Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In-a-gadda-da-vida, baby, don't you know that I'll always be true?
- Iron Butterfly
So I missed by just 10 pts. Kobe had 40 against the Knicks.
OK.OK.OK...You know we must give THE Oscar for the Song of The Year...the song that captures the time, the war, the state of the UNION.

The winner is: IT'S HARD OUT HERE FOR A PIMP (from Hustle and Flow).

Are we serious????
Another example of what's wrong with the world. Anyway...I'm taking my flow out of here. No wonder Nikki Giovanni is talking about going to Mars.
Hey! Why does the leader of Sudan need a $4.5 million yacht? Where is the guy going? Such a waste. Read about this nonsense in the New York Times today (page A4). The Chinese are getting ready to ship a second boat. China the same nation that is always helping Sudan to arm itself/and harm itself.
Kobe in New York tonight. Give the guy 50 pts against the Knicks.
The Super Bowl is the biggest revenue-generating day of the year for pizza chains.
Go Seattle!
Upcoming event:


Seeds of Peace DC Gala – March 4th Organization of American States, 17th St. & Constitution Ave. Washington, DC.
Tickets will be $100 for the Gala and $500 for Ambassadors Reception.
It's always a matter of time before the "Suits" complain and change the rules. I knew many of the First Class business folks were going to be upset with taking off their shoes every plane day. We now have the Pre-Screen Fliers. Why? Is the plane going to takeoff any quicker?

The Espionage Act was passed by Congress in 1917 after the United States entered the First World War. It prescribed a $10,000 fine and 20 years' imprisonment for interfering with the recruiting of troops or the disclosure of information dealing with national defence. Additional penalties were included for the refusal to perform military duty. Over the next few months around 900 went to prison under the Espionage Act.

Criticised as unconstitutional, the act resulted in the imprisonment of many of the anti-war movement. This included the arrest of left-wing political figures such as Eugene V. Debs, Bill Haywood, Philip Randolph, Victor Berger, John Reed, Max Eastman, and Emma Goldman. Debs was sentenced to ten years for a speech in Canton, Ohio, on 16th June, 1918, attacking the Espionage Act.

On 23rd August six members of the Frayhayt, a group of Jewish anarchists based in New York were arrested. Charged under the Espionage Act, the group were accused of publishing articles in the Der Shturm that undermined the American war effort. This included criticizing the United States government for invading Russia after the Bolshevik government signed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty.

One of the group, Jacob Schwartz, was so badly beaten by the police when he was arrested that he died soon afterwards. Mollie Steimer was found guilty and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment. Three of the men, Samuel Lipman, Hyman Lachowsky and Jacob Abrahams received twenty years.

Over 450 conscientious objectors were imprisoned as a result of this legislation including Rose Pastor Stokes who was sentenced to ten years in prison for saying, in a letter to the Kansas City Star, that "no government which is for the profiteers can also be for the people, and I am for the people while the government is for the profiteers." Soon afterwards Kate Richards O'Hare was sentenced to five years for making an anti-war speech in North Dakota.

The socialist journal, The Masses was prosecuted in 1918 under the Espionage Act. It was claimed by the authorities that articles by Floyd Dell and Max Eastman and cartoons by Art Young, Boardman Robinson and H. J. Glintenkamp had undermined the war effort. The legal action that followed forced the journal to cease publication.

During the Red Scare (1919-20) A. Mitchell Palmer, the attorney general and his special assistant, John Edgar Hoover, used the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act to launch a campaign against radicals and left-wing organizations. Under these two laws 1500 people were arrested for disloyalty.
Since everyone is "wearing" Che, here is information about where you can find books about him: www.oceanbooks.com.au
The Dreamer's wife is dead
Maybe this provides us with a true account of the State of the Union

Prayers for the King family. Long live the Kings.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The challenge facing progressives is trying to find a new vocabulary that will permit them to organize. I seldom use the word imperialism anymore. I think I dropped that along with expressions like "running dogs." I try to talk more about love and tolerance. I try to focus on ways to end poverty. Now, of course we could sit around the campfire and explain why poverty exists and who exploited the last country, but the fire is not going to burn that long. Too often we do nothing but throw slogans around and rant about the folks in power. It's so important not to be a counterpuncher these days. Progressives need to set their own agenda and do the work they feel is important to upholding their beliefs.We also need to learn how to raise money for what we believe in.
I hope US activists are not going to be flying down to Venezuela every weekend to be on the "Everybody loves Hugo Show." It's just going to play into the media's hands and make folks look like they are anti-American, etc. Being against the war and protesting is not anti-American. In fact, it's very American. Let's not confuse things. I don't want to get pulled back into the Cold War. We also need to be critical of leaders of other countries at times. I remember back in 1974, how a group of "progressive" African Americans left Tanzania and the 6th Pan African Congress to slip into Uganda and meet with Idi Amin. Geez. I knew that was silly back then and said it. Of course, these same progressive African Americans where happy that Idi gave them Ugandan citizenship. If we were all back on the plantation I would have voted everyone of them "All-Slave." But that's another issue...
All I know is that I think some good things are probably going on in Venezuela these days. I would like to check them out. At the same time if Hugo plays Fidel in the next movie, I'll have to ask the guy some serious human rights questions. I just can't sit in the dark and eat the popcorn. Too many intellectuals do that these days.
Rice's comments yesterday about the US misreading Palestinians is very important. There might be a bigger issue here and it relates to race and culture. Who shapes policy? Have we trained a generation of scholars and policy makers sensitive to the areas we are now in conflict with? I doubt it.
Oh, and what about democracy? When we really examine our own US history, we will find even some of our founding fathers, talking about democracy with restrictions.
Some of those guys misread the slaves back then. They also misread the future power of women too. Thank God for those amendments to the Constitution.
So Mike Piazza still wants to catch?? I can't believe San Diego is going to put him behind the plate. I could run on this guy and I'm sitting behind my desk right now.
Piazza allowed opponents to steal 82 bases in 92 attempts last season.
"Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength."
- August Wilson

Sunday, January 29, 2006

100 years after Dunbar's death, what's UP with all THE MASKS?
All around the world cars burning like lynchings. Why? Will this put people back to work at GM?

In too many nations,nothing but boys and men running around without even an ideology for a scarf. What's a woman to do? Stay home and sew? Suddenly, it does look like the Old versus the New World again. Earth's SuperBowl. In South America, Indian men and women are coming together to try and change things. In the New world we should first outlaw guns. Give them back to Columbus.

How come in every poor country people never run out of bullets? Always enough bullets but not enough food. Shame on Us. The world is one big Western. I'm tired of bullets and bombs. Empty shells around the world, nothing but a harvest for the dead.
Exhibit at Poets House in New York:
"Unlikely Angel: Dwight Ripley and the New York School.
An exhibit curated by Douglas Crase.
On View: February 9 - March 18, 2006.
Opening reception: Thursday, February 9, 6-8 PM.

Organization for Youth Empowerment
Are you interested in teaching an art class or photography workshop?
Interested in helping young people in Honduras?
Woodruff being wounded in Iraq brings the war back into the living room of every American. So sad...prayers for his family. How will ABC cover the State of the Union Address?

Talking about war...what's with the dress code these days? Fatah militants are in the newspaper (today) wearing ski masks just like the Iraqi Army that we're backing.
Everyone is hiding their faces lately. Why? Democracy must be on the loose. This has to be an indication that things are not going well. If you heard a knock on your door how could you tell the good guys from the bad guys? I'm more optimistic when I see the Indian National Movement taking place in this hemisphere. Yes, it's a movement that has left leanings...geez what do you expect after all these years of oppression?? I was reading about the meeting of the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela. Banners were proclaiming "Another World Is Possible." Instead of ski masks, folks are wearing beautiful bowler hats. I love how these hats sit on the heads of poor people. They capture a degree of humility. I was once again thinking about Evo in Bolivia wearing just a white shirt...no suit. No ski mask either. We've been talking about democracy so much these days...is it a fashion without a fashion? What should one wear "after" the elections? Look for more folks to start wearing bowler hats. I purchased a Bolivian hat several years ago. It sits on top of my bookcase. One night it spoke to me in a voice that sounded a little like Che's.
I'm listening to Bob Dylan. The Nashville Skyline album. "Girl From the North Country" sung with Johnny Cash.

Last night The Writer's Center (in Bethesda, MD) celebrated its 29th year. I attended a nice birthday party and saw many old friends. Gosh we are all in our 50s, 60s and 70s. The evening was filled with good conversation, food and music. Hats off to the Tone Rangers who performed. They are a great/funny a cappella group.

Today is a desk cleaning day. Bills to pay. Correspondence and projects to work on.
I might watch some basketball on television.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Widener lost their second game in a row. :-( Will try and talk with my son tomorrow.

So here we go again with more talk about black women/white men being lovers. Another movie out on what has to be a very old subject. Geez. And folks are calling this SOMETHING NEW? Maybe we should only show documentaries in certain communities. I hope this movie is not going to open floodgates to the state of the race discussions. Please no African American intellectuals talking about this one. Hey Guys - It's just a movie. Eat your popcorn and go home. Sleep under some kente cloth if you find the topic of the movie keeping you awake.
Yesterday evening I spent 2 hours in a Starbucks downtown listening to my friend Maria talk about her country, Bolivia. I learned "mucho" much. I've known Maria for many years.She was the inspiration for one of my short stories and several poems.

When I came home, I wish I had Dick Gregory's telephone number. I would have called and asked him to share one of his conspiracy theories with me. How else can one explain the Jamie Foxx show being on television again?? I ran immediately to my calendar suspecting it was already February and maybe GroundHog Day. Maybe this is how Bush feels when he wakes up and sees the war is still going on. Yipes.

