Monday, August 31, 2009

Countdown to Harlem: Book Party for E. Ethelbert Miller, September 20th.


Dear Friends,

Forgive me if this is a duplicate for you but the Sept. 4 deadline for opting out of the Google/Authors Guild suit settlement --if that is what you want to do--is this week.

To my horror this summer I discovered my first novel had been scanned. I only looked because I read about Joyce Carol Oates discovering by accident that her work had been scanned. To my further horror I have since discovered that every book I've ever written and nearly every book I've ever been in and one or two that I NEVER KNEW I was in, have been scanned.

Tonight I looked up some of you on this mailing list and you too have received similar treatment. None of my friends who are writers have mentioned this suit to me and I am alarmed that I now only have a few days to figure out what to do. Advice is welcome. The Authors Guild registry officers include no one who looks like me and no one who is in that ocean of "mid-list" writers who are the "other" in publishing.

I have been too poor since the early 2000s (when I was paying enormous NYC rent) to pay my dues for either the Authors Guild or the National Writers Union, so perhaps that is
why I am getting on this so late and still wondering if I should file a "friend of the court" letter.

I do not make a living from my books, or even really any income. I have received royalties
suddenly this year for the first time for my second book of poetry, and received royalties for about three years for one theater piece in a collection. The only royalties I normally receive are from music projects--small checks for art songs from BMI-- and I have had to fight
G. Schirmer, the publisher of my operas, because they just never paid me for 17 years.

It took me most of a year and a letter to my lawyer to get those royalties, which they had paid, for all 17 years, to the composer! I have already scanned some of my work and I sell my opera libretti to people overseas who buy them from my website. I send PDFs by email.
These libretti now constitute the only published work they have NOT scanned. I certainly would also do that with my books if they went out of print.

I am just beside myself that to continue to do so I would have to have Google come down on me for selling scans of my own work, especially given that I have purposely withheld electronic rights to my work.

Life is already plenty hard enough. I have not enjoyed full employment since 2004. I have always had a job and used to wait for the day when I could make a living as a full-time writer. I do not now ever expect to become a writer who benefits financially from writing books
but when I saw my only hold on my work--my copyright-- was violated without so much as a note from any of my publishers, I freaked out. I feel personally violated and am very appalled that Google intends to own the copyright to the scans of my work.

Sorry to go on so long but I hope that the particulars will point out what must be the case for MOST writers-- that we do it mainly for the love of it and the advances help but do not keep one for even the time it takes to write a book. Getting $60 for something I spent three years creating is worse than insulting but losing the electronic rights to my work threatens my future and my autonomy.


What people are saying:

Based on the circa-1818 tragic romance between the British poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, literally the girl next door, "Bright Star" is one of the most deeply moving romantic films in memory. With the remarkable Australian actress Abbie Cornish as Fanny and the excellent Ben Whishaw as Keats, this delicate yet powerful work -- set to be released domestically Sept.18 -- allows viewers to experience this couple's falling impossibly in love as if it was happening to us.

From Adam Tavel:
POET LORE - 120TH Anniversary.

Reprinted from the E-MAG:

I'm packing for vacation and thinking about the time traveling I've done this summer at the Library of Congress. When Ethelbert and I began editing Poet Lore together seven years ago, we knew something about the journal's history, but we'd never seen the old issues, which date back as far as 1889. With the magazine's 120th anniversary upon us, and a special issue to complete, we got serious about delving into the archives. We applied for a "study shelf" at the nation's greatest library, found a desk, and began touring through the decades.

The founding editors of Poet Lore, Charlotte Porter and Helen A. Clarke, were progressive scholars with an uncanny eye for literary promise. They published world writers like Ibsen, Strindberg, D'Annunzio, Gorky, Mistral, and Tagore before most American readers had ever heard their names. And these two women were more than an editorial team: they were life partners, too, exchanging rings in a commitment ceremony and living together until Helen's death at 65.

It was easy to lose track of time reading through the journal's early years. Wedged among intriguing essays ("Shakespeare in Japan," "Dante's Imperialism, "The Modernism of Hafiz, " "Is Blank Verse Lawless?"), incisive book reviews ("Miss Emily Dickinson has more the quality of the bloodroot: delicate, passionate, but with a sting..."), ads for teachers' colleges, fountain pens, and books (including Walt Whitman's own ads for Leaves of Grass), I came upon enduring poetry, fiction, and plays translated from scores of languages. Among the surprises: Noh dramas, Native American chants, entire three-act plays by some of the greatest dramatists in the world.

Late one afternoon, when I was passing through the year 1914, I found the editors' introduction to Poet Lore's 25th anniversary issue. Porter and Clarke wrote: "Poet Lore is introducing to its readers today the unknown geniuses who are to become world famous tomorrow." It might seem a wild boast--unless you'd read what they'd published.

In issues from the mid-to-late 20th century, under the guidance of other editors, Poet Lore featured the work of many now-famous American poets--Mary Oliver, Linda Pastan, Sharon Olds, Colette Inez, John Balaban, David Baker, Carolyn Forche, Carl Phillips, Dana Gioia, and Cornelius Eady among them. Given the richness of the archival material, we decided to put together a "showcase" for our 120th anniversary issue, reprinting some of those early poems alongside new work by the same poets. (Be sure to look for this feature in the coming issue, which will be out in October.)

It's eerie and humbling to imagine readers many years from now paging through the poems we've published. Which will seem dated decades from now? Which will still strike readers as inventive and mysterious, arresting their attention and holding on? I don't have answers, but at least I can now frame the question more clearly: what is it that a great poem retains across distances in time and space and culture? We know that poetry can last; why it lasts is a subject that will preoccupy us for years to come.

When I taught college, I used to ask students what they were looking for when they turned to poetry. I wanted them to think about what kind of experience it can offer--what kind of truth it can provide. Editing a poetry journal makes me consider that question each time I pick up a stack of submissions and begin to read; however tired I may be, the task is charged with anticipation. What will I find? What will I think and feel once I've read the work at hand? Doesn't contemporary poetry offer us another way of seeing our own history unfold? We hope Poet Lore's readers approach each new issue with equal excitement.

