Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm so glad the post-racial weekend is finally here. Are you going back to work on Monday?

July 31, 2009

Dear Friend,
The National Coalition on Health Care is working with the organizers of the Bridge Years Health Coalition to address an important issue: The challenges faced by Americans between ages 55 and 64 as they try to retain or obtain adequate, affordable healthcare coverage.

These are Americans in their “bridge years”; moving from full employment towards the retirement benefits available only to older Americans. They are workers; they are parents; they care for their own elderly parents. Their median income is dropping and their health is declining. Many are in financial jeopardy – retirement savings slashed by falling equity markets, worried about whether they will able to keep their jobs, providing for older and younger dependents and, if they are retired, concerned about the stability of their retirement benefits.

We hope that you will consider supporting this effort – either by joining the Bridge Years Health Coalition, or by signing the attached letter that will be sent to the Chair and Ranking Member of each congressional committee considering health care reform legislation – or, of course, both.
The goal is simple and fully consistent with the NCHC Principles and Specifications: To ensure that Americans in their bridge years have guaranteed access to affordable coverage that is not contingent on health or employment status. Among the policy options Congress is being asked to consider are these:

Provide financial incentives to encourage employers that still offer retiree medical benefits to continue to do so – this would include a reinsurance provision;

Offer older citizens affordable health insurance plans through the HIE;

Provide a permanent Medicare buy-in option for people aged 55 to 64, and for employers who provide retiree medical benefits for this population; and Spread the health care financing burden more equitably among employers by ensuring that working spouses and dependents who qualify for coverage receive contributions from their own employers.

The Bridge Coalition will be active in promoting a full menu of activities, including:
· Advocacy meetings: The Bridge Coalition has conducted preliminary meetings so far with congressional offices and the White House and will continue to consult with decision-makers over the coming weeks/months;
· Letter to Congress: The attached draft letter is to be sent to the Chair and Ranking Members of all relevant congressional committees;
· Advertising: The Bridge Coalition is planning a targeted advertising campaign about both the importance of this affordable coverage issue and the broad range of support for ensuring that health care reform legislation adequately addresses the needs of Americans of all ages;
· In-District Meetings: The August recess will be used by the Bridge Coalition to demonstrate to members of Congress the real-world challenges faced by Americans in their bridge years.

You and your organizations could help by:
· Joining The Bridge Years Health Coalition as a formal member. Participate in related strategy and outreach efforts on an on-going basis;
· Signing the proposed congressional committee leadership letter (attached as a draft);
· Coordinating in-district outreach with the Bridge Coalition;
· Placing your organization’s name on planned advertising; or
· Including “bridge years” solutions as part of your policy advocacy and public education efforts in support of comprehensive health care reform.

We would be happy to discuss this important issue with you in greater detail. Please let us know if you would like a meeting or conversation to discuss this. We encourage you to sign this important letter.
Please contact Kendra Janevski at to let us know if you can sign on.
Thank you,

The National Coalition on Health Care
Communications Workers of America (CWA)
Verizon Communications
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
I show up like money on the sidewalk

- Kim Addonizio


Things are slowly beginning to change around the Middle East conflict. In today's Wall Street Journal one will find a picture of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Funny how the US media never gave Hamas a face.


The Book of Eli (2010)
Directed by Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes. With Michael Gambon, Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis. A post-apocalyptic tale...

On sale August 4th from Henry Holt & Company.

KIM will be at Politics & Prose, Tuesday, August 18th, 7 PM.
Politics & Prose is located at 5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW


OK, I confess, I tested positive for pork back in 2003. I swear it must have been an in-law still upset with the marriage. I was eating out quite a bit back then and never got around to inspecting many of the kitchens. Who knew what was in the omelet? I'm never going to be voted into the Poets Hall of Fame, or that group of folks Haki has been honoring in Chicago. I need to talk to my Manny.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were on baseball's list of roughly 100 players who tested positive for banned substance in 2003. OK, so who are the other 98? What type of reporting is this? Who is leaking the names? Isn't this a crime? Before we deal with the issue of steroids in baseball, we need a long talk about privacy. Would you want your health records being shared by everyone in the ball park? What if you were pregnant or suffering from an STD for the third time this month?

Oh, and wasn't all this information suppose to have been destroyed? Can you imagine if this type of stuff fell into the hands of a few owners? They could use the info to keep their payroll low. Just leak a few names before contract time and what's a ball player to do? Some of the old stars are being "pushed" out of baseball because of their past and their high salaries. Clean the closet by leaking names.

The guilty party in all this are sport writers who can't tell which way the wind is blowing without a weatherman. These folks try to be the guardians of the baseball Hall of Fame, like the place was a church or mosque. Notice how in some articles they leave certain names out when talking about steroids. I seldom find these guys talking about health issues and players playing at risk.
It's always the Hall of Fame. Are we talking privilege here? What records are they still trying to protect? Ruth? The Yankee Clipper?

Sometimes reporters use the words enhancement drugs, dope, and banned chemical substances.
Do we know why a player tested positive? Are all the test results accurate? Could the same person leaking the information, also change the information. What if the "informant" was making money? What's the price for a big name player? Nothing like a big media story on steroids.

Oh, and shouldn't trainers, clubhouse folks and even owners be suspects? What did they know and when did they know it? Sounds to me like too many people are eating pork and claiming that in the old days everything was kosher.
International Remembrance Day of Roma Victims of the Porraijmos (Holocaust)is on August 2nd.

On this day in 1944 thousands of Roma were gassed in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Jewish survivors said the sky was lit up all night by the crematory burning, and “the women were fighting for the life of their children.”

On August 3rd, Auschwitz–Birkenau was “Zigeunerfrei” (Free of Gypsies).