Here's something better:
"The Life and Work of George Washington Carver" through February 23 at the New York Botanical Garden, Southern Boulevard and 200th Street, Bedford Park, the Bronx.
718 817-8700.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I keep reading Mary Anastasia O'Grady's comments about Evo in the Wall Street Journal. What is she eating? Has she ever been to Bolivia? Can she write something about Evo Morales without constant references to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez? Who should the majority Indian population support? The White,upper class leadership elite for a hundred more years or Evo? Do poor people have a choice? I see why so many young Wall Street types have no idea what's going on in the world. Reading O'Grady on a regular basis will not prepare one to deal with a changing world. We need to find new solutions to our regional problems. They will have to include Cuba. Can't we move beyond the Cold War? Read O'Grady in today's Wall Street Journal and try not to laugh.
Oscar Nominations next Tuesday.
An Upcoming Event:

Book Release and Signing
Monday, January 30, 2006 @ 7 PM
All Souls Unitarian Church
1500 Harvard Street, NW
WDC 20009

Book Release Event for "NOT ONE MORE MOTHER'S CHILD" by CINDY SHEEHAN. Cindy Sheehan lost her son, Army Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan, in an ambush in Sadr City, Baghdad on April 4, 2004. As information became available that the war in Iraq was based on lies and cooked intelligence, she began speaking out, culminating in establishing Camp Casey in Texas in August. In Not One More Mother's Child, Cindy chronicles her journey from grieving mother to activist.

The FOUR B's of August Wilson:

Democracy is an interesting beast at times. Sometimes you can't pet it. It also has a mind of its own and won't perform tricks no matter how you try to teach it. What happens when people vote for the government they want? Do we respect their wishes?
What happens when people vote and say they want to create a faith State. You know the type. Watch yourself if you're a woman, Gay, or some minority. Remember Algeria a few years back? Look at the Middle East today. I think democracy will always fail in societies where there are too many guns. Too often folks vote and then kill or they try to kill those who want to vote for the other party. Things are not looking too good right now in the Middle East. Fragile politics clinging too much to individuals and groups. Until words like peace and working together walk on tongues, look for nothing but more violence. Are we ever going to reach the future?
Birthday Party on Saturday:

Writer's Center 29th Birthday Party this Saturday, January 28, at 7 p.m. at the Center. We'll have great musical performances -- by The Tone Rangers (an a capella octet), and a chamber ensemble of musicians from the Friday Morning Music Club -- as well as an acknowledgment of Center instructors at the reception afterwards. The event is free and open to the public.
The Center is located at 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, Maryland.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New changes were made to my website today: www.eethelbertmiller.com
I don't know about James Frey but I enjoyed talking about my memoir today. Nancy Hoagland invited me to Northern Virginia Community College. I had a fun visit.Great meeting students and faculty members, as well as old friends like Joe Windham and Imam Johari. I talked about FATHERING WORDS, read excerpts and took questions from students. I also autographed books. Afterwards about 9 of us went to a nearby Ethiopian restaurant. The food was a reminder that U Street might be "Little Ethiopia" but there are smaller places in the area where things can make love to your stomach. Joe dropped me back in the city around DuPont Circle. I fell into Provisions Library and pulled 2 DVDs to watch over the weekend:
The Magdalene Sisters
Seven Samurai
I also stopped at the Takoma Park Library before heading home. I returned the Hemingway books and borrowed SEIN LANGUAGE by Jerry Seinfeld and Marilyn Nelson's CARVER.
Someone who reads the E-Notes was probably watching Oprah. Yep...and they sent me one of those notes the FBI sent to King. Here it is:

Is there anything you want to tell us, E? Are your accounts factual? Did you mean Brooklyn, not South Bronx? Grenada and not Panama. Please, now is the time to come clean...

The above are the kind of questions I have to answer. I'm waiting for my friend to host a local cable show. Why should everyone confess to O?
Here is a book I plan to place on my reading list:

Max Yergan
Race Man, Internationalist, Cold Warrior
David Henry Anthony, III
ISBN 0814707041
416 pages
Cloth - $49.00
Publication date: 1/1/2006

"Beautifully written and accessible . . . Max Yergan is a remarkable book which reflects prodigious and imaginative research. It is more than a biography; it is a walk through a variety of political and institutional movements that have substantially shaped the history of the black world, from the United States to South Africa."
—Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

The multiple lives of the man David Anthony explores in these pages are fascinating, tragic, and remarkably little-known. The left-to-right journeys of many white American intellectuals are familiar, but the trajectory of this talented black man seems more dramatic than any of them: from mentor of a key African National Congress leader to enthusiastic backer of apartheid, from friend of Paul Robeson and target of FBI surveillance to someone eulogized in the National Review. Max Yergan's odyssey through the twentieth century is a prism through which to view an era's dreams and conflicts on four continents."—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

In his long and fascinating life, black activist and intellectual Max Yergan (1892-1975) traveled on more ground—both literally and figuratively—than any of his impressive contemporaries, which included Adam Clayton Powell, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, and A. Phillip Randolph. Yergan rose through the ranks of the "colored" work department of the YMCA, and was among the first black YMCA missionaries in South Africa. His exposure to the brutality of colonial white rule in South Africa caused him to veer away from mainstream, liberal civil rights organizations, and, by the mid-1930s, into the orbit of the Communist Party. A mere decade later, Cold War hysteria and intimidation pushed Yergan away from progressive politics and increasingly toward conservatism. In his later years he even became an apologist for apartheid.

Drawing on personal interviews and extensive archival research, David H. Anthony has written much more than a biography of this enigmatic leader. In following the winding road of Yergan's life, Anthony offers a tour through the complex and interrelated political and institutional movements that have shaped the history of the black world from the United States to South Africa.

David H. Anthony III is associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

OK who is the fool that decided to give Jamie Foxx a show. It reminded me of many years ago when I was trapped in a Brooklyn basement listening to my cousins sing. Why couldn't Jamie pass on the duets? Boy put the mike down for a moment. Oh, and who did the set designs? It had that cheap black theater look that you find in a small town where someone majored in theater and has a good heart. And there was the Snoop Dog. Snoop should form an organization called rent-a-dog. What does Snoop do but hangout and hang with the foxes. Everyone in the audience must have been given free tickets and told to wear dresses that tease the camera or distract folks from listening to bad singing. I lost an hour watching this stuff. Thanks Mary J. Blige for being there. I've grown to like you more each year.
Changes in the Movement. The Movement changes:

Danny Glover, Chairman of the Board of Directors for TransAfrica Forum, announced today the resignation of the organization's President Bill Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher joined the historic Africa advocacy organization in 2001 replacing founding President Randall Robinson. Mr. Glover took the reigns as Board Chairman also in 2001 after spending two years as a Board member. Mr. Glover and Mr. Fletcher both pushed an agenda which broadened the work of TransAfrica Forum from the Africa Continent to Latin America and the Caribbean.
Have you taken a good look at the PR stuff folks running for mayor are handing out?
Geez. What are people really going to do if they are elected? Isn't everyone a supporter of safer neighborhoods? Don't you want to take someone to the next level of change? Oh, and why does everyone make reference to East of the River as if the area was a township? Be careful when people talk about their roots. Many of them haven't been back to their old streets in years. Much of the PR folks design look like stuff I was making back in third grade in the South Bronx. The only thing missing is one of those little stars my teachers were always handing out to the kids with good posture. There is always a page in the candidate's brochure that is simply a resume and stuff they did. If reads something like this:

Ethelbert accelerated the falling of leaves in the 1400 block of Underwood Street for three years. He helped to pass landmark legislation for vendors who now carry XL T-shirts and imported oils.

When we get HomeRule does it come with fries?
"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."
- Benjamin Franklin
February 9th will mark the 100th anniversary of Paul Laurence Dunbar's death. He died when he was 34.

100 years later we continue to wear the mask...
Party Time!
Reminder, Festivities are TODAY! Lots of yummy food and endless drink. We will even have Door Prizes! Hope you can join us!!! 1112 16th St, (16th and L), 6th Floor
Last night I watched a tape of my next Humanities Profiled TV program. My guest is Washington Post journalist E.D.Dionne. Good program discussing the Bill of Rights and the 13, 14 and 15 amendments. The show will air soon. Thanks Michon for doing a wonderful production and editing job.

Open House this afternoon at IPS...please come. Our new home is located at 1112 16th Street, Suite 600. Party from 4-7 PM. That's near 16th and L Streets.

I just completed a draft of the Editors'Note for the next issue of Poets Lore magazine.

Upcoming reading on Thursday at NVCC, 12 PM-1PM, Room AA158. I will be talking about Fathering Words to students on the campus.
For more information contact Nancy Hoagland at nhoagland@nvcc.edu

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sad news. The scholar Nellie McKay died Sunday of cancer. She had been the chairwoman of the Afro-American Studies Department at UW-Madison. She edited the Norton Anthology of African American Literature with Henry Louis Gates Jr. The landmark book was published in 1997. Nellie made a major contribution to Black Women Studies. She will be missed by many.
IPS News:




Washington, DC - Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) will present an alternative, inclusive, and uplifting vision for the United States of America on the morning of the President's State of the Union address. The Members will convene a special forum at the Democratic National Committee headquarters to propose a new direction for the country and articulate concrete plans for achieving change.The meeting will feature Progressive Caucus leaders discussing issues ranging from how to bring our troops home from Iraq to ending the Republican culture of corruption and cronyism to healthcare reform to rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and achieving broad-based economic growth.

"We have a clear progressive vision for America," said U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Co-Chair of the 62-Member CPC. "Ours is not the Bush agenda of the Radical Right and it is more ambitious than some of our friends and colleagues in the Democrat Party.

"We offer a fresh, vigorous alternative for the 21st century, and we're going to present an unapologetic plan that offers hope and a better quality of life for al l Americans--- not just the powerful and privileged," said U.S Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), Co-Chair of the CPC.