- Jody Bolz
THE WAR WE DIDN'T NEED and a good thing Bush didn't excuse himself to go to the bathroom during the meeting. And the music goes boom, boom, boom.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was advocating a military attack against Iran in the last days of the Bush Administration. If this nonsense had went forward the Obama Administration would have been given a full deck of cards with the Bay of Pigs. Iran would have struck back at Israel with day and night bombs. How many people in that nation would be homeless right now? Oh and Iran becomes the new Iraq. Do we need more wars? So we destroy a nuclear weapons program and then start killing everyone else with small bombs. Cheney-Genius. Oh, and what if Iran's nuclear weapons program was really just the pursuit of nuclear energy? I always thought one could easily build a nuclear device by surfing the Internet. What do I know? This is 2009 and we will continue to play around with first-strike plans. Strike the foe before he strikes you. But what if this is just country-profiling? Maybe these nations seem threatening because they are non-European. Doesn't Israel have access to nuclear weapons? During the days of apartheid nobody was talking about knocking out South Africa's interest in joining the nuke club. So what gives? Can you imagine a serious movement in Japan to secure nuclear weapons? Now there is a nation with a historical excuse to use them on someone. Geez. All this makes you want to pull a knife on a nation - and scream stop!
Lover to lover, no kiss,
no touch, but forever and ever this.

- H.D.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


After Japan's national election a new relationship with the US?

BTW...did you notice how quickly things changed around North Korea? Remember how we were almost going to war again with this nation? It just goes to show you how conflicts and issues disappear from the news.

Watch how no one will even remember the health care debate by the next presidential election.
Obama is just completing year 1 of his term. The media is still knocking him as if the campaign is still going on. So the Obama honeymoon is over. Doesn't the trials of marraige follow next? Why are folks so quickly willing to talk divorce?

With the economy still trying to get back on base, look for the media to pray for the following teams in the World Series:

Cardinals against the Yankees


Dodgers against the Yankees

Pujols needs the main stage to make folks forget about Barry B. Torre against the Yankees - is sweet revenge even for a nice guy. Dodgers back in New York is a nice news story - plus we get to see footage of Yogi jumping up in the air as Jackie steals home.
I saw District 9 last night. A good movie. It makes numerous political statements. Nigerians come off looking worst than Aliens in this flick. The South African backdrop makes one wonder how Nelson Mandela survived the real Sci-Fi of apartheid. This movie also makes an interesting comment on the future of weaponry. Guns operate because of a bio-connection. Cool but crazy if folks want to make money off it - and they will. I like the main character's personal transformation in this movie. The fear of changing becomes very real on the screen. District 9 has an ET ending but it makes you wonder if Aliens know how to forgive and forget. When the Mothership returns there will be no reruns.
NO PEAS! Definitely no drinks.

The government of Malaysia has forbidden Muslims to attend a concert next month by BLACK EYED PEAS because it's being sponsored by Guinness.

Islamic law forbids the consumption of alcohol.

Things to Watch for this Season:

- The New England secondary is the only thing keeping this team out of a Superbowl.

- Look for the Detroit Lions to be the surprise club this season. Another feel good story in the works? Daunte Culpepper's team? America discovers Detroit again.

- Will this be a big season for Tampa Bay QB Byron Leftwich? I hope so...

- The media has turned Vick into a Circus Wildcat. Another chapter in the destruction of black quarterbacks.

- By next week a major NFL player will be out for the season and changing the fortune of a club and a division. You heard it first in E-Notes.
Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro is still not playing because of an injury.
He needs 16 more hits to reach 200 for the season.
OBAMA'S WAR and God's other Eden:

As we move out of August Summer into the Fall, look for the Antiwar Movement to launch their plans. Afghanistan is the new Iraq. It's not like Obama pulled a surprise from his hat. He told us he was going to focus on Afghanistan. The more troops we place in harms way the more Americans will be killed and wounded. This will not go over well with the American public. We still have a distaste for wars in countries we know very little about. It's hard for people to understand what defending National Security means- when they can't find some of these nations on a map. How many Americans still wonder if Palin's Alaska is America?

Opposition against Obama is going to be difficult in some corners. Look for the Peace Movement to once again have problems attracting black marchers. Long gone are the days of Paul Robeson - and the international perspective activists once had. Many black people will support Obama and wave kente, and the Antiwar Movement will once again look white on television and the streets. It's also going to be a challenge for many to create antiwar posters that are critical of Obama and avoid racial stereotypes. How large can we make Obama's ears? Must we bring back the Minstrel face?

We can only make a decision on Afghanistan if we determine what will be the wars of the future.
One thing to note is that the war we are fighting is going to be ongoing and perhaps permanent.
I don't think one defeats ideas or religions - I think you try to place them in check and not necessarily checkmate. The 21st Century will see our world divided by religion more than race. I've said this over and over...

Key to everything is going to be the relationship between church/mosque and state. Freedom to practice one's religion is one thing, the advocating of religion to govern society is something else.
The separation of church/mosque and state is critical if man is going to advance. The failure to bring religion up to date, or have it accept modernity and science is a major challenge.

The freedom of women around the world must not be held back by man's interpretation of scripture. We can't skip or dance around some of these issues and conflicts. We also have to understand and promote tolerance and cultural diversity. Everyone is not the same, but everyone should be provided with equal opportunities. My concern is that our fear of the future has many of us clinging to the past. We can't let go because it might result in our loss of identity. Who are we when God leaves us to ourselves?

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Kaufmann Concert Hall in the 92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue
New York
September 21st. 8 PM.
"...the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

- Ted Kennedy

The Little e-Note: The 1 Question Interview

Dan Moldea, author and investigative journalist.

Question: What is the biggest misconception people have about the Mafia?

Many people wrongly believe that the Mafia operates outside The System. In fact, mob guys manipulate The System for their own cynical purposes in their never-ending efforts to make money and to stay out of jail. Indeed, the underworld thrives in an atmosphere of political corruption.

The real problem in waging a war against organized crime--whether as a public official or a private citizen--is political. The Left balks at any suggestion of electronic surveillance, which is the only effective means of gathering intelligence against the mob. You must bug these guys. You must wiretap them.

Meantime, the Right has a tendency to decentralize power in America from the federal government down to state and local levels. Because of decentralization, organized-crime figures have, in many cases, come to a first-name relationship with state and local political figures--with all of this newfound power--within their own jurisdictions. Consequently, mob guys have an uncanny ability to be civil libertarians and to support right-wing causes simultaneously.
When I want to interview a Mafia guy, I don't start by saying, 'Hey Vito, why did you knock off Rocco?"

