Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beloved Friend and Editorial Director Grace Aneiza Ali at the Studio Museum of Harlem's Spring 2011 Opening. Link to her magazine

Credit: Darryl Calmese, Jr.

March 31, 2011

Beth Harrison
212-274-0343, ext. 21

Academy of American Poets
75 Maiden Lane, Suite 901
New York, New York 10038
National Poetry Month

The Academy of American Poets Announces 30 Guest Poets on Twitter
March 31, 2011 — In April, the Academy of American Poets will launch a month-long series of guest poets featured on its streaming Twitter feed. Throughout each day during National Poetry Month, a selected poet will have 24 hours to post his or her daily insights before passing the baton.
This online marathon helps kick-off a series of exciting events taking part during the national 30-day celebration, including the publication of Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets and a star-studded poetry reading at Lincoln Center.
Users are invited to follow the Academy of American Poets on Twitter to keep up-to-date on the latest poetry posts online at:
Guest tweeters include:
4/1 D.A. Powell
4/2 Dawn Lundy Martin
4/3 Noelle Kocot
4/4 Richard Siken
4/5 Jennifer Chang
4/6 Joshua Clover
4/7 J. Michael Martinez
4/8 Mark Bibbins
4/9 Jenn Knox
4/10 Randall Mann
4/11 CAConrad
4/12 Ada Limon
4/13 Graham Foust
4/14 Evie Shockley
4/15 Jen Bervin
4/16 Ken Chen
4/17 Sherwin Bitsui
4/18 Noah Eli Gordon
4/19 Ronaldo Wilson
4/20 Nate Pritts
4/21 Danielle Pafunda
4/22 Amy King
4/23 Ching-in Chen
4/24 John Gallaher
4/25 Srikanth Reddy
4/26 Jericho Brown
4/27 Gabrielle Calvocoressi
4/28 Kazim Ali
4/29 Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
4/30 Dorothea Lasky

About National Poetry Month and the Academy of American Poets

National Poetry Month brings together schools, libraries, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, and poets to highlight poetry and its vital role in American culture. National Poetry Month is made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster an appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. Visit the Academy's website,, to learn more about other National Poetry Month programs.

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Academy of American Poets
75 Maiden Lane, Suite 901
New York, NY 10038


OK. So it's 2012 and Obama has been defeated. We now start comparing him to Jimmy Carter. Obama begins his new career as a writer and replaces Oprah as the new O -Brand. The "Great White Hope" who ever that might be, is now president of the U.S.  A return to normalcy?  Maybe a few black people riot on election night but many simply go back to their churches happy that during the 4 years in office, the nice black man with the wonderful smile was not harmed. But how do we now interpret what's going on in America? Will Racism begin to Party like it's 2013?  How many conferences will be titled: "The Road After Obama: Where Do We Go From Here?"  Many "post-progressive" black intellectuals will get book contracts. Some "New Coloreds" will emerge as appointed leaders of the black community by taking cabinet positions in the new presidential administration.. These individuals will refuse to mention the R word. Race will no longer be an issue as the destruction of the black community continues. In the cultural world anger will become popular again. Some new faces will emerge in music and film. Maybe a black person will win an Oscar. A black poet laureate of the United States will emerge after hibernating in Cave Canem. There will be new fashions and maybe a slogan that says - "History is Broken."

Experience, Wisdom, and a Natural Mystic
By Rudolph Lewis

As we move closer to the presidential election year, within the African American community I've detected the equivalent of a BP (Black Power?) spill. There is a murky intellectual ooze spreading slowly into commentaries and conversations. . . . This all means that Obama will have to spend some valuable campaign time within the Black community not looking for votes but instead trying not to lose any. . . . He will have my vote in 2012. It's not just about voting for a man. This is not American Idol. We are talking programs and how we govern a nation. Will we be protected by our government? . . . Voting for Obama might not improve things immediately but voting for the other party that in principal wants to privatize everything is just asking for misery—come Sunday we might need not one but two prayers.—Ethelbert

In criticism we strike for the truth of things, yet we must be cautious and embracing. Conmen and “con-plans” will ever be with us, like ants and roaches. But those of us who have invested in political reform of Jim Crow and reactionary foreign politics and desire a more perfect union within the global community should be applauded for taking stances to move the ball forward toward the human goals of unity and prosperity. The wars in Africa (e.g., Libya, Somalia, and Ivory Coast) and the Middle East (e.g., Iraq and Afghanistan) are troubles we did not anticipate at the dawn of the 21st century. Nor did we expect a farther satanic coalescing of corporate and state power that would launch a full assault on the American working class. But that is where we are as 2012 approaches.