The Caucus's 62 members include 10 who are in line to become Committee Chairs should the Democrats retake the House in November 2006, and 35 who would head up House Subcommittees.

The Progressive Caucus news conference and follow-on panel discussions will highlight progressive priorities and ideas embodied in a set of twenty articles published by the Members of the Caucus in a special issue of The Nation magazine: Paths to Renew al which is now available on newsstands across the country and at www.thenation.com.

WHO: Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
Katrina Vanden Heuvel --Publisher and Editor of The Nation

John Cavanagh, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Studies

WHEN: Tuesday, January 31 st, 2006, 9:00 – 9:40 AM news conference

9:45-10:35 Panel on Alternative Domestic Proposals, focusing on rebuilding America after Hurricane Katrina (with Reps. Barbara Lee, John Conyers, Hilda Solis, Diane Watson, Major Owens and others)

10:40-11:30 Panel on Alternative International Proposal s, focusing on the Iraq War (with Reps. Lynn Woolsey, Jim McDermott, Maurice Hinchey, Dennis Kucinich and others)

WHERE: Democratic National Headquarters
The Wasserman Conference Room, 430 South Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC

The Congressional Progressive Caucus is a group of 62 Members of Congress who believe in fair government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Their agenda embodies national priorities that are consistent with the values, needs, and hopes of all Americans.

The Nation is America's oldest weekly magazine and one of its premier magazines of opinion. Established by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has long been regarded as one of the country's definitive journalistic voices on politics, culture, books and the arts, The Nation has remained true to its original commitment to be the critical, independent voice in American journalism. www.thenation.com.

The Institute for Policy Studies is a 43-year old, independent Washington, DC think tank dedicated to strengthening social movements with independent research, visionary thinking, and links to the grassroots, scholars and elected officials. Since 1963, IPS has empowered people to build healthy and democratic societies in communities, the US , and the world. www.ips-dc.org.

Karen Dolan
Director Cities for Progress, Cities for Peace
Institute for Policy Studies
1112 16th NW Suite 600
Washington DC 20036
A new African American film magazine is out. SCREENING NOIR is being published by the Center for Black Studies and The Department of Film Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The first issue examines those Blaxplitation flicks. You remember Pam Grier as Coffy hiding afro-combs in her bush. Yeah and this was before their was screeners at airports.The editor of the new journal is Amber J. Wallace.
Here is something you might want to go to:

"The World of Small Press Publishing - Poetry and
Robert L. Giron, author and publisher, Gival Press
Sponsored by the National Writers Union, Washington

Thursday, February 2nd
at 6 p.m.
UAW Headquarters, 1757 N St., NW, Washington, DC

(near Dupont Circle metro stop on the red line)
Free and open to the public

Giron will discuss the business of publishing poetry
and fiction and administering writing contests. He
will also talk about what he, as a publisher, is
looking for in terms of good writing.

Giron founded Gival Press, an award-winning
independent literary publishing house located in
Arlington, Virginia, in 1998. The press publishes
poetry, fiction, essays, and non-fiction -- in
English, French, and Spanish. It also administers
three contests for best short story, novel, and poetry
collection, as well as The Oscar Wilde Award for the
best GLBT poem. Giron is a professor of English at the
Montgomery College-Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus in
Maryland, where he teaches creative writing and
literature. He is also the poetry editor of Potomac
Review, which is published by Montgomery College. He
writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and has
written five collections of poetry.

For more information on Gival Press, visit

For more information and to RSVP: Sarah Browning,

National Writers Union, Washington, DC Chapter:
http://nwudc.org/, 202-466-8866, staff@nwudc.org
The Health section of the Washington Post had one of those silly marriage articles today. The type of reporting you get on Fox News and you hit the mute button on your way to the bathroom. The article listed the Eight "secrets" of Happily Married Men.
The problem with the list is that it had nothing to do with the man's happiness.It was all about making the woman happy. How many men spend much of the time in households either being quietly ignored or mistaken for idiots,just to keep someone happy? Where are the Polls? What color state are men living in? Red? Blue?
Which leads me directly into the quote of the day that I found in E. J. Dionne Jr's Post Op-Ed piece today:
"If you don't want to get blown up, vote Republican."
A few months ago I saw Ron Christie on television. Where did they find this guy?? Geez. Well, he has a book out, that's certain to be on someone's list. The title is BLACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE. I was always raised to wish folks well. Ron is a smart guy with a nice smile. You have to respect him and have your own politics. The guy is a salesman for the type of fruit that too often falls from the back of the truck.
BTW...did Chamberlain once make love to 81 women in one night? Oh, how quickly we forget some of the other nonsense.
Talking about books, look for the literary critics to emerge and bash Kobe. Yeah...hitting for 81 points is bad basketball. Who said? The QBs who sit in the pocket? Folks who dislike jazz? Did Kobe's team win? Yep. Kobe took his shots and made many of them. That's the bottom line. The Lakers simply need a good bench and a center. No way is Kobe sitting home and watching the playoffs this year. Now watch the endorsements come back. OJ must be wondering why his phone never rings. Anyway if you missed Kobe's game you know marketers will get it to you. Maybe even Starbucks might offer KobeLatte or One Star deserves another STAR... PR stuff. For $3.95 Kobe's game will be available for viewing through the Google Video Store (video.google.com). NBA TV will rebroadcast the game today, tomorrow and Friday.
The NBA store is making shirts with 81 on the back.
Man I wonder how much I can make if I slip Kobe an extra 19 points. Hmmm.
I read the HU newspaper today and chuckled. School leaders were sharing their reading lists.
No one is reading poetry these days. Hmmm. However,today's school newspaper is must reading. Glad someone decided to do this. Sometimes I feel very isolated here, guess it must be something I read or didn't read. Do I need to buy some new books? Let me see what's on that list again. Maybe I can make more friends. Hello? No, let me put that back..

Other bit of interesting news in the Howard newspaper today:
The biggest cause of dry skin is taking a hot shower in the morning. Hot water increases dryness in the skin later on.
Bring back the cocoa butter. Don't get oil on that book!

All I can say to today is "hey baby, hey baby, hey baby, hey
Literature is the history of literary friendships.
- Donald Hall
Pull me aside and kick my behind if you see me walking around with TARGET ZERO, the collected writings of Eldridge Cleaver. Is his P-Power speech included? What about pictures of those pants (with a holder for your penis) that he was marketing? This book has a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr, and a afterword by Cecil Brown? The intro is by Kathleen Cleaver? How retro can you go? Will this book give some young guy the idea to go out and rape someone? Of course it will have to be a black woman first. Yipes! I thought we had escaped the Cleaver. What's next the The Confessions of Ike Turner?
Who's watching the kids? I can't believe Shelby Steele had an essay in the Wall Street Journal (1/23/06) about Hillary Clinton's plantation remark about Republicans.
Too often African American intellectuals waste their time with things that are not important. Oh, and those remarks about Condi Rice. Pleez. Let's not support someone for president until we know their vision for America. No longer will I vote for someone simply because they look good or read Plato before they go to sleep.
Something to watch:
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is in China. The first visit by a Saudi ruler since the two countries re-established diplomatic ties in 1990. Look for the signing of a wide-ranging agreement on energy cooperation.
China is the world's second biggest consumer of oil.

Monday, January 23, 2006

How do I feel? Well, only one song sums it up. Ray Charles singing..."Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)." Sing the song Ray...

one of these days
there will be no more sorrows
when i pass away...
More jazz and poetry:

Join us Tuesday, January 24th at 7:30pm for an evening of Jazz & Poetry
featuring Brian Gilmore and Herman Burney at Grace Church in Georgetown.

Brian Gilmore's two books of poetry are Elvis Presley is Alive and Well and
Living in Harlem and Jungle Nights and Soda Fountain Rags: Poem for Duke
Ellington. He is a contributing writer to JazzTimes magazine, a columnist for
the Progressive Media Project, and a regular contributor to the NAACP's The
Crisis magazine.

Herman Burney, bassist, has performed with Nnenna Freelon, Marcus Roberts,
Freddy Cole, Wynton Marsalis, Sonny Fortune, Eric Alexander, Wycliffe Gordon,
Monty Alexander, Natalie Cole, and Cedar Walton. Herman has also played with
Hank Jones, Milt Hinton, Ellis Marsalis, Frank Wess, and Etta Jones, and many

Herman electrified the audience at a Jazz & Poetry reading last fall with Rod
Jellema. Jump on the chance to come hear him, if you possibly can.

Grace Church is located at 1041 Wisconsin Ave, between M and K streets is lower
Georgetown. Free parking is available at Loews Cinema, a block away at Wisconsin
& K. As always, the reading includes free dessert and free Starbucks coffee.
So what does the E stand for? Evo?
How can one be against the movement of the Aymara and Quechua Indians in Bolivia?
More attention should be given to this development. All one gets in the media is how Morales is moving his nation to the left and might be another Castro. The problem with this type of coverage is that it places the focus on an individual and not a movement. It's not about just Evo- it's about the oppression which has taken place in the region since the Inca nation was pushed aside.

"I want to say to you, my Indian brothers concentrated here in Bolivia, that the 500-year campaign of resistance has not been in vain."
"This democratic, cultural fight is part of the fight of our ancestors, it is the continuity of the fight of Che Guevara."
Yep - Che is back and folks thought he was just a pretty face on a T-shirt.