Instead, I ask how the government is violating his civil rights.

I have never met a mob guy who is not against wiretapping. I have never met a mob guy who is not in favor of strong personal privacy laws. And I have been bored for hours by mob guys whining about the alleged impingements upon their rights and freedoms by the FBI and IRS.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quote of the Day:

The war against Osama bin Laden has morphed into a war against the Taliban, and a wider relationship of nation building with Afghanistan in order to support their own effort to control the political forces in their country that may be hostile to U.S. interests. But the question is how long will that strategy take and how much will it cost in money and lives...

- Ron Walters.
Here is Ted Kennedy passing the torch to Barack Obama:

Hiding the Face?

If one monitors the media one will find many articles about "torture" taking place during the Bush Administration. References will be made to the CIA and released documents, etc. What you won't see too much are articles about torture and pictures of Bush or Cheney next to the story. This is way of talking about torture but not providing a "face" of those who might be responsible for certain policy decisions. This is also a way of keeping blame on the entry level. Let's face it - the idea of placing any American behind bars for actions taken after 9/11 is not going to go over well with many Americans. War is not table tennis. Even Jack Bauer was called away from a Congressional hearing because the bad guys were still out in the world doing what they do - which is badness. Anyone can throw a touchdown on Monday morning. The Bush Administration might have made some mistakes but it still was in response to questions of National Security. Did they go overboard with waterboarding? Maybe one drop too many? No way, you can pull the leash back once the dog bites. The other concern we face as Americans is what happens when the dog turns and bites the owner? What happens when we're forced to roll the Constitution into a bat just to protect ourselves. Once we ruin our documents the cracks will begin to appear before we write history. This is the danger we now face. This is the danger that will not hide.
August 28, 2009T
Tricycle's Daily Dharma

You don't bring it with you, and you can't take it with you

We came into the world without husband, wife, friend, or companion. We may have many friends and acquaintances at the moment, and perhaps many enemies, too, but as soon as death falls upon us we shall leave all of them behind, like a hair pulled out of a slab of butter.

–Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, from "Like a Hair Pulled Out of Butter," Tricycle, Fall 1997

Look for the media to begin discussing the "death" of liberalism or the end of an era while covering the funeral of Ted Kennedy. This is just another attempt to hold back progressive politics and ignore the motion of history. There is a new America slowly being born - and some conservatives are hoping for a stillbirth. While much attention is given to technology and its radical impact on our lives, the true "revolution" is taking place in the realm of ideas and concepts. What is privacy? Marriage? Government? Do these ideas transform themselves or are they fixed? What role should faith play in our lives? The challenge we face is having a serious discussion about these ideas and topics without yelling or checking polls. Where do some of the ideas we have come from? What if they are now outdated and obsolete? What do we build next?
What do we believe in now? What happens when God begins to rely on caller ID?

Michon Boston always gets it right. Vice President Biden's speech about Senator Ted Kennedy is eloquent and very moving. Here is a link to Michon's blog:

Many years ago, I sat in an apartment house in DC interviewing Larry Neal. I was asking him questions about the Black Arts Movement. The topic soon turned to Amiri Baraka. Neal spoke about how - the man once known as LeRoi Jones moved uptown to Harlem. If there was one thing folks respected about Jones it was that this "cat" knew the music. Critics still talk about The Dutchman and Blues People. Is Baraka at his best when writing plays and poems, or does his real wit and rhythm hit the higher notes like Coltrane when selecting a soprano sax?
Neal said the man knew the music. Even if Ellison once believed that Little LeRoi gave the blues the blues - I find myself turning to Papa Baraka whenever he has a brand new book. University of California Press has just released his DIGGING: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music. This is not a book about Mozart - it's jazz baby! The book has a big band feel to it - a combination of reviews, record notes and essays. Coming late in his career - Baraka now getting ready to turn 75 - needs to reclaim his title as Imamu. How else can we compare him to Duke or Count? A man in love with music, will always change his name. Why? Because music is about love and as Ellington so correctly proclaimed - it's a mistress. Jazz and the blues will seduce you. It will make you do wrong when you only want to do right. When you get the spirit - there is no holding back. One surrenders to the music - one surrenders to love.
So there I was last night at Busboys "surrendering" my $22.80. Ethelbert, you fool - that's a PoBoy and some Sweet Tea at Eatonville.
One should pay attention to even the smallestt crawling creature, for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us, and even the smallest ant may wish to communicate with man.

- Black Elk
We all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.

- Oscar Wilde

It's located in Battery Park City: 10 River Terrace

Friday, September 25th: A Housewarming Party.

Saturday, September 26th: Open House, Poetry Readings by Meena Alexander, Billy Collins, Mark Doty, Cornelius Eady, Kimiko Hahn, Patricia Smith, Quincy Troupe and others.

For details, visit or call (212) 431-7920.

Maybe I need to go back and read my Eric Hoffer. I'm amazed at how some people will follow the career of an entertainer, a famous family or maybe just collect those old bottle tops - with crazy passion. For a few childhood years I was hooked on baseball cards. Any coins I found in my house were dropped into my pants pockets and I was off in mad dash to the corner store. 2 packs of cards was enough for a good fix. I knew I wasn't a real addict because I didn't chew the bubblegum that came in the package. When I was out playing ball with friends, I became the players whose faces and stats I read about on my cards. I was a card-carrying fool. One day however, I simply gave the thousands of cards I had collected to a kid named Patrick who lived downstairs from me in the St. Mary's Projects. Today, I'm almost card free. Some dear friends have given me cards as birthday presents of players they know I admire. Yes, I still know a few cardpushers.

Why the flashback? I was thinking of how we cling to images, memories and things. We can't let go. I imagine it must be the same way with some political issues and other matters. Segregationists can't let go of the hatred. Dog owners will never forgive Vick. Poor OJ will never have Perry Mason believers wanting to play golf with him. When things get bad and the addiction is too strong - then behavior turns bad too. We form angry crowds and yell. Forgiveness becomes mist and so much disappears in our hearts that we soon become victims of the fog of love. In other words we can't see the other person. We stumble and wander down the wrong path, then we come to a fork in the road. What do we do Yogi?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes...

