Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's heartbreaking listening to the treatment War Vets are receiving. The absence of care. One might start connecting dots.From Vets to people in Mississippi and New Orleans struggling to get back on their feet. Government agencies not working or just being part of a problem that makes one weep. Things not being done until a newspaper story pulls the covers back or off. No one cares until they have to face the camera. We see the problems still facing New Orleans, now just connect the dots to Walter Reed Hospital. One wonders about what type of mess might be taking place overseas in Iraq. Where is the money going or not going? Who is not being taken care of? A soldier with brain injuries. A woman without a home in NO, nothing but blackness and decay. People need more than volunteers and prayers. Action and change! Every dollar spent must be spent well. No one should profit from someone's pain. This is, white and no blues.
I'll be downtown speaking at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at 4PM tomorrow. A discussion of Karolyn Frost's book I'VE GOT A HOME IN GLORY LAND: A LOST TALE OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.The program will be in the Center's Moynihan Board Room, 6th Floor. The Wilson Center is located at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
A good day to hear from writers: Naomi Ayala, Meri Danquah, Suheir Hammad and Charles Johnson. Suheir is getting ready to make a movie in Palestine. Charles sent me a copy of the 5th critical book of essays on his work.

This one is CHARLES JOHNSON: THE NOVELIST AS PHILOSOPHER edited by Marc C. Conner and William R. Nash.
University Press of Mississippi:

First round of NCAA (Division III) Tournament for my son tomorrow night. Time for another win. Go Nyere!
The best picture taken during the Academy Awards was the one in the New York Times on Monday (page B5). It was taken by J. Emilio Flores. A nice photo of Meryl Streep greeting Abigail Breslin outside the Kodak Theater. Such warmth between generations. Meryl in such a different role...
Could this be a passing of a torch or just a blessing?
In Africa or Out of Africa?

Hotel Rwanda
The Constant Gardener
Blood Diamond
The Last King of Scotland
Today I received a note from Julia Wright (daughter of Richard Wright) in France. She wants to discuss having an event at Howard University in celebration of Wright's 100th birthday. I'll see what I can do. If folks have ideas, drop me a note:
Well, I'm back from New York. Many thanks to Poets & Writers for presenting me with the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award. The other writers receiving awards were Susan Shreve and Francine Prose.

It was fun to be back in NY - see my Mom and sister. Cool to have a limo waiting to take me to the affair.

Big thanks for Afaa Michael Weaver and Naomi Ayala for nominating me. Afaa was at the dinner so I gave him a big hug. He spoke some Chinese to my sister - and I still want to know what he said. They were both silly...

Great getting to hug and talk to Kimiko Hahn again. Also at the dinner was the Major (Jackson).
I spoke with Jeffrey R. Allen - back from Africa and trying to put together the Pan African Literary Forum in Ghana in July (4-18, 2008).
For info call: 917 834-1852.

I had a chance to talk with Sheree Thomas who has been doing those wonderful speculative fiction collections. This sister is beyond sweet...

It was great seeing my old Bennington buddy - Bob Shacochis.

I sat at what was a DC table with Lisa Page, Jessica Neeley, Pat Griffith ---surprise guest Dr. Denise King-Miller.

In my remarks after receiving the award, I spoke about how so many writers contributed to my development and poetic vision. Especially the following:

Sterling Brown
Leon Damas
John Killens
Julian Mayfield
C.L.R. James
Ahmos Zu-Bolton
Stephen Henderson
June Jordan

Monday, February 26, 2007

Was that really Al Gore last night? The guy is starting to put on some Taft weight. Too big for the office of the presidency? I think so.
Gore should follow Carter's lead. One can do more outside the Oval Office these days. Why do so many people want to be president of the US? The chance to fly in Air Force One?

Oh, and one note about the singing last night. Beyonce put more soul into her voice - was that because Hudson had won a Oscar and she could only dream about one? We still live in an age where you can emerge on center stage and not have a great voice. Sound gymnastics is what I call it. Where is Frank Sinatra to show some of these folks how to sing the words of a song?
Congrats to Whitaker! Be sure to see The Last King of Scotland. Check those old E-Notes. I knew he had to win that Oscar. I've been telling folks for months that he would.

By coincidence I watched The Departed last night. A good movie. How come Jack Nicholson didn't get nominated for his work in this flick?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Yeah Baby!

Essien Ford's 3-Pointer Lifts Men's Basketball to Commonwealth Conference Title, 63-60 at Juniata

Senior Essien Ford (Baltimore, MD) nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, propelling Widener to a 63-60 victory at Juniata in the Commonwealth Conference final in Huntingdon, PA.

It is Widener's 13th Middle Atlantic/Commonwealth Conference title and first since 2001. The Pride (14-12) advance to the NCAA Tournament for the 15th time in school history, one year after playing in the "Sweet 16."

The tournament pairings will be announced Monday.

Trailing 45-32 with 16:32 remaining, fourth-seeded Widener ended the contest on a 31-15 run. Sophomore Nyere Miller (Washington, DC) paced the squad with 14 points in that span, including four critical 3-pointers.

Miller's last 3-pointer helped the Pride close to 58-56 with 4:01 left. Senior Malcolm Thomas (Baltimore, MD) drilled two free throws with 3:23 to go for a 58-58 game, the first tie of the half.

Brent Ferko put the No. 2 seeded Eagles (16-11) up, 60-58, on a layup with 3:00 left. Senior Terry Smith (York, PA) missed a short jumper for Widener, but Kyle Optiz misfired on a 3-pointer and Ferko committed a turnover to give the visitors another chance.

Ford missed a layup and Smith corralled the offensive rebound. He got the ball to Miller, who was fouled and hit twice from the line with 1:13 remaining for a 60-60 tie.

Senior Dave Douglas (Baltimore, MD) came up with one of his biggest plays on the next possession, blocking Aaron Chamberlain's 3-pointer that was rebounded by Miller.

The Pride momentarily let it slip away on their possession as Miller lost the ball and fouled Chamberlain with 20 seconds to go. But Chamberlain, who was 3-for-3 from the stripe at this point, missed the front end of a one-and-one with Ford grabbing the rebound.

Widener brought it down without calling timeout for the final shot. Ford, named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, had a great look a couple steps behind the arc on the left wing and drilled it as time expired to give the Pride only their second lead of the game.
The shot never would have happened if not for Widener's defense, which held Juniata to only 30 percent shooting (8-of-27) in the second half. The Eagles shot 1-of-9 from beyond the arc in the period after nailing 7-of-10 in the first half.

It was Ford second clutch shot of the week. His 3-pointer Wednesday with 9.4 seconds left in regulation forced overtime in Widener's 91-84 double-overtime semifinal win at top-seeded Messiah.

Miller tonight finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, and is averaging 14.8 points over his last five contests. Thomas scored 15 points, Ford netted 14 and Smith had 11 rebounds and four blocks.

The victory also was the 100th for first-year coach Chris Carideo (100-63) after guiding the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy for five seasons. He led the team to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2002 and 2003.

Widener's third victory in five games overall improves it to 6-3 in road contests against conference schools.

Chamberlain scored 21 points and Ferko netted 12 for Juniata, which shot 42 percent (24-of-57) overall. It was the Eagles first foray in the Commonwealth Conference Tournament after Wednesday's semifinal win over Susquehanna.

So there I am on the basketball court with all the joy- crazy Widener U fans. I'm going crazy too. Widener has just won the Commonwealth Conference Championship game at the buzzer- 63-60 over Juniata College. Essien Ford hitting the winning shot. I'm looking over heads and then I see my son and he sees me. He leaves his celebrating team and rushes over to me and he is hugging me tighter than I've ever been hugged. It's just us holding each other - my son dripping with the sweat of victory -and he is just on top of the world and suddenly we are back in the playground in DC thinking about a moment like this.

What a game my son played. He was the leading scorer with 17 pts, 4 steals, 2 assists, 8 rebounds. He hit 5 three pointers. Much of this was done during the second half. He tied the score at 60 -60 with 2 free throws with 1.14 minutes left in the game. Ford hitting the game winner a few seconds later.

With the win Widener earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
More about the game tomorrow.

Congrats Nyere!!!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sad news - NFL MVP Ladianian Tomlinson's father was killed yesterday in an auto accident in Waco, Texas.
Prayers to LT and his family.

Corey Dillon is leaving New England.

Hey- Sammy Sosa is back. Sosa is trying to win a spot with the Rangers.
How many times will reporters ask him about steriods? Don't you get tired of reporters asking the same questions over and over again. Would we even have news if folks answered their questions?
Chekhov anyone?

13 volumes - TALES OF CHEKHOV
Ecco Press. $150.
A little bit(s) of Big news:

Canada's high court ruled that the government has no right to detain foreign terror suspects indefinitely without trial on secret evidence.

The U.S. is going to permit Mexican trunks on US highways. US Truckers are upset.
They argue that Mexican trucks are unsafe, cause pollution and would facilitate illegal immigration. Keep an eye on this issue.
February is almost over. March however will be a very busy month for me. A few readings and lectures; quite a number of meetings. The E-Notes will keep you up to date.

Last night it was fun to attend Nathalie Handel's reading at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary. But across the street is an interesting McDonalds. It has a very large upstairs area with wonderful windows. One of the better burger places I've been in.

DC is a city with many homeless black men. You see this when you're downtown and it's getting dark and the coldness is just being cruel to everyone. A tale of 2 cities? Many of these black people are invisible to whites -who rush by on their way to work or back home or to the gym.
They have their ears covered with i-pods or they are deep in conversations on how to rule the world or simply make the deal. Now and then some money is given to a homeless person without any compassion. It's just a toll. A fee to get by and get on with one's life. Folks behave this way on the NJ turnpike. Then there are folks like myself - black- who pass the black homeless and are baited with the call of brother - give me a dollar. Gone is can you "spare" some money. Do the homeless have a right to my money? Perhaps they do when you consider the economic situation so many people are in. If you're black and you don't look the black homeless person in the eye -then you get cursed for your actions. I guess this is the opposite of reckless eyeballing.

