Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breaking News Alert: Scientists overcome hurdles to stem cell alternatives
September 30, 2010 12:08:01 PM

Scientists reported Thursday they had developed a technique that can quickly convert ordinary skin cells into cells that are virtually identical to embryonic stem cells, a major advance toward developing a less controversial approach for treating a host of medical problems.
Breaking News Alert: Rahm Emanuel to resign Friday
September 30, 2010 12:31:20 PM

Sources say Rahm Emanuel will resign as White House chief of staff on Friday to begin his campaign for Chicago mayor.

My friend Channapha Khamvongsa sent me this link:
NEWARK — Newark police arrested three men in connection with a homicide in the South Ward outside the home of one of the city’s most enduring and controversial political figures.
A group of unidentified gunmen drove down the 800 block of South 10th Street and opened fire on Chris Smith, shooting the man several times in the chest around 3 p.m., said police spokesman Detective Hubert Henderson.
Smith was taken to University Hospital in Newark, where he died a short time later, according to Henderson. 
Witnesses told police Smith had been standing near the home of poet Amiri Baraka when a gold-colored car pulled to a stop. Gunshots from inside the vehicle struck Smith, and the car sped off, Henderson said.
With help from witnesses, police were able to quickly identify and find the car, said Henderson. But the driver sped away as officers closed in, which started a pursuit that proved to be short.
The fleeing driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed near 14th Street and Ashland Avenue, said Henderson. Police found three men inside the car and arrested them in connection with the incident, said Henderson.
The suspects were identified as Dwight Devila, 28, Shaheed Jones, 19, and Terrell Jones, 26, all of Newark, said Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. All three were charged with conspiracy to commit murder, receiving stolen property and weapons offenses, according to Carter, and more charges could follow Thursday.
Police did not immediately identify a motive in the shooting. Henderson said officers recovered a weapon that had been thrown from the car during the chase.
Police did not say if any of the three were injured in the crash.
South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka said the shooting occurred just a few feet away from the home of his father, New Jersey’s former poet laureate Amiri Baraka. 
The 75-year-old, often regarded as one of Newark’s most controversial political voices, was home with his wife, Amina, at the time of the slaying. Neither were injured, but the younger Baraka was concerned with how close the shooting was to his parents’ home.
“Nothing like that has ever happened in that neighborhood. In front of my parents’ house, that’s crazy,” said Ras Baraka. “My father and mother came outside and see the boy dying on their lawn.”
Baraka said his mother broke down in tears when she saw Smith bleeding from his wounds.
Amiri Baraka was New Jersey’s poet laureate until 2002, when his poem “Somebody Blew Up America” was derided as anti-Semitic.
“It’s like nobody is safe,” said Ras Baraka. “We have to come up with some real solutions to what’s going on out here.”

Story written by James Queally, The Star Ledger

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Thu, September 30, 2010 -- 6:31 AM ET

Tony Curtis, Hollywood Icon, Dies at 85, The A.P. Reports

Tony Curtis, a classically handsome movie star who earned an
Oscar nomination as an escaped convict in Stanley Kramer's
1958 movie "The Defiant Ones," but whose public preferred him
in comic roles in films like "Some Like It Hot" (1959) and
"The Great Race" (1965), died Wednesday of a cardiac arrest
in his Las Vegas area home. He was 85.

His death was confirmed by the Clark County coroner, The
Associated Press reported.


This woman continues to amaze me. Please support our organization: IPS Yes, we are looking for donations and Money Angels.

On October 13th we will be sponsoring the 34th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards Ceremony at the National Press Club (529 14th Street).  Reception at 5:30 PM.  Ceremony at 7:00 PM

Domestic Award: National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)
International Award: Honduras Human Rights Platform
Special Recognition Award: Guatemalan Police Archives

Music by Sweet Honey In The Rock.
September 30, 2010
Tricycle Daily Dharma

Just What Is 

Form is that which is before we project our concepts onto it. It is the original state of "what is here," the colorful, vivid, impressive, dramatic, aesthetic qualities that exist in every situation. Form could be a maple leaf falling from a tree and landing on a mountain river; it could be full moonlight, a gutter in the street or a garbage pile. These things are "what is," and they are all in one sense the same: they are all forms, they are all objects, they are just what is. Evaluations regarding them are only created later in our minds. If we really look at these things as they are, they are just forms.
So form is empty. But empty of what? Form is empty of our preconceptions, empty of our judgments.

-Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, "The Heart Sutra"

Remember when I was writing about this?  Also, follow what is happening off the coast of Brazil.
Look for the U.S. to recognize Cuba soon. It's all about the Benjamins, not Fidel.

Drilling Plans Off Cuba Stir Fears of Impact on Gulf
Cuba might have plentiful reserves along its north coast, and drilling in its waters poses risks to both the island nation and the United States.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Thanks E:

Infrastructural and administration issues notwithstanding; the article fails to point out that many HU undergraduates who pursue higher academic degrees and professional degrees do so at top tier and Ivy League universities. The argument is one sided as well, as the quality of education is based on quantitative ranking systems. Besides, who is shaping this debate? Is it really a debate or a reworking of old arguments about black inferiority? We should consider how this poor assessment of HBCUs in the WSJ strengthens and perpetuates an unfavorable image and perception in the public mind; but what percentage of the public is really concerned with the deference between a stereotypical characterization and the truth? The publication of this article in the WSJ gives the assessment HBCUs the stamp of no fault credibility. The language employed, "inferior" versus "Ivy League" is historically linked to the inequality of education and societal expectations between blacks and whites. And now because the U.S. has a black president he is supposed to be the one, "uniquely qualified," to fix it is the suggestion. What load of... potatoes, yeah that's it: what a load of potatoes!

JBP, Ph.D. a HBCU graduate and lecturer.

PolicyLink | Lifting Up What Works

Today, we are launching the Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club – a six-week project we hope will promote an open, honest, constructive conversation on the challenges and opportunities facing our changing nation.
As I have told you in earlier emails, the book club will be based around Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America's Future, a new book I had the pleasure of writing with Stewart Kwoh and Manuel Pastor.
This week’s inaugural installment asks the question, "Are We Post-Racial Yet?" And, really, is "post-racial" something America should strive to be?
We hope you’ll join us today and every Wednesday through Election Day at to chart a positive direction for race in America.
--Angela Glover Blackwell
Founder and CEO, PolicyLink
PS – Please share this message with your friends, colleagues, and family – or anyone you think could bring a needed perspective to the discussion. The more voices, the better the sound.

How come nobody says the P-word anymore?  3 in 10 African American children are living in poverty in DC says the newspaper today. So what does this mean?  Nothing really. Notice how much of the discussion in the media is always about the middle class. The last person talking about poverty was John Edwards and then he became confused with the other P-word and so one would have to go back to Senator Paul Wellstone and then Bobby Kennedy - just to find someone willing to mention the word poverty. Remember when no one wanted to use the P-word and say Palestinian? We need to P-ause and p-ull ourselves together. I'm still waiting for a "surge" to defeat the old war on poverty.
September 28, 2010
Split This Rock Poetry Festival Logo

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DC Poets Against the War
The Institute for Policy Studies

Busboys and Poets
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Dear Split This Rock Friend,

This fall, we all have a special opportunity to stand for equal opportunity and justice for all. United for Peace and Justice and One Nation Working Together have joined forces and are bringing together like-minded organizations and citizens to march on Washington on Saturday, October 2 at 12 noon in a quest for jobs, justice, education, and peace.

In Split This Rock's spirit of advocating for social justice through poetry and activism, we are forming a poets' contingent that will march together on Oct. 2. Please consider joining us that day so we can demonstrate our support for equality, justice, and peace.  Read on for details.

On the evening of October 2, Busboys & Poets (5th and K Streets, NW location) will host a Furious Dance Party for writer, poet and social activist Alice Walker, who will be launching her new book of poems, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing. Dancing, Drumming, Food, Open Bar, and Fun! We invite you to join us after the march for this extraordinary event. Tickets are available here.

We hope you'll save the dates and be a part of this crucial movement in the nation's capital.

In peace and solidarity,
Sarah Browning
Split This Rock
When:  Meet at 11 am on Saturday, October 2
Where:  Corner of 14th Street & Constitution Ave., NW

From there, we'll march to the Lincoln Memorial for the rally.