- Zora Neale Hurston

I received some mail yesterday from Andrew White. He has an upcoming event:

"Trane Times Two" A Forum on John Coltrane

Yasuhiro Fujioka and Andrew White

September 23rd from 7-9 PM

Presented by The Feliz Grant Jazz Archives at The University of The District of Columbia
4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Building 46 West- Performing Arts Recital Hall
Phone: 202 274-5265
The United States Studies Program
at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
invites you to a forum:

Black and White and Red Ink All Over:
Newspapers in Peril


Leonard Downie, Jr.
Weil Family Professor of Journalism, Arizona State University

Allison Silver
Founding Editor, The Washington Independent

Paul Starr
Stuart Professor of Communications and Public Affairs,
Princeton University

Gabor Steingart
Washington Bureau Chief, Der Spiegel

By many accounts, American newspapers are in peril. As advertising revenues shrink, so, too, does the number of reporters. Newspapers are shuttering their overseas bureaus and curtailing investigative journalism. Meanwhile, new journalistic platforms are emerging in the form of blogs, twitters, and online newspapers. What does this mean for journalists, their profession, and the standards of reporting? And what does it mean for the American public and their ability to make informed decisions about the critical matters that affect them?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Reception to follow

Flom Auditorium, 6th Floor
Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20004–3027
Directions are available at our Website:
Allow extra time to go through building security.

This is a free public event, but RSVPs are requested.
Please respond with acceptances only to

The immediate policy impact of Mr. Kennedy's passing is to leave Democrats one seat shy of the 60 votes needed to push ahead on legislation that lacks Republican support - at least until a special election to replace him is held in Massachusetts early next year. While a Democrat is all but certain to win that race, it removes a vote for the months when President Barack Obama is hoping to push through key agenda items, including health care.

- The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2009


7:00 pm

Justice Center: 617 Florida Ave NW
btwn 6th St.-Georgia Ave./7th St.
Green line Metro to Shaw-Howard

Featured speaker: Brian Becker

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government." - Declaration of Independence

For years, people have been told that the problem in the U.S. government is that it was led by Republicans, by neoconservatives, by George Bush. But Bush is now gone. The Democrats control the White House, the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate.


Today, over 20 million people in the United States have lost their jobs or are severely underemployed. Nine million families are in foreclosure or on the verge of losing their homes. Massive cuts to education, health care and social services only increase, because we are told that there is not enough money to fund them. Yet, amazingly, more than $9.5 trillion of public funds has been handed over to big bankers and the richest people on the planet. Iraq and Afghanistan are occupied, and the U.S. military budget is growing, not shrinking.


Holly Bass, writer, performer and teaching artist, continues the Lyrical City writing workshop series with “City as Soundscare.” The workshop will take place on Sunday Sept 13 from 2:30-5:00pm at the Washington Historical Society, 801 K St. NW, in the Green Room. The cost is $25 and pre-registration is required.

City as Soundscape: Lyrical City Writing Workshop #6

Sunday, September 13, 2:30-5:00pm, Historical Society of Washington, DC, 801 K St. NW
Workshop taught by Holly Bass
As people we develop patterns—a particular metro route to work, frequenting the same eateries. The same is true of our writing. This multidisciplinary workshop seeks to break patterns by focusing on sound. How can the sounds of the city inform our work? How can we evolve our ears to enhance our writing? What are the challenges of translating sound to the written page? We will learn the performance technique of Vocal-collage, borrowing from DJ practices and Dada, to strengthen the relationship between our written “voice” and spoken/sung voice.

Holly Bass is a writer and touring performer/teaching artist. A Cave Canem fellow, her poems have appeared in Callaloo, nocturnes (re)view, Beltway, Role Call (Third World Press) and The Ringing Ear. Her work has been presented at respected regional theaters and performance spaces such as the Kennedy Center, the Whitney Museum and the Experience Music Project in Seattle. She was one of twenty artists nationwide to receive 2008 Future Aesthetics grant from the Ford Foundation/Hip Hop Theater Festival.

To apply for any of the workshops, please send an email to with:
1. your name
2. a brief statement (50-150 words) explaining what you hope to get out of the workshop
3. writing sample (one poem or short prose piece)
Applicants may attend up to two workshops. If applying for more than one workshop, please list three choices in order of preference.

Accepted applicants will be notified on how to make advance payment.

About Lyrical City
Lyrical City is a six-part writing workshop series facilitated by outstanding writers with a strong DC connection. The workshops focus on the African-American poetry tradition in DC and various cultural aspects of the city. The workshops are open to all. Participation is limited to 12 people. The cost of each workshop is $25. Some partial scholarships are available. You may apply for any workshop in the series, but you may attend no more than two. This series is funded by the DC Arts Commission with public monies and as such we are committed to bringing in a wide spectrum of the community. Feel free to forward this message to friends. Registrations are accepted on a rolling basis, so the earlier you apply, the better your chances.
Upcoming workshops:

For full workshop descriptions and faculty bios see attachment.

This workshop is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tricycle's Daily Dharma

Stop worrying about success

Some people think that one can become a buddha through meditation. This is wrong. The potential for Buddhahood is within your own nature. If it were true that Buddhahood depended on meditation, then if you stopped meditating after you became a buddha, you would become a common person again. The objective of practice is to be in accord with the natural way, so that your true nature can manifest itself. Just practice according to the methods taught by the Buddha and do not worry about being a success.

–Master Sheng-Yen, from "Being Natural," Tricycle, Summer 1995


Recently it was reported in the news that 4 teens were arrested in Prince William County in connection to racist phrases and symbols made from strips of sod at an elementary school.

The teens used strips to spell "KKK" and "White Power." They became creative and also stuck a swastika in the middle. The 4 male students were 14, 15, 16, and 17. Three of them are white and one is black.

OK, I want to know what this black kid was thinking. Can we ditch the juvenile protection nonsense and interview this kid on local television? Was this another "Fanon" moment? Was this kid thinking it was early Halloween and time to wear a White Mask over a Black Skin? I need some help here. Oh, and can we talk to this kid's parents? What are they feeding him? How will this kid explain this crime when he goes looking for a job? Will he be hired by an equal opportunity employer?

There are between 40,000 and 70,000 Russians of full or mixed African heritage.

In 2008, 97 people were in killed in racist attacks in Russia.

The Little e-note: The 1 Question Interview.

Professor Denise King-Miller, Howard University.

Question: Why should African American men take your "Black Women in America" class at Howard University?

