Monday, June 30, 2008



The following was reported by the Associated Press. Orlando, FLA.
Police on Sunday were investigating vandals' spray-painting of dozens of city vehicles here, some with disparaging messages about Democrat Barack Obama.

Authorities think the vandalism to about 60 vehicles, estimated at $10,000 in damage, was done Saturday afternoon, police spokeswoman Sgt. Barbara Jones said.

The vehicles were parked across from City Hall, and investigators said culprits tagged messages including "Obama smokes crack" and a racial epithet.

They even left business cards on the vehicles that disparage both the Illinois senator and his rival, Republican John McCain. The cards voice support for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

An E-Note: Do you remember the Alien guy in the tabloids that was having an affair with Clinton? Hmmm.


Glenn Loury: A Nation of Jailers

Today is his last day as a member of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He served under three mayors.

When asked if he had any last prophetic remarks. He said, "Beware of guppies that eat their young."


Do you think Hillary Clinton should give Mugabe a call? Maybe offer a little advice?
Mugabe is acting like those old presidents at Negro colleges. Remember those days? Folks would not retire unless there was a student movement demanding that they go. This issue of power inside the black world needs to be placed under a microscope. I remember C.L.R. James talking about this. Do we really believe in democracy? Why are we always looking for a minister or "big man" to lead us into forever? Do we wish all our leaders to be our Jesus? OK Mugabe - what would Jesus do? Don't just look at yourself in the mirror this morning. Raise the voters as if they were Lazarus. Let Freedom Live!

Remember when you didn't like how the game was going and you decided to take your ball home? Why do countries behave this way too?
Are we still in the stages of early childhood development?

I'll spend today working on THE FIFTH INNING. My friend Kirsten Porter made excellent editing changes. I need to look at the ending of this second memoir again. Thanks Kirsten. I just heard back from Alexs Pate - so along with Richard McCann, I have the two people I want to do blurbs for this new book. The memoir is dedicated to Denise King-Miller.

ON SATURDAYS I SANTANA WITH YOU will be out from Curbstone Press in April 2009. This new collection of poems is dedicated to four of my best friends: Grace A. Ali, Julia Galbus, Beverly Hunt and Wendy Rieger.
It's morning and I'm listening to John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Is this nothing but Lush Life?

Sunday, June 29, 2008


“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.”

- Former General Wesley Clark

The New York Times Book Review today has 3 lovely photographs of writers.

- Frank O'Hara taken by Harry Redl in 1958 is a classic. O'Hara's head is leaning into the brick of a New York building. Where else? Above his head one of those fire escapes people sat on when it was hot. In O'Hara's hand a cigarette which somehow always seem to define the intellectuals and artists of this era.

Page 19.
- Ed Park taken by Chester Higgins Jr. I just sent a note to Higgens praising this photo of a first novelist. I can see Park's career being launched with the publication of PERSONAL DAYS (Random House), but a new writer has to have a look - an image. Park has it here.

Page 20.
- Vladimir Nabokov by Horst Tappe. In the photo Nabokov is a silhouette writing at a table.
Flowers in a vase. Light entering the room from the balcony. Nabokov is writing and somehow a computer would destroy the mood. Nabokov is writing with a pencil. A reminder of what tools the great ones once used. I like the muscular shape of Nabokov, his head resembling someone like Picasso or maybe Romare Bearden. Nabokov's feet in that position Tatum, Monk, Ellington and all the great jazz pianists made famous.

Will Americans bring home the gold in basketball? A good question to ask before the 4th of July. The roster seems to be filled with guys who too often go home early. Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Jason Kidd and Tayshaun Prince could find stiff competition trying to beat guys on a Brooklyn playground. Without big games from Kobe and LeBron the air in China might hurt the heart and not just the lungs of this team.
I can't believe this team only has 1 center.
But who loves Zimbabwe?
If you're not No.1, it doesn't matter if you're No.2, 10 or 50.

- Bjorn Borg


Folks keep asking me how long I'll remain with AOL.
It's amazing how conservative the folks are who use it.
Here is the recent Straw Poll for President:

McCain - 61%

Obama - 39%

72,566 people voted.


Watch Katrina vanden Heuvel this Sunday morning, June 29, on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. The program airs at 10:00am in many places but broadcast times vary by city so check local listings or the show's website to confirm air time in your area. The Nation's editor and publisher will be part of a media roundtable discussing the news of the week.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is also a member of the IPS Board.


Ravi Shankar, Leslie McGrath and I have been spending the last two days talking with Reetika Vazirani's mother. We've been looking at Reetika's last manuscript and making decisions on what to share with the public. Much to do. One can read Vazirani's "Quiet Death in a Red Closet" in Ravi's new anthology LANGUAGE FOR A NEW CENTURY: CONTEMPORARY POETRY FROM THE MIDDLE EAST, ASIA AND BEYOND (W.W.Norton, 2008).

Deceptive Market Practices in the Marketplace of Ideas

Beltway Poetry Quarterly announces a new issue!
Volume 9, Number 3, Summer 2008

Grace Cavalieri on Ann Darr

Taxi to the Dark Side
Best Documentary - Academy Award

Thursday, July 3
5:30-7:30 pm
Busboys and Poets
2021 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC

Speakers: Farrah Hassen, Newman Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies and Andy Shallal, Iraqi Voices for Peace and Owner of Busboys and Poets

Alex Gibney's TAXI FROM THE DARK SIDE is a perpetually shocking documentary about the Bush administration's use of torture when dealing with political prisoners, with a particular focus on those captured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The title of Gibney's movie is derived from the treatment meted out to an Afghani taxi driver named Dilawar, who was mistakenly fingered as a terrorist, then killed during a torture session conducted by American troops. Despite the title, Dilawar's case is just a small part in Gibney's jigsaw, as the director uses excruciating and comprehensive details surrounding the taxi driver's death as a starting point in his search for the people who have permitted such incidents to occur. Gut-wrenching and fully uncensored pictures from Abu-Ghraib feature alongside interviews with military personnel (some of whom tortured Dilawar) as Gibney's search slowly heads into the upper echelons of the military and, ultimately, into the Bush regime itself.

TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE is a powerful, well-executed piece of filmmaking. Gibney's skills as a director come to the fore as he manages to pull some surprisingly candid revelations from his subjects, while his choice of newsreel clips featuring the likes of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are extremely well chosen. Perhaps the most eye-opening scenes come from a press trip to the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, where Gibney and others are given a tour of the facilities, including the site gift shop, where gallows humor is stretched to breaking point with the sale of souvenir t-shirts bearing the legend Behavior Modification Instructor. The film concludes with Gibney pulling the focus back to Dilawar once again, highlighting the futility of his death as a number of commentators show how torture isn't, and never has been, an effective method for extracting information from people.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

UPTOWN magazine has Obama on the cover of its Summer Issue. I saw copies of this publication on the sidewalk of Connecticut Avenue (yesterday)and decided to take one. I guess this is the magazine for black thumbs with money. I saw the Russell Simmons ads in the front and I just had to laugh...