This century the focus must be placed on ending poverty. Yes, what would Jesus do?
I'm waiting for the return of liberation theology to take hold once again. Where is the church that will reach out to the poor? What leaders will put on the coveralls once worn by members of SNCC? Who will really walk in King's footsteps. Where is our Resurrected City?
I chuckled when I saw Evo becoming President of Bolivia and not wearing a tie. What would someone say at Black Enterprise magazine. Ah... the world is changing...which side are you going to be on?
Where is the Beloved Community? When will Eden return to Earth? What does the E mean?
Checkout my BiG Head tomorrow in New York. The artist Pete Petrine has made 5'drawings of my head. They will be on display at the SVA Gallery, located at West 26th Street, between 10th and 11th Streets. Opening from 6-8 PM. For Pete's sake don't miss it. :-)

I'll be doing an XM radio program on February 13th. Jo Reed is hosting the show THIS IS AUDIBLE. I'll be discussing Hurston's THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD with novelist Marita Golden. Should I talk about Halle? Hmmm.
In the old days it was called saber rattling. Sad to see ideas like invading Iran getting serious attention in our newspapers. Front page invasion discussion with no thought to the amount of death and destruction that might follow. Numbers thrown out like during the old Herman Kahn days. So folks are sitting in the dark in Tehran for months with no power; their entire lives changed. Why? But then you're sitting in Tel Aviv and someone is thinking about building nuclear weapons and pointing them at you. What do you do? Do you strike before they build them? The present is a dangerous place to live is what the poet Keorapetse Kgositsile once said. And when the Lord gets ready - you gotta move.
Good news/Good thought:

"All humans should be motivated to bring Eden to Earth."
- Imam W.D. Mohammed
Kobe hits for 81. Geez. Ethelbert must have been guarding him last night. Whew...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Paul Beatty always makes me laugh. I think the guy is so funny. I love reading his work. You never know what he is going to say. Remember when Chris Rock was this way?
Beatty has a new book coming out. The title is HOKUM: AN ANTHOLOGY OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HUMOR. The New York Times Book Review printed a bit from his introduction.
Here is a short excerpt:

"It would be 10 years before I would touch another book written by an African -American. As my wiser sister Anna says, "Never trust folks like Maya Angelou and James Earl Jones who grow up in Walla Walla. Miss., and Boogaloo, Ark., and speak with British accents."
My son's basketball team won again last night. Widener U is now 15-1.

I spent much of the day doing yard work. I looked for my fellow monks but they were not around. I guess everyone was getting ready for football.

Did Champ Bailey get beat again??? The guy is so overated. It's halftime and it looks like the Steelers are riding the bus to Detroit.
Can the Seahawks make it to the SuperBowl?

When they found the body
there was no love
no air

- E. Ethelbert Miller

The heart is a groundhog searching for its shadow
- Sally Ashton

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Best quote of the day. Roger Ailes (Fox News chief) in the Wall Street Journal:

If an al Qaeda member is phoning somebody in the U.S., what are we supposed to believe- that he's looking for travel tips?

What's after the iPODs? The Sony Reader is coming out this spring. It will fit in your hand, will hold hundreds of e-books in its memory. This E book makes use of E Ink a new display technology gives one the experience of reading from paper.
The highest -paid athlete is Tiger Woods. He makes about $80 million a year or about $219,000 a day. The highest-paid CEO in 2004 was Terry Semel of Yahoo. He made $230 million a year or $630,000.
Go figure....And Tiger is hitting a smaller ball.
The one person I would love to interview is David Stern, NBA Commissioner. Do you really think Antonio Davis should be suspended 5 games? Of course not...but Davis is the president of The National Basketball Players Association. That by itself will cost you a game or two sitting on a bench...you shouldn't even look into the stands. Stern is a Stern guy. I wish he would write some books. I would love to walk around inside his head, stop at a corner or two. Can you see him in contact meetings with members of the N Y Transit Authority? Bring back the tokens baby.
Now for the real crazy stuff. Did you hear what President Jacques Chirac said this week? The guy would consider a nuclear response to a large, state-backed terrorist strike against France. Whoaa...Now that's stirring the pot. Notice the reference to state-backed terrorist attack. What's the problem here? How do you defined state-backed? By a speech someone makes in a country? So we drop a nuclear bomb on an entire nation because of a state-backed terrorist attack? Can you imagine someone dropping a nuclear bomb on the US because they called Bush a terrorist and felt the war in Iraq was state-backed terrorist attack? I think Chirac's rhetoric opens the door to thinking about the unthinkable again. Drop a nuclear bomb on a country like Iran so that you don't have to confront the type of problems one sees in Iraq. Somewhere behind a small desk and big computer, someone is going to draft a scenario like this. As soon as we start talking about dropping nuclear bombs and there is no uproar, then it quickly becomes part of our vocabulary and opens the doors to using these weapons. When I read Chirac's comments in the Washington Post yesterday it was not on page 1. It was on page A8 next to a story about violence in Abidjan. Keep an eye on events in the Ivory Coast. It could mean problems for the new leader in Liberia.
Full page Ad in The New York Times yesterday calling for Bush to step down as President of the US. Demonstrations in DC on Tuesday, January 31st at 8PM and also on Saturday, February 4th. I read the Ad and saw language changes. Folks now refer to the Bush Administration as the Bush Regime. We are beginning to see references to Bush as criminal, etc.

During my lifetime the following presidents were called criminals: Johnson, Nixon, Reagan...
Ask yourself, who was the last US Prsident that you really supported and liked? Did you agree with everything they did?

Many Americans often get upset with a president because of foreign policies. A war can knock a leader on the fanny. Being president is also a very unpopular job. No matter what you do there will always be opposition.

Do I think Bush should resign? No. Do I oppose some of his decisions? Yes. We are talking about being president of the US. We are not selecting the next American Idol.
We need to be serious and mature. We are a nation at war. Every war is going to be unpopular. The problem with this last one is linked, I believe, to the failure of the US Congress. We could see this coming years ago. When I was a child, there were some good folks in Congress...strong leaders. Outspoken leaders. Folks who could be passionate about stuff and give a damn good speech. In the old days memebers of Congress would debate stuff. Do we have to go back to the 1850s and 1860s to find people who will take a stand?? To speakout against a policy or even a war? If we had people of courage, we wouldn't have gone to war. The debate would have taken place in Congress and not the streets of American cities. Our government is not working well. It needs to be reinvented. We also have to understand that our world changed after 9/11. How do we protect American values without losing the American soul? This is not an easy task. How do we protect America and protect our freedom?
How do we deal with terrorism? How do we deal with sleeper cells? How do we deal with an enemy that is not defined by national borders, hills, and rivers. How do deal with ideas that might be against the way you live and what you believe? Should our nation ever go to war first? If so,when? What if you were President and the intelligence information you received on a daily basis was incorrect (for whatever reasons). How do nations end wars? Why? I compare the war on terrorism to the war on drugs. Did we ever win the war on drugs? Are we? How would we define victory?
What if you were an addict? Would you not continue to desire drugs? What would you do to get them? Now, let's go back and look at the word terrorist. Who is a terrorist? Bush? People who bomb abortion clinics? Muslims? White Hate Groups? How many of us terrorize our own families? The failure to define things can create serious problems. That's why so many Americans can suddenly find themselves on a government list. Do you help "terrorism" if you oppose the war? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Is it your right as an American to guide your country through a crisis? Yes, and that is why the right to protest is so important. Our nation defines itself by certain documents. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights is what we should always defend. So the issue is not about Bush or whoever is President. It's about those ideas on paper that people give their lives for. Let's not forget that. Impeaching a US President is not a game show. It's a gamble with history? Just ask Andrew Johnson.

The most important thing I read in the last few days was in the NY Review of Books(February 9, 2006).
It was a review of Jimmy Carter's OUR ENDANGERED VALUES: AMERICA'S MORAL CRISIS, by
Garry Wills. I had to save this statement:

Carter rightly says in OUR ENDANGERED VALUES that the norms of religion and politics are different. His religion, at any rate, places its greatest priority on love, of God and one's neighbor even to the point of self-sacrifice. But a president cannot make his nation sacrifice itself - that would be dereliction of duty. The priority of politics is justice, and love goes beyond that. But love can help one find out what is just without equating the two. That is why none of us, even those who believe in the separation of church and state, professes a separation of morality and politics. Insofar as believers - the great majority of Americans - derive many if not most of their moral insights from their beliefs, they must mingle religion and politics, again without equating the two.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Warm weather sits down next to me on the bus like it's July. I'm still wearing my winter coat. I know it's still January. Snow might hit when Black History Month gets here. People walking around like U Street looking for cafes to duck into. If more people were walking with books I could close my eyes and think I was in Paris. I had a salmon roll/with chips at Busboys with my friend Bev. We walked around to Mocha for desert. I took the bus home and Bev went down to see the Wizards play at MCI.

The day was filled with some good news. My daughter was accepted into another law school (George Washington), I received my evaluations back from Bennington, and a couple of emails from former students. I faxed a couple of recommendations out. I guess I write a couple every week. It's important to try and help other writers get grants, fellowships, etc.

Walter Reed Hospital (which is closing) was in the news again. I think some of the space should be given to NEA and NEH. Create an Arts & Humanities complex in Northwest Washington. Give the US poet laureate living space too.

If it was my call the new DC Public Library (main branch) would be located down near the new ballpark or close to the waterfront. Well it's not my call but I can tell when Polamalu makes an interception. So I know it would be good to place the new DC library anywhere except underground with some shops on top. Geez.

Tonight and tomorrow I'm just working in my basement...discarding old files. I need to get some more bookcases. If you know of any good deals give a shoutout. Thanks.
Listening to Howlin'Wolf --- Wang Dang Doodle...Back Door Man...Evil...
I received Sally Ashton's new book - THESE METALLIC DAYS. Sally was one of my students at Bennington. Good to see her doing well out in California. She is also editing DMQ Review, an online journal. Try and support her...www.dmqreview.com

Dolores Kendrick, the poet laureate of Washington D.C. is hosting her Poet In Progress program on Saturday, January 28th at 6:30 PM. It will be at The Haskell Center, Folger Shakespeare Library. Featured poets will include, Sylvia D. Beverly, Angela Redmond, Carolyn C. Joyner, Melanie Rivera, Stan Stewart, Yael Flusburg, Mary Carter-Williams and J.K. Nolan De Nobles.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Widener University's basketball team won tonight. They are 14-1. My son played 7 minutes, 3 pts (1- 3pointer), 1 assist. Things continue to go well in his freshman year.
If anyone knows about good summer paid internships in the field of sports,let me know. Many thanks. Drop me a line at my email address: emiller698@aol.com
My son is trying to get that work experience. He has a 3.2 GPA.
Some upcoming E'Bert events:

Tuesday, January 24th from 6-8 PM at the SVA Gallery Space on West 26th Street, between 10th & 11th, in New York City, artist Pete Petrine will be exhibiting his artwork. Pete has completed two large portraits of Ethelbert. They are 5' in size. The portraits will be up until February 3rd.