Black men should take my course, "Black Women in America" at Howard University because understanding Black women historically will help them better understand themselves and their relationships with women. I want Black men and women to be inspired by nineteenth century trailblazers who have continued over the years to work toward the eradication of race and gender inequality, among other systems of oppression which have historically subjugated Black women. I think it's important for Black men to understand the significance of Black women who have fought to have a voice, not only for women but for the entire race! Black women have always demanded social, economic and political equality, they have always had a vision of social justice based on the historical struggles, in fact, they have really been at the forefront of all of our movements, from women's suffrage to the civil rights movement; Black men need to understand and acknowledge this.

It is especially important for Black men to take this course if they in any way feel the need to marginalize Black women in a sexist, classist, domineering or denigrating way. Black women in America provide an alternative social construct for now and the future based on the discovery of African American women's lived experiences. This class promotes Black female empowerment through voice, visibility and self-definition and as a result of Black men learning about the Black women's journey, they too can be empowered!
Economic News:

One of the sad experiences this fall will be the shortage of after-school programs. With so many cuts in services a growing number of young children are going to be home alone. What can parents do?

Look for some kids to get into trouble. Look for public libraries to become after school sanctuaries.

There is however "share-care" where parents can band together as if they were returning to an earlier version of tribes.

When are we going to raise taxes for the services we need? The money has to come from somewhere.

The quality of life in many urban areas is going to decline in the next 5-10 years.

Borders has been having financial problems. It's making a big pullback from selling music and DVDs. Look for them to increase their offering for children. This will mean toys in the stores. They will also be trying to attract the young adult audience. They have already undergone three rounds of layoffs. Revenue keeps decreasing.



Back in March I had my first book party for The 5th Inning (my second memoir). What a fun evening. Thanks to Farrah Hassen at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) one can experience that magical moment once again. Here is a link to the highlights:

My next book party will be on September 20th at 1 PM. Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe in Harlem, New York.
Tell friends and lovers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote of the Day:

If you meet somebody who never made a mistake, you help them start a religion.

- Gil Scott-Heron


The PEN/Faulkner Reading Series celebrates 30 years of bringing writers and readers together. We hope you’ll join us during the 2009/10 season at Washington’s most popular literary gathering place, where you can meet old friends, make new ones, and explore the creative process with some of our most celebrated writers, including:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie & Fae Myenne Ng
October 26, 2009

Jonathan Lethem & Stacey D’Erasmo
November 2, 2009

PEN/Malamud Award Memorial Reading
Amy Hempel & Alistair MacLeodDecember 4, 2009

George Saunders & Susan Orlean
February 1, 2010

E.L. Doctorow & Ivy Meeropol
At the Washington DCJCC
March 15, 2010

Walter Mosley
March 26, 2010

Vendela Vida & Heidi Julavits
April 12, 2010

Isabel Allende
At Washington National Cathedral
April 30, 2010

30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Ceremony
May 8, 2010

Subscribe today. Join us for all eight readings and save 20% off single ticket prices. Add the 30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Ceremony to your subscription and save even more!

Click here for more information about the 2009/10 season.

Exclusive offer to subscribers: Receive priority seating for the Isabel Allende reading at Washington National Cathedral and the option to purchase additional discounted tickets for friends.

You can subscribe by using our secure online subscription form. You may also print a PDF version of the form and send it by mail or fax. As always, Folger box office associates are available at 202.544.7077 to answer any questions or to take your order by phone.
Please remember that the PEN/Faulkner Foundation depends on your support to produce this reading series, the Award for Fiction, and our Writers in Schools program serving DC public high school students. Please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution at the same time you place your subscription.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in the fall!

Unless otherwise noted, all readings take place at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street, SE, in Washington, DC.
Here is a link to my interview with the artist Kebedech Tekleab:

Creating An Ethiopian Narrative in America

Fiction writer Marie Sansone will read from her recent novel, Stories of the Road (Inkwater Press 2009) as a part of A Space Inside on Wednesday, August 26 at 7 p.m. at Riverby Books on Capitol Hill.

Marie Sansone graduated from the George Washington University with a B.A. in Philosophy, and from Stanford Law School, with a J.D. She has extensive experience in environmental, natural resources, and land use law. Ms. Sansone previously served as acting deputy director of the District of Columbia’s Environmental Health Administration and as chief of staff for the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration. She grew up in Syracuse, New York, and is an outdoor enthusiast. The bicycling adventures in Stories of the Road are based upon the author’s bicycle travels in 1976 and 1978, experience bicycle-commuting and as a member of a volunteer bicycle patrol on the Mount Vernon Bike Trail, and years of telling stories around campfires. Her previous publications include Who Runs the Rivers? Dams and Decisions in the New West (Stanford Environmental Law Society 1983), co-authored with B. Andrews, foreword by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Now in its fourth year, A Space Inside provides a space where developing writers, lesser known voices, and the work better-known writers create between books can be heard. Monthly readings alternate between poetry and prose, but all readers are DC-based writers. All readings, which are free and open to the public, are hosted by Riverby Books with a reception following. Questions should be directed to series organizer Monica F. Jacobe at

Riverby Books is located at 417 East Capitol Street, SE, just north of Eastern Market and four blocks east of the U.S. Capitol. A seller of used and rare books, they are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached at (202) 543-4342. Please call for directions, if needed.


Maybe I'm missing something. Why is there such a surprise to see a government behaving badly after 9/11? After the destruction of the Towers and the attack on the Pentagon - what did you expect? What do we know about human nature? People are tortured in prison everyday and not just by the CIA. For example, in The New York Times yesterday there was a front page article about excessive force being used in youth prisons in New York:

Excessive physical force was routinely used to discipline children at several juvenile prisons in New York, resulting in broken bones, shattered teeth, concussions and dozens of other serious injuries over a period of less than two years, a federal investigation has found.

A nation that uses force to "discipline" will probably use force in order to obtain information vital to national security. Even good people become beasts when they have power over others. Lock a person in a cage and someone will pass by and poke them with a stick. Someone will find a way to verbally abuse a person who can't fight back. Chains often bring out the worse in us. The power to dominate gives a free meal to racism. How many racists grow fat just working in a prison or detention center? Obesity will always chew the laws.

