:

“Ya wanna jump down turn around (Pick a bale of cotton) Do ya wanna jump down turn around (Pick a bale a day) Do ya wanna jump down turn around (Pick a bale of cotton) Do ya wanna jump down turn around (Pick a bale a day) Whoa whoa Lordie (Pick a bale of cotton) Whoa whoa Lordie (Pick a bale a day)