This movement includes human and civil rights organizations, unions and trade associations, nonprofit organizations, youth and student groups, religious and other faith groups, educational, peace, environmental, and ethnic associations, and any other groups and individuals who are committed to pulling our country back together now.

The night before the march on Friday, October 1 at 5:30 pm, we will gather at the Institute for Policy Studies (1112 16th Street, NW) to create signs with lines of poetry to carry in the march. We will provide some supplies (and drinks!) and ask those of you who can to bring supplies as well.  If the door is locked please call Sarah Browning at 202-262-4036 and someone will let you up!

If you'd like to be a part of the Split This Rock poets' contingent for this march or help create signs the night before, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact Carmen Calatayud at or 202-210-9412 if you have any questions or to RSVP for sign making.

One Nation Working Together
March on Washington
October 2, 2010
Demand the changes we voted for!

One Nation Working Together is a social movement of individuals and organizations committed to putting America back to work and pulling America back together. Coming from a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and orientations, we are determined to build a more united country with good jobs, equal justice, and quality public education for all.

March on Washington D.C.
On Saturday, October 2, 2010, hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate our re-commitment to change.
The One Nation March will feature human and civil rights leaders, labor leaders, environmental and peace activists, faith leaders, celebrities and sports figures - all marching together to help Put America Back to Work and to Pull America Back Together. And to help reorder our national priorities so that investments in people come first.

What We Stand For
Putting America Back to Work
- Provide immediate relief for those who are currently unemployed.
- Extend jobless benefits, COBRA, mortgage assistance, and other initiatives for those currently out of work.
- Target help for populations and communities in the greatest need
Quality and Affordable Public Education  
- Ensure that all people have access to affordable, high quality education throughout their lives, from pre-school through college
- Provide for teacher training and support necessary to continuously improve classroom practice and serve students better
Equality for All
- Refocus Our Nation's Fiscal Priorities
- End the foreclosure epidemic and save the homes of America's families
- Reform bankruptcy laws to protect families and working people
- Prioritize affordable housing for all
For more on One Nation Working Together, click here
More details on meeting place and time for the poets' contingent to come. Keep an eye on your email!
Support Split This Rock

Please support Split This Rock, the national network of activist poets. Donations are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, the Institute for Policy Studies.
Donate online or send a check payable to Split This Rock to: Split This Rock, c/o Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks!

Split This Rock Poetry Festival

     - Confucius

We write to invite applications for the 2011 Baltic Writing Residency, a funded month-long, annual summer residency in Riga, Latvia for poets, playwrights, and writers of fiction working in English. Though, neither the writer nor their project need be connected with Latvia.

Both emerging and established writers are encouraged to apply. Recent finalists and winners range from those who have yet to conceive of their first manuscripts, to writers who have been finalists for the National Book Award and numbered in the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40”.

Australian, Emma Jones, author of one volume of verse, The Striped World (Faber & Faber, 2009), winner of the Forward Poetry Prize, is this year’s resident, and we strongly encourage other young and emerging writers to apply. Previous winners include Salvatore Scibona and Amity Gaige.

The deadline is
December 15th, and we are accepting applications now. Spouses and partners are welcome to accompany the winning writer on the residency. Details about the residency, about Riga, and about the application process can be found on the website: Also, see the listing in the forthcoming November/December Poets & Writers.

Please feel free to pass this information on to friends and students.

Best, Adam Day

The Baltic Writing Residency in Latvia, PO Box 17184, Louisville, KY 40217


Black Colleges Need a New Mission

Once an essential response to racism, they are now academically inferior.

President Obama has shown a commendable willingness to shake up the status quo in K-12 education by advocating reforms, such as charter schools, that have left his teachers union base none-too-pleased. So it's unfortunate that he has such a conventional approach to higher education, and to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in particular.

Earlier this month, Mr. Obama hosted a White House reception to celebrate the contributions of the nation's 105 black colleges and to reiterate his pledge to invest another $850 million in these institutions over the next decade.

Recalling the circumstances under which many of these schools were created after the Civil War, the president noted that "at a critical time in our nation's history, HBCUs waged war against illiteracy and ignorance and won." He added: "You have made it possible for millions of people to achieve their dreams and gave so many young people a chance they never thought they'd have, a chance that nobody else would give them."