I should write a script for a fall comedy - Negroes with Yachts. Is it possible that Garvey just wore the wrong clothes and that's why the Black Star Line failed? Anyway, UPTOWN magazine had one page of interesting information; it was a list of 10 African Americans advisors to Barack Obama. This is the type of information that Black Nationalists might ignore. Some Nationalists I know never go UPTOWN they don't go downtown either.
It's sad to see Muslims being the people folks don't want to be around during an election. What is this about? Have Muslims become the new scapegoats? Our nation has always been a place where religious tolerance has been upheld. Many people came to these shores to be able to worship the way they wanted to. America is a place of many religions. We are not just a Christian nation - and perhaps this is why many people find it difficult to show compassion to folks who see Jesus in a different light. What if Obama was "secretly" a Buddhist? Would there be smear tactics used against him? Will people hide if Obama is elected and recites his entire name when he takes the presidential oath? Will this mark the beginning of a new Crusade and an attempt to "retake" the White House? All this talk about Manchurian candidates and Muslims makes the old days of Communism seem tame. Why can't people be proud of their religious ties? Why do we have to hide our religious dress in front of cameras? Why are so many people silent about this? What do all the African American Muslims have to say? Obama has some upcoming trips in the next few months. Will he visit a mosque? Or is this too risky for the Obama team and its win/win stance?Maybe Obama is "secretly" listening to some Malcolm X tapes - maybe he wants to keep all religious matters in the closet. This might be politically wise but it won't get an Amen from the profile in courage pew.
Ichiro Watch:

3 hits last night
Average back to .290
How long will it take him to get to .300?
A hot July and August could result in a batting title.

HAIPHONG, Vietnam (June 27) - John McCain has an unusual endorsement -- from the Vietnamese jailer who says he held him captive for about five years as a POW and now considers him a friend."If I were an American voter, I would vote for Mr. John McCain," Tran Trong Duyet said Friday, sitting in his living room in the northern city of Haiphong, surrounded by black-and-white photos of a much younger version of himself and former Vietnam War prisoners.
New Cafe Coming:
The Savory near the Takoma Park Metro was recently purchased by Ted May. He will be giving the place a new name - DRIFTING NOMAD.
May wants to make the place a happening site - new menu, decor, poetry readings (of course).
I spoke with him yesterday and the vibes were all good. Wishing him success...

Friday, June 27, 2008

How come the conservatives don't eat their young?

I chuckled when I read the OP-ED by David Brooks in The New York Times (6/27/08). His essay is a slick way of trying to get Republicans back on track. Try and win the battle of ideas and plug some new names into the media. You can push books and names like a virus. So look for folks to run out and buy copies of GRAND NEW PARTY: HOW REPUBLICANS CAN WIN THE WORKING CLASS AND SAVE THE AMERICAN DREAM by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam.
Brooks mentions this book in his column so you know this OP-ED is better than a book review. Oh - and Salam was his former assistant. Did I just hear the word blurb? So the Republicans are going to focus on the working class now and not the rich? Is this a joke like suddenly pulling North Korea off the bad boys list? If we truly want to save the American Dream we better focus on poverty in the States and around the world. Poor people are being pushed into invisibility-especially adults and the elderly. Poor children around the world go to bed dreaming of a US celebrity adopting them. I don't expect every nation to be Josephine Baker, so where are the programs and policies that will turn things around? How will we stop the greed and the bizarre profits that are being made? Is it possible to have an addiction to wealth? Can one overdose from materialism? Is the "good" life always good?

Anyway - back to Brooks he does acknowledge the influence of new voices emerging among the bloggers. New career paths are being constructed while we sleep. If you want a list of the Brooks Brothers and a girl - here are the names in his column today: Yuval Levin, Daniel Larison, Will Wilkinson, Julian Sanchez, James Poulos, Megan McArdle and Matt Continetti. I would love to see a picture of these folks. Sam's Club or Guppies?


Last night it was interesting to listen to my daughter talk about the recent Supreme Court decision on gun control. She was able to be inside the Court when the decision came down. A wonderful opportunity to see one's government in action. Maybe my daughter might be back in that room a few years from now. She graduates from law school next year.

Treve de blues

- Leon Damas

Welcome to the E-MAG, an invitation into the words of others. Today my guest is Michon Boston.


Bang! Bang!

I come from a family of experienced, responsible gun owners. My aunt is or was a member of the NRA. The elders bragged about their marksmanship back in the day -- shooting cans from fence posts and quarters from each other's fingers from a distance. [For PETA people, you may want to stop reading at this point.] There are members of my family who have for generations and even today hunt. They live in communities where that's permitted and they hunt responsibly and in accordance with the laws of certain traditions - you eat what you kill; you use the entire animal. It was during the Thanksgiving holiday about two years ago that I enjoyed my first wild turkey shot by my cousin. He saw the turkey from his bedroom window and grabbed his gun, he said. His mother deducted points for not hitting the bird in the head - a sign that he didn't do serious hunting. "He would've gotten a better shot." A few of diners got her point. That wasn't a whole black pepper corn someone spat out.

But what are we hunting in DC? The Supreme Court's decision (5-4) in favor to remove the 32-year old DC gun ban leaves me to take a long breath. In fact, I should get some air filters because I'm not so sure I want to leave my home at this point. I feel perfectly safe with my gun-owning relatives who accompany visitors to their cars at night rifle in hand -- there's a bear problem up in them there hills. But will I need armed assistance to walk me to a cab or the Metro?

Great time to remove a gun ban as we appear to be heading into a deepening economic recession. Are we now the wild, wild capital city? What does this mean for conflict management? How will neighbors settle the score when one person's tree falls into the other neighbor's yard or the cook out's gone on too long and too loud? Will new gangs form and call themselves militias? Will target practice be offered at the Y? Will the Columbia Heights Target start stocking ammunition next to the dumbbells?

It's going to be a long, hot summer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Gun Ban.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that individuals have the right to own guns, striking down the District's controversial handgun ban.
It was fun being on the Diane Rehm's Show yesterday, talking about Eudora Welty. Good to see Kate Lehrer and Suzanne Marrs again.
Marrs is the Welty biographer - EUDORA WELTY: A BIOGRAPHY.
We actually met at the White House a few years ago when First Lady Laura Bush, highlighted the work of Welty.

Progressive Poetry
June 26, 2008, 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Percy Shelley said that poetry, also known as critical reflections upon popular culture, was a touchstone and an influencing agent for understanding and advocating for current issues. E. Ethelbert Miller, David Gewanter, and Naomi Ayala have each written poems in this spirit. It is a gender- and culturally diverse voice that will sound out to the audience messages of progressive change at the level both of policy but more importantly of worldview.

Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion on the influence of poetry on the progressive movement.
Copies of Wild Animals on the Moon, Sleep of Reason, and How We Sleep on the Nights We Don't Make Love will be available for purchase.