Boosting and toppling our leaders will not get us any closer to expanding human freedom and moving toward Canaan, full employment, and a chicken in every pot. I have more in mind the particular predicament that exists within our black communities. This quandary came keenly into focus with the U.S.-led invasion and plans to topple Gaddafi of Libya, which revived perennial fractures among black citizens and their intellectuals leaders. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson on MSNBC complained that Obama policy’s on regime change—of how Gaddafi who “terrorizes civilians”—has not been stated bluntly and transparently. This technocratic and/or stylistic criticism gathers patriotically both Democratic critics and Republican detractors who want to be on the right side of American history.

In spite of the fact that much of Mr. Obama’s policies, both foreign and domestic, are the same as or similar to his Republican predecessors, 81 percent of Republicans “fiercely oppose Obama,” according to a recent Quinnipac survey. Most Americans think he does not deserve to be re-elected in 2012. So if Mr. Obama and his handlers thought he could ingratiate himself into the good graces of independent and hard hat white America by showing his martial character against the Oriental tyrant Gaddafi, the polls do not bear out their political calculations. But most cynical Americans—of whatever skin color—are probably as pragmatic as the Obama Administration, and know the options are sparse.

Poet blogger E. Ethelbert Miller has stated as much: Obama will have his vote in 2012. His sentiments, however, are a moderate mystical despair, “Voting for Obama might not improve things immediately but voting for the other party that in principal wants to privatize everything is just asking for misery—come Sunday we might need not one but two prayers.” Because he recognizes only a slight differentiation between the Democrats and Republicans, Miller’s brain is seized by perplexing questions on whether American governments will despite its march toward the right protect us from bogeymen. His lack of faith in Obama black idolatry leads him nevertheless into spurious attacks on Black Power, “a murky intellectual ooze,” as a roadblock to Obama’s re-election, rather than the real felt disappointments of America’s impoverished black communities.

Most have heard of or read “The New Invasion of Africa,” by the well-known communist Pan-Aftricanist writer Amiri Baraka, author of Home: Social Essays, Blues People, and Dutchmen. For some his militant and caustic poem has spurred a green light for protests against the Obama Administration, whose covert and injurious acts are seen as a foreign reflection of political repression and exploitation domestically. Pan Africanist demonstrations and conferences are springing up all over the country.

Mr. Baraka has been silent since he issued his surprising poetic indictment of Mr. Obama, the presidential candidate he championed in 2008. That support evidenced in “The Parade of Anti Obama Rascals” and “Act Like We Know” “excoriated and defamed” black left critics, like Glenn Ford, editor of Black Agenda Report and Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party as “rascals” and “pipsqueak.” Ford is stunned by Baraka’s turnaround, and unforgiving. These black expressions of discontent—from Eugene Robinson to Glen Ford—are internecine squabbling that will not curb the ongoing illegal and immoral acts of Western aggression against a UN member state, namely, Libya.

Okay, even if the majority of black voters, along with with liberal white and Hispanic voters, decide that Mr. Obama is the only option for 2012, then what? Do we continue to be Obama apologists for illegal and immoral behavior of the present U.S. president, and call each other disparaging racialized names and speak of “murky intellectual oozing” coming from Black Power advocates and Pan-Africanist intellectuals? Beyond skin and skin politics aren’t their righteous criticisms to be made regarding the kind of government we desire and demand for a more perfect union?

Several weeks ago, according to a NYTimes report, Mr. Obama signed a finding to introduce CIA agents into Libya in support of the Bengazhi rebels, and there are covert plans hinted at by Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton to arm the Bengazhi rebels? Is this any different from the Nicaragua fiasco instigated by President Reagan, in the so-called Iran-Contra conspiracy? We all roundly condemned this presidential behavior. Do we now use a double standard in assessing the presidential intrigue and deceit of Mr. Obama in violation of UNSC resolution 1973? I ask this especially of post-race Negroes like Eugene Robinson and E. Ethelbert Miller? Does the Black Church where Ethelbert advises us to say double prayers for Obama or brothers in the barbershop condone such political corruption and unethical imperial acts of war?