Remember the term political prisoner? That George Jackson- Free Mumia term? Should we go back and document how some of these inmates were treated? There is something sadly common about torture - it seems to take place wherever there are closed doors. There is nothing one person will not do to another. Before we cast the first stone, let's have a serious debriefing of our past. What's the real 911?

THE LITTLE e-NOTE: The 1 Question Interview

Author, R. Dwayne Betts

Question: What are your views and suggestions for prison reform?

Prison reform is one of the topics of conversation that people don't expect to find in public discourse, it's one of those topics that only concerns the families of the men and women incarcerated and the people that have found themselves incarcerated. Any approach to prison reform must address our society's general unwillingness to accept convicted felons back into society. There can be no real reform when the person released from prison doesn't leave as a man or woman but as a convicted felon, and leaves with the knowledge that their identity as a convicted felon means that certain jobs will not hire them, that certain apartment complexes will not let them lease and that certain organizations will have no interest in the skills they may be able to offer as volunteers. Once we as a general public decide that the men and women who have committed crimes and served their time for them are also citizens, I'd propose three things to make rehabilitation a reality:

1. Reduce the number of people incarcerated. The United States locks up far more people than most nation's in the world and has yet to make that translate to safer streets. I'd use the best of the various risk based assessment measurements available to keep only those who truly pose a threat to society confined - and I would reform sentencing guidelines so that sentences are just, humane and realistic.

2. With the reduced number of individuals incarcerated the various states would have more budget money free to devote to community programs that can work to rehabilitate offenders who don't pose great risks to society, provide much needed jobs to the community, and do the various things from cleaning streets, to mentoring, to repairing or painting the buildings in the community that get neglected.

3. I'd make education the center of all rehabilitation treatment and prevention programs. The prison population grows as the drop out rate increases. With that in mind I'd pull together all the community groups and individuals involved and find a realistic way to improve school outcomes while simultaneously finding ways to educate the men that we are confined. Most people with college degrees don't commit felonies.

The bonus point is that the community, the government, must change the expectations we have about how prisons are run. If their goal is to rehabilitate, the recidivism rate shows that they fail miserably. Even the juvenile detention centers fail. (Which is important because juvenile facilities have rehabilitation at their center.) Prison reform must begin with accepting the fact that prisons are exceedingly violent, lack proper health care and mental health care, and often are places that exacerbate the problems underlying crime. If we were to accept this, we would all demand that the system be fixed and would begin to demand that people we elect to legislate and govern look for solutions. The Promise Act sponsored by Senator Bobby Scott of Virginia is a step, but it's just a step. The last last thing I'd ask is that people become informed about how the justice system affects the lines of an increasing number of Americans each year.



News Alert
1:56 a.m. ET Wednesdaysday, August, 26, 2009
Mass. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy Dies After a Yearlong Battle With Cancer
Edward M. Kennedy, one of the most powerful and influential senators in American history and one of three brothers whose political triumphs and personal tragedies captivated the nation for decades, died at 77.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ichiro Watch:
Ichiro was out of the lineup because of tightness in his left calf.

THE LITTLE e-NOTE: The 1 Question Interview.

Novelist Charles Johnson

How will your faith in Buddhism now shape your retirement from teaching?

After 33 years in higher education, I am now "letting go" of my attachment to teaching as a professor always "on call" at the University of Washington. I'll still do speaking engagements, of course, and visit the classrooms of others at different universities and colleges. But this is a "season" of my life that has served its purpose (I've been going to school steadily, as a student or professor, since I was five-years-old), and now it's time for me to move on. In ancient India, a life was often spoken of in terms of the four seasons. The season of youth was for study and skill-acquisition. The season of adulthood was devoted to being a householder and serving others through one's profession (see my novel Oxherding Tale), making money and using that for the benefit of one's family and society in general---for example, by creating scholarships for students, as I've done at my alma maters, Southern Illinois University and Evanston Township High School. (One's duty in this stage is to become rich in order to help others.) At age 50, one began another, third season, that of the home-leaver, who gives away his accumulated possessions and concentrates on spiritual practice to the exclusion of all else. (I work now on Sanskrit study every day so I can read the Buddhist sutras in Sanskrit and Pali.) The last season---winter or old age---was devoted to preparation for the great transition from what we call "life" to "death," to meeting our Maker, who made all our deeds during our lifetime possible, and merging with the All (visvam in Sanskrit). I am now at Stage or season Three, that of renunciation, of "letting go," but still serving as best I can, at age 61, from this particular station in life.

Listening to: Chuck Brown and Eva Cassidy - THE OTHER SIDE.
Food for thought and a drink to go with it:

Should we be caning people for drinking beer in public?


Attorney General Eric Holder as Attorney General Robert Kennedy. What is terrorism but organized crime with a different hairdo...
Running for political office somewhere in the United States?
Here are a few issues you need answers to.

- Homelessness
- Drug addiction
- Prison reform
- Long term unemployment

If you have no new ideas for solving these problems, there is no reason for anyone to vote for you.
Yes, these issues will demand time away from the mistress.
I'm getting ready to launch a new feature on E-Notes. It's "The Little e-Note" a one question interview with a person doing something I think is essential to know.

Let me know what you think of the new feature.
I can be reached at:

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Obama Report:

While Obama is away the artists will play. I'm heading down to the White House tomorrow for a special tour.

The Obama Report:

The speech I gave (this month) in Norway about Obama is on my website.

Here is the link:

Washington Redskins:

In 2009 this team could be 7-0 by their bye week in November. There should be no excuses. Of course the Giants could pow wow their butts on September 13th and the season could end before it even starts. But wait - how can you let Eli Manning beat you? New England still hides their lonely eyes and weeps.

Oh, and the Redskins could lose 8 games after they take 7.

All this team really needs is a dynamic punt returner, a new QB and 1 more WR.
If this team's defense is among the top 4 in the NFL - look for a playoff run.

I'm not even a Washington Redskin fan.

GONE: The Arena Football League. $14 million in debt.

Bar-Ilan University
אוניברסיטת בר-אילן
Department of English
Ramat Gan 52900 Israel

The Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing
התכנית בכתיבה יוצרת ע"ש שיינדי רודוף
Aug. 23, 2009


Dear Friends of the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing,

We are very pleased to announce that we are establishing at Bar-Ilan an undergraduate Creative Writing Semester in Israel (CWSI). Before telling you about the program, we would like to introduce to you CWSI’s orginator, founder and coordinator, Madelyn Kent. Although Judy Labensohn and I have been working closely with her in the development of CWSI, Madelyn quite literally brought the idea to us. She has sold it to us at Shaindy Rudoff, to the English Department, to the Faculty of the Humanities, and to the Bar-Ilan administration. MASA, the joint Jewish Agency and Government organization that supports short-term programs in Israel, has awarded her a $25,000 grant to develop CWSI. If this sounds somewhat remarkable, it is.