Featured Poets:Naomi Ayala, author, Wild Animals on the MoonDavid Gewanter, Associate Professor, Georgetown University, author, Sleep of ReasonE. Ethelbert Miller, Board Chairperson, Institute for Policy Studies, author, How We Sleep on the Nights We Don't Make Love

Moderated by:Michael Boylan, Visiting Fellow, Center for American Progress

A light lunch will be served.
RSVP for this Event RSVP contact: Marlene Cooper Vasilic 202-682-1611
Center for American Progress1333 H St. NW, 10th FloorWashington, DC 20005
Map & Directions Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

US to Lift Sanctions Against North Korea
Posted: 2008-06-26 09:32:49
Filed Under: World News
WASHINGTON (June 26) -- President Bush said Thursday he will lift key trade sanctions against North Korea and remove it from the U.S. terrorism blacklist, a remarkable turnaround in policy toward the communist regime he once branded as part of an "axis of evil."
Logan is going to be based in Washington, D.C.
She is going to be the CBS, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent.
Logan is a real rising star. She is serious about the need for more coverage of world affairs. I like the name Lara Logan. It sounds like the type of person Superman would fall in love with. I'm a fan. Give this woman more airtime.
It's so strange how Nigeria is back in the news. No one was paying any attention to the country when the price of gas was lower. Nigerian Rebels were still running around in their underwear playing with the pipes and rigs. No one said anything. Now we are suppose to believe they are part of the problem now influencing our country. Oh, and didn't Hugo C want to give us cheap oil? It seems like folks want to dig and drill and make more money before the Bush Administration leaves town. Push the public into a panic. Will we return to odd/even car plates soon? Will we survive the winter without old Jimmy Carter sweaters? Such a repeat and a rerun. I turn on the news and it's nothing but a 70s show. The same talk about alternative energy. I thought we would all have electric cars by 1984. Beep, beep. Hands UP. Jesse James has a pistol. Cheney has a gun.
DOWD is always DOWD. Priceless.

Rowe and Co. are nervous because they see that Obama, in rejecting public financing, is not going to be a chump, like some past Democratic candidates.

- Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, June 25, 2008

Ntozake Shange's play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf" is returning to stage under Whoopi Goldberg's direction. India.Arie will be in this version which opens in September. Shange is adding new material to the 1976 production. Let's hope they don't destroy a classic. Sometimes enuf is enuf. I hope Whoopi doesn't turn the play into a comedy - suddenly there was no air. Help me Crystal.
Quote of the Day:

I don't seduce, I surrender.

- Albert Camus
2008 Summer Film Festival
I received a copy of A Weigh with Words yesterday. Thanks Charneice Fox.
A good film for students to view.
People in the film include: Michael Eric Dyson, Colman McCarthy, E. Ethelbert Miller, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Daryl "DMC"McDaniels, Raheem DeVaughn and others.
Nice to see those Bit o' Lit vending boxes around town.
They are near select Metro stops.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ichiro Watch:

No hits.
Average down to .285
No wonder his team can't win.
Hitless in Seattle. :-(
Hip-Hop Theater Festival
July 8-12, 2008

I wonder if Ethelbert is going to be there? Why is he always making those comments about Hip-Hop? I remember he attended a show at the Studio Theatre once. Was that Ginger G with him? It looked like her...
Rumor has it that she migrated North and became a person of note.
No wonder Ethelbert prefers the blues to Hip-Hop. When friendship is abducted by a Middle Passage it creates blues people. I heard stories of Africans on the shore trying to bring their stolen family members back by song, by dance, by prayer. Ships disappearing on the horizon, black feet sinking into sand.


Last week I described how I’m spending my whole summer: on a project to get more campuses to register students to vote--and to engage them as electoral volunteers and active citizens. I’m following up because now you can donate to the project online.

The project aims to help colleges and universities take advantage of the excellent election-engagement resources of Campus Compact’s 2008 Campus Vote Initiative and the Washington Higher Education Secretariat’s Your Vote, Your Voice site. Campus Compact is the leading national service-learning network, and I’m working to connect their state offices with volunteers who will help organize their schools. I’m also working to raise money so they can hire half-time coordinators in key swing states to make sure their state’s campuses engage their students as fully as possible.

I’m approaching major donors to help fund this project--and donating $10,000 myself, a sizable part of my income and far more than I've ever contributed in my life. I’m also doing some grassroots fundraising and soliciting tax-deductible donations through the project's 501(c) fiscal sponsor, Illinois Campus Compact. Now you can donate to the project online, through the leading nonprofit portal, Go to the Illinois Campus Compact link on their site, type Election under the project description, and follow the instructions to donate.
Even if you can give only a modest amount, I hope you'll consider this. The cost of hiring each part-time staffer is only about $9,000 including expenses. The impact on the election and on students’ lives could be huge. If 200 of the 20,000 people on my list gave $50 each, we could fund a state-wide position. A hundred people giving $500-$1,000 could fund five to 10 states. My earlier email already inspired one $1,000 donation, and anything you could give would really help. Even $25 would help if enough people participated. And if anyone else who can't normally afford to be a big donor wants to match my $10,000, think of the chance you’d have to make history

Also, if you know people who are teaching on campus, please ask them to fill out this involvement form, so I can connect them with the statewide and national efforts.

Why? Our historical time just seems that critical, and the potential from involving young voters that great. When citizens start voting and volunteering young, these habits tend to stick. Many young people wonder whether their actions make a difference. In this election, especially in swing states, student votes and volunteering will matter, whoever they support. Building on their newfound passion and concern, their involvement could have a major impact on the election while also setting them on what could be a lifetime path of engagement.

I hope you'll be able to join me in this effort, by volunteering, contributing, or passing on the earlier email to others who could. (Missed the earlier email? You can read it at

Thanks for all you do,

Paul Loeb
Next Poetry Reading:

I will be reading poetry tomorrow at the Center for American Progress, 1331 H Street, NW. 10th Floor. 12 Noon.
Radio Days:
I will be on the Diane Rehm Show (NPR) at 11 AM today. WAMU-FM in DC.
I will be discussing Eudora Welty's ONE WRITER'S BEGINNINGS. (see this link for more info)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Click here to view of note in your internet browser.

WASHINGTON, DC - Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and his wife Michelle today announced that they are expecting their third child in late fall of this year. Baby Fenty will be the newest family member, joining the Fenty's 8-year-old twin boys, Andrew and Matthew. Michelle Fenty says she is feeling great and is looking forward to meeting the newest addition to the family.
Don't Say Good-bye to the Porkpie hat:

So who will replace Tony G as head of the D.C. Commission for the Arts & Humanities? The good shepherd steps down next month. TG is responsible for much of the wonderful things happening in this city. Art in public places, fellowships to writers, Hip Hop Festival, and a list of things as long as the Potomac. But what's a Fenty to do? How important is art and culture to this mayor? Will his decision to replace TG be made in secret? I didn't bet on Big Brown. Nothing worst than a "Chemical" arts Commission shaping the race for culture. Some of the new commissioners seem to have a top-down view of life. At one meeting someone asked me if I knew any "smart" people that could help with a project.