E. Ethelbert Miller will be reading with Grace Cavalieri on February 15, 2005 at 12 Noon, at the John A. Wilson Building in the Mayor's Press Room, Washington, D.C.
Good to see the DC Public library system in the news. Front page discussion of a recent report (viewable at: www.dclibrary.org) in the Washington Post today. Needed is $450 million to fix things. Actually the entire system needs to be rebuilt. Area writers should be involve in the future planning of all new library projects. We write books, don't we? Where would librarians be without authors? Here are the names of a few area writers the Mayor should place on any future task force or library planning committee:
Kim Roberts, Myra Sklarew, Dolores Kendrick, Monica Jacobe, Sarah Browning, Marita Golden, Eloise Greenfield, Rick Peabody, Al Lefcowitz, Kenneth Carroll, Brian Gilmore, DJ Renegade, Jane Shore, Richard McCann,A.B.Spellman and Libbie Rifkin.
Happy Birthday Big Ben! Ben Franklin's 300th Birthday. He was born on January 17, 1706.

Skip is back. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is hosting African American Lives, February 1st, 9PM ET, on PBS. People he will be talking with include: Chris Tucker, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Ben Carson, Dr.Mae Jemison and Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.
A strange brew but it might be interesting. If I was hosting the show it would have to be a different batting order. New players. The problem with African American culture is that it's dominated by some of the same faces, year after year. Success is still determined by acceptance into mainstream culture. Give any black person a television show and excellent ratings and they immediately become a race leader. If I could throw 30 TDs in one season, I would be on the cover of every black magazine coming out in the US. I could be void of politics but still speak for the race. Go figure.
The real heroes and leaders are often in the stands watching the game(s). They go home after nine innings or 4 quarters and they fix dinner for their children, they prepare to go to work the next day; they make little money but believe in God and salvation. They live holy lives and they keep their eyes on the devil. They know that greed and hatred can only last for so long. They are happy for the Goldbergs and the Oprahs because they know the night sky would weep blue tears if not for stars.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Good to see Shaq and Kobe being civil to each other. Now - what about the rest of us?
My friend Monica Jacobe is starting her literary series. Please support her. Here is the information for the first program:

The inaugural reading of A Space Inside, a new multi-genre reading series
featuring DC writers, will be on Wednesday, January 25 at 7 p.m. at Riverby
Books on Capitol Hill. The featured reader will be local prose writer and
translator, C.M. Mayo. A reception will follow.

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 will alternate between poetry and prose, but all readers will be
DC-area writers. C.M. Mayo will begin the series reading her recent story from
the Kenyon Review. The author of two books and editor of another, her work has
also appeared in Creative Nonfiction, The Paris Review, and Tin House, among
others. Mayo teaches at The Writer's Center in Bethesda and is the founding
editor of Tamame, a bilingual literary journal now a chapbook publisher.

Riverby Books is located at 417 East Capitol Street, SE, just north of Easetrn
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. The store will host each A Space Inside reading.

For more information, including a full bio for C.M. Mayo, please see the
attached press release. For additional information on A Space Inside, please
contact Monica F. Jacobe at 09jacobe@cua.edu
Is the entire South American moving Left or are things just not Right?
Another country to watch is Peru. The name Ollanta Humala will soon become part of our vocabulary.
Good to see Anu in the Washington Post again. This time the article is much better.
Don't miss CAPERS, Anu's one-woman performance. It's excellent.
68 minute solo play at the Flashpoint Mead Theatre Lab, 916 G Street, NW, through Feb. 5th. Last week Anu Yadav was recognized at the Mayor's Arts Awards as an Outstanding Emerging Artist.

In other local news, the Redskins are looking to next year. They don't just need another receiver, this team needs a serious Flash kickoff/punt returner. A gamebreaker at anytime in the game.

Is Peyton Manning still crying? I'm still surprise no one commented on Peyton waving the punting unit off the field. Who is this guy God?

Talking about God, Mayor Nagin of New Orleans said the hurricanes were a sign that God is mad at America. Is this guy serious? God is not in charge of FEMA. Give Nagin an apple and some catfish. Is this guy going to run again? What time is bible study?
My friend Don Mee (in Seattle) recently recommeded the film WEEPING MEADOW. It was done by Theo Angelopoulos. The story begins in 1919, Greek refugees fleeing the Bolshovik Revolution return to their homeland. It's here that the love story between Elena and Alexis begins...
I'll have to look for this movie. I'm heading over to Provisions Library later this afternoon to borrow a couple more DVDs.
I was wondering what had happened to the Michael Jackson, Katrina project. Update:

News reports out of Manama, the Bahraini capital, have quoted Jackson's publicist as saying the pop star is in the process of finalizing his Hurricane Katrina relief song, which will be released on Bahraini label 2 Seas Records.

The label belongs to Sheik Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, a regional governor and the Bahraini king's son, who is reportedly spearheading the project.

Recording artists Keisha Cole, Ciara, Snoop Dogg, Babyface and R Kelly are among those taking part in the song, "I Have This Dream," reports stated.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Important information:

Vertigo Books & All Souls, Unitarian present

Honoring Dr. King: An Evening with
Author Taylor Branch & the All Souls Choir

Thursday, January 26 7 PM.
All Souls Unitarian, 16th & Harvard Streets, NW

Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author Taylor Branch concludes his
award-winning trilogy on the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King's
heroic role in it in At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68. As
we honor King's living legacy of nonviolence and democracy, the All Souls
Choir will join us for a special evening of homecoming. Branch dedicated the
trilogy's first volume, Parting the Waters, to the choir of All Souls Church.

At Canaan's Edge chronicles King's efforts to hold his movement together
despite disagreements about strategy, tactics, and philosophy; hostility from
the Johnson administration; FBI harassment; controversy generated by King's
stance against the Vietnam War; and his failed attempt to take the freedom
movement north. Finally we reach Memphis, King's campaign for economic
justice and the sanitation workers' strike, and the assassination in the
apocalyptic year of 1968 that made him a martyr.

The earlier books, Parting the Waters and Pillar of Fire, followed King from his
rise to greatness through the Montgomery bus boycott, the March on Washington
and the "I Have a Dream" speech of 1963. the Mississippi Freedom Summer and
the murder of civil rights workers, and being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in

All are welcome to attend our readings but if you wish to have a book signed, it
must be purchased at Vertigo Books, rather than at a competitor. Books will be
available at the event.

Vertigo Books
7346 Baltimore Ave.
College Park MD
M-F 10-8 Sat. 10-7 Sun 12-5
Hip-Hop is an important cultural movement but it's not going to save the world. Let's be honest with one another. One cannot (and should not) confuse a cultural movement with a political one. Repeating positive lyrics in a song is not political organizing. I did however find the following information interesting:

'Only hip-hop can save us'
Will Hodgkinson talks to the Brazilian rapper who is helping the City of God escape its cycle of violence

In 2000, the rapper MV Bill embarked on a tour of Brazil's shantytowns. A resident of the notoriously violent Cidade de Deus ("City of God") favela on the outskirts of Rio, Bill spent the next two years talking to teenagers from the slums about their hopes and frustrations. Out of the hundreds he spoke to, 16 stood out as being particularly articulate and interesting. Bill shot documentary footage of each one and collected their stories for a book on favela life, called Pig Head. Today, all 16 of those teenagers are dead.

"I was doing something no reporter could ever do," says Bill - whose real name is Alexandre Barreto - when I call him at his flat at the City of God. Bill's community was made famous by the 2002 film of the same name, which catalogued the increasingly violent effects the emerging drugs trade had on Brazil's shanty-dwelling poor through the 1960s and 70s. "When I go to the shantytowns to speak to the kids, I'm one of them, so they are completely honest with me. What struck me most was the hope that they all had. I had barely got back to Rio when I started receiving calls from the mothers of the teenagers to tell me that their children had been killed. My next project was to film all of the funerals. How can I be just another rapper going 'yo yo yo' after that?"

At a time when American hip-hop is becoming a spent force, the rest of the world is waking up to the transforming power of rap. "In the beginning, American hip-hop was great," says Bill, who started rapping in 1988 aged 12 after seeing the LA gangs drama Colors. "But because record companies were scared of the political content and ghetto commentary of bands like NWA and Public Enemy, they injected rappers with so much money that all they can talk about now is money - or female degradation. The record industry has emasculated hip-hop in America. But at the same time, hip-hop has become the art form for the underdogs of the world."

It's certainly hard to imagine an American rapper putting most of his time and money into setting up shantytown youth clubs, as Bill has done. His Cufa organisation has provided basketball courts, computers and audio-visual equipment to give favela-dwelling teenagers an alternative to drug dealing. The guest lecturers at the City of God's Cufa headquarters include the football legend Ronaldo, who has pledged half of his earnings for key matches to the initiative, and the music superstar Caetano Veloso, who spent last Christmas giving talks on how to make soundtracks for films.

Bill is both a ghetto hero and an establishment threat in Brazil. His first single, 2000's Soldiers of the Favela, came with a video that featured Bill standing alongside well-known drug dealers, and he was prosecuted for "publicly condoning crime" as a result. At a festival in 2004 he produced a gun on stage, before laying it down on a table and covering it with a towel to represent the fact that people inside the favelas want an end to violence as much as those outside of them.