I keep thinking we have to place the issue of homelessness in DC at the top of the political agenda. Education as an issue takes a backseat to someone out in the cold with nowhere to go.
I don't want to simply give people shelter. I think everyone should have a right to a home. A place you want to go to - not somewhere that you have to.

But back to Nat. It was good to see her again. I just adore Lady Handel. She gave a good reading. The politics of the Middle East are very important to her. Her work is political and at times sensual and erotic. Her life crosses many ethnic borders - and the issue of identity is one she often talks about. Since June Jordan's death, I guess the two women writers that I admire and stay in regular contact with are Nathalie Handel and Suheir Hammad. Both women seem to keep June's spirit alive with their work and passion. Oh-and if Nat's words were not enough...she was just looking awesome and beautiful. Nat said she was leaving today for New Orleans. Ah - this woman might encourage that city to have another Mardi Gras - it's not too late. Nat's coming sounds better than FEMA. Don't you think?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Who is this guy?
OK - is there really a Clinton - Obama skirmish? Not really. This is just "waste" news and early campaign nonsense. Did you know anything about David Geffen last month? Can Clinton really win a national election? No, she can't. We all know this. Can Obama win? No. We all know this too. Neither one can win Texas or Mississippi. Let's stop being manipulated by the media. Oh, and it's not about raising money - it's about ideas!!! We should only elect people who have ideas and know how to govern. Listening to Clinton talk about healthcare is as sad as Ted Kennedy doing it. Once you get pass Obama's looks and name, there is nothing there. We must be hungry for something.
One of the serious problems facing the world today is the quality of leadership around the world.
Some folks shouldn't be in office without serious therapy. Do you want me to name a few places?
Here we are in the 21st Century and it's difficult to point to any nation where a person of some distinction or outstanding intellect is the leader. We are placing folks in office who talk as if they are still in the playground. Can you name a statesman? Two names that come to mind are Carter and Mandela. But these guys are ex-leaders. Where are our leaders and great thinkers?
Can you name an African nation with a leader as visionary as Nkrumah, Toure, or Nyerere? We are electing people because of how they look, not how their brain is operating. Yep - sooner or later Trump or Oprah is going to take themselves a bit too seriously and run for office; and we will vote them in. We have no shame.
A place
in Baghdad

the market



with too


- E. Ethelbert Miller
Census coming in 2010. Quick- tell me which box should I check? Colored? Black? African American? Nubian? Scorpio? Other? All of the Above? Race man?
A court in Egypt gave a blogger a four year prison term. He made statements against Islam as well as President Mubarak. Should I write e-notes or E-Notes? Hmmm. Does the E stand for Egypt? I don't think so...
Show him the money! Show Lovie the Love.
Negotiations for a new Bears contract for Coach Lovie Smith are at a stalemate.
Can you believe that? Where is Pam Oliver?

Sad news about Dwyane Wade. Wishing him a quick recovery.
Ah...nothing like a clean desk.

It's Friday and I get to see my friend (and poet) Nathalie Handal. She will be reading at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The program begins at 7PM. Admission is $10.
The museum is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Big party this week in Zimbabwe for Robert Mugabe. Unfortunately the cake and drink are not for the poor people of his country. I remember meeting Mugabe at the White House when Carter was President. How sad to see the failure of a nation that had so much promise. I can still hear Marley singing about Zimbabwe's independence. What happened to us? When did the dream drop from our hands? What is left to dream? How does Mugabe sleep at night? Why must the oppressed suffer from nightmares?
So I'm reading about the "chlorine" attacks in Iraq. It's as if folks over there are playing BeBop.
The melody of the war keeps changing. It's hard to "sit" in and try to make sense out of it. Bush should turn the entire war over to someone like Thelonius Monk. Could you see someone questioning his intelligence? Right now someone is making a bomb for tomorrow. What's going on in that person's mind? Is he the type of guy Ellington would hire for his band? I don't think so...
War is a strange music. Why do we keep playing it?
The latest issue of Arts & Letters just came out:
Martin Lammon continues to edit a wonderful publication out of Milledgeville, Georgia.

NY Review of Books is out (March 15th) with a review of books by Alain de Botton. I still have THE ARCHITECTURE OF HAPPINESS to finish reading. Also in the NY Review of Books is an essay by Richard Horton - "Palestinians: The Crisis in Medical Care."
Did you know?

U.S. crud-oil imports from Africa topped those from the Middle East in 2006 for the first time in 21 years.
From Foreign Policy magazine:

Even in the apparently borderless realm of cyberspace, Internet traffic within countries is rising at a faster rate than traffic across borders. However impressive the power of globalization seems, political pressures still have the power to reverse it.
A fact from the Harvard Business Review:

About 45% of high-earning managers enter a conversational dead zone after a long workday, when they're too pooped to say anything at all to their spouse or partner.
I spent the entire day attending the Black History Month program that was organized by the African American Studies Department at Howard. It was fun listening to members of my department. Too often I just see these folks in the hallway in Founders Library. The theme for the day was an examination of the Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement and Hip Hop. I spoke in the morning about the Black Arts Movement, looking at how Larry Neal defined it and then talking about some of the social and political events that shaped the era. Highlights of the day were presentations by Dr. Greg Carr and Mr. Frederick Gooding, Founder of the Minority Reporter. A wonderful affair. Kudos to Dr. Lila Ammons, Interim Chair of the department and Joyce Rose, secretary.
D.J. gone too.
Dennis Johnson dead at the age of 52.
I loved watching this guy play basketball with Seattle. I was never a Celtics fan but I respected him and Bird. Johnson should have been a coach in the NBA. Defense is what the D stood for.
My son is going to the finals!!

Men's Basketball Advances to Commonwealth Conference Final With Thrilling 91-84 Double-Overtime Upset of Top-Seeded Messiah

2/21/07 -- Malcolm Thomas scored 29 points and Widener rode the momentum of Essien Ford's 3-pointer late in regulation for a 91-84 double-overtime victory at top-seeded Messiah in the Commonwealth Conference semifinals.

Widener (13-12), the number four seed, is in the championship game for the second straight year and third time in four seasons. It will play second-seeded Juniata on Saturday for the title and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Game time is 6:00 pm.

The Pride are aiming for their 13th conference title and first since 2001. They also are seeking their 15th trip to the NCAA Tournament after last year's squad went 23-6, advancing to the "Sweet 16" for the first time since 1987.

Widener, which never led in regulation and trailed by as many as 13, ended regulation on a 13-2 run to force overtime by scoring the final eight points. Messiah (19-6) looked in control after Darryl Brown hit two free throws with 1:17 left for a 66-58 game.

Thomas (Baltimore, MD) drilled a 3-pointer with 1:01 left for a 66-61 deficit. Senior Dave Douglas (Baltimore, MD) came up with a huge backcourt steal and after working the ball around, layed it in with 42 seconds to go for a three-point game.

Douglas was not done as his steal on the ensuing possession gave Widener another chance. After a timeout, the Pride eschewed a quick basket and looked for the equalizer. Ford (Baltimore, MD) provided the heroics as his 3-pointer from the top of the key with 9.4 seconds left tied it.

The Falcons had one last shot, but sophomore Nyere Miller (Washington, DC) stole the ball just before time expired.

Widener began overtime on an 8-2 run, capped by two free throws from freshman Bobby Edmunds (Linwood, NJ) with 1:53 left for a 74-68 lead. After Drew Sneeringer's 3-pointer for Messiah with 1:28 remaining made it 74-71, Douglas hit 1-of-2 from the stripe with 68 seconds to go for a four-point margin.

Matt Henninger drilled his seventh and final 3-pointer for Messiah with 22 seconds left for a 75-74 game and Edmunds converted 1-of-2 from the stripe a second later for a two-point margin.
Henninger missed a 3-pointer, but a turnover gave the Falcons another shot with eight seconds left. Brown missed a short jumper, but his tip-in with 3.9 seconds to go tied it at 76.

Widener in double overtime began to take control when Miller drilled a long 3-pointer as the shot clock expired for an 86-81 game with 2:12 to go. Jonathan Boyd made a layup for Messiah with 1:10 showing before Ford drained two free throws with 53 seconds left for an 88-83 contest.

Ryan Witmer nailed 1-of-2 from the line for the Falcons with 43 seconds left for an 88-84 contest, but it was not enough. Sophomore Matt Sosna (Stratford, NJ) hit 3-of-4 from the line over the final 33 seconds to help Widener avenge two regular-season losses to Messiah.

Thomas, named first team all-conference, shot 12-of-20 from the floor and hit four 3-pointers over 48 minutes. Miller scored 19 points, including 15 after halftime, on 8-of-12 shooting and Ford, a second team all-league pick, poured in 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

Widener shot 61 percent (34-of-56) from the floor, including 61 percent (17-of-28) in the second half and 6-of-7 in the overtimes. Messiah was limited to 46 percent shooting (30-of-65) and only was 6-of-15 in the overtimes.

Henninger scored 25 points and shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, helping the Falcons hit 14-of-34. Brown scored 13 points and Jared Yoder netted 12.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Information for you:


I hope that all is well. If you could please share this invitation below with your students, fellow faculty members, family, and friends I would greatly appreciate it. I want to have as much input as humanly possible for this feature and was hoping you could help me get the word out. Thanks again for all of your help. I will have more information for you shortly.