My mother once told me the truth isn't for everyone...

My tenure as an Arts Commissioner ends in a few days. I served under three mayors. Let's see what the new one does. I hope he finds smart people. I hope he knows where to look. Tony G might be the last "Triple Crown" Commission director for a spell. A World-class city cannot be created without understanding culture. Nothing worst than a city on cultural steroids - it's elitist and many ways colonial.

DC is changing - hopefully the poets will understand and bear witness and speak the truth to the people. Ellington is now a condo. Langston once lived here. A people's culture reduced to signs and everywhere a sign of what's coming. Do you see "smart" people?

I would like to see a city bringing people together in new ways.

I want to love people as well as art.

Culture & Community.

Good to see Israel letting shipments of food and things into the Gaza strip. Let's hope the truce with Hamas holds.

All around the world hardliners hurting the "soft" lives of the people. It's bizarre to see Zimbabwe held hostage by Mugabe. What's that about? Where are the love poems for dictators?? One ego destroying the lives of millions. Why? So many nations broken around the world. We have to rebuild one heart at a time.

There are no Superheroes in the world. Only X-Factors without X-Men.

Spider-Man # 4 arrives in May 2011. Will we be able to make it without another war?
Iraq now Iran?

The Parade of Anti-Obama Rascals

We certainly know the animals of the right, the US Reich, the Foxes and Klan in Civilian clothes, e.g., O’Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh &c and certainly a coon or two Tavis & Andy, some people even came up with the slogan Strangle Rangel. Happily w/the departure of Bonnie & Clyde more of these Negro retainers will replace their “ HillJig” buttons with the shit eating grin of exposed Toms as they try to ease painlessly into at least the margin of the masses who support Obama.
But I’m talking about another substantial pimple of soi disant, dare I say, intellectuals & self advertised radicals who are quite audible & wordy in opposition to Obama. You might say, ‘but how is that, since now there is only the prisoner of war, McCain , whose proves every time he opens his mouth that he is still a prisoner of the Viet Nam war’ that Obama faces. McCain’s major campaign plank is that Americans need to keep dying in Iraq and our tax monies need to keep being fed to Halliburton and the other oilies and cronies.

McCain also holds that we continue the Bush type savaging of the US constitution by denying habeas corpus and the legal rights of prisoners in Guantanamo. Keep it open as a Bush-Cheney concentration camp. McCain also wants to maintain the widespread hatred of the US by the world, as well as making Bush’ giveaway Tax cuts for the super rich permanent.

Here’s a charming character who on returning from Viet nam soon dumped his lst wife who had been severely crippled in an automobile accident, to run off with, among others, a beer brewery heiress who cd support his political barn storming. Here’s a man, who for all the media clap about him being “an independent” is the spiritual follower of the man whose seat he sits in as Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater.

I mention all this because it is criminal for these people claiming to be radical or intellectual to oppose or refuse to support Obama. I hope we don’t have to hear about “the lesser of two evils” from people whose foolish mirror worship wd have us elect the worst of two evils.

For those who claim radical by supporting McKinney or, brain forbid, the Nadir of fake liberalism, we shd have little sympathy. As much as I have admired Cynthia McKinney, to pose her candidacy as an alternative to Obama is at best empty idealism, at worst nearly as dangerous as when the Nader used the same windy egotism to help elect Bush.

The people who are supporting McKinney must know that that is an empty gesture. But too often such people are so pocked with self congratulatory idealism, that they care little or understand little about politics (i.e. the gaining maintaining and use of power) but want only to pronounce , to themselves mostly, how progressive or radical or even revolutionary they are.

Faced with the obvious that McKinney cannot actually do anything by running but put out lines a solid left bloc shd put out anyway, their pre-joinder is that Obama will be running as a candidate of an imperialist party, or Imperialism will not let Obama do anything different or progressive…that he will do the same things any democrat would do and that the Democrats are using Obama to draw young people to the Democratic party. Also that there is a sector of the bourgeoisie supports Obama to put a new face on the US as alternative to the Devil face Bush has projected as the American image.

Some of these things I agree with, but before qualifying that let me say that no amount of solipsistic fist pounding about “radical principles” will change this society as much as the election of Barack Obama will as president of the US. Not to understand this is to have few clues about the history of this country, its people, or the history of the Black struggle in the US. It is also to be completely at odds with the masses of the Afro-American people, let us say with the masses of black and colored people internationally. How people who claim to lead the people but who time after time tail them so badly must be understood. It is because they confuse elitism with class consciousness.

And at this point, the US body politic has been taken too far in this present election campaign to easily dissolve this heavy challenge to its historic race & class exclusivity. The positive aspect of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and commitment to work in the Obama campaign has certainly shredded some of the gender exclusivity as well, so that there is in reality a prospect that some substantive change can be made. Obama is the democratic nominee. Only repeats of the outright election theft of Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 can put McCain in the white house. In 2 weeks, since the Democratic Party primaries ended, McCain’s poll numbers have dropped from a dead heat w/ Obama to trailing by 18 points.

It is up to revolutionaries and progressives and radicals of all stripes to make it difficult for another larceny in November. We should agitate for serious disruption across this country and internationally if such a criminal attempt to steal the US presidency is mounted.

For the so called left and would be radicals (and some grinning idiots who say they don’t even care about politics) the McKinney gambit is to label oneself “Quixote of the loyal opposition” to pipsqueak a hiss of disproval at the rulers while being an enabler of the same. Neither McCain nor McKinney will help us. Only Obama offers some actual help.

Even the dumbest things Obama has said re: Cuba and the soft shoe for Israel must be seen as the cost of realpolitik, that is he is not running for president of the NAACP and not to understand that those are the stances that must be taken in the present political context, even though we hold out to support what he said about initiating talks with the Cubans, the Palestinians . After years of Washington stupidity and slavish support for the Miami Gusanos and Israeli imperialism, there is in Obama’s raising of talks with the US Bourgeois enemies something that must be understood as the potential path for new initiative. It is the duty of a left progressive radical bloc to be loud and regular in our demands for the changes Obama has alluded to in his campaign. We must take up these issues and push collectively, as a Bloc, or he will be pushed inexorably to the right.

Some people were grousing about the father’s day address and the stance he took lecturing Black men to actually become fathers not just disappearing sexual partners. But can anyone who actually lives in the hood, and has raised children there really claim that what Obama said is somehow an “insult to half a race”. We need to take up that idea of making Black men stand up and embrace fatherhood (a lifetime gig) as men and quit winking at the vanished baby makers that litter our community with fatherless children. This is where a great deal of the raw material comes from for the gangs that imperil our communities.

As I answered one irate e-mailer who was pissed off at Obama for leveling that challenge, a Negro man killed my only sister, a Negro man killed my youngest daughter. I can’t give no mealy mouth slack about that, we need to Stand Up!