"In the beginning, it was very difficult because people didn't understand what I was doing," he says. "I was dismissed as just another favela thug."

To understand Bill, one has to come to grips with the desperate situation in Brazilian society. It is one of the most racially mixed countries in the world, yet 90% of the people killed through drugs-associated violence are black. On the beaches of Rio people of all colours and backgrounds intermingle, but the favelas throughout the city are no-go zones for non-residents. In 2004 a bill was proposed in parliament to put up a wall around one of the biggest favelas in Rio, so that the stray bullets from the gang fights would not pose a threat to the wealthy inhabitants of nearby condominiums. And the violence gets more severe each year.

Paradoxically, Bill believes that the film that brought the world's attention to the crisis in the Brazilian favelas has made the situation worse. "City of God didn't portray life here properly," says Bill. "Most people in the community did not see the film because they can't afford the cinema, and the ones that did see it didn't like the fact that it showed only the negative side of life. It suggested that everyone in the favelas is black, violent and ready to be judged."

The film also did irreparable damage to the community because of the associations it brought. "After the film came out, people from City of God would go into town for their jobs as maids and cleaners as usual," says Bill. "Their bosses would sack them when they discovered that they were from somewhere so horrible." Bill's first assignment for the attendants of Cufa's audio-visual club was to borrow some cameras and make films about their lives, and he shows excerpts from these as a backdrop to his performances. "I'm not a film critic, but I can see a reality in them that I didn't see in City of God," he says.

The savagery of the deaths of Bill's teenage interviewees brings home the fact that Brazil is a country slipping into civil war, with young, nihilistic and increasingly powerful drug traffickers in control of the favelas on one side and a corrupt, underfunded police force on the other. Bill believes that it is only when the violence goes beyond the ghetto and into middle class life, as it has been doing in Rio, that authorities take note.

Meanwhile, with two albums under his belt, dates around the world and a tour with the Fugees, MV Bill is becoming a spokesman for the very people who pose a problem for Brazil's authorities.

"The people are crying out for a change in their circumstances, and yet all the authorities can talk about is restoring order," says Bill. The community needs rebuilding over long periods of time, and people in the shantytowns need to be given opportunities. For people without education such as ourselves, only hip-hop has the power to transform our situation."

· For more information on MV Bill visit realhiphop.com.br/mvbill/
Good news from my friend Nimah in Saudi Arabia:

JEDDAH, 16 January 2006 — The Forum of Young Global Leaders, an affiliate of the World Economic Forum, announced yesterday that internationally acclaimed poet and writer Nimah Ismail Nawwab has been named a Young Global Leader. NImah Ismail Nawwab, born in Malaysia to Makkawi parents, is one of 16 new Young Global Leaders from the Middle East and North Africa, and will join a global community now including 410 leaders from all regions and stakeholder groups.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders' Nomination Committee chose the 2006 selected members from among 3,500 candidates. Featuring 28 international media leaders, including Carl-Johan Bonnier of Bonnier AB in Sweden, Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times, Tom Glocer, chief executive of Reuters, and Rui Chenggang, director and anchor of China Central Television. Queen Rania of Jordan chairs the committee.

The 2006 Class of Young Global Leaders includes over 60 business leaders, more than 30 government leaders, and dozens of scholars, media and nongovernmental organization leaders. Nimah Ismail Nawwab joins a community representing 90 countries that includes Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google; Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia; Daniela Mercury, singer, Brazil, and Michelle Guthrie, CEO, Star Group.

Established in 2004 by Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, the Forum of Young Global Leaders is a unique, multi-stakeholder community of the world's most extraordinary leaders who are ready to dedicate a part of their time and energy to jointly work toward a better future.
I thought it was just me but I'm reading the latest issue of THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY - yes the one with the Pope on the cover and inside the long article about oral sex.
On page 193, Francis Davis has a music essay/review of jazz singers. Quoted is Nat Hentoff on Diana Krall:

" If you wanted to pat your foot to Krall's singing, it would fall asleep."

I purchased some Krall maybe two years ago and only play the CD when I'm switching from James Taylor to Bob Marley. Or maybe from Sun Ra to the Isley Brothers. No, Bob Dylan to Sade or Prince. You know what I mean. I listen to Krall when I'm reaching for the soap in the shower and it's gone. I stand around wanting to hear some good music but the water is turning cold. Krall leaves me not only cold, but dripping and searching for a towel. It's her voice not the soap. Isn't jazz suppose to touch your skin? Where's the tingle? Krall baby, where is it? I can't shower with you.
In celebration of King's birthday I thought it might be a good idea to share a letter I just wrote to my friend Sarah Browning. Sarah has done remarkable work organizing D.C. Poets Against The War. She is the editor of DC POETS AGAINST THE WAR with Michele Elliott and Danny Rose. The book was published by The Argonne House Press.
Here is what I wrote to Sarah B:

Hi S,
How are you? I wanted to share an idea/suggestion with you. You've done excellent work organizing poets against the war. Have you thought (on the anniversary of King's birth) about connecting the opposition against the war to issues of poverty in the U.S.(and the world)? Poets Against Poverty?
This was the type of connection King was making during the last year of his life. If we are to keep the images of Katrina in our minds, then we need to confront the problems of poverty. The recent budget being passed by Congress reflects the ongoing class warfare taking place in American society. In our city the homeless are now invisible. It's no longer a "sexy" political issue or topic. We also don't have local politicians putting the issue of poverty on the top of the local agenda. Gentrification and the lack of affordable housing is simply a veil for the word -poverty. Last week I saw Anu's one woman show. I was moved not just by her artistic talent but also the political focus of her work. She is writing about poor people trying to take control of their lives and fightback.
Might you consider organizing a series of readings that examines the issue of poverty? Work could be read that was written during the Depression. Poets could read not just poems but excerpts from books like Michael Harrington's classic The Other America. We could also think about celebrating the memory of Senator Wellstone as well as Mickey Leland who was addressing issues of poverty and hunger in Africa.
In the spirit of Langston Hughes - maybe a fund could be established and money set aside for needy writers who might need rent money, or money for school. The money raised from the various Busboys & Poets readings could be given to writers that submit a 1 page application showing their needs. The already established poetry committee could award the gift(s)...maybe 2-3 a year. We could keep the amounts at the level of $250-$500. This might be helpful for someone who needs food money or is behind in a bill or two.
Well, I just wanted to share this with you. Maybe it's just another idea...

Jamin Raskin is running for the State Senate in Maryland. He is having a fundraiser on February 11th, at the Mayorga Coffee Factory located at 8040 Georgia Avenue, from 4PM-7PM. A number of poets (including myself) will be there reading poems and supporting a wonderful guy. Raskin reminds me of a young Wellstone. A man for all seasons. Raskin is also the son of Marcus Raskin the founder of the Institute for Policy Studies (www.ips-dc.org).
Chinese New Year 4704. The year of the dog.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

So who's the coach? Peyton Manning waves the punting unit off the field because he decides to go for a first down on 4th and 2. He just upstages Dungy on National television and no one says anything. Can you imagine a black QB doing the same thing? The guy would catch deep hell from the folks calling the game. I don't care if Manning makes a first down on the pass...the guy deserves to lose. No class. I wouldn't sign the loaf of bread for his little brother either. Dungy is a nice guy. Maybe too nice. I would have called a timeout and placed Manning on the bench. Keep in mind the guy is waving the punting team off the field. He is not calling an audible and changing the play that was sent in. As I mention in previous E-Notes, Brady is a much better QB. Manning was running for his life during the beginning of this last playoff game. Get to him early and just knock him around and you'll beat him everytime.

The Panthers look good. The best SuperBowl might be the Steelers against the Panthers. I doubt if the networks are routing for Seattle. I really don't care too much for Denver. I guess that goes all the way back to Elway. Never cared for his game either. Another hype QB.
I went up to Widener University on Saturday morning. I saw my son's basketball team play. They won and are now 13-1.

Saturday, January 28th, 1PM -3PM at the Henry C. Gregory, III Family Life Center of the Shiloh Baptist Church (1510 9th Street, NW) there will be a program to commemorate the acquisition of the Carter G. Woodson Home , which is now a National Historic Site. Woodson's home is located at 1538 9th Street, NW.
The featured speaker on 28th is Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Well Seattle rained on the Redskin's parade. New England had too many fumbles. Geez.
I was looking for Brady to pull another miracle out. Spare me from the Broncos.
If Jake Plummer wins a SuperBowl then we know it's an off year. I can't find the energy to root for the Colts or the Steelers. I do have an old Bears hat somewhere in the house.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Rain falling...A gentle rain falling outside.
I want to go outside and find you there.
I want to feel your hands on my face.
Rain kissing me and now you.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will, and He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Things to remember. October 8th quake in Pakistan:
87,000 killed
3.5 million homeless
I thought this was important information to share, especially after reading the article by Mary Anastasia O'Grady in today's Wall Street Journal. It's always important to look into things...

Dear Friends

Once again, Venezuela's leading Jewish organization has strongly condemned
remarks from groups outside Venezuela accusing the government of anti-Semitism.
In a letter sent by the Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela (CAIV)
today, Venezuelan Jewish leaders state that the Los Angeles-based Simon
Wiesenthal Center had misinterpreted remarks made by President Chavez, and
demanded that the Center consult with them before commenting on Venezuelan
issues. The condemnation of the Wiesenthal Center was also backed by two
leading U.S. Jewish organizations, the American Jewish Committee and the
American Jewish Congress.