Romani groups have begun an international action day: “Together against Antigypsyism.”


The real basis of Buddhism is full knowledge of the truth of reality. If one knows this truth then no teaching is necessary. If one doesn't know, even if he listens to the teaching, he doesn't really hear.

- Ajahn Chah, "Taste of Freedom"

Thursday, July 30, 2009



Water Cooler "Live"

Listen to the Water Cooler "Live"Click the link below to listen to the "Water Cooler" show live on WDKX every Friday morning from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.
Click Here to LISTEN LIVE

July 31, 2009: Racial Profiling
E. Ethelbert Miller
E. Ethelbert Miller is a literary activist. He is the board chairperson of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). He is a board member of The Writer's Center and editor of Poet Lore magazine. Since 1974, he has been the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. Mr. Miller is the former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. and a former core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College.

Soldiers Pen Stories, Record A History Of War
Tricycle's Daily Dharma
One Thing at a Time

It is wonderful to learn to do one thing at a time. When we do formal zazen, we just sit; this means we do not add to the sitting any judgments such as how wonderful it is to do zazen, or how badly we are doing at it. We just sit.
When we wash the dishes, we just wash dishes; when we drive on the highway, we just drive. When pain comes, there is just pain, and when pleasure comes, there is just pleasure. A Buddha is someone who is totally at one with his experience at every moment.

- Francis Dojun Cook, How to Raise an Ox, Wisdom Publications
Bizarro World?
So everyone is sitting around the picnic table at the White House with a brew. It's summertime, two wars, a bad economy but the Yankees are in first place. There is a stack of bills on your desk, you're taking care of a sick parent, it's a digital world but you're so analog it hurts to breathe. You check Craigslist to see if anyone is selling that bubble MJ once lived in. There has to be a better place.
If God dropped acid, would he see people?
- Steven Wright

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Kojo Nnamdi Show for ...
Local poet E. Ethelbert Miller discusses the abundance of writing coming out of the ... E. Ethelbert Miller, Poet, Director of the African American Resource

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Diane Rehm Show for ...
Aug 8, 2000 ... E. Ethelbert Miller discusses his new memoir. ... E. Ethelbert Miller, poet; director of the African American Resource Center at Howard

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Diane Rehm Show for ...
Apr 19, 2006 ... E. Ethelbert Miller, poet; director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University, chair of the Washington D.C. Humanities

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Diane Rehm Show for ...
Jun 25, 2008 ... E. Ethelbert Miller, poet; director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University, Board Chair of the Institute for Policy

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - Metro Connection for ...
"Street Scenes" Curator Welmoed Laanstraa and poet E. Ethelbert Miller spoke with WAMU 88-FIVE's Stephanie Kaye. "Art Not Ads" hits the streets September

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - Summer Reading List
How We Sleep on the Nights We Don't Make Love: Poems by E. Ethelbert Miller Warrior Poet by Alexis De Veaux. Non-fiction. Cooking With Grease: Stirring the

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Kojo Nnamdi Show for ...
E. Ethelbert Miller, Poet, Director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University, and author of "How We Sleep On The Nights We Don't Make

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Diane Rehm Show for ...
Aug 7, 2000 ... 10 - Invasive Species; 11 - E. Ethelbert Miller: "Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer" (St. Martins)

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Diane Rehm Show for ...
E. Ethelbert Miller, poet; director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University, chair of the Washington D.C. Humanities Council.

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Kojo Nnamdi Show for ...
Dec 29, 2004 ... 12 - End of Year Tax Tips (Rebroadcast); 1 - How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (Rebroadcast); 1 - E. Ethelbert Miller (Rebroadcast)

Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)

Communications Director

The Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive multi-issue think tank in Washington, D.C., seeks a Communications Director to join our growing communications department. The Communications Director will direct and implement communications strategy to support the Institute's mission through tactics that include strategic planning, new media, messaging, and other innovative solutions. The Communications Director reports to the Executive Director and works with all project directors to amplify and coordinate a consistent message to all audiences, including media, policymakers, grassroots, and supporters.

· Create and implement IPS' strategic communications plan.
· Work with the IPS director and other senior staff to identify strategic opportunities to position IPS in the marketplace and distinguish the organization among competitors.
· Develop and manage a strong and effective organizational brand.
· Manage four departmental staff who carry out day-to-day communications and media relations work. Plan and lead regular communications department meetings.
· Work with project directors to develop and implement program-specific communications plans, identify media opportunities, and create communications calendars.
· Supervise, coach, and train project staff on key messaging, particularly as it relates to presentations and media training.
· Monitor, record, analyze, and report on all results and outcomes of department, reporting on them to internal and external audiences.
· Develop media strategies and serve as point person for media inquiries and write or edit press releases.
· Manage a coordinated media calendar for all IPS programs.
· Build and manage relationships with key reporters and producers, and maintain and expand media contact databases.
· Manage accounts with outside media vendors (newswires, clipping services, etc.).
· Compile the communications department annual budget and monitor department financial reports.
· Participate in senior leadership team meetings to represent communications and to provide general organizational oversight.
Job Requirements:

· Bachelor’s degree, preferably in communications, journalism, marketing or related field, and minimum 10-15 years related work experience.
· Experience supervising communications teams.
· Willingness to the perform nuts-and-bolts tasks required to execute broader communications strategies.
· Experience authoring and editing media relations materials, including press releases, email pitches, and talking points.
· Strong background in both social media and traditional media outreach, preferably in advocacy communications for issues or causes.
· Experience cultivating and managing relationships with journalists and strong contacts throughout the media.
· Ability to teach, guide, and encourage staff members to produce media-enticing information.
Strong connections with progressive movements and familiarity with core IPS issues and values.
Comfort and reliability with “attention to detail” tasks.
Computer literacy is required, including a proficiency in Microsoft Office applications and database management.

