Drug Policy

Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields. Sold in a market down in New Orleans

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The A.P. reports:

Federal agents are seeking to hire Ebonics translators to help interpret wiretapped conversations involving targets of undercover drug investigations.  

Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Michael Sanders said the agency recently sent memos asking companies that provide it translation services to help it find nine translators in the Southeast who are fluent in Ebonics.

Ebonics, which is also known as African American Vernacular English, has been described by the man who coined the term as the combination of English vocabulary with African language structure.

Bonus points to the first commenter who knows the relevance of the headline. (And not just that it's a lyric from Brown Sugar.)

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  1. It was a full page ad in the Ron Paul Survival Report?

  2. Sheeet, bro. DEA mofos think that be Ebonics!

  3. I don’t know the significance of the headline, I’m more interested in what’s directly under it – or, should I say, what’s not under it! Sign your post!

    Also, the Battle of New Orleans took place on the same day that Eli Whitney died, ten years apart.

    1. As an aside, it’s interesting to note that before Whitney’s cotton gin slavery was on the decline. De-seeding cotton was so labor intensive that even with slaves it wasn’t economically viable. It’s funny how a machine often labeled as one of the most labor saving devices and greatest inventions ever contributed so greatly to one of the greatest evils ever.

      1. That machine never cracked a whip or sold a slave. Some historians have made it into a guilt-saving device.

      2. True, and ironically his other invention of interchangeable parts helped give the North an edge in industry and especially weapons production, and thus helped end slavery.

        1. Sorry he didn’t invent interchangeability he merely promoted it.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E…..able_parts

  4. Is the headline suggesting that Mick Jagger would be a good interpreter because of his proclivity for nailing Black chicks?

  5. Is it a lyric from “Brown Sugar”?

    1. Scarred old slaver knows he’s doin’ all right,
      Hear him whip the women just around midnight.

  6. Bonus points to the first commenter who knows the relevance of the headline.

    Pink cadillac!

  7. Ninety years later, Elvis Presley was born. If that helps.

  8. True story: My three year-old daughter and I watched Airplane! two nights ago (one of the free on-demand movies on Bright House this month). I was rocking her to sleep, and she sat and watched the whole thing instead. Crazy.

    Anyway, June Cleaver speaking jive is still one of my favorite moments.

    1. A really great film, turning 30 years old right now.

      Too many great gags to list, but I really like the bit involving pulling eggs out of the woman’s mouth. It’s like an omen from a Greek tragedy. Not a big laugh, but a wonderfully odd and literate gag.

  9. I assume Haiti gained its independence.

    1. At least that should be the relevance, going by Fist of Etiquette’s comment.

      1. Classic mistake. Never go by my comment.

        1. I always go right by your comment. 🙂

  10. Ebonics, which is also known as African American Vernacular English, has been described by the man who coined the term as the combination of English vocabulary with African language structure.

    Ebonics isn’t Gullah.Much of African-American dialect is derived from the English their ancestors learned in America–from white speakers of a SW England variant, IIRC.

  11. The article I read indicated only the ATL DEA office was looking for “Ebonics linguists”. Why don’t the other offices need them?

    1. Cause they’re not as lame.

  12. They be movin’ the brown sugar!
    H, that is..

  13. All That.? Y’all be trippin’.

  14. Bonus points to the first commenter who knows the relevance of the headline. (And not just that it’s a lyric from Brown Sugar.)

    Brown sugar, Rum (made from brown sugar) and slaves were part of the triangular trade with New England, the Caribbean and Africa.

    Note: this trade route is probably a myth as no records exist of a single ship completing it and is only referred to in fiction. It was a piecemeal operation in fact.

    1. I’m not sure where your coming from there Joshua. “Brown sugar” is not a reference to rum is this song.

      1. Fuck I don’t know…

        I hate it when Balko is cryptic.