Obama has addressed the Israeli lobby and the Gusano (anti Cuba) lobby. But where is the Black left and general progressive, radical and revolutionary lobby? That is the real job we need to address. We must bring something to the table. It is time for the left to really make some kind of Left Bloc to support Obama. I was at the Black Left meeting in North Carolina and had to argue with a group of folks who want to be revolutionary as heck with a Reconstruction Party supporting Cynthia McKinney. Though there was some good discussion, nothing concrete has been offered especially around the Obama campaign.

There were even a few badly disguised nationalists, posing as part of the left who think such posturing somehow more revolutionary than getting Obama into the oval office and dealing with getting him there and the rocking and rolling that will go on in this country whether he makes it or not. We ought to be putting together a left bloc document that can be circulated as soon and as widely as possible and in Denver and depending on the circumstances, beyond. Using this as a means of drawing the excited masses to the left.

We always knew that the Obama campaign had the potential to do this. And the closer we get to the convention and then the election even more excitement will be generated. We shd not let our role be to stand on the sidelines and mumble how hip we are, we can’t be so hip we let this cross roads of US history pass us by and possibly even let the lobotomized Robocop of right wing Republicanism serve us up more Bush’ it.

I am sending this document right after I finish writing it to the Black Radical Congress who is meeting in St. Louis this weekend. I would hope it could be circulated.

Amiri Baraka 6/21/08
Ichiro Watch:

Average dropping to .287
This might be his worst hitting year in the US.
Not too many multiple hit games.
Only one hit last night in 5 plate appearances.
Many things will get better after the All-Star game.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Next American Idol or the Next W.E.B. DuBois?

A nice job for Michael Fauntroy, Jelani Cobb, Kojo Nnamdi, Jonetta Barras or Michon Boston.


Start saving your money now. The next thing on the horizon is going to be food inflation. Beef, pork, poultry and even eggs will get more expensive.
How much will that Thanksgiving turkey cost? What about that ham?

WHEN THE CENTER IS ON FIRE: PASSIONATE SOCIAL THEORY FOR OUR TIMES (University of Texas, hot off the press) offers a lively and original conversation between two seasoned and politically engaged public sociologists about four recent social upheavals: Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, the Abu Ghraib prison abuses, and the Columbine massacre.

The book offsets superficial interpretations of these events—that have been inspired by fear, rage, and confusion—by drawing upon exemplary 19th and 20th century social theory in original and innovative ways. From their description of W. E. B. Du Bois’s highly disciplined work life as he helped to father the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement to their discussion of Karl Marx’s exile into the British museum, the authors make key classical theorists come alive as we learn why their work remains crucial, into this century.

The book's animated discussion of Condoleezza Rice’s emergence as this decade’s Super Black Female Friend (SBFF) and their gut wrenching analysis of Lynndie England’s holding of a leash at Abu Ghraib prison, show that Rice’s rise and England’s fall are deeply connected. The book takes the reader to the women holding their babies above rising storm waters in New Orleans, to the two boys who killed themselves after unleashing their murderous rage in Colorado—asking for compassion and accountability, intimacy and engagement, forgiveness and reparations. The book’s compelling, sometimes irreverent, often searing interpretations of current social traumas make this book essential for students, activists, x, y, and z generations and everybody who is bored by the 6 o’clock news.

DIANE HARRIFORD is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Women’s Studies at Vassar College. For the last twenty years, she has been teaching sociology, Women’s Studies, and African American Studies while engaging in various social movements. In the 1970s, she was an assistant to Bella Abzug, a member of the US House of Representatives from New York. Diane also worked closely with the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Currently, Diane is involved in the National Women’s Studies Association and the Black Radical Congress. Diane has spoken widely on women and slavery in the 19th century, on Black women and sexuality, and Black women in the academy. Most recently she has lectured (in Brazil and Tunisia) on the rise of Black conservatives in the United States and on Hurricane Katrina.

BECKY THOMPSON is the author of several books, most recently, A Promise and a Way of Life (2001); Mothering without a Compass (2000); and A Hunger So Wide and So Deep (1994). She recently co-edited Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Prose and Poetry on HIV From the Black Diaspora (with Randall Horton and Michael Harper, 2007). Her poetry has been published in a number of literary journals. With Sangeeta Tyagi she co-edited Names We Call Home (1996) and Beyond a Dream Deferred (1993) that won the Gustavus Myers Award for Outstanding Books on Human Rights in North America. Her activism has included work against the escalation of the punishment industry, against apartheid and U.S. imperialism, and in support of human rights. She has been awarded several prestigious fellowships. Currently, Becky is Professor of Sociology at Simmons College and has held academic appointments at Duke University, Princeton University, Wesleyan University, and elsewhere.

Treve de blues
- Leon Damas



Is Brand Obama Already Stale?

New. Different. Attractive.

That was how Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus of DDB Worldwide, described Barack Obama in an April 2008 Fast Company article, “The Brand Called Obama.” But has the Obama brand become stale?

True to the American form of hip commercialization, the article reduced Sen. Barack Obama to essentially being a brand. The article went even further and reduced “Politics” as merely being “about marketing—about projecting and selling an image, stroking aspirations, moving people to identify, evangelize, and consume.” And what do people consume? A product.

According to this mindset, it’s not about policies that affect people for better or worse.

It is interesting when one reads the newspapers or listens to radio, hearing about either John McCain (“Maverick”) or Hillary Clinton (“Experienced”) referred to as brands, or how what is known about them—their projected personas—their brand being confused or devalued by a message or an event that is unfamiliar, crowding out their message. In a commercial society where almost everything is reduced a cash nexus relationship, politics is essentially one of branding, or marketing.

This is the natural result of the techniques of advertising and marketing, of candidates being handled by professional campaign managers who know how sell people, market politicians as products. Joe McGinness noted it years ago in his book about Richard Nixon, The Selling of the President 1968. The “Tricky Dick” of yesteryear, the 1950s and early 1960s, was repackaged and sold as the tanned, rested and ready Nixon of 1968, ready to lead the nation during the dark days of Vietnam, assassinations, and social disorders. Nixon, with the help of advertising and television handlers, branded himself as new and improved. One of the grand masters of this style of politicking was Clem Whitaker, a former newspaperman who founded Campaigns Inc.

Campaigns, Inc. has been cited as being one of the first professional campaign/PR firms. It took over a candidate’s entire campaign, devised his or her strategy, replacing what a party once did: being an agent between the candidate and the electorate. (Whitaker successfully branded Harry Truman’s national health care plan of the 1940s as “socialized medicine,” undermining any chance of universal healthcare for the American people for the rest of the 20th century.)

Whitaker understood how things could be marketed to a certain base, the American consumer: “The average American doesn’t want to be educated,” said Whitaker. “He doesn’t want to improve his mind; he doesn’t want to work, consciously, at being a good citizen. But most every American likes to be entertained. He likes movies; he likes mysteries; he likes fireworks and parades…So, if you have to fight put on a show!”

Branding is pervasive in American politics. Think of the Republican Party and one immediately understands its brand: Strong Defense. Family Values. Free Enterprise. Pro-Life.