Preferred Candidates will Have:

Organizing and activism experience.
Strong contacts with members of the Washington media.
Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with flexibility.
Clear and concise writing and strong editing skills.

Salary and Benefits: Commensurate with Experience
Excellent benefits including generous vacation, 403(b) plan upon hire, fully paid dependent health insurance, fully paid life insurance, fully paid long-term disability, optional short-term disability, optional flexible spending cafeteria plan, direct deposit and flex time. IPS is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and encourages applications from people of color, women, and other groups that have historically been subject to discrimination. Applicants are asked to fill out a confidential survey to assist in evaluating our applicant pool at
How to Apply: Please email your cover letter, resume, and a brief writing sample to: with “Communications Director” in the subject line.

Last Date to Apply: September 11, 2009
According to the Center for American Progress, 265 members of the military have been kicked out for being Gay since Obama took office.


William Shatner Makes Palin's Speech Into Poetry (VIDEO)


Tricycle's Daily Dharma
Predicting the Future

We don't need a psychic to tell us what our future experience will be—we need only look at our own minds. If we have a good heart and helpful intentions toward others, we will continually find happiness. If instead, the mind is filled with ordinary self-centered thoughts, with anger and harmful intentions toward others, we will find only difficult experiences.

- Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, Tricycle Summer 1998

So who started this post-racial nonsense? Who was the person who decided to use the election of Obama as the measurement tool for racial progress? Let's admit that it's just as dumb as the word bipartisanship. Do we ever hear this word being used when Republicans are in power? Of course not. Only Democrats get stuck with this s--t. We spend all our time talking about race because the media is very protective of white privilege. Was there a race problem during slavery? Of course not. There was a slavery problem and folks wanted to end it. Was there a Negro problem afterwards? Yes, but only for white people. I've never looked upon myself as a problem. I get so tired of folks talking about race in a negative way all the time. Geez, be happy if you look different. It might make you unique. Sometimes I'm on the bus and folks don't want to sit next to me. I enjoy the space and take advantage of it. I pity the fool who stands instead of sitting next to me. As Zora once said, they are missing the wonder of my company. Go out into the world today and be fabulous. Be careful not to swing your butt in a post-racial way. That would take all the beauty away from the moment.


July 28, 2009

President Obama has stated that the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates in his home provides a "teachable moment" about racial profiling, and the "relations between police officers and minority communities."

The president's remarks -- that the police "acted stupidly" -- sparked a backlash that the White House has tried to defuse by inviting arresting officer Sgt. James Crowley and Gates to sit down over a beer at the White House. The meeting, slated to take place in the next few days, will no doubt result in consensus that we should all get along, and how hard it is to do so given conflicting histories and perspectives.

This will defuse the furor, but it won't provide much of a lesson for the teachable moment. Racial profiling isn't a matter that is unique to Gates and Crowley. The reality is, as the president suggested, despite the great progress this nation has made on racial discrimination -- as attested by the president's own election -- we are still a long way from a post-racial society.
African Americans across the country understood Gates' anger at being challenged in his home.

Racial profiling remains a widespread reality. DWB -- driving while black -- is still more likely to get you stopped in areas across the country. Young African Americans are more likely to be searched if stopped, more likely to be charged, more likely to be arrested if charged, more likely to do time than be fined if convicted. In schools across the country, African-American boys and girls are more likely to be disciplined and more likely to be suspended for the same behaviors as their white classmates.

This isn't a secret. We have passed laws and set up agencies to remedy these practices. Police and fire departments in many urban areas have made significant efforts to overcome them. Progress has been made as police forces have become more integrated, but we still have a long way to go.

Moreover, as the president stated in his speech earlier this month to the NAACP, "The most difficult barriers include structural inequalities that our nation's legacy of discrimination has left behind; inequalities still plaguing too many communities and too often the object of national neglect."

African Americans are more likely to go to poor and crowded schools; more likely to be unemployed, more likely to lack health insurance, more likely to be targeted by predatory lenders. These structural inequalities, as the president noted, require public action and initiative to change.

So while it would be a good thing for Gates and Crowley to apologize one to another and shake hands, that won't fulfill the "teachable moment." It wouldn't have been sufficient if the bus driver in Montgomery had apologized to Rosa Parks, and Ms. Parks had apologized for refusing to obey his order to go to the back of the bus. That would not have addressed the basic question of access to public accommodations. It's the policy that must be addressed, not just the personal interaction.

Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that this is a "nation of cowards" when it comes to discussing race. It is particularly hard for an African-American president who wants sensibly to establish that he is the president of all Americans.

But the Gates arrest -- and the Supreme Court's recent decision in the Ricci case, overturning New Haven's decision to throw out a test that had a discriminatory effect, that may toll the death knell to affirmative action -- do provide teachable moments. It is time to teach. We need a White House Conference on Structural Inequality and Racial Profiling.

We've acknowledged that racial discrimination is bad and passed laws and programs to remedy it. But as Dr. King taught us, that is not enough. We have to fund the programs and enforce the laws. So let's detail the reality of the practices and structural inequalities that the president mentioned, evaluate the programs and laws that exist to remedy them, fund and enforce the law, and set up goals and timetables to measure our progress.


Hello everyone,

I've been working on a collaborative piece called "Classlines" over
the course of this year and last. It's a personal storytelling
project where a group of about 5 people are sharing our own stories of
poverty, wealth and social status. It has morphed, and been a
rewarding, challenging and bonding exploratory process for everyone

Save the date, and consider coming August 24-26 (Monday-Wednesday) at
8pm at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company to our workshop reading.