Madelyn Kent is a talented, visionary, enthusiastic new olah who is going to make this program happen in the spring semester of 2010. It may sound improbable, but we believe that Madelyn will make it happen. Madelyn is a playwright and screenwriter (MFA from N.Y.U.) and will teach a course “Writer as Witness” in the program.

She left for New York last week to recruit students in the States, and we have given her your name and suggested that she might contact you. If she does, we do hope that you will be responsive, as we believe that CWSI can become a very special program for undergraduates from abroad, for Bar-Ilan, and, particularly, for the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing.

And now we would like to introduce you to the CWSI PROGRAM.


Spring Semester, 2010

The first and only fully-accredited creative writing semester in Israel in English for undergraduates.

CWSI, Creative Writing Semester in Israel, is a study-abroad program administered by Bar-Ilan University's Faculty of the Humanities and English Department, in affiliation with the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Israel's only graduate program in creative writing in English.

CWSI is a highly selective program open to gifted, emerging writers. It combines the nurturing of students' creative talents with the intensive exploration of the relationships among writing, personal identity, Jewish Studies and the experience of living in Israel.


CWSI students take four courses: Writer as Witness; a Writing Workshop; a Jewish Studies elective; and an English literature elective,

All classes are given in English on the Bar-Ilan campus in Ramat-Gan, just outside of Tel Aviv. In addition, there will be an intensive non-credit Hebrew Ulpan offered during orientation.

Learning Beyond the Classroom:

Trips, volunteering, and other CWSI events are designed to help students begin to understand the rich historical landscape of Israel. As writers, students will be encouraged to discover, react, and find ways to express in writing what they perceive and learn.

Travel: Field trips to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Galilee and the Negev.

Volunteering: All students will volunteer during the semester at a social action project, alongside international and Israeli peers.

Cultural events: Students will attend literary evenings with Israeli authors, film screenings, and live performances, as well as visit museums and galleries. They will also be invited to participate in the many holidays and events, both religious and national during the spring semester in Israel. CWSI, as a Bar-Ilan program, is suitable for Sabbath-observant students.

Literary Journal: Students will publish their own literary journal at the end of the semester.


CWSI is delighted to announce that Joan Leegant, a returning instructor for the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing, will teach the first CWSI writing workshop in 2010. Her story collection An Hour in Paradise (W.W. Norton, 2003) won the 2004 L.L.Winship/PEN New England Award, the 2003 Edward Lewis Wallant Award for Jewish Fiction and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. Her novel Wherever You Go will be published by Norton in Fall 2010. Joan has taught creative writing at the Harvard Extension.

Madelyn Kent, Coordinator of CWSI, will teach Writer as Witness. A writer and theater director, her plays have been presented at several theaters in New York and Europe including New York Theater Workshop, The Joseph Papp Public Theater, and Soho Rep, where she is a founding member of their Obie-winning Writer/Director Lab. Her plays "Enoshima Island" and "Sachiko" are included in New Downtown Now (Edited by Young Jean Lee and Mac Wellman; Univ. of Minnesota Press). She holds an M.F.A. from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she taught playwriting and screenwriting.

CWSI is fortunate to be affiliated with the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing—JEWISH TEXTS: CREATIVE CONTEXTS—the world’s only Jewish creative writing master’s program.

The SRGProgram is led by the distinguished award-winning authors and instructors, Allen Hoffman (fiction and Acting Director) and Linda Zizquit (poetry). Shaindy Rudoff’s students’ projects have been published as books and are under contract to publish with Random House, Hougton-Mifflin, and noted university presses; student stories and poems have been published in the finest literary magazines and journals. CWSI will share visiting writers with the Shaindy Rudoff Program. Since its inception in 2002, the Program has hosted the following distinguished instructors: Joseph Skibell, Melvin Jules Bukiet, Jane Bernstein, Jon Papernick, Atar Hadari, Mark Jay Mirsky, Steve Stern, Jonathan Wilson, Evan Fallenberg, Joan Leegant, Bret Lott, Jennie Feldman, Marcela Sulak, Richard Sherwin, Rachel Back, and Risa Miller. In addition we have also welcomed an extraordinary group of visiting writers.

Program Dates:

February 2010 - June 2010

Program Cost:

$12,000 (US)

This fee includes tuition, accommodation, overnight trips, cultural events, insurance, and a non-credit Hebrew Ulpan.
This fee does not include transportation to and from Israel, transportation to and from the airport, board, private Sabbath outings.

Eligibility/How to Apply:

Applicants must submit an academic transcript, writing sample (5-25 pages), and an academic recommendation.
Applicants must be twenty years of age at the start of the program, Feb. 2010.

Contact Madelyn Kent, Coordinator CWSI, for complete details and visit the web site:

Tel. from outside Israel: 972-50-572-6677
or the Bar-Ilan English Department: 972-3-531-8236
Dear friends, if you wish to contact Madelyn, please do. We promise that Madelyn wll not be shy in contacting you. We invite you to help us recruit for CWSI and appreciate your efforts on our behalf.

With every good wish for the coming New Year, Leshana Tova,


D-Man on the AIR: Interview with R. Dwayne Betts

Here is the WYPR link:
FUTURE SHOCK and weather forecast:

Future opposition to Obama will come from Republicans who will defend the Bush Administration's war against terrorism. It's also quite possible that the GOP will become the political party that is against the war in Afghanistan by the next presidential election. Look for the future leader of the GOP to be an isolationist in the Pat Buchanan mode. Lines will be drawn separating the US from the rest of the world. Many countries will be viewed as simply failed states. There will be tighter immigration restrictions preventing people from these nations from coming into the US. On the domestic level a one term Obama presidency will open up deep divisions and finger pointing within the Democratic Party. Depending on how close Obama might be defeated could create racial tremors around the nation. Any question about voting problems or rumors of another stolen election - just won't fly among many people of color. It's quite possible that we could experience a "bumper crop" of racist acts and activities. The return to normalcy or whiteness for the US is something various Right Wing groups desire. The problem is that this type of thinking is so outdated that it has a Custer smell to it. American will circle the wagons and label Muslims as the new Indians. What's next, broken treaties or torn Korans?