The reality today, however, is that there's no shortage of traditional colleges willing to give black students a chance. When segregation was legal, black colleges were responsible for almost all black collegians. Today, nearly 90% of black students spurn such schools, and the available evidence shows that, in the main, these students are better off exercising their non-HBCU options.

"Even the best black colleges and universities do not approach the standards of quality of respectable institutions," according to economist Thomas Sowell. "None has a department ranking among the leading graduate departments in any of the 29 fields surveyed by the American Council of Education. None ranks among the 'selective' institutions with regard to student admissions. None has a student body whose College Board scores are within 100 points of any school in the Ivy League."

Mr. Sowell wrote that in an academic journal in 1974, yet with few exceptions the description remains accurate. These days the better black schools—Howard, Spelman, Morehouse—are rated "selective" in the U.S. News rankings, but their average SAT scores still lag behind those at decent state schools like the University of Texas at Austin, never mind a Stanford or Yale.

In 2006, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the six-year graduation rate at HBCUs was 37%. That's 20 percentage points below the national average and eight percentage points below the average of black students at other colleges. A recent Washington Monthly magazine survey of colleges with the worst graduation rates featured black schools in first and second place, and in eight of the top 24 spots.

The economists Roland Fryer of Harvard and Michael Greenstone of MIT have found that black colleges are inferior to traditional schools in preparing students for post-college life. "In the 1970s, HBCU matriculation was associated with higher wages and an increased probability of graduation, relative to attending a [traditional college]," they wrote in a 2007 paper. "By the 1990s, however, there is a substantial wage penalty. Overall, there is a 20% decline in the relative wages of HBCU graduates in just two decades." The authors concluded that "by some measures, HBCU attendance appears to retard black progress."
Mr. Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have urged HBCUs to improve their graduation rates—Mr. Duncan has said they need to increase "exponentially"—but the administration has brought little pressure to bear and is offering substantial financial assistance to keep them afloat. Howard and Spelman have endowments valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but a large majority of black colleges have very small endowments and more than 80% get most of their revenue from the government.

Instead of more subsidies and toothless warnings to shape up, Mr. Obama ought to use the federal government's leverage to remake these schools to meet today's challenges.
Uneconomically small black colleges could be consolidated. For-profit entities could be brought in to manage other schools. (For the past two years, the University of Phoenix, a for-profit college, has conferred more bachelor's degrees on black students than any other school.) Still other HBCUs could be repurposed as community colleges that focus on developmental courses to compensate for the poor elementary and secondary educations that so many black children still receive.

In 1967, two white academics, Christopher Jencks and David Riesman, published a bleak but prescient assessment of black colleges in the Harvard Educational Review. They predicted that these schools are "for the most part, likely to remain fourth-rate institutions at the tail end of the academic procession." Messrs. Jencks and Riesman were called racists, and honest comprehensive studies of black colleges have since been rare.
Black colleges are at a crossroads.At one time black colleges were an essential response to racism. They trained a generation of civil rights lawyers and activists who helped end segregation. Their place in U.S. history is secure. Today, however, dwindling enrollments and endowments indicate that fewer and fewer blacks believe that these schools, as currently constituted, represent the best available academic choice.

A black president is uniquely qualified to restart this discussion. Anyone who cares about the future of black higher education should hope that he does.

Mr. Riley is a member of the Journal's editorial board.

President Obama called the Tea Party Movement a "mixed bag."  Hey - remember Richie Havens? The year was 1967. King was still living. Maybe this is also a signifying moment by the Prez. Is there a connection between mixed bag and tea bag?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Breaking News Alert: Report: Former President Jimmy Carter hospitalized
September 28, 2010 1:00:58 PM

Former President Jimmy Carter has been hospitalized in Cleveland, the Associated Press reports. Carter became ill while traveling to Cleveland on a commercial flight.


There was an article on the front page of The New York Times yesterday about the outsourcing of the running of public libraries. The organization mentioned was Library Systems & Services. I did a quick Google in order to find out more about this group. The idea of our public libraries being run by a private company just rubs me the wrong way. As you know I've often called public libraries sacred ground. Our public library is a key institution when one talks about democracy and freedom in our society. On the Library Systems & Services website there were responses to FAQs. See below.