At the end, if you choose, you'll get a chance to share your own
stories too. This performance is unique in that the stories are true,
the people are real. There is little device separating you from us.
Unwrapping silence around an issue as thorny as class can be really
hard. Uncomfortable. Even infuriating.
We are hoping to show honesty and truth and vulnerability underneath
the oftentimes vicious lines that divide us as a society. So come,
and hear our stories, and share yours too.

Hope you can make it,

a workshop reading
exploring issues of class through our personal stories
followed by post-show interactive workshop
8pm Monday-Wednesday August 24-26th
$5-$10 suggested donation
@Woolly Mammoth Theater Company
641 D Street NW
Washington, DC
with Anu Yadav, Amy Hendrick, Ellie Walton, Rose Oliphant and Schuyler
Directed by Patrick Crowley.

Classlines is a personal storytelling performance project. We are
sharing our own stories on the themes of poverty, wealth and social
status, based on over a year of collaboration, listening and story-
gathering. The stories are intimate, provocative and vulnerable.
Please note: the stories contain references to violence and are
suitable for mature audiences, 16 and older.

Classlines is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and
Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Creative
Communities Initiative, a project of the Community Foundation of the
National Capitol Region. This performance is produced by Bare Stage
Productions, LLC in association with Young Playwrights' Theater.
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Is the beer cold yet?
Are we one day away from the end of racism?

A president, a professor and a police officer walk into a bar...
Found a poem I wrote back in January, 1969. Here is the ending:

I cannot touch or love anymore
dark with candles burning
the eulogy is begun
there are ten thousand words of love
for a person who was never given one
Unpacking the Boxes

Last night I examined the boxes my sister gave me on Saturday. Strange to look at all the letters I wrote to my parents. Included in the pile of correspondence were a couple of letters my brother wrote to my mother while he was in the monastery. The year was 1962. I was twelve and had no idea what was going on in my family. I thought my brother was just going away on a vacation. But now I have a letter dated, September 15, 1962, from Fr. M. Regis Tompkins, the Master of Novices at Our Lady of The Genesee Abbey in Piffard, New York. The letter states that my brother is a member of the monastic community of Cistercian monks, and his desire is to remain among them for life. In another letter my brother mentions how it was not his intention to remain among the monks forever. Reading these letters opens the door to the writing of another book.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quote of the Day:

I'm out to bring poetry into their lives.

- John Cage


The Ward 7 Arts Collaborative presents a screening of the documentary

Ira Blount: The Common Threads That Bind
Producer/Director, Beverly Lindsay-Johnson

Saturday, August 1, 2009
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
at the

Asbury United Methodist Church
926 11th Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
Ticket Price: $5 donation (Minors under 18 attend free)
DVD copies will be sold on site
Advance tickets and DVD copies can be purchased on line at

Narrated by Lorna Newton (WHUR 96.3 "DC Inspirations"), Ira Blount: The Common Threads That Bind is a 30-minute documentary film on the life and artistry of Ira Blount. In his words, we’ll learn how this 90 year old artist acquired quilt-making skills from his mother, an uneducated woman who fashioned quilts from bits of clothing and rags to keep her three sons warm in the cold winters and challenges of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Through his art, we’ll find a man who was tested by hard times and later found his purpose and calling in quilting, calligraphy, origami, basket-weaving, painting, wood carving, tin pinning and needlepoint.

Ira Blount: The Common Threads That Bind was produced by Emmy Award winning documentary producer, Beverly Lindsay-Johnson and her production company, Kendall Productions, LLC.

Beverly Lindsay-Johnson has been producing award winning documentaries since 1996. Her recent documentary, Dance Party: The Teenarama Story, highlights the success of the African American teen television dance program, The Teenarama Dance Party, which was produced and aired on the former WOOK-TV Ch. 14 in Washington, DC. Produced for PBS and public television broadcast, Dance Party: The Teenarama Story was awarded the 2006 National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Award, the 2007 Telly Award, the 2008 Aurora Award (Platinum) for Best in International Video and Film and is archived in the permanent collection of the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio) in New York and Los Angeles as a "documentary of significant importance".

Robert Caro
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Michael Beschloss
Douglas Brinkley
Robert Dallek
Garry Wills

October 15-17, 2009

Presented by The Academy of American Poets
Discussions and readings with:
Frank Bidart, Rita Dove, Lyn Hejinian, Edward Hirsch, Harryette Mullen, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, Jean Valentine, Ellen Bryant Voigt

Purchase tickets online at

Monday, July 27, 2009


The 5th Inning by E. Ethelbert Miller
21 Jul 2009 by jgeneric The 5th Inning by E. Ethelbert Miller streams from the author’s mind into yours. He made his living as a poet and “literary activist”, and the memoir (the 2nd from Miller) shows it. Deeply connected with the Black community of ...Ampersand -

Budget Cuts:

Cities across the US might no longer have mounted police units. Horse costs are the problems.

Police Departments are cutting budgets. Departments have to cover the costs of stables, veterinary bills and hay.

Most mounted police units are used for crowd control.

There are about 100 full-time mounted units in the U.S. now, compared with almost 300 units in the 1980s. Detroit has 3 officers today, 70 two decades ago.

Breaking News Alert

The New York Times

Monday, July 27, 2009 -- 10:36 AM ET-----

Merce Cunningham, Influential Choreographer, Dies at 90.

Merce Cunningham, the American choreographer who was among ahandful of 20th-century figures to make dance a major art and a major form of theater, died Sunday night. He was 90 and lived in Manhattan.

Read More:

Finished reading Poet Lore submissions. Editors meeting this week.
Split This Rock Board Meeting this evening.
Major focus is on completing my Obama speech and getting ready for the Norway trip.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The real, unignorable problem, the main reason steroids cannot be allowed to proliferate, is that they are killers. Steroids can lead to several forms of cancer, heart attacks, liver disease, even homicide and suicide.