  15. I assume Haiti gained its independence.

  16. Classic mistake. Never go by my comment.

  17. The article I read indicated only the ATL DEA office was looking for “Ebonics linguists”. Why don’t the other offices need them?

  18. ??? Profit!

  19. Didn’t that part have subtitles? Or was that just in the sequel?

  20. “Bonus points to the first commenter who knows the relevance of the headline. (And not just that it’s a lyric from Brown Sugar.)”

    Is it that “Brown Sugar” is a street name for heroin?

    “Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields. Sold in a market down in New Orleans”

    My second guess was that it’s the job description from a help wanted ad to work at LoneWacko’s Fantasy Camp.

    1. I haven’t heard of that one. “Dog food” and “chow-chow”, yes.

    2. also referenced in “golden brown” by the stranglers. great tune and in the snatch soundtrack.

  21. Bonus points to the first commenter who knows the relevance of the headline.

    Something from a Star Trek movie with a Cahn character.

  22. Could be any number of references post-Stones. “The Wire” comes to mind. Herc was clueless.

    1. Dammit. Beaten by four minutes by another Jeff.

      Usurper!

  23. The post’s title is a reference to Season 1 of The Wire. Prez quotes that opening line from Brown Sugar, which most people don’t know, as a way of explaining why he’s so good at deciphering what the drug dealers they’re listening to on the wiretap are saying. He explains that as a kid he used to put Rolling Stones records on and with his ear right next to the speaker and listen to them over and over, trying to decipher all the lyrics.

    1. Balko likes “The Wire”, you might be right.

    2. Yeah this is it. Couldn’t believe it took someone so long to get it around these parts. You guys have the Greatest Show Ever to catch up on.

      The best wiretap joke in the show is when that Drag guy is trying to re-up from Prop Joe’s people.

      “Nah, her. I mean her!?Cocaine, ni*ga, you feel me man? Goddamn!”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5BG-81hsH8

    3. Ah, just like Whoopi Goldberg in Jumping Jack Flash.

  24. The post’s title is a reference to Season 1 of The Wire.

    Ah. So the “bonus points” are for whiteness. Figures.

  25. I’m guessing the DEA never heard of Urban Dictionary.

    1. Urban dictionary is more akin to things white people like than some Hotlanta gangsta.

  26. I witnessed a federal case where tehy busted a drug conspirace in a rough neighborhood in Philadelphia. Both the prosecutors and the defense attorneys had to translate the wtinesses’ testimony for the jury.

    “We gots shorty cuz he could do the thing rawfaced, couldn’t no one say nuthin’!”

    “So, you hired your friend from outside to do the shooting because he could do it without covering his face and no one would know who he was connected to?”

    “Ain’t that what I been sayin’?”

  27. As I read the hilarious Yes We Scam! B.S. We Can Believe In! Obama Approval Plummets blog I thought that this blog’s visitors have to read this: http://hubpages.com/hub/Yes-We…..l-Plummets

  28. Reason how come you taste so good? Just like a black girl should?

  29. On a related note, has there been a better four album run in the history of rock than the Stones had with Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St.?

    1. Yes: Funkadelic’s Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow; Funkadelic; Maggot Brain; America Eats Its Young.

      Or from The Maestro: The Grand Wazoo; Overnite Sensation; Apostrophe(‘); Roxy and Elsewhere

      1. First of all, nobody comes close to FZ. Coming in 2nd, IMO, is Stevie’s Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale, and Songs In The Key Of Life.

      2. I’d also add One Size Fits All and maybe even Zoot Allures.

      3. Oh hells yeah. Overnite/Apostrophe just kills it. I couldn’t pick 4 in a row though — there is too much good shit sprinkled throughout his later career (Joe’s Garage, for one).

    2. The Yes Album, Fragile, Close To The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer.

      Thats 5 in a row. 1971-1974.