The answers sound sweet and harmless but that's how bad things begin.

Frequently Asked Questions

When LSSI provides management services for my library or library system, how much control does my city/county and Library Board have to relinquish?

In fact, the city/county and Library Board will have more control of your library because there are more resources available to improve library operations overall. We manage the library for you, but it continues to be YOUR library. Your city, Library Board, and citizens continue to make all policy decisions, drive programs, manage collections, and determine operating hours. The difference is, we can help operate your library with improved service, more efficiently, and more cost effectively.
Does LSSI own the libraries you operate? Do you own the book collection?
LSSI does not take ownership of any library assets. All property and assets, including the book collection, of the libraries we operate remain the property of the community.
Is it true that current library employees are usually replaced with staff that is brought in from outside of our local area?
Quite the contrary. In most instances we retain all or nearly all current employees; they just become employees of LSSI rather than the city or county. This ensures that your library remains as local as possible to the community we serve. Retaining Institutional knowledge is a top priority for LSSI. We're committed to providing better opportunities for every qualified, committed and engaged staff member.
Most library costs are operated on fixed-cost budgets. How can you possibly provide more for less?
We're able to leverage the collective experiences of our many library operations across the nation. We also utilize information systems and automation technologies wherever possible to help relieve our staff members from tedious backroom tasks, and allow them to be out front, engaging with citizens and sharing their knowledge.
Do LSSI managed libraries have shorter operating hours?
In most cases operating hours stay the same or even increase, depending on the agreed contract budget.
LSSI always strives to increase hours of operation as a major component of the LSSI solution.

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Tue, September 28, 2010 -- 11:21 AM ET

Many Feared Dead in Mexican Landslide

A hillside collapsed onto a village in the southern Mexican
state of Oaxaca early Tuesday, burying houses in mud and
stones and trapping hundreds of people as they slept, state
authorities said.

As many as 300 houses in the village of Santa Maria
Tlahuitoltepec may have been buried in the landslide, said
the state governor, Ulises Ruiz.

Rescue workers trying to reach the village with earth-moving
equipment have been hampered by blocked roads in the remote
area, which has been pounded by incessant rains. "We hope to
reach in time to rescue those families who were buried by the
hill," Mr. Ruiz told Mexican television.

CHECK MOSAIC magazine.
On the cover of the latest issue is R. Dwayne Betts
Here is a link to their website:


THE 10TH INNING by Ken Burns premieres on PBS tonight at 8pm and continues on Wednesday at 8pm.
READING - James Baldwin's THE CROSS OF REDEMPTION, Uncollected Writings edited by Randall Kenan. I came across this comment he made and immediately thought of President Obama:

The country thinks he's new becaue they've never had to look at him before. And they are looking at him now, not because there's been a change of heart, but only because they must.


Panel Discussion: Examining Postmemory And Transforming It Into Art
Washington DCJCC
With artists Muriel Hasbun and Miriam Mörsel Nathan and writer Annette Gendler
Thursday, October 7, 7:30 pm
$10 General Public/$5 discounted member price*