Do we really want to adopt Machiavelli machinations as a community standard? Can we justify this political behavior for our classrooms and streets? I in good conscious cannot justify, no more than I can a brainwash education for our children. I do not recommend at this moment black voters stay away from the polls or vote against Mr. Obama in 2012. But conmen and “con-plans,” wherever they are found, should be exposed. We otherwise encourage lawlessness and power arrogance on the streets as well as in high places. We must demand peace at home and abroad. War against American working classes and foreign regimes are troubles we can do without. We cannot allow martial expediency change us. Say something!

Dear Readers,
Late last night, was attacked and our content over the past ten days was deleted. We're working to capture the cache versions of those stories that are no longer available and republish them on our website.
You may find that some links will take you to "Page Not Found." Right now we're working to restore the vandalized stories.
We will update you as soon as we have more information, and hope to be back in full force very soon.
Thank you for your patience and your support!
The Truthout Team
As Sweeping Layoffs Loom, Schools Gird for Turmoil
Sam Dillon, The New York Times News Service: "School authorities across the nation are warning thousands of teachers that they could lose their jobs in June, raising the possibility that America's public schools may see the most extensive layoffs of their teaching staffs in decades. Though many of the warnings may not be acted upon - school systems, their budget outlook unclear, routinely overstate their likely layoffs at this time of year - when layoffs do occur, they cause a chaotic annual reshuffling of staff members."
Read the Article
Wal-Mart's Washington Shock Doctrine
Sam Knight, Truthout: "Wal-Mart may have its long sought stranglehold on DC, after all. Recently, the company announced its plans to open four(!) stores in our nation's capital. If Washingtonians don't come out against this, much of the progress our city has made since the post-Martin Luther King Jr. assassination riots and the days of crack cocaine could be reversed.... The most recent chapter of Wal-Mart's Masada-like siege of DC starts at America's burgeoning inner city waistlines and reads like an addendum to Naomi Klein's 'Shock Doctrine' in a scenario that is playing out not just in DC, but in metropolitan centers across the land."
Read the Article
Wisconsin Judge Says Anti-Worker Law Still Blocked
Tula Connell, AFL-CIO: "A Wisconsin judge ruled late yesterday that the temporary restraining order is still in force for the law that guts collective bargaining for public employees - despite Gov. Scott Walker's defiance of the judge's initial ruling. On Friday, Walker published the law, and Republican state lawmakers said that with its publication, the bill went into effect."
Read the Article

Happy National Poetry Month!

Book Update

As promised, I am immersed in writing new poems for my book. My quota is 3-5 pages or poems a day (!), with weekends optional. Of course, for every good poem, there are 3 or 4 perfectly awful ones, but that's all part of the process. It's been a wild ride. I feel incredibly open and creative. Thanks for all of your messages of support. Looking forward to what awaits!

April Poetry Dates
Tuesday 4/5, I'll be hosting open mic night at Artisphere in Arlington in their brand new cafe!
New time: 7pm!  |  Free!
1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington VA

Wednesday 4/6, you can find me at Busboys hosting my regular open mic night as
9pm-11pm.  |  $4 admission
Busboys & Poets, 5th & K Sts. NW, DC

Sunday, 4/10, I'll be back at Busboys celebrating DC Emancipation Day.
Joining me will be Toni Asante Lightfoot, Lisa Pegram and Sami Miranda.
5-7pm  |  Free!
Busboys & Poets, 5th & K Sts. NW, DC


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Overdrawing your account is still one of the fastest ways to rack up fees.
Banks charge as much as $39 per violation, no matter how small the charge. And if you don't realize you've overdrawn your account, you could quickly rack up a succession of violations.

THE E-CHANNEL: New Design.

ALAIN L. LOCKE  The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris & Charles Molesworth.
Yesterday I coordinated the noon "Raskin Readings" at IPS.  Noel Ortega led the discussion. He selected the 7th chapter from  Marcus Raskin's PROGRESS AND THE COMMON GOOD. While doing the reading I came across this wonderful quote by Raskin:

For Marx, God gave Adam and Eve an important gift - the problematic of their humanity as they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. This was their first moment of freedom for they were now in charge of their destiny, having acquired the obligation of choice. They generated a society by their own internal principles rather than those laid out by God. But to defend themselves they needed, like God power. They had to change nature, for it was no longer passive and nice, they had to change each other, and they had to fabricate a will to power against things, animals, and people so they would survive. God's children had become beasts of prey in Western civilization.