Filmmaker seeks eager and willing participants for latest feature documentary film. If you like voicing your opinion and have an interest in politics than this is a project for you. 435,000 Pounds Per Square Inch is an educational student film that tries to answer the question “What is going to be the hardest part about being the first African American President and Why?”

Interviews conducted with interested parties will be used as educational material for the film. "On camera" interview experience is not necessary, all that is required is an open mind and a passion for sharing your ideas. All eager and willing participants should contact Brendan Mitchell with the information provided below for additional details.

Thank you for your time Brendan Mitchell President and Chairman of the Board
The Griffin Mills Production Group
235 Pine Ave Apt F
Carlsbad CA 92008
760 828 7402
Somalia - 16 years of war.
Around the world many conflicts are going to last this long or longer. It's sad. You almost want to give up on what it means to be human. The conflicts are not even about ideas or beliefs anymore. Did you read the recent article about gangs in Haiti? People running around calling themselves "children of the devil" who kill for fun. Nothing but Lords of the Flies.

And yes- the Brits are leaving Basra.
I remembering refusing to go to Basra when I was in Iraq. The Iranians were bombing the city.
Now look at it today...

Wars come and go - only the dead remain in their graves, and there are too many graves.
Can you see the war in Iraq going on for another 10-12 years? Very possible when you listen to folks defending what they can't really understand. You know something is happening but you don't know what it is.

It was also sad listening to folks explaining the reasons for the conditions in Walter Reed.
Do you want to fight a war this way? Everyone has an excuse after the fact.

"You better come on in my kitchen
It's gonna to be raining outdoors"
- Robert Johnson
New word: Oprahization.
Upcoming Library program:

Mat Johnson

The Great Negro Plot

Thursday, March 1 7 pm
Oxon Hill Branch
6200 Oxon Hill Road

In 1741, New York City was thrown into an uproar when a sixteen-year-old Mary Burton, a white indentured servant, testified that she was privy to a conspiracy against the white people of Manhattan. Authorities promised her freedom if she would uncover the plot. Mary reported that the black men of the city were planning to burn New York City to the ground.

As the courts ensnared suspects and violence swept the city, 154 black New Yorkers were jailed, 14 were burned alive, 18 were hanged and more than 100 simply disappeared. Four whites wound up being executed and 24 imprisoned. Even as the madness escalated, however, officials started to realize that Mary Burton might not be telling the truth.

The Great Negro Plot is a brilliant reconstruction of a little-known moment in American history that reverberates today. Expertly written by the acclaimed author of Drop and Hunting in Harlem, Mat Johnson currently teaches at Bard College.
I drafted my award speech for the upcoming Poets & Writers dinner in New York next week.
Many people to thank. I decided to end with a quote from one of June Jordan's poems.

NPR book discussion of Bebe Moore Campbell's book - YOUR BLUES AIN'T LIKE MINE went well. You can access the broadcast by going to the NPR website and connecting to the Diane Rehm Show.

Tomorrow I'll be giving a short talk about the Black Arts Movement. 11AM in Founders Library, Browsing Room, 1st Floor. A Black History Month event sponsored by the Department of African American Studies. Other speakers will be Dr. Russell Adams and Dr. Priscilla Ramsey.
The program will last from 9 AM - 4 PM.
I'm listening to Eric Clapton -"Me and Mr Johnson." That's Robert Johnson to you.
Review of my last book by Sharyn Skeeter:
New book:

by Mike Freeman
Morrow. 289 pp. $25.95
Stories about Haiti just make me weep. See today's Washington Post (front page).
Well, that didn't take long. Good to see repairs being made at Walter Reed. Once again this shows the power of the media. It's why we need to keep reporting on the lack of progress in New Orleans. Where is that silly mayor?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Did you know?

Ethiopia has the largest proportion of blind people in the world, 1.2 percent, because of the combined effects of river blindness and trachoma.
OK - so I plan to shave all my hair off on Friday. Do you really care? Why are we paying so much attention to B- Spears? So A-Rod and Jeter are no longer buddies- is this a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn story?
So they gave the football job to Norv in San Diego. Another team going nowhere now. You can just check the Cowboys and the Chargers as teams that won't make it to the playoffs. Geez.
Who is interviewing these guys and giving them jobs? I'm waiting for someone to hire Mike Singletary.
The WRITER'S CHRONICLE is out (March/April 2007). I plan to read the interview with Gerald Stern tomorrow. Ed Ochester has what looks like a good essay in this issue - "The Reinventions of American Poetry Now." I guess everyone will be in Atlanta in a few days, AWP/AWP February 28 - March 3, 2007. It would be difficult to make it down to the conference. The last time I went to an AWP conference in Atlanta, I spent much of the time just introducing folks to Reetika Vazirani. One morning we had blueberry pancakes for breakfast and life was never better; the memories of a good friendship will also keep its sweetness.
The cover story for Newsweek is on MEN AND DEPRESSION. A very important topic. 6 million men will be diagnosed with depression this year.
I also spent the afternoon preparing for my discussion of Bebe Moore Campbell's YOUR BLUES AIN'T LIKE MINE on NPR (Diane Rehm Show) tomorrow. I outline key points in the novel, and notes about each character. I also make a list of possible passages I might want to read on the air. It's like preparing for an debate. The program should be on at 11AM tomorrow. You can also access the broadcast later in the day by going to the NPR website.
Today I gave 4 boxes ( my files) to Richard Mereand, Special Collection Library Manager at George Washington University. It was one of many items on my list of things to do in 2007.
Hopefully, this will help folks at GW develop a good collection of material for future scholars doing research in DC literary history.

Early in the afternoon I met with Howard students of Yanick Lamb and recorded an interview about the student movement and protest at Howard. Former HU student leader Chris Cathcart came by the African American Resource Center and was also interviewed. It was great seeing Chris. I hadn't seen him in many years. He is doing excellent work with his organization One Diaspora Group:
Chris lives in Los Angeles.
Sunday Kind of Love Presents Tim Seibles

Workshop: Saturday, March 17, 3-6 pm, Busboys & Poets, $25 - registration required.
Reading: Sunday, March 18, 4 pm, Busboys & Poets, free and open to the public. Cohosted by Sarah Browning, DC Poets Against the War and Regie Cabico, Sol & Soul.

Busboys & Poets
14th & V Streets, NW, Washington, DC
U Street/Cardozo on the Green Line., 202-387-POET
For more info:
Hey Larry, What about my cheese steak?

At Robin’s Bookstore
108 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia, 215-735-9600,
Books & Events for Independent Minds from Philadelphia’s Oldest Independent Bookstore

Dear Poets, You Are Invited:

Moonstone and Robin’s Book Store hold six group author events each year. We are interested in supporting area writers and these events are designed to: bring writers together for networking, give writers a chance to present their work, and give the reading public a chance to hear and meet area writers. We try to be inclusive, so if you know someone who would be interested in participating in these programs, but did not receive this invitation, please pass on this information.

Thank you,

Larry Robin

Upcoming on April 1st at 2PM will be the Poetry Ink Event. This event celebrates poetry with readings from 100 poets at Robin’s Bookstore. If you would like to be part of this event and have your books here, please fill out the attached form and send back to us by email at: or fax (215-735-2670). Thank You. Larry Robin
Quote of the Day:

"The penis is a barometer of the health of the vascular system."
- Andrew McCullough
Director of Male Sexual Health and Fertility
New York University School of Medicine

Check The Wall Street Journal today (Personal Journal section) for the article about the surprising risk factor for heart disease in men. ED problems can be an early warning sign of heart disease.

Merilene Murphy, 51; poet, literary activist and publisher died of cancer on February 2, 2007.
W.H. Auden Centenary Celebration and Observances:

Quote of the Day:

"The way you honor a poet is by sitting home and reading him."
- Edward Mendelson

Monday, February 19, 2007

Joy Zarembka stopped by the house this afternoon. She gave me a copy of her new book:


Joy is the Executive director of Break the Chain at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Returning from another funeral
We were stopped by men who wore masks
We were stopped by men in police uniforms

My small child never to see another funeral (or birthday)
Was curious about that first bullet -that first drop of blood

Who are these angels with guns?
Why do they demand we step out of our car?
Why do they demand that we kneel?

- E. Ethelbert Miller
ESPN magazine is a publication I only read because I have flyer bonus miles. Go figure. Anyway John Amaechi is on the cover of the latest issue. Inside is an excerpt from his memoir - MAN IN THE MIDDLE. OK, so I don't remember Amaechi playing and I've been to Utah. What I found interesting about Amaechi's ESPN excerpt is how it's critical of coach Jerry Sloan. This guy has an image protector. Right? Well Amaechi pulls no punches. You have to love him for his honesty.
OK - How soon will Ken Griffey Jr be injured this baseball season? My bet is that the guy won't make it through spring training. Look for Ken to play some ball in late June.

I like Cristian Guzman on The Nationals. I stuck with the guy when he had that terrible year. Was that last year? Oh- I forgot. Anyway, why is Acta going to place Guzman in the second spot in the batting order? Stick Guzman in the 8th spot until we know the guy is back.
Quote of the Day:

"I'm like President Bush. You may respect me. You may not like me, but you voted me in."

- Shaquille O'Neal at the recent N.B.A. All-Star Game
Quote of the Day:

"You could see people melting in their cars."

- Abu Noor, a calligrapher in Baghdad, after another bombing.
National Capital Revitalization Corp (NCRC) will have 25 acres of the McMillan Reservoir grounds near Michigan Avenue and North Capital Street to play with. What will they do with this space? What will they build there? Shops and Condos? So long Frank Lloyd many things seem to just disappear. So it will be you and me.

Today I collapsed
from loving you
too much

How could any man stand
to be alone - away
from you?