Democrats, as they have been defined or “branded” by the Republicans, are: Unpatriotic. Tax and Spend. The Enemy of Normal People. Weak on Defense. In short, Liberals.

“Change That You Can Believe In”. “Yes, We Can.”

These were the essential messages of Obama’s primary campaign, along with
“a new kind of politics.” What is interesting to note about the Fast Company article is that it’s basically a horse-race article. Issues aren’t important; it is how Team Obama branded Obama the product, or how the game is played. Most of the article is about how Internet saavy Team Obama is: getting Facebook genius Chris Hughes on board, or how Obama mashups were viral and viewed as more authentic. Obama was readily available in the online world, but his brand was protected by keeping him way from those people who have a tendency to kick the tires and check underneath the hood of any suspicious four-wheeled brand: the press.

Yet Brand Obama was marketed tested by that new breed of 2.0 journalism, the citizen blogger. Blogger Mayhill Fowler, attending an Obama fundraiser in San Francisco, reported the Brand’s infamous “cling” remarks about lower-brand folks in the American hinterland.

So has Brand Obama lost its zing? It’s zip? It’s snazz? Put another way, is Barack Obama merely old wine in new wineskin? The gleam of this brand, spanking new model appears to have lost some of its luster. As the NYT noted in April, he had enjoyed a considerable lead among men in February over Hillary Clinton: “67 percent of men wanted the party to nominate him compared with 28 percent for Mrs. Clinton. Now 47 percent back him, compared with 42 percent for her.”

Undoubtedly, the wear and tear on this brand in the primary season, the trial marketing period, has been considerable, but not enough to prevent him from reaching the necessary delegate number to seal the deal for the nomination in Denver. But increasingly the fresh face of 2004 is beginning to look like “Fast Eddie Obama,” talking out of both sides of his neck, a trick not unusual for politicians.

There are three issues that potentially show how Brand Obama even before taking the oath of office as POTUS, even before getting the actual nomination to be the candidate as the Democratic standard bearer, has become a typical politician, undermining the freshness of the brand.

1. Suck-up politics

His statement before the American/Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) classically underscores that professed fealty to Israel is truly the third rail of American politics. Touch it and you fry. In order to prove that he’s even more loyal to Israel than the Likud wing of the Republican Party, more protective of its security than his own country’s national interest, and because there’s a on-going subterranean smear campaign regarding his Muslim heritage (despite being a professed Christian), Obama even promised that Jerusalem would be an “undivided city.” This was going beyond stated American foreign policy. This was, however, a typical case of overcompensation, in which an outsider has to be 110 percent more than whatever an insider is. (Note how Hillary Clinton had to act more “male” or “macho” than any of her Democratic Party rivals to belie the notion that as a woman she wasn’t up to being commander-in-chief.)

A new kind of politics would have made an attempt not to play the pandering game that American politicians engage in before specific audiences. Just as most politicians have to genuflect before AIPAC, most white politicians have to “We Shall Overcome” before black voters. (And it doesn’t help Obama that his national security advisory group contains Clinton retreads such as Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright. Has Samatha Powers been banished forever?)

2. More Money than God

Obama’s pledge to use public funding is now dead. Collecting more money than God ($272 million at the last counting) during the primary, Team Obama has decided not to seek $84 million available through public funding. Of course, this led Team McCain, which is lagging in that department, to condemn him as a “typical politician,” a classic flip-flopper. However, John McCain himself has been playing fast, loose, and furious with campaign spending laws, having had to jettison lobbyists from his campaign.

But is there a modicum of validity that while Obama talks good government he hides an iron fist in a very expensive velvet glove? Or, as a lobbyist mused about Obama before journalist Ken Silverstein, “What’s the dollar value of a starry-eyed idealist?”

3. FISA Capitulation

Nothing better sums up the gutless politics of utter capitulation than the House Democrats, for fear of being labeled weak on national security, by caving in on the most recent version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. A law in which the current administration broke by engaging in warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens without court supervision as specified by law, and then ordering telecommunication firms to do so; once again, breaking the law. Now the Bush administration seeks to codify the executive branch skirting the law and then granting telecoms immunity for breaking the law. Worse yet is Barack Obama, a constitutional law professor, going along with this wanton form of law breaking. Obama justifies supporting such a bill that undermines constitutional freedoms by invoking the same rationale that the Bush administration has used for years, namely “grave threats.”

By any reasonable examination, Barack Obama has embraced the politics of flip-flopping. Once sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians, he has now positioned himself as Israel’s next best friend. (And if he accedes to the White House, don’t be surprised if Israel smacks Iran in the first term of his presidency—if not sooner.) Arguing for a new kind of politics, “change that you can believe,” he breaks a pledge, uses a lawyer-like justification for eschewing public financing. Once denouncing a previous bad FISA bill that sought to codify the brazen lawbreaking of the Bush administration, he now backs a bill that his senate colleague Russ Feingold has termed as “capitulation.”

Obama’s appeal, his source of strength, seems to the emotional intelligence that he conveys through his charismatic appeal. This is his greatest branding strength: he makes people believe, which means that consumers have an emotional investment in Brand Obama as he is known now, or as he appears to be to them.

However, what Obama may truly be offering is a respite from eight years of hard-right Republican governing—war, corruption, incompetence— for a surface reality of change—post-racial, post-partisan—without the necessity of social reality or actual political change occurring at all.

Despite the excitement that Obama has generated, American politics may have morphed into one long advertising campaign: now it’s truly all about the marketing until the next production cycle. As Andrew Card once said of another product (the Iraq War), ``From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August.''

HOWARD UNIVERSITY: Where do we go from here?
Thus did Montezuma open his arms to Cortes.

- C.D. Wright

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Obama and Clinton will be at The Mayflower Hotel (DC) on Thursday. They will be talking to the deep money pocket folks. Look for the media to love the moment. There will be smiles and silly questions about Clinton being VP. Nothing but a game show without the big red balls and mud.

Nothing is really serious until after the Democratic and Republican Conventions.
Even the hate groups right now are just sitting around drinking beer.

Don't expect the Olympics to carry the big news torch. Summer boredom?

Suicide Bombings seem to be picking up again in Iraq - sad - but that might place the war smack back on the front page. Bad news for McCain.

Pitching mate? With Curt Schilling having shoulder problems that might end his career - look for this guy to be sitting in Congress in a Republican chair. It's either that or becoming a talk show host.

We need to look at Obama's recent address to the United States Conference of Mayors. His advice to the mayors seems very conservative. Once again we hear the rhetoric about not counting on Washington for funds. I guess not- with a huge budget deficit being left by the Bush Administration. The idea that change comes from the bottom and not the top is also conservative nonsense. We need to find ways for government to do more. Get rid of the corruption and make the system work. We have no problems finding money to fight wars and drill for oil. Why no funds to take care of people who are poor and have no safety nets? Education is not going to solve the problems of adults who have disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse issues. What should be done? How do we begin to take care of the poor who are slowly becoming invisible? How many people who have lost their homes the last few weeks to floods, tornado's and fires will never get back on their feet? Do we turn our backs on them? What would Jesus do? What can our government do? We need more than prayers and a rebate.
At sunset
only one wish -
to become a wolf
beneath a fat full moon




I have a Writer's Center board meeting this morning.
Good news - a new director for the Center has recently been hired. He is Charles Jensen.
"Quote" of the Day:

The best way to support Obama is not by remaining silent and giving him a pass. Citizens who believe in a more fair and just America should keep the pressure on in various ways, reminding him of his compelling challenge to the "trickle-down, on your -own philosophy that says there's nothing government can do about the problems we face."