Too many ballplayers have already gone too far and taken too many drugs. It seems inevitable that in the next decade several retired stars will die young, leaving the entire baseball family heartbroken and searching its soul for answers.

Toure, The New York Times Book Review, July 26, 2009.

We are not going to move beyond race. Why should we? Why can't we just celebrate diversity?
Race is not the problem - racism is.

Why do we have so many problems with sex?
Why can't we enjoy sex and the pleasure it gives?
Celebrate the body. Yours and others.



Prayers for Linton Weeks and Jan Taylor Weeks who lost their two sons in a tragic accident last Thursday.

How does a heart carry such sadness?

Linton was the Washington Post reporter who wrote a lovely profile of me for the Washington Post, a few years ago. Linton's sons (Stone Taylor Weeks, 24 and William Holt Weeks) were driving from Texas to Rockville, Maryland to attend a book party for historian Douglas Brinkley.

United Parcel Service, the world's largest package delivery company, said on Thursday that its second-quarter earnings fell 49 percent as the recession cut business demand.

The New York Times, July 24, 2009
No More Love Letters:

Snail mail is a dying enterprise because Americans increasingly pay bills online, send Evites for parties and text or give a quick call on a cellphone rather than write a letter.

Combine the impact of new technologies with the gut punch of the recession, and in the past year alone, the Postal Service has seen the single largest drop-off in mail volume in its 234-year history,greater even than the decline form 1929 to 1933 during the Great Depression. That downward trend is only accelerating. The Postal Service projects a decline of about 10 billion pieces of mail in each of the next two years, going from a high of 213 billion pieces of mail in 2006 to 170 billion projected for 2010.

- The Washington Post, July 25, 2009

Tricycle's Daily Dharma
Choose Your Words Carefully
In Master Linji [Rinzai]'s time, some Buddhist terms were used so often they became meaningless. People chewed on terms like "liberation" and "enlightenment" until they lost their power. It's no different today. People use words that tire our ears. We hear the words "freedom" and "security" on talk radio, television, and in the newspaper so often that they've lost their effectiveness or their meaning has been distorted. When words are overused, even the most beautiful words can lose their true meaning. For example, the word "love" is a wonderful word. When we like to eat hamburger, we say, "I love hamburger." So what's left for the meaning of the word "love"?

–Thich Nhat Hanh, Tricycle Fall 2007

Legal Question:
Can Michael Vick ever own a dog again?

Health care:

One has to suspect that the big rush to quickly pass a health bill is Obama's wish to pay tribute to Ted Kennedy. Whatever is agreed upon will have a thousand critics. Maybe we should just talk about race?
In terms of sales since March, we are at the halfway mark of the first 2000 print run.
Don't let the summer end without doing some summer reading. The 5th Inning is a good travel book:
Copies can be purchased at Busboys and Poets.

Hey, Rodney King, this Bud is for you:

So everyone is going to get together at the White House for a beer: Crowley, Gates and Obama.
Look for this to take place maybe on the anniversary of the March on Washington next month.
Now, here is the key question, what brand of beer will they be drinking? Who gets the PR endorsement here? If Obama takes one sip of a brew, what message will he be sending to our youth? Yada, Yada, Yada. Look for folks who are concerned about driving and drinking to jump on this too. Sounds crazy but then it's a teachable moment. Go figure.


What's next?

I spent yesterday afternoon talking with the visual artist Kebedech Tekleab. What a wonderful person. Here is a link to some of her work:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New book out: BIG MACHINE by Victor LaValle.

He is also the author of SLAPBOXING WITH JESUS.

Friday, July 24, 2009

THE 5TH INNING: The Kindle Edition

WE REMEMBER: Author E. Lynn Harris Dies at 54.

According to online reports, author E. Lynn Harris has passed away at 54. Details are sketchy as of now, but he was on a book tour of the West Coast. Harris, a best-seller whose work dealt with black, gay culture and delved into athletics, was a passionate University of Arkansas Razorbacks fan. Harris' personal assistant confirmed the writer's death to According to a number of reports, including Black Voices and Arkansas, for the past eight semesters, Harris served as a "visiting" professor for the English department. For MORE of this story, go HERE:
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Friday, July 24, 2009 -- 3:03 PM ET

Obama Says He Regrets His Language on Gates ArrestPresident Obama said Friday that he "could have calibrated"his words more carefully in the racially-charged controversyover the arrest of a Harvard professor, making a surpriseappearance at the daily White House briefing to try and coolthe tensions surrounding the case.Mr. Obama said he had talked to the arresting officer andhoped the case could become "a teachable moment" to be usedto improve relations between minorities and police officers.

Read More:
Palestinian Poet and Filmmaker

Ambassador Horace Dawson,
Director of the Ralph A. Bunche International Affairs Center
at Howard University, and the Department of English
are pleased to invite you to a very special poetry recital and performance
by Hind Shoufani, a rising international literary star:

Tuesday evening, August 4th, 2009
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
The Gallery Lounge, Blackburn Center
Main Campus, Howard University


To my writer friends,

I wanted to let you know that my new novel, Labor Day, will be published on July 28. This one was recently chosen the #1 Indie Books Pick for August by the Independent Booksellers of America.

I think it's my best work to date, and I am doing everything I can to support its publicaiton--as I know I don't need to explain to any of you. If you'd like to take a look I'd be deeply grateful of course if you'd order a copy from Amazon, or purchase one from your local independent bookseller.

Or simply check it out at the library. You can read more about Labor Day--reviews, tour schedule, and all of that-- on my website,

With friendship (and solidarity in challenging but rich times)

Joyce Maynard


Here are some of President Obama's legislative victories this year:

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: Signed into law on January 29th, broadens rights for employees to sue employers in gender-based disputes.