Tricycle's Daily Dharma

We are not our bodies

You should train yourself: Even though I may be sick in body, my mind will be free of sickness. That's how you should train yourself.... And how is one sick in body but not sick in mind? There is the case where an instructed noble disciple ... does not assume the body to be the self, or the self as possessing the body, or the body as in the self, or the self as in the body. He is not obsessed with the idea that "I am the body" or "The body is mine." As he is not obsessed with these ideas, his body changes and alters, but he does not fall into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair over its change and alteration. (Similarly with feeling, perception, mental processes, and consciousness.) This is how one is sick in body but not sick in mind.

- The Buddha

You should be an island to yourself, a refuge to yourself, not dependent on any other but taking refuge in the truth and none other than the truth. And how do you become an island and a refuge to yourself? In this way. You see and contemplate your body as composed of all the forces of the universe. Ardently and mindfully you steer your body-self by restraining your discontent with the world about you. In the same way, observe and contemplate your feelings and use that same ardent restraint and self-possession against enslavement by greed or desire. By seeing attachment to your body and feelings as blocking the truth, you dwell in self-possession and ardent liberation from those ties. This is how you live as an island to yourself and a refuge to yourself. Whoever dwells in this contemplation, islanded by the truth and taking refuge in the truth--that one will come out of the darkness and into the light.

- Digha Nikaya

School Days or Dazed?

Today students are heading back to school. The morning buses will be crowded with kids and parents. The schoolbags will be new and there will be a one day wonder with education. We forget that education is something that should take place for all the days of our lives. How many of our young people find reading boring and writing difficult? What skills does one need today to make it in the world? Today I will walk across the campus of Howard University again. I've been doing this since 1968. Has this been a slow or fast walk to freedom? I really don't know. Are students consuming the same things I did when I was their age? I came to Howard with three books in my foot locker. One was Black Power by Carmichael and Hamilton and the other two were Marshall McLuhan bibles. Out of high school in the Bronx I had seen the film "Color Us Black" on PBS, about the Howard University student movement. I was ready for the revolution but had no clue as to what a revolution was. Now it's years later and I realize the revolution took place within myself. I became a poet and writer, something I did not leave New York to become. It was at Howard that I suddenly found myself looking eastward. Islam and Buddhism joined the chorus with Christianity.I wrote home to friends and family about my awakening. I forced my words into poetry and slacks. Dress for success? Only now do I think I'm ready. The world continues to change and this is why one is either hopeful or disappointed with the young people I will see on the bus in a few hours. Do they understand the price of the ticket, or is it now just the quick swipe of the fare card? How much money is left on our cards? Where did all the homeless people go who once banged on the bus windows asking for those paper transfers? Where is Rosa Parks? Why is the light at the corner still red? What are we stopping for?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In today's New York Times there is a travel feature on Oslo. I couldn't stop laughing after reading the opening paragraphs:

The first thing anyone who knows Oslo says when you mention that you are headed there is, "It's really expensive." The second thing they say is, "No, I'm not kidding. It's really expensive."
And indeed, a visit to Oslo brings with it immediate sticker shock: a bottle of water costs the equivalent of $6, a small glass of beer will set you back $10 or more, and a bottle of wine at dinner can practically equal a month's mortgage payment back home.

- Stuart Emmrich
Individual poets, whatever their imperfections may be, are driven all their lives by that inner companion of the conscience which is, after all,the genius of poetry in their hearts and minds. I speak of a companion of the conscience because to every faithful poet, the faithful poem is an act of conscience.

- Wallace Stevens

So, what's going on in Mauritania? Here is a nation that will soon become part of our geography lessons. The world is slowly being reduced down to "zones" and what we might call "air" pockets between nations. This is where those lawless Warlords reside. This is the movie set and background to what I call those Sci-Fi rubble flicks. You know, the movie where one man is surviving with a dog. The dog always barks (and bites) when the bad guys bring trouble. We already live in a land of mutants and mutation. A glimpse of the future can be found by looking at the nomadic lives of the homeless. Notice, how many of us are on the move today. We are all refugees. Now and then I smell feudalism in the air. I look around the world and every democracy seems to be wearing a gun. Some folks want an Islamic State with Islamic laws. I have problems when people prefer to be strict instead of happy. I have no desire to pick out my neighbor's wardrobe. I list everyone as a suspect if they have to read a book to learn how to love. I love God as much as God loves me. Sometimes it feels as if we might be too young to go steady. Still I love the attention and how God flirts - how else can you explain nature's beauty?


In October he turns a mean 75.

I had a nice morning meeting with Phillippa Hughes yesterday. Here is a link to her new cultural site. Enjoy.

Last week Metro said they were putting in place stricter hiring standards. This means that many black men will be confronted with the box instead of the cell. The box they will have to check on applications if they are honest and want a job. Any type of felony conviction might just close the door to employment. This is something many men coming out of jail face. Where are they going to find work? Who will hire them after they have serve their time? Everyone can't be an Eagle like Vick. It seems as if we are creating an underclass of black men who will "age" into obsolescence. They will be forced to play the lottery - which might mean nothing more than taking the risk of creating another crime and hoping for a big payday. Without proper employment outlets people result to hustling, playing the scams or just becoming parasitic. There is a type of health care we don't talk about in the media. It has nothing to do with coverage and payments. It's the state of the black race. Who cares? Slowly the word "wretched" will return to our vocabulary. It will refer to men who will prefer to destroy rather than build.
It will refer to those who live outside human compassion. If you want to know who let the dogs out, just look in the mirror. Our failure to deal with prison reform will only result in new bars around civilization or what someone might consider the good neighborhoods. We tend to see prisoners when there are prison disturbances. We focus on crime and trials. Little attention is given to those men trapped inside the prison network for misdemeanor convictions, and crimes of love gone crazy. How many boyfriends slapped -loved their girlfriends or worse? How long must a person suffer for a crime committed during youth? Forgiveness can be a MF - just ask Scotland.

Rashied Ali died this month at the age of 76.
He was a drummer with John Coltrane.
Nyere News:

Looks like he will be joining the coaching staff of his college basketball team in the fall. Congrats.