With Decreased Arts Education Affecting Minority Students, Educators Get Creative
A special report on the deep cuts in arts education funding and how minority students are especially affected.
Heart Attacks And Drinking Warm Water



This is a very good article. Not only about the warm water after your meal, but about    Heart Attacks . The Chinese and Japanese drink hot tea with their meals, not cold water, maybe it is time we adopt their drinking habit  while eating.
For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you. It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion. Once this 'sludge' reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestinefaster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.


Common Symptoms Of Heart Attack...

A serious note about heart attacks - You should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting . Be aware of intense painin the jaw line.
You may never have the first chest pain during the course of a heart attack. Nauseaand intense sweatingare also common symptoms. 60% of people who have a heart attack while they are asleep do not wake up. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive.

A cardiologistsays if everyone who reads this message sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life. Read this & send to a friend. It could save a life. So, please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends you care about.


I leave Harlem
and the Renaissance
to join Houdini.

It's not magic
I need, it's the knowledge
of escape.


Radio Girl
dances the Charleston
on KDKA.

 - E. Ethelbert Miller
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Foreign Policy In Focus
Institute for Policy Studies Logo A project of the Institute for Policy Studies
World Beat
by JOHN FEFFER | Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Vol. 6, No. 13

Gambling in Japan

The great kabuki actor Mitsugoro Bando VIII was a fan of fugu, or blowfish. Fugu is a rather bland, unremarkable fish except for one thing: its internal organs, particularly the liver, are highly toxic. Japanese chefs have to acquire a special certificate to prove that they know how to remove all traces of toxin before preparing the dish. Nevertheless, a couple of people die every year from eating it, which givesthe fish an exotic reputation. Diners enjoy the slight tingle that fugu sushi imparts to the tongue and lips. Bando, however, wasn't satisfied with this slight tingle. A daredevil eater, he relished bowls of soup made from fugu liver and in this way built up a certain resistance to the toxin. But on January 16, 1975, Bando ate not only one bowl of this liver soup for dinner but also the three bowls that his friend wisely declined. That night he suffered respiratory failure and died.
On the outside, Japan appears to be a clean, well-ordered place. The Japanese are, stereotypically, risk-averse. According to the Japanese adage, deru kugi wa utareru: the nail that sticks out will be hammered down. This apparent preference for order and conformity helps explain the patience with which the Japanese have responded to the triple disaster — earthquake, tsunami, and the partial meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear facility — that has afflicted the country. There's probably been more panic in California as people buy up potassium iodide pills out of fear of contracting thyroid cancer from radiation drifting over the Pacific.
Beneath this fa├žade of conformity, however, lies a more interesting reality. Like Mitsugoro Bando VIII, the Japanese have become almost inured to calamity. They've accepted — and in some cases courted — extraordinarily risky behavior.
Consider Japan's dependence on nuclear energy. No other country in the world has had a direct experience of nuclear attack. And few other countries sit atop such seismically active tectonic plates. Yet, even as earthquakes repeatedly struck the island and hundreds of thousands of hibakusha struggled with the after-effects of radiation exposure from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, Japan embarked on a massive nuclear energy program. It built 54 nuclear reactors, which generated nearly 30 percent of its electricity needs. The government planned to increase the share provided by nuclear energy to 40 percent by 2017 and 50 percent by 2030.
The reasons for this dependency were clear. Japan built a world-class economy, with huge manufacturing capacity, on an island with few natural resources and almost no indigenous supplies of energy. The country was heavily dependent on oil and natural gas imports. More recently, the government rationalized the expansion of the nuclear industry by claiming that it would reduce the country's carbon footprint. Japanese leaders consistently sold nuclear power as a safe alternative to fossil fuels.
But nuclear power was only as safe as the government claimed because the country's leading electrical utilities were lying all along. In 2002, Tokyo Electric admitted to falsifying repair reports at its nuclear facilities for two decades. Then, in 2007, it confessed again that it continued to conceal what had been going on, including six emergency stoppages at the Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Fukushima and a seven-hour-long "critical" reaction at Unit 3, one of its six reactors.