Children's Health Insurance: Signed into law February 9th, expands the State Children's Health Insurance program.

Economic Stimulus Package: Signed into law February 17th. $787 billion for investment in infrastructure, education, health and energy.

Credit Card Act: Signed into law May 22; gives consumers more protections from unfair credit-card fees.

F-22 Fighter Jet: Senate stopped funding for project; helps Obama curb military spending.

Last week, Mr. Gates found himself locked out of his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Instead of calling a locksmith, he and his chauffeur proceeded to break into the house.

- The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2009
Every day is its own ball game.

- Bob Walk

Join the Institute for Policy Studies at the National Press Club for the 33rd Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards

Domestic Award: Domestic Workers United
International Award: La Mesa Nacional Frente a la Mineria Metalica

Thursday, October 15th
5:30 - 9:00 PM

For more information visit:

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Despite all the health problems we have in the black community, and the lack of good health care, what are we talking about? Skip Gates and racism. Just us. Obama talks for about an hour on health and after one question about race, we still have that fever and flu. We can't seem to shake the race bug. We love being sick. No, we don't want to be well, that would be too post-racial. We don't even want to take a chill pill. Call all those Race doctors tonight and check back with me in the morning. If you want to know about the epidemic just read a Black history book. We are still sick after all these years. Send in the X-rays, this looks like surgery.
Although nirvana does exist and the way to it exists and I, an adviser, also exist, some of my followers will attain the unchanging goal but others will not. There is nothing I can do in this matter. All I can be is a shower of the way.

- Middle-Length Sayings
New appointment at Howard University:
Dr. Gregory Carr was appointed chairman of the Department of Afro-American Studies.

I wish him well.

Douglas Brinkley's new book is out and reviewed in The New York Times today.

Illustrated. 940 pages. Harper. $34.99

Walter Cronkite's funeral is today in New York. It's been decades since a poll found him to be the most trusted person in America. But his passing has some wondering who might claim that title today. The Washington Post collected dozens of suggestions -- from Barack Obama to Miley Cyrus.

Started reading a book together with my best friend G.
Our first title is WHAT IS THE WHAT by Dave Eggers.

Trying to complete my Obama/Norway speech by the end of next week.

Still reading (and enjoying) Martin Duberman's WAITING TO LAND.

Discovered in a stack of books at home a copy of POETS FOR PALESTINE edited by Remi Kanazi. I forgot one of my poems "Fathers In Exile" was included in it. Other poets are:
Mahmoud Darwish, Amiri Baraka, Melissa Tuckey, Dima Hilal, Kathy Engel, Ibtisam Barakat, et al.

Meeting in a few weeks - Hind Shoufani, a Palestinian filmmaker and poet. She is the author of MORE LIGHT THAN DEATH COULD BEAR.

September is going to be a very busy month. My mom turns 90.



How can we continue talking about returning to the moon, when we are constantly held back by the gravity of our own nonsense?

My Daddy, the Jailbird - Page 1 - The Daily Beast
Tricycle's Daily Dharma

Meet Life Where It Is

You can face anything properly, elegantly, when you meet life where it is, in the moment. When conditions are fresh and joyous, we can delight in that changing image. When the karma and goodness sustaining life is exhausted, we can look death right in its face. We live life wisely and compassionately in the beginning, middle, and end.

–Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu, from Meeting the Monkey Halfway (Weiser)


It's amazing how one incident influences or defines race matters. It could be the election of a black president, the arrest of a black scholar, a controversial movie, book, or the old-fashioned riot. Remember when OJ defined everything? The Color Purple? Sooner or later we have to admit this is silly. This is a bad case of group think. Did everything in the black world come to a halt during Michael Jackson's funeral? We think of the black world as being so small. In 2009 black people still look at my wife funny because she was born in Iowa. This tells me that somewhere there are black people who believe the world is flat, as much as some who define or see everything through a colored prism. What if I could suddenly run away to that post-racial society? Would the "race catchers" bring me back to this place in time? Would I be flogged and forced to look at pictures of Henry Louis Gates, in handcuffs? Are those mug shots of Gates another riff on the Crisis of the Negro Intellectual? Is now the time for a Cruse and tonic?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The O Report

Let's see if Fox News goes crazy now that Obama called the Cambridge police stupid. Is there going to be an apology? You betcha.

Why did a reporter ask President Obama about Henry Louis Gates during a discussion devoted to health care? Was this the evening race question?

Earmarks: When One's nose should be open too.

I chuckled( with sadness) when I saw the Fenty Administration was going to give 1 million dollars to the Washington Ballet. The reduced amount is now $400,000. Hmmm. How many new DC Arts Commissioners sit on the ballet board? These noncompetitive grants simply reward folks who contributed to the Fenty Fund for mayor. This is politics with a straw and not a drink.

So we move from Michael Jackson to Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Meanwhile, we need to create a new narrative. All our stories are beginning to sound alike. I see race as a blessing and not a problem. It's something I wish to celebrate and not reduce to an academic study. How can we move forward when we continue to think so backwards?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tomorrow morning I will be speaking to a group of adult learners about my memoir. It's part of the Claude Brown Writers & Readers Series. We will meet at Busboys and Poets around 10 AM.

Consider this before crying "racial profiling" Opinion theGrio


Today I donated another 4 boxes of files to the Gelman Library at George Washington Univesity.

Here is a link to the collection:

US Census Bureau 2010 Jobs Main Page

Fall 2009 - Poetry

Tuesdays, 7:30 - 9:30 P.M.

September 15 - December 8, 2009


To apply, please submit a letter of interest and a 5-10 page sample of your writing. Make sure you include your name, address, home and work telephone numbers, and email address.
Applications must be received by Monday, 31 August 2009.