Editorial -THE NATION, July 7, 2008.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

All Souls Unitarian Church
Washington, D.C.
June 21, 2008

Here is an excerpt of the remarks I made:

The writer James Baldwin often spoke about the need to be a witness. To be a witness means you have to testify; you have to speak the truth. This requires courage and sometimes sacrifice.

The witness is different from the observer. Many of us observe and do nothing.
The witness acts because he or she is moved by compassion.

When one reads the mission statement of Witness for Peace, one immediately sees the word nonviolence. It's so important that this word remain a part of our vocabulary.
Without nonviolence we cannot attain or reach the Beloved Community.

This was the concept Martin Luther King, Jr deeply believed in - the Beloved Community. A place where personal and social relationships are created by love.
A place where we uphold the solidarity of the human family and no one is spiritually segregated.

We understand as King did that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Friday, June 20, 2008


The latest issue of Washington City Paper reads like THE COLONIAL GUIDEBOOK TO DC. What dark continent lies beyond The Mall? Checkout HOODS & SERVICES. This issue can't be for Black people. Check this description of Anacostia:

Let me warn you about Anacostia: If you move there, your friends are going to make all sorts of stupid remarks about it right to your face. They will ask you if you carry a gun. They will be quite concerned about your well-being and they will, in all likelihood, not come see you at your large and inexpensive historic home.

The above nonsense was written by Arin Greenwood. When will the Portuguese arrive?
Where are the Dutch? Folks should write letters to Arin or teach her the words to Amazing Grace.

SOS - Will you sell your homes for trinkets and beads? The first dog park sign is a sign. If you think this is just a newspaper story and not colonialism - remember that all the stories are true and that things fall apart and the center cannot hold. The DC levees have collapsed. There are no more blues singers living near the Potomac.
LOL LOL (Liberals -Oh those- Liberals)
Read David Brooks OP-ED in The New York Times (6/20/08) about Obama and you know the Republicans are concerned with what might happen in November. Yep - O- brother is not naive.
This is not just about making history - it's for all the marbles. The last time the Democrats played hardball was during the days of the Bork nomination to the Supreme Court. Is it possible that the Democrats Have Game? Obama taking folks to the hoop -banging in the paint?
Berger, Browning, Ross Read at Torture Survivors Solidarity Vigil
Saturday, June 28, 7:30 pm

DC Poets Against the War Sarah Browning, Rose Berger and Joseph Ross will read their poetry at TASSC's Anti-Torture Vigil, Saturday, June 28th 7:30pm, Lafayette Park, in front of the White House.

The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) International ( holds a vigil every year near the UN International Day in Support of Survivors and Victims of Torture.

This year the 11th Annual 24-Hour Vigil is at Lafayette Park in front of the White House, June 28 ,7:00 AM to June 29, 7:00 AM.

Please come join the survivors, their friends, families, and supporters, in solidarity against the practice of torture.

Sarah Browning is the coordinator of DC Poets Against the War and Split This Rock Poetry Festival.
Rose Berger and Joseph Ross were co-editors of Cut Loose The Body: An Anthology of Poems on Torture.

For more information about TASSC International, please visit If you have questions about the Vigil or how you can help, please contact or call TASSC's office at 202-529-2991.

No word from you since Juneteenth.

I'm sitting in plantation dusk
listening to Norah Jones
singing Turn Me On.

Your face next to the North Star.
I've lost the directions to my heart.

My hands are waiting for the new tools to arrive.
I need to fix my life and love you more.

- E. Ethelbert Miller
Listening to Norah Jones - Turn Me On. A favorite...

Tomorrow I will be reading poems at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of WITNESS FOR PEACE. All Souls Unitarian Church, 1500 Harvard Street, NW. 7 PM
Donation: $25

NPR: Next Week.

Next Wednesday I'll be on NPR (The Diane Rehm Show) discussing Eudora Welty's ONE WRITER'S BEGINNINGS.
A busy day but a good day. In the morning I met with Joe Ross and we discussed the idea of the Metro (Underground) Book Fair. We will start planning for an event that will take place in April 2010. It will give us time to work out ties with sponsors and see how this baby will fly. The tentative title of the Book Fair is "Ride & Read."

I spent the afternoon in my office talking with the author Norman Kelley. He wrote THE HEAD NEGRO IN CHARGE SYNDROME: THE DEAD END OF BLACK POLITICS. We had Big Fun talking about black issues and current events. This brother should be writing for all the major magazines. I love his style and what he has to say. Hopefully he might write some special E-Notes in the future.
The following is a note from John Cavanagh, director of IPS.

Change is in the air - but we don't know which way the wind will blow, after the next president is elected.

No matter who sits in the White House a year from today, he will not be an agent of the fundamental changes our country needs without sustained pressure from robust and well informed social movements.

That's where IPS comes in: through cross-cutting analyses, visionary policy ideas, and creative networking, we are arming social movements with knowledge and linking them to policymakers to demand change.

But to keep us afloat, we need a commitment from you to support our work. We are almost half way to meeting our spring goal of $50,000. We are depending on you to help us point our nation back in the right direction. Can you name the only think tank in Washington that was right about all of these issues?

1960's - Opposed the Vietnam war from the earliest days of the antiwar movement and as a hub for the Civil Rights movement
1970's - Served at the forefront of the anti-Apartheid movement
1980's - Gave birth to early feminist journals like Off Our Backs
1990's - Led work opposing corporate globalization
2000's - Opposed the invasion of Iraq

Your contribution will help us be right on the challenges facing us today by advancing a fundamentally different approach to promoting peace, justice and the environment.