Last week, the Wiesenthal Center published an action alert criticizing comments
made by President Chavez in a Christmas Eve speech, where the president
discussed what he called the "revolutionary nature" of Jesus Christ. Chavez
said that Jesus spoke out on behalf of the poor and downtrodden, and was
assassinated for his work. Today, said Chavez, those who speak for the poor
continue to be targeted by "some minorities, the descendants of the same ones
who crucified Christ, the descendants of the same ones who threw out Bolivar
from here and also crucified him in a way in Santa Marta."

But in their action alert, The Wiesenthal Center omitted the reference to Simon
Bolivar, making it appear as if Chavez was making an ugly reference to Jews as
"Christ-killers." The Center called on the governments of Uruguay, Argentina,
Paraguay and Brazil to block Venezuela's admission into the regional trade bloc
Mercusur until an apology was issued.

Read the Simon Wiesenthal Center alert: http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nl/content.asp?c=fwLYKnN8LzH&b=312458&content_id={17D5A467-8F24-4ADA-BCD3-DE4476D7F462}¬oc=1

By rushing to label the Venezuelan government as anti-Semitic, CAIV wrote, the
Wiesenthal Center has "interfered in the political status, in the security, and
in the well-being of our community. You have acted on your own, without
consulting us, on issues that you don't know or understand."

An article published today in the Jewish weekly newspaper, Forward, quotes other
U.S.-based Jewish organizations defending President Chavez's remarks. " 'It
appears to us that Chavez did not intentionally speak about Jews,' said David
Twersky, director of the AJ Congress's Council on World Jewry. "I don't think we
should raise the flag of antisemitism when it doesn't belong.' "

The Forward article states that the Wiesenthal Center may be voicing "the Bush
administration's displeasure with Chavez's anti-American pronouncements," rather
than the views of Venezuelan Jews.
Read the article in Forward: http://www.forward.com/articles/7189

This is not the first time Venezuelan Jewish leaders have had to defend their
government from accusations from outside the country. Just two month ago, CAIV
was forced to comment on a statement by a Brazilian Rabbi that Venezuelan Jews
were victims of an anti-Semitic government. The Venezuelan group responded with
a statement that "there is no anti-Semitism, nor have there been any attacks on
the Jewish community by the State" in Venezuela, and noted their "surprise" that
the Brazilian "had never asked the Venezuelan Jewish community whether or not it
had been victimized or persecuted."

We would like to thank the many readers who have written the VIO concerned that
they had not received Venezuela News & Action for the past two weeks. We had
taken a holiday break the week before New Years, and last week an office move
had shut down our internet connection.

But we are back, and have a number of exciting upgrades for 2006. Soon, our
website, www.veninfo.org, will include downloadable video, searchable article
archives, and many more features to help you stay connected to Venezuela and the
Bolivarian process. Please continue to check the site frequently for the new

Please make a note-our address has changed. You may now send correspondence to:

Venezuela Information Office
2000 P Street NW, Ste. 240
Washington, DC 20036

Our phone numbers and Email addresses will remain the same.

Happy New Year to all our friends and allies!

Eric Wingerter

Open House. Open House.

The staff and board of the Institute for Policy Studies invite you to join us to toast the new year and our new offices

Wednesday January 25, 2006, from 4-7 pm

1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
OK look for the media to begin pushing the Tehran-Caracas connection. Iran and Venezuela will become the new villans. Today's Wall Street Journal has an article by Mary Anastasia O'Grady that just has alarms ringing all around the periods. After reading it one just wants to take a trip down to Venezuela and walk around behind the headlines. Is Hugo wrecking the economy? As soon as folks start trying to solve the problems of poor people look for the status quo to be upset. Any attempt to change the economic situation always results in bad PR. As soon as folks try to gain more control over their lives, there is an attempt to look for scandals, etc. If we follow the logic and viewpoints of O'Grady then Iran will be helping Venezuela build A bombs. In two days we will be having a Missile Crisis again. Troops on their way to South America? Who writes the handbooks in the basements of some of these agencies? Folks should be hired from creative writing projects to be more creative.
Mahmoud A is really a throwback. What happened to the reform movement in Iran? Different things are going on in Iran and Venezuela. The media wants to lump everything into good guys and bad guys. Another reason why we make military mistakes and fail to understand the history of things. Right now the Indians of this hemisphere are beginning to flex their political muscle. Another sign of global warming? The Wall Street Journal is good to read because folks know it "ain't business as usual anymore." The business suits will have to realize they can't purchase the future and history offers no refunds. The world is changing and people will have to change their worldview. We have the opportunity to help so many people in the world...let's not permit greed, hatred or wars prevent us from loving. To turn EVIL backwards is to LIVE.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I went down to Flashpoint (916 G Street, NW) tonight. The best show in town is 'CAPERS written and developed by Anu Yadav. Don't miss this program. Anu will be performing this one- woman show until February 5, 2006. The show is based on the stories of families in DC's Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg public housing projects - nicknamed'Capers by their residents.

I borrowed 2 DVDs from Provision Librarys:
Carla's Song
Super Size Me
Deborah Willis sent me the table of contents for her next book. Forthcoming is THEY CALLED HER HOTTENTOT: THE ART, SCIENCE, AND FICTION OF SARAH BAARTMAN. Willis is co-authoring the book with Carla Williams. I have an essay in the book along with Elizabeth Alexander, Zine Magubane, Debra S. Singer,Manthia Diawara,Nikky Finney, Michele Wallace, Holly Bass, Carol Boyce Davies, William Jelani Cobb, et al.
I've always admired Howard Schultz the founder of Starbucks. It's the one company that seems to embrace change and keeps changing. So now the Star will move into the movie business. Look for Starbucks to sell DVDs alongside lattes. There will be Ads on Coffee-Cup sleeves. Which brings me back to Starbucks and literature. The company should form a partnership with the literary community. Again. I remember when Oprah had her O picks in their stores.Those were the days when all memoirs were true. It might be good to have writers in Ads. Poems could be placed on those coffee-cup sleeves. Hint. I always thought August Wilson would have been the ideal literary person for Starbucks to embrace. Wilson resided in Seattle and he often wrote in cafes. My second choice would be Seattle author Charles Johnson. Johnson author of MIDDLE PASSAGE and DREAMER would look good in a Starbucks Ad. Starbucks should also consider being the "official" sponsor of National Poetry Month (April). That's one way of placing a poet and a poem on every corner. :-)
Marion Barry is back in the news. Folks overlook how difficult it is to fight addiction (of any kind). Drug treatment can often be a joke. Fighting addiction must be a lifetime struggle. If Barry didn't have his public, things could be worse. He did emerge from Howard Universtiy Hospital wearing one of those Abramoff hats. It was the strong man look, a guy ready to meet his media. The good news is that Barry hasn't been stealing from us.
Evo News.
Bolivia's president-elect Evo Morales is making moves to obtain control of oil and gas reserves owned by international companies. He wants oil companies to be "partners, not owners."
Sunday, February 19, 2006 from 2PM to 5PM
Carmichael Auditorium
National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.

Question 27, Question 28 is a play by Chay Yew which focuses on the so-called "loyalty questionnaire" administered to Japanese Americans imprisoned in internment camps during World War II.
Based exclusively on the perspectives of women, this play draws on verbatim excerpts from oral histories and interviews.
Sometimes kindness can close the door to the blues. Wednesday evening I had a nice chat with my friend Grace...good to just talk. A good conversation is better than two pills. I also received the latest issue of Nocturnes magazine from Giovanni Singleton. What a surprise to see my name included as one the four people the publication is dedicated to. I called G and told her the gesture made my day. So I'll pull my head back from the track for another day.
"Memory is hunger."
- Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"Just Us Film Fest" on Howard's campus this spring. Wednesdays, 6PM, January 18 - April 12, 2006. Locke Hall, Room 105, Howard University
Here is a list of the films:

January 18th.....FATAL FLOOD
January 25th.....CRASH
February 1.......LETTER TO PRESIDENT
February 8.......SANKOFA
February 22......BLACK IS,BLACK AIN'T
March 1..........ROGER AND ME
March 8..........GAZA STRIP
March 22.........BOPHA
March 29.........CITY OF GOD
April 12.........LIFE & DEBT
There is a nice review of Sam Gilliam's art exhibit (at the Corcoran Gallery) in today's Wall Street Journal (page D14). It's written by Tom L. Freudenheim.
The Gilliam exhibit will run through January 22nd. The exhibition will travel to Louisville, Savannah and Houston.
Important countries to watch this year:
China, Iran, Bolivia
China is looking to market autos in the US starting in 2007. Look for the Geely to hit the roads. What impact will this have on GM? Remember the first Toyota from Japan?
Pete Rose is a metaphor for what's wrong with the world. Charlie Hustle. How can they let him into the baseball Hall of Fame? Nobody is giving OJ a reality television show. Pleez. Aye Aye Aye.
A good coach can turn a team around before a season ends. Are the Knicks finally getting it? Brown's team is beginning to win. They could be the team to watch after the all-star break.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

David Harbilas has a young magazine that's growing up. A good place to send work.

Four Corners
8 Coles Way
Atkinson, NH 03811
samples: $4 Subscriptions: $8
please make checks out to David Harbilas

Wednesday night --film showing at 9PM at Busboys - A COLD DAY IN DC.
I had a chance to visit Lisa Scheer's studio this morning. She completed a 3" scale model of the sculpture that will be placed in front of the Petworth metro station.
The sculpture will include a poem I wrote. It's fun collaborating with other artists.