Your absence leaves
me with the sickness
of desire

This fever has reduced
my heart
to ashes

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Sunday, February 18, 2007

So I watched the film "Total Eclipse" last night. Do you remember this flick? If you wanted a reason to always avoid a film with Leonardo Dicarprio - start with this one. Is this movie awful?
It's the story about Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine. The only thing that is good about this movie is the body of Verlaine's wife played by Romane Bohringer. Her nudity is the only beauty one can find in this terrible movie. But two nipples can't cover-up a bad script and acting that would kill an erection.
The Washington Post today will make you feel very ANGRY. The sad story (front page) about conditions our soldiers face at Walter Reed Hospital. Geez. I have to place myself among the guilty on this one. I'm just two blocks from the place. I pass the buildings almost everyday. I once wanted to organize writing workshops for soldiers. Now I see why many wanted to get out of the place and see other parts of the city. Today's newspaper article reveals the living conditions of our Reed soldiers. It's not good. So we have to point the finger at the folks down the street - Congress, the Bush Administration, Pro-War and Anti-War demonstrators...Everyone!

We talk about not wanting to leave our troops unprotected overseas, etc., etc. We don't want to cut off funds, etc, etc. Hey- let's spend some money on our men and women who have already given limbs and minds to the war. How can anyone in government not feel some responsibility to improve conditions at Walter Reed after today's newspaper exposure??? We can't say we didn't know...

What's going on? What are we going to do?
2006-2007 Basketball Stats for Nyere Miller's sophomore year:

Started all 24 games for Widener.
29.7 minutes played. 3rd on the team.
Leading scorer in 4 games.
Highest number of pts in a game this year - 22
4th on the team is scoring - 9.2 average.
Leader in steals - 54.
4th in assists.
4th in rebounding.
2nd in three pointers.
48 three pointers this year.
My son's last basketball game of the season. Playoffs next week:

Men's Basketball Falls, 75-59, at Messiah But Clinches Spot in Commonwealth Conference Tournament

2/17/07 -- Widener suffered a 75-59 loss at Messiah, but still clinched fourth place in the Commonwealth Conference and a spot in the league tournament.

Widener (12-12, 7-7 CC) is in the conference tournament a second straight year and will play at top-seeded Messiah (19-5, 13-1) in the semifinals on Wednesday at 8:00 pm. It is a re-match of last season’s championship game won by the Falcons.

Senior Essien Ford (Baltimore, MD) and sophomore Nyere Miller (Washington, DC) each hit 3-pointers during an 8-0 run that moved Widener to a 50-42 deficit with 12:04 left.

But Messiah took control with an 18-5 spurt for a 68-47 lead with 4:38 to go. Andy Hawk came off the bench to score the first seven points in that run.

The Falcons shot 55 percent (16-of-29) from the floor in the second half and outscored the Pride, 41-33. Messiah shot 52 percent (29-of-56) overall to Widener hitting 38 percent (20-of-53).

Ford scored 19 points, Miller netted 13 and senior Terry Smith (York, PA) added 14 and 10 rebounds for Widener.

Jared Yoder poured in 14 points, Hawk scored 13 and Matt Henninger added 12 for the Falcons.
Sorry no E-MAG today. Writers have been missing deadlines. I might have to do the E-MAG maybe once a month. I do have a number of wonderful writers who will be submitting work in the future. So expect a "surge" of creative activity over the next few months. This is a good thing - right?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The best Washington Post OP-Ed this year has to be Colbert King's essay in today's paper.

"Cautionary Wisdom on the Schools Takeover" Page A31.

Read what the King has to say about comments made by Alice Rivlin (remember her?) this week. When Rivlin speaks folks should listen. Why did this woman's appearance before the DC City Council go unnoticed? Was there too much ice on someone's street?
A big story this year is going to be General Manuel Antonio Noriega's return to Panama after being in jail for 17 years. Will the former leader do Oprah? Will the media be there waiting for his prison release like they did for Mandela? 1989 seems so long ago. Is the canal still there?
Susan Browning left a copy of her manuscript (WHISKEY IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN) by my front door. I'll read it tonight...
Browning's first book should be out in a few months. Look for dancing and celebrations to take place around town. Look for Sarah B drinks to be sold at Busboys. Poets will become as intoxicated as Rumi.

Talking about Busboys - checkout Pam's new hairstyle. Someone should compose a song and call it "Pam by Starlight" or simply give this woman a flower to wear. When is she going to have her own day? Pam and Andy must be the hardest working people since James Brown left us.
Warming up outside. I went to the cleaners and along the way I saw a number of older people trying to remove ice from in front of their homes. They waited too long - it's difficult work trying to crack that ice. It's best to let it melt. No need to risk the heart attack a few days after Valentine's Day.

Talking V-Day. Congrats to my first wife Mikki for getting married again. I guess that makes us good for 5 between the two of us. I guess every husband needs a relief pitcher now and then; especially if someone can give a good woman a victory smile at then end of the day. If I can't win, I can still cheer. Love to Mikki and her beau.

I went over to Provisions Library and had a nice chat about photography with Blair at the desk.
I borrowed two DVDs: Orphee by Jean Cocteau and LIfe & Debt a film about Jamaica by Stephanie Black.

While in the DuPont Circle I ran into novelist Edward Jones. I love the guy. If I'm going to be lost in the city he's a good person to run into.

I walked from DuPont Circle over to Georgetown. G-town is a place I seldom go. It's not my favorite part of Washington. When I was a HU student I might have been there quite a bit. Taking that G-2 bus from Howard across the color line. I visited the studio of artist Jacquelyn Flowers. She is doing some very nice abstracts. Here is a link to her

When will Mike Singletary become a head coach in the NFL?

Please don't Pippen. Scottie Pippen (Age 41) is looking at making a come back. Why?
To be like Mike? Jock strap around the head too tight?

Phil Jackson should be inducted into the N.B.A. Hall of Fame this year.
We should hear this on April 2.

With Jason Kidd getting a divorce look for him to get one soon from the Nets.
What about the Kid(d)s?
The lost story? It's obvious many politicians in Congress are being careful -not wanting to be seen (or linked to) not supporting US troops overseas. But what about all the stories about our soldiers not having proper equipment and supplies? Where did that story go? What about the many tours of duty? How often should folks be sent overseas? My major concern is with the mental health issues of soldiers years after combat. Let's call this the Beau Willie syndrome taken from Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls. Do you remember his relationship with Crystal and the kids - he dropped out the window?
The man had been tormented by the ghosts of Vietnam. Now all the renegade ghosts rise?
Soldiers will always make sacrifices - it's an old testament affair. Where is the new world of love and compasssion? Where are the flowers for the altar?
A long weekend and I'll have to get some reading and writing done. An electronic fast? Maybe.
Somebody come and carry me
into a seven day kiss
I don't need no historic, no national,
no family bliss
I need an absolutely one to one
A seven day kiss - help me now

- June Jordan

Friday, February 16, 2007

Upcoming program:

The Division of United States Studies and the Canada Institute
at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland-College Park,
and the African American Resource Center at Howard University

are pleased to invite you to a launch of

I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land:
A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad

with author Karolyn Smardz Frost
Executive Director, Ontario Historical Society, Ontario, Canada

and commentators:

E. Ethelbert Miller
Director, African American Resource Center, Howard University

Harvey Amani Whitfield
Assistant Professor of History, University of Vermont

In 1985, archaeologists in downtown Toronto found traces of a house, a shed, and a mysterious cellar under an old playground. The house was revealed to have been the property of “Thornton Blackburn, cabman, colored;” Blackburn and his wife Lucie turned out to have been slaves who, in 1833, made a daring escape from their homes in Louisville, Kentucky.

They landed in the free city of Detroit, Michigan, where the black community erupted when slavers attempted to recapture the Blackburns. Managing to get the Blackburns out of jail, the community helped them reach Upper Canada. The Blackburns eventually started Toronto’s first taxi business.

Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost provides the historical settings -- in Kentucky, Michigan, and Canada -- for this remarkable tale that is simultaneously a window into the workings of the Underground Railroad, a view of the lives of black Canadians in the mid-19th century, and a love story.

Thursday, March 1, 2007
4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Moynihan Board Room, 6th floor
Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20004 –3027

Directions are available at our web site at

Please allow extra time for security; a picture ID is required.
This is a free public event, but RSVPs are required.

Please respond with acceptances only to
HU librarian Celia Daniel prepared a nice bibliography on Giovanni, Evans and Clifton.
Here is the link:
I went over to the Howard University English Department's Heart's Day conference in the Blackburn Center this morning. This year the program is honoring Lucille Clifton, Nikki Giovanni and Mari Evans. Only Evans was there this morning. I stayed for one session. Three people were looking at Clifton's work: Remica Bingham, Tara Betts, and Cherise Pollard. It was great to see Remica again. After her session "Truth in the Lines: Examining the Work of Lucille Clifton" we walked down to WHUR. Remica had a radio interview to do. Girl gone Diva already.
That's a good thing!
This evening I'll participate in the tribute.

Update on my son's basketball team.

Men's Basketball Suffers Gutwrenching 108-102 Triple-Overtime Loss to Moravian

2/15/07 -- Widener gave its all before suffering a heartbreaking 108-102 triple-overtime loss to Commonwealth Conference rival Moravian at Schwartz Center.

Widener (12-11, 7-6 CC) squandered a 49-34 lead with 13:47 and could not overcome foul trouble in a devastating loss that leaves it tied for third in the conference with Susquehanna. Both are one game in front of Lebanon Valley for the final conference tournament spot.

Moravian (11-13, 4-9) grabbed a 73-69 lead with 18 seconds left in regulation when Mark Franzyshen drilled two free throws. Senior David Douglas (Baltimore, MD) made a free throw with eight seconds left for a 73-70 game and missed the second. Eric Weaver grabbed the rebound but fell to the ground and was called for traveling with 7.1 seconds remaining.