With gratitude and hope,

John Cavanagh
Director, IPS

E. Ethelbert Miller is board chair of IPS and supports this message. We need your support!
A link to a friend's website: EUBANKS

Looking closer at Obama's position on public funding, I have to agree with him. The Republicans do what they do. They play hardball!
The media and McCain will talk about how Obama changed his mind and can't be trusted or can't stick with a decision. This is all nonsense right now. People talk about campaign reform after elections not during them. If Obama can't combat all the slime that's coming, he will be a nice historical footnote to 2008. He needs as much money as possible. This is about keeping your marbles at the end of the day. Play rough and talk about fairness afterwards. Remember Uncle Leo. Nice guys finish...
Just ask Gore.
Marilyn Monroe:

Well, I can now say I was on the cover of the same magazine as Marilyn Monroe. What a surprise to see the 1955 photo of Monroe on the cover of Poets & Writers. There she is reading a copy of Ulysses in a playground.
Now I bet some folks will get their copy of P&W and wonder if the barbarians and bathing beauties are at the door. Why is MM on the cover of a major literary publication? Yada Yada Yada. What are you reading this summer? Or are you just looking at the girls and guys?
VP for Obama:

So who is he going to pick?
The chatter chatter says Nunn. I always thought this guy was smart but boring. Experience? He has mucho. But let's think entertainment tonight. No way Nunn is going to excite the crowds the way Obama has done. So the Dem ticket with Nunn in August looks as exciting as a summer picnic with bees. If you want to keep the buzz buzz that Obama has going - then you have to pick a VP Mate that the media goes Ya Ya for until the Republicans meet. The only person who can do that would be Gore. An Obama/Gore ticket is a door prize. The only way the Republicans could counter might be with sticking Condi Rice on their ticket. If they don't present a ticket that's historical they become a runner-up to the American Idols - Obama and Gore. That will only get you a few minutes on the Jay Leno Show.

Front page - The New York Times today - "U.S. Says Exercise by Israel Seemed Directed at Iran." Major air strike drill being coordinated by Israel. It' s an outgrowth of their concern with Iran's nuclear program. The worst case scenario could take place after the US elections. Israel attacks Iran in late December or right before the next US President is sworn in. What's a McCain or Obama to do? Support Israel and enter into a war with Iran? Can you imagine a young Obama confronted with his first major foreign policy test? Another Bay of Pigs? Three months into a new presidency and you're fighting another war? Iran makes three? Which might mean World War III. What's a new President to to do? Look soft? Yipes! Why do things still go bump in the night?

See the trailer:

Please join us this Saturday, June 21st from 5 to 8 PM

Opening Party


Iranian American artist

Aylene Fallah


Assembled Memories

The Corner Store Gallery
900 South Carolina Ave, SE.

June 2008

Dear Friend:

Earlier this year, Poets & Writers began supporting literary events taking place in New Orleans. Each year, Poets & Writers, through its Readings/Workshops program, provides more than $200,000 to 700 writers participating in 1,500 literary events.

In February, Bonnie Rose Marcus, who directs the program in New Orleans, traveled there to meet with writers and event organizers. On the last night of her trip, she reflected on the experience:

I sit in my hotel room with the antique crystalline chandelier, faded blue walls, and dated gold lamps adorned with angels and think about this city. Art is everywhere-in the architecture, the music streaming into the streets, the colorful canvases propped outside galleries, the writers performing their work.

I picture the egrets roaming the flattened terrain of the Ninth Ward, the vultures and hawks I saw flying silently overhead, broken Mardi Gras beads hanging from the bare branches of trees, and pieces of beads glistening between cracks in the sidewalk.I've heard so many stories: of evacuations; life away from home; the loss of neighbors, homes, books, manuscripts. And tales about the efforts of so many people, from New Orleans and elsewhere, who are helping to rebuild the city.

It has been an honor to bear witness to this extraordinary place and to be embraced by such an inspiring and generous group of writers.More than sixty people-writers, spoken word artists, community organizers, literary magazine editors, curators, and professors- attended a meeting to learn about the Readings/Workshops program, which was hosted by the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.

At the end of the meeting, one writer said, -I feel like a seed has been planted." We're pleased to help strengthen the literary fabric of New Orleans. But our ability to support writers through our Readings/Workshops program depends in part on contributions from individuals like you, who believe in the transformative power of the written word.

Each year we receive many more requests than we have funds to support. Please consider making a gift to this important program by clicking here ( ) .


Elliot Figman
Executive Director

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good news about my friend Kebedech. We are working on a project together. It's been exciting so far...
Here is a profile of her:

See the July issue of Italian Vogue.
"Quote" of the Day:

But the problem was Gasol, Odom and the rest of the Lakers provided about as much support as a 10-year old nursing bra.

- Mike Jones

Obama is putting together the "old" team again:

Warren Christopher
Madeleine K. Albright
Lee Hamilton
Sam Nunn
Anthony Lake

This is really sad. No new names. This is what experience will get you. The Obama Administration is looking dull and we haven't even voted for it yet. Geez.
Team Obama is playing like a team that has a lead and wants to play it safe. Hoop Dreams?
This is just how you lose games. If Obama isn't careful he's going to be sitting next to Kobe soon.
Team Obama has to keep attacking (McCain) and move the ball down the court. They can't play it safe with the issues.
What's the fuss?

The Texas GOP had their state convention in Houston last week. Someone was handing out buttons that said - If Obama is President will we still call it the White House?

You know this is going to be a four year joke if Obama is elected.
Will there be a four year search to find a Great White Hope?
Game Shows?

What's the most ridiculous thing you would do in order to win a million dollars?

What's the most ridiculous thing you would do in order to become president of the United States?
OK. Let's talk about the Lakers. I don't think this team would have made it to the Finals without Fisher being back on the squad. Kobe is great but the guy needs help. Here are the players that have to go: Walton, Odom and many of the guys on the bench. The Lakers need a couple of veterans who know how to knock folks on their butts going to the basket. The Lakers are LA soft right now. I can't see them getting this far next year without major changes.

Oh, poor Wee Willie Randolph. Maybe he can manage the Yankees in two years. Meanwhile I suggest he give a speech in Philadelphia about sports and race. Do people in New York really understand Willie Randolph? What does Willie want? His job back?
I think he could be a nice Ambassador to the UN under an Obama Administration. I can see him staring at folks in the General Assembly.
Willie in the Darfur league?

It's not even August and one can see Black support for Obama beginning to melt in the heat. Black people want to claim Obama the way they claim Tiger Woods. Well Tiger is out for the season and Obama hasn't even reached the convention but we can see his knees twisting too.
Will political surgery be necessary? You bet. No Muslims in the background of photos. Be a black conservative when it comes to issues of values. Obama is running the "miracle" race right now.
That's the type of coalition he has to build. The "Miracle" one. Look for his campaign to begin to stand for everything and consequently it will begin to stand for nothing - except the symbolism of itself. Everyone has to see what they want in Obama. In essence supporting Obama means simply supporting Obama. In terms of his position on many of the issues it's really Hillary without the dress. No surprise here. Many of the people in his camp are Clinton people - more now since Hillary's campaign is over. As Obama gets closer to the White House look for people to look beyond the darkness of his skin. What does he represent? Old wine in a new jug? Is that a Barack in your pocket? You want a sip?

As we move into the future and talk about change, we might begin to realize how slow the process really is. How long will it take for us to change our policy on Cuba or the Middle East?
Not in this election. As you can see one week we talk about saving the environment and the next week we want to do more drilling. We want to win now! So you can see why Tiger's knee is hurting this morning and more surgery is needed. Obama might just win in November - but how much will it cost him? Who is going to call the doctor? Or as Malcolm X once said - we might get stuck with another "bill." The price of medicine and healthcare keeps going up. Soon it will cost the price of the ticket. Read your Baldwin if you think you should pay it.