I received the latest issue of THE DOS PASSOS REVIEW (Vol. 2, No.2)
The magazine was started by Mary Carroll-Hackett. I serve on her editorial board. The Dos Passos Review is published biannually at Longwood University. If you want to submit work here is the address:
The Dos Passos Review
Longwood University
Department of English and Modern Languages
201 High Street
Farmville, VA 23909

It was good to read William Rhoden's comments in the New York Times yesterday. It was about Vince Young entering the NFL. Rhoden statement is nuff said:

"But there is the potential problem with Young in the NFL. All of that talent will be wasted until the league's offensive masterminds begin to think outside the pocket and find a way to take advantage of the gifts of players like Michael Vick and Young. No one has figured out how to accomodate the evolution taking place at quarterback"
"Never lead against a hitter unless you can outhit him."
- Ernest Hemingway

"If somebody from al Qaeda is calling you, we'd like to know why."
- President Bush

Propaganda Art: A Teach-IN
Saturday, January 28, 2006, 10AM-2PM
Provisions Library
1611 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, D.C.
10AM-11AM: History of Propaganda Art
Alex Sweetman, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder
11AM -12NOON: Who Owns Propaganda Art
Peter Jaszi, American University
12:30 -2PM: Propaganda Art as Practice
Mike Flugennock

Monday, January 09, 2006

So I'm reading Belafonte's comments about Bush that he made in Venezuela. B called B "the greatest terrorist in the world." Is this true? I don't think so. Bush has an unpopular war on his hands. Throwing the terrorist label around at folks is not going to end it. Too often activists make statements outside the US that make them targets when they return home. This happened to Robeson...
I've always admired Belafonte for being outspoken, but are we going back in time?
It's so important to correct the problems within the hemisphere and move pass Cold War politics. Let's not isolate Hugo Chavez the way we did Fidel. Let's not paint either Chavez or Bush as some crazy person on the loose.Oppose policies and not just people. I think it's important for Americans to learn more about what's going on in Venezuela (and now Bolivia). Meanwhile, we need to find a way to bring US troops home and prevent a Civil War in Iraq.
Looking at numbers...we might be facing the loss of 4000 American soldiers by November 2008. Name calling will not stop the digging of graves. How do we keep our young people out of harms way? Where is America and the World going in the 21st Century? Let's work to find solutions. How do we end the war in the Middle East?
How do we solve the problems of poverty in this hemisphere from New Orleans to Caracas. This is the challenge...Is Belafonte singing solo? Is everyone just humming? Day-O or Day One?
How do you measure social change? By new postal rates?
A first-class letter is now 39 cents
A postcard is 24 cents
Priority mail (1 pound) is $4.05.

Taxi rates in DC increased this morning too.
New fares:
One Zone - $6.50 up from $5.50
Two Zones -$8.80 up from $7.60
Three Zones $11 u[ from $9.50

Football Picks next week:
New England, Indianapolis
Seattle and Carolina (?) I haven't seen the Bears play this year.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A good site to visit: www.seeingblack.com

OK - please no Trump for President ideas. Let's bury that thought immediately.
Geez how do these things get started?

After a weekend of football, I'm going with New England to make it back to the Bowl.
Panthers or Redskins on the otherside.

What can I say to you on a Saturday afternoon?
Nothing translates like the way your hips talk to my eyes.
Spin my world and let it twirl - no you whirl my world.
Girl, tell me your name.
I want to walk with you to the corner of Heart and Love.
Let me catch a glimpse of you - oh baby -oye como va.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Widener University continues on a roll. They won today and are 12-0. My son only played for 5 minutes...he had 1 point and 2 assists.

My daughter was accepted into the law school at the University of Wisconsin. She's a happy camper. OK- Wisconsin friends get in touch with me. :-) No final decision yet...still waiting to hear from several other schools.

So the Skins won and head to Seattle. Good to see ARrington have a good game. Sean baby cut the spit. I would have the guy not play the first few minutes of next week's game. Nonsense like that can cost a team a championship. It's playoffs - not play. Seattle has the MVP. Look for another good game.
Things we don't need in 2006. Do we need a war between Sudan and Chad? Ethiopia and Eritrea? I don't think so.

Lou Rawls gone, another voice you measure your life by.

I returned my videos this morning and then dropped by the music store for a couple of CDs by Santana: Carvanserai, Shaman, and Abraxas.

On the way back to catch the bus I ran into a couple of friends. We started talking about local city politics. Who will be the next mayor of DC? Folks were pushing Fenty. I live in the guy's ward but I have my doubts. It's not about becoming mayor; one has to know how to govern. Being a mayor you have to be tough and you have to create a machine. Things don't run unless you have "your" people running the show. No way you can win on 5 or 6 issues. You have to select 1 or 2 and do them right. A good mayor has to be visible and he/she governs with personality politics. You also have to knock a few heads around too. You have to make budget cuts, fight unions and reach out to poor people. Yes, you need to take daily yoga classes and stand on your head. Being a mayor is a thankless job. Historians overlook you unless you have ties to the mob. Here are the first tasks a new mayor will have to focus on. Protect renters and build low income housing. He/she should focus on the homeless. It's not a sexy issue anymore but it's what you want to do. No man or woman should be begging in the streets of this city. One will also have to confront the young white parents who are all concern about education because their little babies are growing up in the city. Yes, this is a sensitive race issue. But if you're mayor you have to deal with it. Young white people moving into the city and having families want good public schools. Now, how long have DC public schools been bad? For a very long time.
Right. Well, look for a battle between the "colored" old heads and the new whites.
As mayor you could stand on the sidelines and watch things turn ugly. But let's not do that... It's important that all DC schools be improved - but we begin in the poor neighborhoods first. The grounds of all schools should be repaired. The school day should be extended. More after school programs with parent involvement. Oh, and we might bring back dress codes (He He). Money should be found to bring an entire new generation of teachers into the schools during the next 10 years. All DC schools should be high tech...kids riding the buses should be walking around with computers.
If Bill Gates thinks Africa can leap a stage of development, bring the guy back to DC and help the disapora out first. Give us free computers for education. Make the city a test site. Oh, and what about crime? We need to establish mentorship programs between former DC inmates and young people who are getting into trouble. We also need citywide community service. No more loitering around and doing nothing. Educational points can be earned for becoming involved in city established programs that help to improve our enviornment. Clean streets, planting trees, and young people helping to patrol their own neighborhoods.
Oh, and the new DC public library would be placed in either SW or SE near the waterfront. Give a young child an opportunity to read a book, look out at the water and dream. Well, I have a million ideas of how to run a city...I would run for mayor it I could get good seats at the National games. Hmmm...maybe I'll get a call tonight from someone who knows Jack A.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Widener University's basketball team is now 11-0. They defeated Goucher yesterday.
My son saw 11 minutes of playing time. He had 6pts and 1 steal. He was 6 for 6 from the free throw line.
The latest issue of The Writer's Chronicle has an interview with David Lehman.
It was conducted by Sally Ashton, one of my students at Bennington. Sally is also the editor of DMQ Review an online journal

Arts & Letters is out too. Check their website: http://al.gcsu.edu

Thursday, January 05, 2006

We will never reach the Beloved community if people continue to make statements like this:

On today’s 700 Club, Rev. Pat Robertson blamed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s recent stroke on God’s “enmity against those who ‘divide my land,’” an implicit reference to recent steps the Prime Minister has taken to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“For any prime Minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says ‘no, this is mine.’ … He was dividing God’s land and I would say woe unto any Prime Minister of Israel who takes a similar course,” Robertson said.

“Once again, Pat Robertson leaves us speechless with his insensitivity and arrogance,” People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas said. “It is astonishing that Pat Robertson still wields substantial influence in this White House and national Republican Party politics.

I just don't get it. Why do we give people like this access to the airwaves? Why did I include this stuff in my E-Notes. Come here Bert...talk to yourself.

Who will Pat Robertson blame when he gets sick?
What year is it?
Are we still in the Middle Ages?

OK...tonight I'm watching KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
Why do some people always want to change the rules? Checkout the OP-ED piece in the New York Times today. It's about repealing the 22nd Amendment. Another term for Bush?
Funny how we keep pointing the finger at Hugo Chavez wanting to change things in Venezuela. Look for the term authoritarian democracy to be used more often in describing the US. With one party rule, look for folks to change the playbook in order to consolidate and maintain their power. I knew this was coming several years ago.

So Lynn Swann is going to run for governor of Pennsylvania on a Republican ticket. Where's my helmet? Who is throwing the ball that Swann is catching? Where is Swann on the field? What does he stand for? This is another reason why I keep telling people that writers should run for public office. I think Toni Morrison would make a good US senator. Yusef Komunyakaa for governor of Louisiana? OK...let's go with Brenda-Marie Osbey. Where's my Abramoff hat? Let's get some writers on ballots acorss the country. We can run on a platform that embraces education, no cut to library budgets, increase in arts funding, etc.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Abramoff had the black hat and coat working in the news. It looked like a real power play. No smile. No wave. By the time he got to Miami he was wearing a baseball cap. But that first image shows this guy is tough. Abramoff had the look of a G-Man. What was he wearing under that coat?

Sad to see the emotional drain on those W. Virginia families. One woman was questioning God. Her miracle taken away. How do you explain it? Faith is when you don't expect miracles but continue to believe. What if that one young miner does survive? Is he not the miracle?

Israel preparing to dress in black. What will the future bring? So many nations held together by the personality and leadership of one individual. Peace must be stronger than bone and blood. It must survive the flesh. It must survive even death.
Morning meeting with my friend Miriam. We went to the Savory in Takoma Park and had breakfast. Miriam showed me samples of her visual art. Good to see her doing so well.

I went downtown to the bank and also the video store. Over the next two days I'll watch the following movies:
Broken Flowers
Kingdom of Heaven
The Assassination of Richard Nixon
The First season of Seinfeld, Episodes 1-5

I'll watch the Rose Bowl tonight. I want to see Bush play again. Afterwards I want to get back to the Ferlinghetti biography I was reading.

My friend Raigan loaned me a copy of Isaac Deutscher's THE NON-JEWISH JEW. We are suppose to discuss the introduction and first chapter tomorrow.

I have just two more letters of recommendation to write. I'll also put some work into the poetry manuscript. It feels so good to put time into my own work.