Bobby Edmunds (Linwood, NJ) came through in the clutch, taking a pass from sophomore Nyere Miller (Washington, DC) and drilling a long 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left for a 73-73 tie.

In overtime, senior Essien Ford (Baltimore, MD) hit two free throws with 56 seconds left to bring Widener within 82-81. Ford then deflected a pass in the backcourt that Miller was able to tap back to the basket. Ford was there for the layup and after being fouled by Weaver, converted the three-point play with 49 seconds left for an 84-82 contest.

Franzyshen hit two from the stripe with 29 seconds to go for an 84-84 tie, giving Widener a chance for the win. But Ford’s jumper just inside the 3-point line bounced off the rim in the waning seconds.

The second overtime saw Franzyshen drill 1-of-2 from the line with 1:17 left, giving the Greyhounds a 92-90 cushion. Miller took his turn on center stage and delivered, drilling a 3-pointer with 59 seconds to play for a 93-92 Widener lead.

Weaver missed two layups on the other end, but was fouled by Miller with 30 seconds left and still had a chance to give Moravian the lead. He made just one for a 93-93 tie.

Ford missed a 3-pointer and Dave Bowden got the rebound for the Greyhounds, but was called for traveling with four seconds left. Ford again was called upon to win it, but his shot from the left baseline was off at the buzzer.

Moravian opened the third overtime on an 11-2 run, thanks to five points from Michael Clemente. Weaver hit 1-of-2 from the line for a 104-95 Moravian lead with lead 1:04 remaining.

Miller hit a 3-pointer and freshman Jamarr Johnson (Pittsgrove, NJ) added a layup to close Widener to 104-100 with 33 seconds left. But Ryan Miller drilled 1-of-2 from the stripe for a 106-100 contest with 27 seconds to go.

Weaver added two more from the line with 16 seconds left, capping a period in which Moravian shot 8-for-12 from the stripe and outscored Widener, 15-9.

Franzyshen poured in 29 points over 38 minutes and shot 15-of-18 from the line. Steve Wenderfer scored 20 points before fouling out, Clemente scored 16 points, Miller netted 13 and Weaver added 12 and 13.

Ford matched his career high of 30 points from January 7, 2006 at Rutgers-Camden, playing 50 minutes. Edmunds scored 16 points in 46 minutes, Douglas netted 14 in 34 minutes and Miller poured in 12 in 50 minutes.

The contest was decided at the line as Moravian shot 42-for-59 versus 23-for-29 for Widener. The Greyhounds hit 17-for-24 in the overtime to 7-for-7 for the Pride. Widener committed 37 fouls and saw three of its players foul out with Moravian only called for 27.

Widener shot 47 percent (36-of-77) from the field, including 53 percent (17-of-32) in the first half to open a 41-27 halftime lead. Moravian hit 45 percent (29-of-65) overall, including 8-of-16 in the overtimes.

Widener plays its regular-season finale Saturday at Messiah as part of a doubleheader with the women’s team. The women’s game begins at 1:00 pm, followed by the men’s contest at 3:00 pm.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I met with James Early at Busboys around 5PM. He introduced me to Monica Carrillo. Monica is a black poet from Peru. I'm listening to her CD right now: Unicroma. Web site:

She will be back in DC in April. Look for her...

I love these lines from one of her poems translated into English:

you say I'll be the woman
of your life
but they are all lies
you want me to be your
queen for one day
and your slave for the rest
of my life
Be sure to read The New Yorker (February 19&26, 2007). There is a long article about Joel Surnow - the co-creator and executive producer of the television series "24." Yes- this show will prepare you for terrorism and torture. Can't you hear the clock ticking? Don't you want to confess to everything? Can you look Jack in the eye and refuse to give him want he wants?

Whatever it takes. From Bauer to Bush. Whatever it takes.
I'm reading an essay by Holly Bass. She sent me a copy this week. The title is "Can You Rock It Like This? Theater For a New Century."
There is a sentence in her essay that should be discussed and debated. It's a very simple but complex one:

"Hip-hop culture is postmodernism in its most organic form."

Moving beyong the link to Hip-hop and postmodernism, the key words in the sentence are "most organic form." How do we interpret these words in the sentence? How much attention should we pay to form (as well as content)?

How do we read Holly's statement after Henderson's essay in UNDERSTANDING THE NEW BLACK POETRY when he begins to talk about the "forms" of things unknown? All this leads us back to the folk and the work of Wright and DuBois.

What if the " form" that now finds its shape might have a link to jinns? What might happen if someone was to slip into your "form" and possess your art? What if the drum you were speaking in was not in your voice? What if within your soul there was a battle between good and evil? Is anyone recording spirituals lately?
Family news.

My daughter was just accepted into the following program. She will be spending the summer in Boston:
Jasmine-Simone MillerJ.D. Candidate, Class of 2009The George Washington University Law School.
So there was Hardaway once again with the fast crossover dribble. Did he say what he said? Let's see the move, the quote again. Hardaway saying he hates gay people is where the danger lies. The word hatred will always drill a hole into tolerance. Was Hardaway being honest or stupid? Well, this is the same guy who once said - "I got skills." So let's assume he knew what he was saying. Poor Tim looking Tiny right now. Looks like what he made was an offensive foul.
So many people are out of bounds when it comes to the Gay issue in our society.
Poets & WRITERS:

It’s time to enter the Nimrod/Hardman Awards competition for two annual awards given by Nimrod International Journal, deadline April 30, 2007. The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry offer first prizes of $2,000 and second prizes of $1,000, along with publication of the winning stories and poems, and a trip to Tulsa to receive the awards and take part in our annual writing workshop.

Past winners include Sue Monk Kidd, Kate Small, Diane Glancy, Steve Lautermilch, Ellen Bass, Thomas Gough, Ruth Schwartz, and Sarah Flygare. Past judges for the Awards include Marvin Bell, Mark Doty, Janette Turner Hospital, Stanley Kunitz, W. S. Merwin, Pattiann Rogers, William Stafford, Ron Carlson, Edward Hirsch, and John Edgar Wideman.

I have included the Awards rules in this e-mail. Please contact us if you have any questions, or visit our website——to learn more about Nimrod. Also, feel free to share this information with any writing friends or groups. I hope to see your submission soon!


Eilis O’Neal
Managing Editor
Nimrod International Journal
Here is something my friend Stan recently sent to me:

I went on the site this morning and scanned some things and it reminded me of a party that Amiri Baraka talked about having once. At some conference about 7 years ago he talked about having a Langston Hughes poetry party in which everyone came with their favorite Langston poem and each person read it at the party. He said he was worried if the party would work, but he said it worked out fine and everyone had a ball.
We should have something like that in D.C. sometime. Maybe a love theme or something like that? Or some theme.

A nice idea. When do we gather together?
Monitor the incident that took place in Salt Lake City. The young 18-year old from Bosnia killed five people and seriously wounded four others. One might speculate whether this young man was affected by the terrible war in Bosnia. What was he a witness to? Monitor also the backlash that might take place in Utah against people from Bosnia.

The mental health of people surviving civil wars, torture, refugee camps is something we should pay more attention to.

I often think about the mental health of young African American children who survived Katrina.
Might some young man go crazy with a gun a year from now? Might the person still be haunted by the memories of love ones washed away - gone.

There are too many silent stories being carried by young people around the world. It's sad that these stories suddenly give birth to more pain.
What you can learn from pictures and it can be upsetting:

1. Check page A3 of the NY Times today. In a picture you will see Indonesian officials checking bird cages during a recent door-to-door sweep to combat bird flu in Jakarta. Are these guys wearing gloves, masks or any type of protection? Are they that official that they won't catch anything?

2. The new US tactic of going door-to-door in Baghdad neighborhoods simply forces US troops with mud on their boots to mess up carpets of innocent citizens. Of course the troops are looking for weapons, bombs, etc. But let's also consider the cultural violation of folks who now are having their doors knockdown and personal stuff stepped on. How do they feel after the Americans leave? Are they now friend or foe? Look for some of these neighborhood to be secure but also look at the seeds of hatred that might be planted. How will small children view Americans as they become older? Everything does not have a military solution. When do we start rebuilding the infrastructure?
New term:

Electronic fasting

Staying away from blogging and reading email. What are you doing right now? Reading stuff that's not good for you? Hee Hee.
So how many men were faking?

Recently in Beijing police raided a factory where counterfeit Viagra pills were being made.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sarah Vaughan talking to Stella

(Echoes of a poem)

As Long as He Needs Me
I'll Be Seeing you
You've Changed
These Foolish Things Remind Me of You

When Sunny Gets Blue
The Second Time Around
The Lady's In Love With You

Come Spring
Gloomy Sunday


When Your Lover Has Gone
(and it's just)
Stella By Starlight

- E. Ethelbert Miller
PAUL ROBESON: Portraits of the Artist

4 DVD package for $99.95
7 Feature films staring Robeson.
Includes a documentary on Robeson's life and a booklet of essays.

Criterion Collection
The US is fighting 2 wars - Iraq and Afghanistan. Are we going to add a third? Change the last letter in Iraq and what do you get? Iran?

Notice how magazines and newspapers have us thinking- not about the unthinkable but the inevitable. War, war, war. We've become fans at a soccer game. We could blame Iran for helping militants in Iraq the same way some US citizen is probably making money on the black market selling arms to anyone who wants one. That's what happens in these "broken" nations. Do you think someone is really looking for a made in Iran seal on a gun or bomb? Do you really need an excuse if you want to invade a country? Really, you could find someone in Iran who might have the latest Norah Jones CD- Made in the US. What's an Iranian to do? Go to war with us?

The Middle East looks like the stage for WWIII. New borders might be created in the next few years after these conflicts run their course. Look for the term ethnic cleansing to become more popular around the world. Everyone a refugee.