In 1997 and 1999, accidents at the reprocessing plant at Tokaimura exposed dozens of workers to radiation. Two workers died after the 1999 incident. In 2004, at the Mihama nuclear plant, steam released from a broken pipe that hadn't been checked once during its 28 years of operation killed five workers.
But perhaps worst of all, the Japanese government knowingly constructed structurally inadequate nuclear facilities. The world's largest nuclear facility, the Kashiwazaki Kariwa, sits on a fault line that generates three times the seismic activity it can withstand. Dai-ichi could withstand only a 5.7-meter tsunami, not the 7-meter wave that eventually overwhelmed it. The regulators should have known how high earthquake-generated waves could rise at that stretch of coast. In other words, Japan's nuclear facilities have always been ticking time bombs.
Embracing nuclear power isn't Japan's only risky behavior. For years, the Japanese government has boasted of a "peace constitution" that restricts the country to a defense-only posture. But this constitution hasn't prevented Japan from amassing one of the world's most powerful militaries, confronting China and Korea over disputed islands, cooperating with the United States on a missile defense system that destabilizes the region, and playing host to dozens of U.S. military bases that endanger human lives and the surrounding environment. (Even now, in the middle of a huge humanitarian crisis, the Japanese government has been building a $600,000 wall in Okinawa near where the United States wants to construct a new military base over the objections of the locals. "The United States should get out of Okinawa and hand over all those big bases to the tsunami's survivors," one elderly resident told Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) contributor Jon Mitchell in Postcard from…Henoko. "They're the ones who really need housing right now.")
Then there's Japan's economic behavior. It's common to talk about how risk-averse Japanese citizens are by noting that they kept much of their savings in post office accounts that were secure but paid virtually no interest. The Japanese government, on the other hand, wasn't so careful. Twenty-five years ago, the Japanese government and financial sector anticipated the current economic crisis by creating a bubble economy marked by unbridled speculation, unparalleled greed, and unbelievable corruption. Financial deregulation led to skyrocketing land values: at one point the land occupied by the Imperial Palace in the middle of Tokyo was reportedly worth the entire country of France. Japan has never really recovered from the pricking of this speculative bubble.
Meanwhile, during the current humanitarian crisis, Tokyo has taken unacceptable risks with those most vulnerable to the effects of radiation, argues FPIF contributor Alexis Dudden. "The Japanese government, in its effort to reassure the population, has in fact placed more people at greater risk, particularly children," she writes in Little Silver Riding Hoods. "In an era when Japan's greatest challenge is its declining population, the government should go to greater lengths to safeguard this future."
Is there somehow a contradiction between the stereotypical conformity of the average Japanese and this tendency to court disaster in the economic, military, energy, and humanitarian sectors?
When I lived in Japan in the late 1990s, it wasn't uncommon late at night to come upon office workers passed out on the street, vomiting in alleyways, or being carried home by their equally inebriated colleagues. Excessive drinking after work was part of the salaryman culture. Indeed, it could be awkward for a businessman to demur from such rituals. When such behavior becomes the norm, then engaging in risky activities becomes just another way of conforming.
Of course, it's only a sector of Japanese society that drinks to excess. Just as it's only a sector of the society that constructs nuclear plants on active fault lines, builds up a powerful and potentially aggressive military machine in a region that is still deeply suspicious of how Japan uses its power, and deregulates the economy to create a kind of pachinko capitalism that rewards the few and impoverishes the many. In this sense, an oligarchy of gamblers holds sway over the majority of cautious Japanese.
This is no time to blame the victims. The earthquake and tsunami and nuclear meltdown were all tragic surprises. But thanks to risk-takers who have taken to nuclear energy and military weaponry much as Mitsugoro Bando VIII took to fugu, Japan has been on the edge for some time now.
Gambling in Libya
And thanks to the air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi's forces, the Libyan resistance movement has gained back most of the ground it lost in recent weeks. They're even planning on resuming oil exports from the refineries and ports they control. But the gains are fragile, and the United States is considering sending arms to the rebels.
Disputes continue over the legitimacy of the multilateral effort to establish a no-fly zone. Bruce Ackerman asserts that President Obama has acted unconstitutionally. FPIF contributor Phyllis Bennis worries that the war will stretch into the indefinite future. "The UN itself acknowledged that this could be the beginning of a very long war," she writes in Attack on Libya May Unleash a Long War. "The resolution asks the secretary-general to report on military developments in Libya 'within seven days and every month thereafter.' So much for 'days, not weeks,'" as President Obama promised.