JMM Poetry Workshop
Department of English
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street, NW (Suite 760)
Washington, D.C. 20052
July is coming to an end. Should I take a short summer vacation away from race matters? How much attention should I continue to give to Obama in my E-Notes? Can't we just let the guy run the country without second guessing everything he does? Can't we stop wishing for him to fail?

Sooner or later Mr. Obama is going to get in trouble, sooner or later the trouble will take hold and settle in...

- Peggy Noonan, WSJ, July 18-19, 2009

Today, the scholar Henry Louis Gates has his picture everywhere on the web. What do young black men and older black scholars have in common? Mug shots. Everyone is going to have an opinion about Gates, Boston, the police, and white woman with cell phones. It's good to know a woman didn't "imagine" two black men trying to get into a house. Poor Gates reduced almost to a lawn jockey in Cambridge. Was this racism on display? Was it just the failure to acknowledge proper police procedure? Calling the police the R word is just as bad as calling a black person something with an N. Once spoken all facts begin to tell tales and then all the stories are true.

Monday, July 20, 2009

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENTS :No, I will not share my DNA research with you.

The happiness we seek, a genuine lasting peace and happiness, can be attained only through the purification of our minds. This is possible if we cut the root cause of all suffering and misery—our fundamental ignorance.

- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The World of Tibetan Buddhism

Try and get your hands on the latest issue of The Bloomsbury Review - May/June/July 2009.

It has a wonderful poem by Martin Espada. Be sure to read "Litany At The Tomb Of Frederick Douglass."
20TH Annual National Poetry Slam
August 4-8, 2009
West Palm Beach

Over 300 Slam Poets from 54 Cities battle for the Heavywrite Crown.
No notion is more deeply seated in American life than the view that a committed, exclusive relationship is the only hope for a satisfying life and that to maintain such a relationship, the two individuals involved must curtail any impulse to pursue intimacy and erotic pleasure elsewhere. It is a view which, in the name of security and safety, places sustained partnership somewhat at odds with pleasure, and perhaps even with individual growth.

- Martin Duberman, WAITING TO LAND
The World of the Negrito?

Democracy Hangs by a Thread in Honduras Hugh O'Shaughnessy, The Independent UK: "The international group of right-wingers who staged the coup d'etat against the democratic government of Honduras on 28 June are watching their plot fast unravel.
Quote of the Day:

Epidemics always lay bare the rudimentary attitudes of the culture in which the epidemic occurs.

- Martin Duberman
Ichiro Watch:
3 hits last night
134 hits this season.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Book of Unwritten Baseball Rules
by Baseball Digest (1986)
Unwritten Rules
Never put the tying or go-ahead run on base.
Play for the tie at home, go for the victory on the road.
Don't hit and run with an 0-2 count.
Don't play the infield in early in the game.
Never make the first or third out at third.
Never steal when you're two or more runs down.
Don't steal when you're well ahead.
Don't steal third with two outs.
Don't bunt for a hit when you need a sacrifice.
Never throw behind the runner.
Left and right fielders concede everything to center fielder.
Never give up a home run on an 0-2 count.
Never let the score influence the way you manage.
Don't go against the percentages.
Take a strike when your club is behind in a ballgame.
Leadoff hitter must be a base stealer. Designated hitter must be a power hitter.
Never give an intentional walk if first base is occupied.
With runners in scoring position and first base open, walk the number eight hitter to get to the pitcher.
In rundown situations, always run the runner back toward the base from which he came.
If you play for one run, that's all you'll get.
Don't bunt with a power hitter up.
Don't take the bat out of your best hitter's hands by sacrificing in front of him.
Only use your bullpen stopper in late-inning situations.
Don't use your stopper in a tie game - only when you're ahead.
Hit behind the runner at first.
If one of your players gets knocked down by a pitch, retaliate.
Hit the ball where it's pitched.
A manager should remain detached from his players.
Never mention a no-hitter while it's in progress.
With a right-hander on the mound, don't walk a right-handed hitter to pitch to a left-handed hitter.

The Book of Unwritten Baseball Rules by Baseball Digest

Did you see The New York Times Magazine today? Matt Bai has an article about "The Shuffle President." Is he serious with this title? Is Obama the Shuffle President, as in Shuffle Along?
Are we all back in Jim Town again? The 1921 Shuffle Along, was the first major African American muscial hit. Oh, and politics was central to the plot. Should we all breakout and sing - I'm Just Wild About Obama?

Obama is the nation's first shuffle president. He's telling lots of stories at once, and in no particular order.

- Matt Bai
New Book on Lena Horne:
Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne by James Gavin
Illustrated. 598 pp. Atria Books. $27

Lena Horne is 92 this year.
Suggested reading:

"Today's Black Ships: The Cultural and Economic Impacts of the Japanese Hip Hop Movement."
The author is Masanori Isaka. The essay can be found in Multicultural Review, Summer 2009.

Buddha Brand
The new issue (Summer 2009) of Voice Male Magazine is out. My essay " Remembering The Loneliness of Fatherhood" is included in it. See page. 23.


I went down to the E Street Cinema yesterday and saw Whatever Works. Not a great flick but a nice way to enjoy a Saturday by myself.

Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro's hitting streak was stopped last night at 13 games.
Wisdom: The Heart of Change
a teaching by his Holiness The Dalai Lama

October 10, 2009
American University
Washington, D.C.



- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Tricycle's Daily Dharma

Understand Your Ego

Just as energy can be used for many different purposes, so can pure existence be experienced in relation to any phase of life—anger, hatred, or jealousy as well as love and beauty. Every human action must be carried on through the ego, which plays a role comparable to that of a pipe or channel through which energy is conducted for different uses. We usually think of the ego as a kind of constant, unchanging entity. In fact, however, it is simply a succession of physical and mental events or pressures that appear momentarily and as quickly pass away.