The problem of the 21st century is going to be religion not color. Everyone will claim to have God on their side. Which side are you on?
The NPR show I did on the topic of marriage can be accessed by going to the following link:

It's a new show that's hosted by Michel Martin. On the program with me is the writer Yolanda Young. Let me know what you think.
Are you keeping an eye on H5N1?

This virus has not learned the trick of passing easily from human to human. The few confirmed victimes were almost all people who'd worked very closely with infected fowl.

WHO has documented that there has been a total of 271 laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus in humans, and of that number 165 or 61% have died. This makes H5N1 one of the most lethal pathogens in history.
Film Festival in DC:

15th Annual Environmental Film Festival
March 15-25, 2007

115 Films!

202 342-2564
A Grace Note from my friend Grace Ali:

"... as you know I’ve been on this new health kick and I’ve been paying attention to the food in Harlem, both restaurants and grocery stores. My initial conclusion is that even if you wanted to eat healthy in Harlem, you would have a hard time. You hear all the alarms about diabetes and heart disease in the community, particularly the black community (aka Harlem), but if you don’t provide the resources and food for folks to change their eating habits, if you have to go to mid town to the Whole Foods and then pay an arm and a leg for a green bean salad, then health consciousness becomes a matter of politics and economic power, not just something of personal responsibility.

Unfortunately, gentrification in Harlem hasn’t changed what Harlemites can eat. I’m getting more and more upset about this...apparently the working class are only allowed to dine at the China Garden/Laundromat around the block.

Good healthy food should be basic human right, not a privilege afforded only to the wealthy and middle class. If I had the $$$, my contribution to Harlem would be a space of Health & Wellness...good hearty healthy delicious food, workshops on how to cook and eat healthy, sort of like Busboys but centered around health. My open mikes, would be open kitchens :) If you don’t have your health, what do you have?"

Amen. Grace. Amen

Jerry Reese the new general manager of the NY Giants is making big cuts. Chad Morton, LaVar Arrington gone.

Mark Brunell is a good back-up for the Redskins. He is a nice teacher for Campbell.
However Brunell could also start for Chicago if they wanted him. The Bears can't return next season with Grossman as the starter.

Baseball soon. Time for my Ichiro watch. How long will he play in Seattle?
Could the Nationals stun the NL with some good starting pitchers coming out of nowhere?
Something to watch. I need to get some Nat tickets.

Hey Poets and Writers! We should buy one of those luxury boxes at the new Nationals stadium - a space to have readings before the start of every game. A place to network. etc.
We could call it the "Poem Pen" maybe somewhere near left field or third base.
Who has the money?
Praise Songs for Haki:

Celebrate the 65th Birthday
of Haki R. Madhubuti

Saturday, March 3, 2007
6:00 p.m. until 10 p.m.

7825 South Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60619
Snow falling.
I feel like Bigger on a rooftop.
Is this Chicago or DC?

Happy Valentine's Day to all lovers and to people who are looking for love. Hide and seek or seek and hide?
How many flowers won't get delivered today?
The good news is that the chocolate won't melt.

Will your love survive?

Sad note from my buddy W down in New Orleans. Her neighbor was killed in the recent storm that hit the city. W is OK - but it's the heart that suffers. Sending prayers and love.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


About one in four Americans older than 17 suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Something important to pay attention to:

Syria is turning away Iraqis( closing its border). It also raises deportation fears for a million already living in the country.
From John Edwards:

One Corps Members,

Last week, Senator Edwards released a bold plan to transform America's health care system and provide universal health care for every man, woman and child in America.

Now it's time for us to take the next step: the National Day of Health Care Action on Saturday February 24th.

Together, we'll work to improve health care today by volunteering in our local communities. And we'll help transform the health care system of tomorrow by building support for our plan to guarantee every American the quality care they deserve. We're aiming to set up hundreds of events nationwide, and as a One Corps member, we're counting on you to lead the way.

Hosting a day of action is easy: we'll provide you with a step-by-step guide and all the support you need to hold a successful event. Just click here to begin: You can choose from several possible activities for improving health care in America, such as:

Setting up a table to pass out information about John Edwards' plan for universal health care and to sign up supporters

Distributing information on how low-income families can sign up for existing state health care programs they may already qualify for, but not even know about

Organizing or participating in a local blood drive

Volunteering at a local hospital

We're always amazed at the creativity of One Corps members, and you may find many other ways in your neighborhood to help the sick and address the health care crisis.

You can find more information about the National Day of Health Care Action and share your own ideas for actions with chapters across the country at:

Next week, we'll ask all of our hundreds of thousands of supporters nationwide to find a local event, but folks near you will only be able to take part if One Corps leaders like you step forward to host - so please sign up today:

Please feel free to email us with additional questions. And thank you for taking action today to improve our health care system.

George Stern
National One Corps Director
Edwards for President
Excerpt of a letter I sent to a friend today:

We are letting folks kidnap the African American Movement's moral grace. The struggle is not just about freedom but also human dignity. Might this mean a shirt and tie? Maybe - consider Duke Ellington, The Modern Jazz Quartet - they respected the music and elevated it to a universal level of brightness. They dressed the part. I can't listen or embrace much of Hip Hop because it fails to renew my spirit. I question it's beauty. Art tarnished does not glow. A people who are blindfolded shouldn't be blind. When we remove the cloth of Hip Hop from our culture we will realize that it was simply "survival art" it helped us to hold on to the rail. It didn't guide the ship.
If National reconstruction is going to begin in Iraq then it should begin with the rebuilding of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. The people living in Samarra should take the first step. Funds should be found to rebuild and protect the mosque. This should mean jobs for the people living in Samarra. An international call to the Muslim community for additional support should be made once the roads to Samarra are safe. If Sunni and Shiites can't come together to restore an important historical mosque than it's going to be difficult to get them to support a weak central government in Iraq.
So Marty Schottenheimer is gone - no longer the coach of San Diego. Did you really think the Chargers were going to advance to the Super Bowl with Marty? Just go back and read my old E-Notes. Marty will find a way to lose a playoff game. Marty knows how to lose the big one. Now - let's see how quick this guy gets another job.
Complicated world today
Sure seems hard for you to find your way
While all around you there seems to be
People floating on flowered beds of ease
They got good jobs and the world by the tail
Candy-coated life makes yours look pale
Take another close look and don't fool
Microscopic vision will show you something

It may look like, it may seem like
It appears to be --easy street
But, easy street sure ain't easy

- Bernice Johnson Reagon
Morning and I'm listening to Bernice Johnson Reagon's album RIVER OF LIFE Harmony One.
If you want to know what the African American struggle is about you just have to find an ear for this woman's songs. I love the notes that seem to come from the path in the back of her voice - Freedom Road? If you claim that you're busy and have too much work to do - listen to Bernice and it will remind you that our ancestors are still working, giving of their souls - they thought they could rest - but some of us be acting like the fools we were not born to be. You know we need a good mouth washing and a butt slap or two. How can we climb Jacob's Ladder with our pants falling down? Angels don't need to see our nakedness, they just need to see our wings.
Book in the mail: I'VE GOT A HOME IN GLORY LAND by Karolyn Smardz Frost.I have to read this book by the end of the week. I'll be on a panel with the author down at the Woodrow Wilson Center on the afternoon of March 1st. More details in future E-Notes.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I went down to NPR and recorded a show with Michel Martin. Her other guest was sweet Yolanda Young. Our topic was marriage and what's happening to it inside the black community.
Y and I gave our personal comments and opinions. I thought it was fun and thoughtful. Michel did a good job pushing us into being introspective and candid. Michel is a former Nightline and Washington Post reporter. Her new show is really going to have its first launch in April. But folks can go now to the NPR website and download stuff for computers and i-pods.

While in the lobby of NPR (before I recorded the show) I had a nice chat with Juan Williams. I love the fact that you can talk politics and sports with him in the same breath. The guy is a real Wizards fan.

I went across town - to the Hill and ran into Imam Johari - always a fun talk about Islam and what we should be doing to improve things in our community.

I ducked into the Thai Roma Restaurant. It was very late in the afternoon and only one person was there. A very lovely young lady back from India (her family was from Sri Lanka). I sat in the corner by the window and had an OK meal. Why did they give me a check?

Afterwards I walked over to the Starbucks and read some manuscripts and started drafting my remarks for the 27th of February, Poets & Writers dinner (where I will be honored along with Susan Shreve and Francine Prose) in New York. I also read two books by Martin Espada and developed a few questions for an upcoming interview I plan to conduct with him.

Around 7 PM I decided to walk over to the Folger. I bumped into my friend Stan and together we went to hear Frank X. Walker and Terrance Hayes read poems. It was a good reading; especially Hayes. D.J. Renegade did a nice job with his introduction of Hayes. Many notables were in the audience:

Baby Diva Holly Bass, Kim Roberts, Melissa Tuckey, Brandon Johnson, Carolyn Joyner, Fred Joiner, Bro. Yao, Dwayne Man and others.
I was always curious as to why there was never a "National" program to teach every young African American child Spanish. That's the major language of this hemisphere. In Norway almost everyone speaks English as a second language. On the 70 bus today a couple of Black people were angry that two Spanish speaking women were not moving to the back of the bus. Of course I was thinking why can't Rosalita be Rosa but that's another E-Note. Anyway, it was simply a language problem. It had nothing to do with rudeness. Throw in the other ethnic issue of young black men cursing in the back of the bus - do you really want to go there with your young child who speaks Spanish? Why have a young child's first words he/she learns in English be MF? Si?
Obama Obama. All the excitment seems so manufactured. Jesse Jackson ran for President.
So did Big Al. What's all the surprise now? Can a black person be president of the US? Of course. Would the Administration be mostly white? Of course. Business as usual. No real change in policy. Don't believe the hype when it comes to Obama. Do you remember when the darling of the Democratic party was Julian Bond? Ah - youth. Look for the Obama meter to wane in a few months.
See the front page of The Wall Street Journal today. "Doctors Try New Techniques To Regrow Human Tissue." This is just amazing. Here is how the article begins:

"Five soldiers at a military base in Texas are about to participate in a remarkable test to see if they can regrow portions of fingers they lost in the war in Iraq."