Other progressives have come out in favor of the intervention. Tom Matzzie, formerly of MoveOn, supported the U.S. policy in order to prevent Benghazi turning into "another Srebrenica," the massacre site in Bosnia. Middle East analyst Juan Cole is "unabashedly cheering the liberation movement on." The scrambling of the political spectrum has led Russ Wellen, our blogmeister at Focal Points, to conclude that the "extent to which Libya has rendered the concept of political correctness irrelevant on not only the left, but the right, is breathtaking." I'll devote a future issue of World Beat to this continuing debate over humanitarian intervention.
FPIF columnist Hannah Gurman, meanwhile, reports on migrant labor in Libya, an issue that the media has had difficulty getting a handle on." Since the start of the fighting, close to 300,000 migrant workers have crossed from Libya into Tunisia and Egypt," she writes in Migrant Workers in Libya. "Most are from poor countries that did not provide means for their citizens to return to their home countries. Most of the refugees arrived at the camps with little but the shirt on their backs, having been robbed by Libyan officials on their way out of the country.
The Virtues and Limits of Technology
The U.S. and European press has covered the attempts by repressive regimes in the Middle East to restrict Internet access and squelch popular uprisings. Less covered has been the involvement of U.S. and European firms in helping those governments do their dirty work.
"Cisco Systems, a leading manufacturer of Deep Packet Inspection systems, a content-filtering technology that allows network managers to inspect, track, and target content from users of the Internet and mobile phones, is a major partner in Bahrain," write FPIF contributors Timothy Karr and Clothilde Le Coz in Corporations and the Arab Net Crackdown. "In 2009, the San Jose, California-based company joined with the kingdom to open an Internet Data Center in Bahrain's capital 'as an essential component in the drive to improve government services to the populace.'"
For young Palestinian photographers, on the other hand, technology has been liberating, thanks to the work of Zakira, a non-profit dedicated to civic photography: "Over the course of 18 months, between November 2006 and March 2008, Zakira members and volunteers worked in each of Lebanon's dozen Palestinian refugee camps with 500 children aged five to 12, teaching them the basics of photography and equipping them with disposable cameras. The aim of the project was to give a voice to these children, to stimulate their creative imaginations and raise awareness of their plight." To read more about this amazing initiative and see the results, check out The Refugee Child Photographers by FPIF contributor Noah Gimbel.
During the initial unfolding of the Libya intervention, Obama was in Latin America. The president was eager to emphasize that the Libya operation was not big enough to justify canceling his trip. But he should have used the trip to push the restart button on U.S.-Latin American relations. Instead, "what might have been a high-profile trip heralding a new U.S. partnership with Latin America based on equity and mutual interests turned out to confirm the same old top-down approach to north-south relations," writes FPIF contributor Manuel Perez-Rocha in Obama in Latin America.
Finally, in our special focus on Islamophobia, former U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands Cynthia Schneider talks about her new job addressing stereotypes about Muslims in U.S. films and television. Here she talks about how the producer of the show 24, Howard Gordon, began to rethink the narrative trajectory of main character Jack Bauer.
Gordon "wanted to send Jack Bauer to Africa to help orphans," Schneider recalls. "But in the end, he couldn't do it. Bauer was rebelling. The character didn't want to be in Africa helping orphans all season long. So Howard compromised. They did a two-hour prequel with Bauer in Africa, and then he comes back to the United States to face the music in the Senate about all the torture he did. Bauer then renounced torture for the rest of the series (with a relapse in the last two seasons). There's a moment when Bauer almost dies, and the imam he was about to falsely arrest comes to give him a blessing. I think that's a very significant moment."
This is the ninth interview in FPIF's special focus on Islamophobia. Earlier interviews were with John Esposito, Juan Cole, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Phyllis Bennis, Arun Kundnani, Raed Jarrar and Niki Akhavan, Wajahat Ali, and Farid Panjwani.
. . .
Foreign Policy In Focus is a network for research, analysis and action that brings together more than 700 scholars, advocates and activists who strive to make the United States a more responsible global partner. It is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington.
The Institute for Policy Studies is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice and the environment in the U.S. and globally. It works with social movements to promote democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate and military power.