–Katsuki Sekida, from A Guide to Zen (New World Library)


When Mr. Cronkite was No. 1, the nightly news mattered. College students nowadays get their information from blogs and Comedy Central, not CBS. Families don't gather in the den to eat dinner in front of "World News Tonight With Charles Gibson." Brian Williams and Katie Couric wouldn't dare sign off with the words "and that's the way it is."

- The New York Times, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009


Two years ago I wrote a check and sent it off to the NAACP. A few weeks later I received a membership card in the mail. It was very attractive, and I placed it in my wallet next to those important medical cards that prove, I'm a member of the elite that has health care in America. I was a card carrying member of the NAACP. I had this secret desire to only wear suits and be like Walter White or DuBois. Langston Hughes loved this Civil Rights organization, and even Julian Bond once wrote poems. How can I not surround myself with this beautiful colored tradition?

When President Obama stepped into the room to address the NAACP this week, he first met a group of black people (many women) who became almost hysterical with joy. Church here he come. It reminded me of when the Beatles arrived in the States from England. Spin the black middle-class in circles and folks will either mistake you for Moses or Jesus.

It's important to understand that Obama was speaking to the NAACP and not the black community. Yes, he was preaching to the choir. Much of what he said we had already heard before. It's not tough love but instead early Booker T. with biscuits. Talking about education is like living in Boston and talking about the Red Sox. What else do you want to talk about? Black leaders talk about education as if it was the lottery. If a person could just win or earn a degree in anything wouldn't they be free to dream a world?

What should black people expect from a black president? The answer can only be answered if we decide,what the role of government should be in our lives. Listening to Obama it seems as if it should be less and not more. President Obama can lip sync Malcolm X, as well as Martin at times. At the end of the day however everyone is still looking at poverty and high unemployment. I think since the days of Marvin Gaye singing about saving the children, black leaders have done nothing but play with blocks. We neglect our elders in nursing homes and all the adult black males in the prison system.

Instead of Obama speaking to the NAACP, he should give a series of talks inside American prisons. Let's see how well his message goes over. Tell a black guy in jail on his third or fourth tour of duty about hard work. Talk education with inmates but explain how many won't find a job when they are released. Yes, discrimination still exists and not just against Gays and Muslims. Tell someone you have a record and you won't be recording.

What will happen after Obama is no longer president? How will the black pundits explain gravity? Many black intellectuals can't think about the unthinkable. Race determines their shadows. They would be lost in America without the problem of race. But why is race always seen as a problem? Why do some of us feel we need the crackerjack boxes? What's the surprise?
The U.S. Constitution? An NAACP card? President Obama?

I'm going to try and see either WHATEVER WORKS or TOKYO SONATA this weekend.
Email me tonight if you think I should save some money. Thanks.

Dear PEN Members, Friends, and Supporters,

Next week, PEN will be in court challenging the U.S. government’s massive warrantless surveillance program. We believe our own communications, which include sensitive phone calls and e-mails with writers at risk around the world, are vulnerable under the program. And we know, based on the experiences of our colleagues in countries where governments had unchecked surveillance powers (including the United States as recently as the 1970s), that programs that allow governments to spy on their own citizens are often directed against writers and intellectuals, and that domestic surveillance in general poses a serious threat to the intellectual and creative freedoms of all citizens.

The hearing will take place next Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in U.S. District Court in New York. It comes amid new revelations that the National Security Agency’s telephone and Internet surveillance program has been collecting the private communications of Americans in clear violation of longstanding legal limits on such domestic surveillance activity.

The NSA program was implemented in secret by the Bush Administration late in 2001 and its scope remains unknown, though concerns about its legality have surfaced repeatedly. In 2004, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and other senior Justice Department officials refused to provide the legal certification necessary for reauthorization of the program, believing it was violating the rights of ordinary Americans.

Last year, in a tacit acknowledgment that elements of the program were illegal, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act, which granted immunity to telecommunications companies for participating in the NSA program and supposedly authorized its controversial aspects.

Next week’s hearing is the first in a suit challenging the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act; meanwhile, ongoing Congressional investigations have uncovered information suggesting that the NSA is scrutinizing e-mails on a scale that may even violate the FISA Amendments Act.The Bush Administration, Congress, and now the Obama Administration insist that the powers are necessary to protect the country from individuals and groups that threaten national security.

In fact, the laws that the NSA program and other post-9/11 surveillance powers circumvent were specifically crafted to ensure the U.S. government can spy on suspected terrorists and other foreign threats. What those laws also guaranteed, however, was that the constitutional right of American citizens and residents to be secure against unreasonable searches was protected. History has repeatedly shown how, without such protections, surveillance in the name of national security often extends to spying on peaceful political activists, journalists and writers, and other ordinary, law-abiding citizens.As part of our Campaign for Core Freedoms, PEN has been challenging a range of post-9/11 surveillance powers that threaten the right of our members, and all American citizens and residents, to read, write, and communicate freely, without fearing that our government is listening in or compiling private, First Amendment-protected information.

We have been fighting to restore confidentiality protections for bookstore and library records and curb the ability of the FBI to use National Security Letters to gain sensitive personal information. We have made progress—but there is still work to be done to ensure that only those who are suspected of involvement in terrorism or other criminal activities are targeted.

Watch for information from PEN and from the Campaign for Reader Privacy in the coming days about what you can do to help us rein in excessive surveillance powers

.Please visit PEN's resource page for information on NSA surveillance, the FISA Amendments Act, and how to take action:

With thanks for your support and all best wishes,

K. Anthony Appiah