The article talks about how scientists have always been amazed by the ability of salamaders, starfish and deer to regrow body parts lost due to injury. So now humans?

Here is where stem cell research needs more support. Tissue engineering is in. What will be some of the ethical issues? Is that "your" hand in my pocket?
Gore Tips?

Industry experts say 68 degrees is the lowest indoor temperature that most people find comfortable. For each degree you lower your thermostat you save 3% on your heating bill.
Showing NBA games in Movie theaters in 3-D might be a real winner. Folks will come out for the communal experience. Look for this soon.
Quote of the Day:

It's still hard to believe that they're really planning to attack Iran, when it's so obvious that another war would be a recipe for even bigger disaster. But remember who's calling the shots:
Dick Cheney thinks we've had "enormous successes" in Iraq.

- Paul Krugman
NY Times Op-Ed (2-12-07)
War Report:

US is making the claim that Iraqi Shiites are getting arms from Iran. Might this be a good reason to sit down (now) at the table with Iran and Syria? When will we begin to seek a political solution to the war? It's long overdue.
I missed the Grammys. Did I miss much? Congrats to Mary J. Blige.
Hey was that Jimmy Carter getting one for "Spoken Word?" Jimmy got soul?

Thanks to the Brits! Forest Whitaker won the best actor award given by the British Academy of Film And Television Arts. Whitaker should win the Oscar for his performance in The Last King of Scotland.

Norbit? OK confess. Did you go see this movie this week?
Geez. Would this play in Baghdad?
So should I turn my attention to the NBA now? Will it be in time to catch the collapse of the Wizards? The club has no depth. You can't go far without it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Treve de blues
- Leon Damas



# 1

The week has been a blur, which is the usual. It has been cold in New York, well below freezing with brutal winds. But the sun shines and the air feels clean. I layer well and have oatmeal for breakfast. Coffee sustains me.

The routine jumps from minute to minute have been occupied by a few interesting variations, besides the drawing off and on of gloves or mittens, hats, scarves, long underwear – my own and my baby’s. The cold air widens her eyes in wonder, reminding me of the wind’s unexpected freshness and all that poetry in the every day.

I’ve been preparing for a reading on February 11 at High Chai in New York. This preparation forces me to read forgotten poems, read new poems aloud, revise. I’ve been considering the inclusion of work from the series of poems I wrote this fall about motherhood, maternity, baby. That manuscript-in-process is deeply personal and decidedly less tight than my other poems typically are. Even at this late date, I’m not sure how much of this I will work into the public reading. I’m not sure if the ache of lactation would work over tea on Sunday afternoon. It’s a private world, this public identity of mothering. A paradox.

In other moments I’ve been rereading Paradise Lost, which is an effort well-rewarded by awe and inspiration. Time spent in an office surrounded by mathematicians and computer scientists speaking in formulae makes me long to stand up and recite Milton. “But who I was, or where, or from what cause, / Knew not. To speak I tried, and forthwith spake,/ My tongue obeyed, and readily could name/Whate’er I saw.” No such revelation came to this office worker, nor the courage to illuminate others. Still, the image pleases me.

Other things that pleased this week (besides amazing baby, coffee, wind, poems, Milton, and the imagination) include: Engels’ perfectly prepared chicken, a compliment, a pleasant visit with my mother, American Idol, chocolate on Tuesday, funny emails, NPR, finding a beautiful gift for a friend on sale, stepping onto a soft rug in the dining room, the perfect sandwich from Grandaisy Bakery, a visit from distant relatives, and Ethelbert’s invitation to write here.

Leah Souffrant earned an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars in poetry and a BA from Vassar College in Russian literature. Her writing has recently appeared in Poet Lore, Memorious, The Burnside Review, Poets & Writers Magazine and elsewhere. Her poetry was featured in an anthology of artists working in Switzerland, where she was Artist-in-Residence in 2000. She is Reviews Editor of the literary journal Four Corners and teaches at Baruch College.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I just made it back from watching my son play basketball in Chester (PA). Widener won and has a chance to make it to the playoffs. Today they defeated Elizabethtown:

Sophomore Nyere Miller (Washington, DC) scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and added a career-best eight steals.
But how long will the war go on?
In The Wall Street Journal (Feb 10-11) there is an article about how the TV drama '24' is influencing U.S. soldiers when it comes to torture.
Oh-Jack, look what you done, done.
Hank Bauer - dead at 84.
All -Star outfielder for the NY Yankees.
He managed the Baltimore Orioles to a World Series victory in 1966. I cried when his team beat my Dodgers.
Something to key an eye on:

Unrest in factories owned by China that are operated in Africa. Here we go again?
Colonialism 2.0?
Quote of the Day:

China's hunger for raw materials is the main reason why it's become so involved in African affairs. Sino-African trade in 2006 more than quadrupled to more that $55 billion since 2002, and is expected to hit $100 billion by 2010. Angola has overtaken Saudi Arabia as China's main source of oil , with large-scale supplies also flowing from Sudan and Nigeria. Chinese companies have sought Guinea's bauxite, Namibia's uranium, and the assortment of rare metals that are found in the Congo, formerly known as Zaire.

Except from the Wall Street Journal (2/2/07)
In my life there has always been
a shortage of dreams

Every time we say good-bye
I count one less

Friday, February 09, 2007

So Sena, Beth, Andy and I sat in Busboys around 4 PM, preparing invitations to mail out for the first IPS Salon. It will be on March 11th - special guest is Josh Rushing, News anchor for Al Jazeera International. It was fun to work and laugh. A Social movement without friendships is no movement at all.

I spoke briefly with my friend Robin before leaving Busboys and heading home. We talked about marriage. I'll be doing an NPR program on the topic on Monday. I'm pulling together my views on the subject. I've done it twice- but what should I say? Many of us will be married more than once - serial marriages. We tend to view the institution as if it were a wafer to be placed on the tongue. How sacred is it in a changing society? Is it a pillar or a wall? How many people have no where else to go? One can die lonely with a ring on a hand. My best poems were never vows.
Things you don't see in the other media -

I was just reading the Muslim Journal (February 16, 2007) and there is a good story about the New Orleans' 9th Ward - 16 Months later. So much still hasn't been done. I was surprise to read about truck loads of supplies from the Saudi Government to aid residents. The material was being managed by the New Orleans Muslim community.
How much help could Cuba have given? Are we still being held back by Cold War politics?


A Performance Salon
Monday, February 19, 2007
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Meyer Auditorium
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art
12th Street and Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C.

An original one-woman multimedia performance salon, written by Mary H. Curtin and Theresa Larkin, featuring the art, opinions, and unique perspective of Japanese American artist Mine Okubo, who first came to worldwide prominence with the publication of Citizen 13660, a narrative/visual diary of her internment camp experience.
Movies to see:

The Lives of Others
Well you don't have to worry about the Cowboys going anywhere next season. Geez - Wade Phillips. Why? This is just as bad as Tony Romo missing the snap.
OK - who is John Amaechi? He is the author of MAN IN THE MIDDLE. We know that now because of good publishing PR. Release a book like this right after the SuperBowl and before the NBA All Star game and you should sell a few copies. It's not about being Gay and playing in the NBA. It's about selling books. So for 2-3 weeks we will have discussions about homosexuality and sports. You might think it's an old issue - but where is Sheryl Swoopes? Remember when she was the "face" of the WNBA? As soon as she said she was openly gay - we didn't see her anymore. This is her 10th year playing for the Houston Comets.
Howard University Lecture:

February 15, 2007
3:30 PM
Blackburn Center Auditorium

(University of Michigan)


Program sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences
Shouldn't any discussion of the "plight" of the Black male begin with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence? Why was the movie NORBIT made? Why do older black men want to imitate black woman by doing drag? Was this some historical way of surviving the "plight" of slavery? Why make fun of black women who are overweight? What is that about? NORBIT is a good reason why Murphy shouldn't even be given an Oscar. Will this provide him with more "screen clout" to do more bad films? Let's be honest and I've said this before, Murphy in Dreamgirls is not doing anything new besides being Little Eddie instead of Little Richard. What's original about his performance? Or is NORBIT the Dreamgirl he secretly wants to be? No problem with this but hide my DVD player.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I had a fun day today. I went downtown to hear A. Van Jordan read his poems at the Mayor's Press Briefing Room in the Wilson Building. A good crowd came out to support the program organized by poet laureate Dolores Kendrick. The event was a "poetry in the workplace" event.
The Wilson building has a new vibe. Young people on the move like they were running SNCC or SDS. Anyway, I sat in the back of the press room with Fred Joiner - the cool headed poet. Earlier while walking down the street I ran into Reuben Jackson. We talked for a few minutes about life and Moms. The poet Reub was looking good. So in a short afternoon I had a chance to talk with 3 wonderful African American poets. None of them looked like metaphors or endangered folk.