Will Forest Whitaker play Barry Bonds?  I was taken by what Kimberly Bell (ex-girlfriend) said at the Bonds trail. Bell said that Bonds threatened "to cut my head off and leave me in a ditch" and said that "he would cut out my breast implants because he paid for them."

Heritage and Hope
O.B. Hardison Poetry Series: Naomi Shihab Nye
Born to a Palestinian father and an American mother, Naomi Shihab Nye has lived in Palestine, Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas. Poet William Stafford has said, "She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life." Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 25 volumes of poetry and has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow. In 2010 she was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. A wine reception and book signing follows the reading.

Monday, April 11
Tickets: $15
Buy Tickets: Naomi Shihab Nye
Learn More: Naomi Shihab Nye
Watch: Naomi Shihab Nye on Poetry Everywhere

Thousands of people took to the streets in London to protest spending cuts, but 
can this movement provide a roadmap for progressives in the U.S.? 



Yesterday I did a radio interview for the Jack Gravely Show in Richmond, Virginia. We discussed the origins of the word "Uncle Tom."  A good chat with questions coming from members of the community. I talked about Harriet Beecher Stowe's  1853 novel and how her characters were changed as the story moved from text to stage and film. By the early 1900s, the Tom figure had become a negative stereotype. I recommended Donald Bogle's classic work - TOMS, COONS, MULATTOES, MAMMIES, & BUCKS.

The interview I did in June 2008 with the activist Dr. Sylvia Hill will air on "Africa Now" at 11AM, WPFW-89.3 FM.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Howard University
Gallery of Art
Cordially invites you to the
Opening Reception
The 41st Annual
Faculty Exhibition

Friday, April 1, 2011
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
(Exhibit on view through April 29, 2011)

Gallery of Art
Division of Fine Arts, Childers Hall, Building 28
2455 6th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20059
Gallery Hours
Monday-Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Lessons of Fukushima
Hugh Gusterson, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: "As an anthropologist, I am always interested in what humans learn from their mistakes. Can humans change their behavior, thereby improving their chances of survival, not just through natural selection, but also through cultural learning? Or are we hardwired to repeat our mistakes over and over, like humanoid lemmings? More to the point, what lessons will we learn from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, an accident thought to be impossible just two weeks ago?"
Read the Article

Monday, March 28, 2011

Howard University Student Association is inviting Minister Louis Farrakhan to speak on April 2, 2011 at 4PM.
Cramton Auditorium.
For more information: 202 806-4140

The title of the program is "Channeling Our Intelligence & Creative Energy to Save Ourselves."

What is this going to be about?  An afternoon of Obama bashing?  I keep turning around looking for my shadow.

How many more days until spring?

As we move closer to the presidential election year, within the African American community I've detected the equivalent of a BP (Black Power?) spill. There is a murky intellectual ooze spreading slowly into commentaries and conversations. Here is one:

Negroes are suddenly shocked to discover that Obama is nothing more than a mulatto version of Ronald Reagan.  Tea baggers are too stupid to see that Obama is only a colored version of the Reagan philosophy that they claim to admire. -Anonymous 

This all means that Obama will have to spend some valuable campaign time within the Black community not looking for votes but instead trying not to lose any. Black pundits will resurrect Obama's missing black agenda. Pan Africanists will claim Bush had a better relationship with the Motherland. Someone will make a statement in the media about Bill Clinton being "blacker" than Obama. Oh, and the real radical blacks will talk about how a return of Republicans will be a wake-up call once again for black people. These folks genealogy goes back to those individuals who told me there was no difference between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. I make reference to this only to remind myself about all the dumb stuff I often hear and can't flush.

I know I'll vote for President Obama, the same way I know there will be books coming out in a few years documenting a number of scandals and possible cover-ups during his Administration. What should we expect from governments?  I never thought Obama was Martin Luther King, Jr or Jesus.
I thought he was a very intelligent man who was elected president of the United States. He was my political Jackie Robinson - but it didn't suddenly make me a Dodger fan. I think we need to understand politics as much as baseball. Know the rules of the game first. What did African Americans expect when Obama took the oath to become president?  Soul Food Day in the White House?  Did we know all the challenges he would face everyday?  When election day comes again I know I'll vote for Obama. It has to do with the role of government not the blackness of my skin. There are policies and beliefs associated with the Republican Party that I simply can't support. I do respect those people who will vote for the GOP. Right now understanding the role of government in our lives might just be as important as confronting the ongoing problems of racism. Do African Americans need better health care?  Might a terrorist place a bomb in a building where black people work? Do black people need jobs?  I think we all know the answers to these questions. The answers have nothing to do with a black agenda. The questions are very difficult to solve. Obama is not a dumb man. He will have my vote in 2012. It's not just about voting for a man. This is not American Idol. We are talking programs and how we govern a nation. Will we be protected by our government?
What are the short and long term solutions to our plight?  Beware the pundit who tells you to sit home and that your vote won't mean a thing. Voting for Obama might not improve things immediately but voting for the other party that in principal wants to privatize everything is just asking for misery -come Sunday we might need not one but two prayers.