      1. Going For The One makes 6 in a row.

        1. I considered, but they took some time off.

          1. I see your point. They were still touring, but not recording in 1975.

        2. And the falloff was big going for #7. Although I knod of like Tormato,

          1. Agreed. That’s a high standard to maintain.

      2. I would call it three in a row.

        1. Don’t be a fool. All six are masterpieces. That’s why Yes isn’t in the R&RHOF; – they’re overqualified.

          1. Not even Yes likes Topographic Oceans.

        2. Relayer is the best Yes album. Tales has its issues, but Yes isnt Yes without exploring that limit.

          1. I try but I always lose interest during TFTO. I don’t have that problem with the other long ones like Gates of Delirium or Close To The Edge.

            1. I think its because Relayer and Close only have 1 long song per album. 4 back to back to back to back gets a bit much. But pick one out and listen to it separate from the rest.

              The Revealing Science of God

      3. Fuck that shit.

    3. Zeppelin anyone? Their first 6 albums were unbelievable.

      1. Word!

    4. Iron Maiden–Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind, Powerslave, Somewhere in Time.

      1. No love for Di’Anno?

    5. It’s also hard to go wrong with Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s, White Album.

      Magical Mystery Tour sort of mucks things up a bit, but it wasn’t originally released as an LP so I conveniently ignored it.

    6. Porcupine Tree: In Absentia, Deadwing, Fear of a Blank Planet, The Incident

      Opeth: Still Life, Blackwater Park, Damnation/Deliverance, Ghost Reveries

      1. Saw PT open for Yes once. Awesome band. In Absentia is a masterpiece.

  30. I don’t think it is accurate to say that the dialect is influenced by West African grammar, in fact there is nothing African about Ebonics at all from a linguistic point of view. (as opposed to the background of the people who speak it).

  31. “Raaaaacist!!”

  32. Just hire tranlators for the interviews with football players. I can’t understand a thing they mumble.

  33. They ATL DEA needs ‘ebonics translators’? And is looking to hire some?

    What? Are the countless government employed weaves with dagger fingernails and too much jewelry too busy?

  34. Despite any overt use of the Negro dialect, I am quite sure Obama can throw down negro speak any time he wants.

  35. I bet a case of Red Stripe that when this story is updated we will find out that the feds involved were incompetent motherfuckers who couldn’t distinguish black dialect from Creole.

  36. I skipped reading all 80 (so far) comments–it’s from HBO’s The Wire…

  37. I’m sure we can all agree that we love The Wire and that Herc is a complete jackass. But did you know that the song was written especially for Marsha Hunt, some lovely brown sugar indeed who bore Mick Jagger a daughter? If you don’t know who that is, she’s in Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf. She looks very good, just like a black girl should, although Sybil Danning is *way* hotter in that picture. Note: Marsha and Sybil are the only reasons to watch that picture.

  38. Something we all can agree on:

    1. July 1972 Waka/Jawaka
    2. November 1972 The Grand Wazoo
    3. September 1973 Over-Nite Sensation
    4. March 1974 Apostrophe (‘)
    5. September 1974 Roxy & Elsewhere
    6. June 1975 One Size Fits All
    7. October 1975 Bongo Fury
    8. October 1976 Zoot Allures
    9. March 1978 Zappa in New York

  39. As somebody who has actually had to transcribe conversations in ‘Ebonics’ I can testify to how difficult it is to understand (and I was an Arabic linguist in the military a long time ago). I’d tend to agree with rech’s comment that it doesn’t come substantially from African roots. It’s more like a pastiche of southern drawl, urban street terminology, wild variations in grammar and heavy use of double-triple negatives. It’s a mess.

    I can fully understand why the DEA would want ‘translators’, but good luck on finding them.

    1. Thomas Sowell wrote a great column about this a few years ago. It appears they get their ‘dialect’ from the young English punks who find modern life too difficult, so they withdraw into their own little world of victimhood.

  40. Let me be the first to point out that “fields” does not rhyme with “orleans”…

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