F-Man opened the Van Man program with brief remarks. Van Jordan read some good work. I was more aware this time of the blue tone of his work. Afterwards I hung out with David Kipen and Donald Wilson. We got a tour of the Mayor's bullpen and then we walked down to NEA.
A late afternoon of good conversation and friendship. Does it get any better than this?
Who scripts the news? Looking for Tom Cruise in today's headlines is like looking for Afghanistan. WE are so into Iran like the country was up for an Oscar or is it nuclear weapons? But what about Korea? Has the nation been reduced to a musical? Oh - and Iraq - what sequel is this? Showbiz is like a war. Smile for the camera and duck for the bullets. Who is the director?
Who is the decider? Cut!
Watch the itch now that it's winter. Dry skin is the culprit. Be sure to not lose your moisture. Hot showers can extract moisture from your skin. See today's New York Times (Section E) for a good article on this topic. "Feeling Parched? Itching Like Crazy? It Must Be Winter" by Laurel Naversen Geraghty.
Now in the old days I would wake-up as a child and be scratching and find red scars on my chest and back. I was told that maybe a witch or some evil spirit was riding me while I slept.
I was young and didn't know what to believe, but then when I was maybe 24 or 25, I made love to a woman one night - in the morning I saw the scars. In the morning she was gone. I was introduced to the blues at a late age. Devil music?
Quique! Quique!

Quique Aviles is back with his performance - REHAB.
12 Shows at DCAC

DC Arts Center
2438 18th Street, NW
Information about tickets: 202 462-7833
$15 Fri/Sat
$12 DCAC members
$10 Thurs

Show will run Feb 22- March 17, 2007
Th/Fri/Sat at 7:30 PM
IPS News:

Friday, February 9th , 2-3 pm
IPS Conference Room
1112 16th St., NW, Suite 600

Focus on Iran with authors Danny Postel and Afshin Molavi.

Postel is author of Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism.

Molavi is author of Persian Pilgrimages: Journeys across Iran.

Postel and and Molavi will discuss:

A) How should progressive researchers, intellectuals and activists understand the current situation with Iran?

B) The increasing level of tension between Iran and the US

C) How this current tension is affecting Iranian society internally?

D) What do Iranian human rights activists, women's rights activists, and dissident intellectuals have to say about it?

E) Why are progressives in the West often unclear about this and how might that change?

F) The links between Iranian civil society and human rights groups, activists, and Middle Eastern networks in the United States.
Recent baseball deaths: Lou Burdette and Steve Barber. How many other greats that were in my baseball card collection are gone?
Who goes to D.C. Council hearings? How many have you been to? When I look at newspaper pictures of the folks that attend, I often see the usual suspects. Many have links to the old Black Nationalist segment of the community. A few are bitter with the cards that have been played in this city. As the city changes it's power base, many of these individuals are going to be howling outside the doors of government. Who will be listening to them? A few are anti-government and see a hidden agenda behind every decision that is being made by the new administration. One person in today's Washington Post called Fenty a Hip Hop mayor. What a silly way to describe the guy. Meanwhile opposition to the school takeover grows...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I pulled from my files an old folder about Iraq this afternoon. It had all my newspaper clippings from when I was in the country in 1986. I was attending The 7th Al-Mirbad Poetry Festival, from November 23rd to December 1st. The event attracted 500 poets and 200 scholars, critics and journalists. I wonder where Latif Nssayif Jassim is? He was the Minister of Culture and Information under Hussein. So strange to look back on this trip. In 1986 Iraq was at war with Iran. Two bombs fell in Baghdad while I was there. One struck very close to my hotel.
I'm reading an article about the television show 24 in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL. It's by Emilio Karim Dabul. Is this person real? His comments seem to come directly out of a government manual.
Here's a taste, a quick sip of his work:

"Most of the terrorists represented in "24" through the years have been Arab Muslims. Why? Well, probably because most terrorists today are , in fact, Arab Muslims."

How can someone get away with this statement? Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation- they have a few terrorists running around. Don't they? They are not Arabs. When authorities in England keep arresting folks - there often seems to be a connection to Pakistan - not Syria. We too often associate Islam with Arabs. The television show 24 would be covering "new" ground if some of the terrorists were Muslims and African Americans. This is more possible in our society than some of the other threats. Islam is a universal religion. It's not just associated with Arabs and Arab Americans. But what makes 24 so interesting is simply the greed that folks have for money. A nuclear bomb goes off this season and a guy is driving around with his girl- friend, just so he can make a deal and get more money. Does this guy have any clue as to what type of world he might be living in? Where is he going to get away to and not be affected by radiation, etc. Who is this villian - Bubble Boy? 24 is a slick series because it makes the viewer decide between family and country. Which comes first? Who do you save? America or yourself? Who are you?
What does it mean to be an American?
Poet Lore meeting tonight. Liam Rector is doing our Poets Introducing Poets section in the next issue.

Talking poetry - Van Man returns this week. A.Van Jordan will be giving a reading on February 8th at the Mayor's Press Briefing Room, John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW) at 3 PM. This program is being sponsored by Mayor Fenty and Delores Kendrick (DC Poet Laureate). RSVP at 202 442-7633.
Newsweek has Paris Hilton and Britney Spears on the cover of its latest issue. Why? The lead article is about "The Girls Gone Wild Effect" and how the values of our children are influenced by celebs. Is this really new? Is Britney the only woman out there not wearing underwear?
And how much underwear have we seen the last few years? In the old days we always talked about the color. Maybe Spears only wanted to leave us speechless.
So why do we keep talking about it?
Next week Howard (English Department) will be honoring Nikki Giovanni, Mari Evans, and Lucille Clifton. That's nice. But who did the book display for the window of the Howard Bookstore?? Why only Nikki's books? Geez. Clifton once went to Howard. Does anyone remember that? How long is Mari Evans going to be overlooked? I wonder if the bookstore even has her books? This stuff never ends. It's hard out here for a poet.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

If you wanted that OJ book but couldn't get one because the plug was pulled - don't worry.
Just order a copy of THE ENEMY AT HOME by Dinesh D'Souza. It's probably a nice replacement.
Quote of the Day:

It's hard to walk into a church, and it's even harder when you are homeless because you're worried about how you will be received, or if you smell bad. Some people never go inside at all, because they worry that they will lose all their stuff (as in shopping carts that must be left outside) or be sent to a mental hospital or to jail.

- Rev. Annne-Marie Jeffery, Street Church.
Excerpt from an interview with Manning Marable that appeared in The Black Collegian:

THE BLACK COLLEGIAN: What institutions have most of our front line intellectuals now?

DR. MARABLE: Most black prominent public intellectuals today—go down the list -- Cornell West, Lonnie Guinier, Henry Louis Gates, and others, have never taught at a historically black college. And only a handful have ever attended them. I believe that Michael Dyson, is probably one of the few who actually did attend a black college, Knoxville College in Tennessee, as his undergraduate school. But that's about it. So you now have a whole generation of black intellectuals that are divorced from black institutions. That's not a good thing. And I'm at Columbia, but I'm also saying it's not a good thing.
From IPS

Ask Treasury to Have a Heart & Cancel Liberia’s Debt

Dear Friends,

Please join The Institute for Policy Studies/Foreign Policy In Focus, Africa Action and Jubilee USA Network in this urgent action for the cancellation of Liberia's Debt.

Exactly a year ago, Africa gained its first female head of state, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, in Liberia.

This winter, Africa Action, Friends of the Earth, the Institute for Policy Studies, Jubilee USA Network, and others ask you to join us in a plea to the U.S. administration and international community, to cancel Liberia's $3.5 billion illegitimate debt burden.

This crippling financial burden was accumulated during politically abusive regimes and hampers the economic growth that is essential for the country to recover from over two decades of conflict.

As we approach Valentines Day, join Our " Have a Heart and Cancel Liberia's Debt " campaign TODAY. Thanks to your efforts, we have collected more than 10,000 Valentines hearts addressed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, asking him to "Have a Heart and Cancel Liberia's Debt!"

Please call Treasury Secretary Paulson TODAY, February 6th, asking him to "Have a Heart and Cancel Liberia's Debt!"

See the call-in details and phone script below. We will be delivering your Valentines to Secretary Paulson on February 7th, one week before the February 13-14 Liberia donors conference in Washington, D.C.

Call-In Details:Dial (202) 622-1100 to reach Secretary Paulson's office.
Phone Script:Hi, My name is [Your Name] from [Your City, State].

As the international community gathers in Washington, DC next week for the Liberia donors' conference, I am calling to urge that Secretary Paulson support immediate cancellation of Liberia's debt so the country can use its resources for vital needs like electricity, health, and education.

It is unjust and inhumane that the people of Liberia have to pay back debts that were incurred under corrupt governments, especially when the people never saw any benefit. Even more unfair is the creditor's insistence that Liberia pay back $1.5 billion in arrears before seeing any type of debt relief.

This just doesn't make sense for a country where three-fourths of the people live on less than a $1 a day. Please use your influence to cancel Liberia's debt immediately.


Led by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first female head of state, Liberia is working to overcome the devastation caused by two decades of dictatorship and a civil war. Much of Liberia's debts were incurred by the undemocratic regimes of dictators Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor between 1980 and 2003. Currently, Liberia's debt totals more than $3.5 billion. Liberia's annual budget is less than one fortieth of that amount, and interest continues to accumulate.

President George W. Bush and the international community have repeatedly pledged their support and aid to help the country rebuild, but so far they have stopped short of canceling Liberia's unjust and un-payable debt.

Rich country creditors are currently insisting that Liberia make $1.5 billion in back payments and accumulated interest or "arrears" before it can become eligible for any debt relief or cancellation. At the current payment rate, this would take literally over a thousand years!

Download the Liberia Fact Sheet for more information about Liberia's debt.Thank you!


Quote of the Day:

"Obama delivered a lofty address, decrying negative campaigning - a speech that put him squarely on the record against cynicism and in favor of hope. People listened intently, but at some point, the man from Illinois is going to have to put some policy meat on the bones of that compelling personality, lest he feed the suspicion that he doesn't have much to say."
- David S. Broder
Op-Ed "The Other Democrats Weigh In" Washington Post (2/6/07).