The Gospel of the Buddha

The spiritual path is about what we give up, not what we get. We seem to always want to get something—spiritual insights or experiences—as a kind of commodity. We sign up for a retreat and expect that we’ll have this or that wonderful experience or this or that special teaching. But don’t these wisdom traditions teach us that, in essence, there’s nothing to get? We need to give up what obscures the abiding wisdom and the abiding reality—the wisdom and reality that is already here. That’s the gospel of the Buddha, but I wonder if we’re listening to it.

-Tim Olmsted, "The Great Experiment"
Daily Buddhist Wisdom

Everywhere, truly, those of integrity stand apart. They, the good, don't chatter in hopes of favor or gains. When touched now by pleasure, now pain, the wise give no sign of high or low.
- Dhammapada, 6, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Some of the "numbers" coming out of Japan are just too difficult for me to comprehend. It would appear that the entire world might soon be affected by the fallout. If you hear about folks suddenly buying tickets for travel to Australia let me know. It seems we need to start thinking about the unthinkable. We also need to monitor all the workers in Japan that are risking their lives trying to repair the nuclear reactors. People are being exposed to high levels of radiation. Are we talking about something worse than cancer? How can a government talk about transparency when it's dealing with something that is invisible and very dangerous? When might a government lie just to keep the public from moving into high levels of panic? Would they do this for the common good?  I was talking to a friend last night and it looks as if "dirty" air is beginning to reach the US in levels that might be small now, but what about tomorrow?  OK - I'm going to stop writing this E-Note, so I can turn off the lights and see if I glow in the dark.

Breaking News Alert: Radiation levels at Japanese nuclear plant 100,000 times above normal
March 27, 2011 7:27:23 PM

Leaked water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant showed the highest radiation readings yet, compounding the risks for the hundreds of workers trying to repair the facility’s cooling system. Seventeen workers have been exposed to high levels of radiation, and airborne radioactivity in the unit 2 building remained so high that a worker there would reach his yearly occupational exposure limit in 15 minutes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I thought it was the Middle Ages again. But maybe we are just stuck in  the "Poop & Pee" era.  What do you think?

Is it possible that by the end of the year everyone will have a snap mask and a cell phone?

Are we just a few months away from everyone in the world no longer trusting the air?  Which corporation will bottle "clean air" first?

There are a couple of good pieces about Japan in the latest issue of The New Yorker. I enjoyed reading the short story "U.F.O. In Kushiro" by Haruki Murakami. This story was actually published in the magazine back in 2001. Murakami wrote it after the earthquake in Kobe (1995).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

BIRTH OF A NATION or birth in a nation?

I think I finally understand why people want to see Obama's birth certificate. In The Washington Post today (March 26th) there was an article about a man guilty of killing his mother-in-law in Prince George's County, Maryland. The man had told police that three black men had broken into his home, demanded money and then attacked him and his mother-in-law. He said two of the men took her into the bedroom where they stabbed her. She was stabbed about 40 times.  OK. Let's fast forward to the man confessing that he killed his mother-in-law and made up the story about the three black men. So, here are my questions - What were the three black man doing before this guy made them up? Where are the three black men now? Missing from reality? Which brings me back to Obama. Do you think he was just made up by someone and really was never born? Is his birth certificate lost in someone's imagination? Will Obama just disappear after four years in the White House?  Was he ever president?  Maybe the race problem can be traced to too many black people making up things and giving too much power over their lives to white people. Maybe that's why our wounds keep failing to heal.
Sinner man, where are you going to run to?
the 26th Annual Mayor's Arts Awards
Bob Luke's new book is out. THE MOST FAMOUS WOMAN IN BASEBALL Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues was just published by Potomac Books, Inc.

I'm excited about this important book. I wrote a jacket blurb for it - and wow - so did Monte Irvin.
What a baseball week for me. First Pedro Martinez and now the Monte.

"Before the color line was broken, Effa Manley was 'queen of the Negro leagues.' Bob Luke has written a gem of a book. He restores Manley to our memory with all her complexity and controversy. Here is a biography about business, beauty and baseball. Her life rides the wings of the Newark Eagles once again. The Most Famous Woman in Baseball is about a woman who was fabulous if not furious at times. Manley loved baseball, and we should all be grateful to her contributions to the American Pastime."

    - E. Ethelbert Miller