According to academic Marianne Hirsch, who coined the term, "Postmemory describes the relationship of the second generation to powerful,often traumatic, experiences that preceded their births but that were nevertheless transmitted to them so deeply as to seem to constitute memories in their own right." The artists in this conversation are drawing upon powerful family experiences which although they did not experience first-hand, continue to reverberate through their identity and their work.
Annette Gendler, a Chicago-based writer, is completing a memoir that tells the story of her conversion to Judaism juxtaposed with the post-memory of her German family’s history in Czechoslovakia before, during and after World War II, as well as the post-memory of her Jewish husband’s family who survived the Holocaust in France and Russia (says Gendler: “Memories and rules are not your own but we live by them, are haunted by them”). Her work has most recently appeared in Natural Bridge, Kaleidoscope, and the Bellevue Literary Review.
Muriel Hasbun, photo-based artist, whose work deals with memory, identity, and place, is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Photography at the Corcoran. She is a 2006-08 Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of numerous distinctions and awards, including a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Media (2008) and the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s Outstanding Creative Research Faculty Award (2007). She has exhibited her photo-based work at The MAC Dallas (2010), the American University Museum (2008), NYU’s Hemispheric Institute’s “Encuentro” at the Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires (2007); the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego (2007); Houston’s FotoFest (2006), the Corcoran Gallery of Art (2004); the 50th Venice Biennale (2003); the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City (1999); and at the 29ème Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles (1998). Her photographs are in numerous private and public collections, including the Art Museum of the Americas, Lehigh University, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
Miriam Mörsel Nathan’s work reflects the elusive nature of memory and its landscape of fragmentation, absence and vulnerability. She has been awarded fellowships in Visual Arts and Poetry from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and also received an Individual Artist Grant from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Her works on paper have been exhibited in New York, Washington, DC,  Virginia and in the official residence of the Ambassador of the United States of America to Israel, as well as published in the Spring 2009 issue of Hotel Amerika. She has read her poems at the Knitting Factory, The Jewish Museum in New York, the Smithsonian Institution, the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and on cable TV’s The Coffee House. Her  poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. She has studied at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture, the Corcoran College of Art & Design and the Fundación CIEC, Betanzos, in La Coruña, Spain.
*Price does not include a 25-cent service fee which is assessed at checkout. There are a limited number of free tickets for those who cannot otherwise afford to attend.
Date: Thursday, October 7, 2010
Time: 7:30 PM
1529 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
If you'd like to attend this event you can purchase tickets online.
(ticket purchase required)
(ticket purchase required)

Related Links
» Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery: Memory of a time I did not know...
» Lost Childhood: Two Generations - The making of an opera by Janice Hamer, composer and Mary Azrael, poet and librettist
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SPLAB: giving voice to poetry
Sep 27, 2010 01:59 pm | Paul Nelson
On Thursday, October 21, Northwind Reading Series features Gary Lemons and Paul Nelson. The readings start at 7 p.m. in the Northwind Arts Center, 2409 Jefferson St. Gary Lemons worked most of his life with his hands.  Along the way he discovered the act of writing poetry is little different than building ...

Sep 26, 2010 09:34 pm | Paul Nelson
Hello Everybody! You may or may not know that I have a show up at a phone gallery right now - the show is The Archanoids at 323 Projects I’d like to invite you to contribute to the worlds largest sound poetry choir ever by Oct 1! The Archanoids exists as the inaugural exhibition of 323 Projects which you can ...

Sep 24, 2010 12:13 am | Paul Nelson
LiTFUSE Poets’ Workshop 10.8.10-10.10.10.  LiTFUSE is an annual weekend-long poets’ workshop held in Tieton, WA (near Yakima), for poets of all ages, abilities & styles. LiTFUSE combines writing, performance, meditation, music, camaraderie and natural beauty to IGNiTE your muse.  This year’s featured artist, teacher & poet Ingrid Wendt, leads a faculty with deep experience and varied styles.  Free ...

A Serial Poem Re-Enacting Auburn History:
A Time Before Slaughter
now available.

Become a SPLAB Fan on
SPLAB on Facebook

Monday, September 27, 2010


OCTOBER 17-27, 2010

Bobby Kennedy recently made me the soul-stirring promise that one day - thirty years, if I'm lucky - I can be President too. It never entered this boy's mind, I suppose - it has not entered the country's mind yet- that perhaps I wouldn't want to be. And in any case, what really exercises my mind is not this hypothetical day on which some other Negro "first" will become the first Negro President. What I am really curious about is just what kind of country he'll be President of.

   - James Baldwin (1961) 

Monday morning means a meeting with Andy at Busboys. After breakfast and conversation I purchase a copy of James Baldwin's THE CROSS OF REDEMPTION. I walk over to Howard to see what the "Race" is doing these days. I run into Professor Floyd Coleman, a man who once directed the Art Department. I point my umbrella at him and demand his retirement money. He flashes a grin that says "somebody done stole it." We both know who and chuckle with that type of black laughter that make the folks in the big house afraid of the dark.

U.S. Is Working to Ease Wiretaps on the Internet
In an effort that raises fresh questions about privacy, officials are preparing to seek sweeping new Internet regulations, arguing that they are losing their capability to track suspects.

Nature is forever giving us chance after chance at what we call rebirth and death, and to understand that which represents a new journey, a new page on which to write, and thus to believe in a new beginning for ourselves.

    - Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari

With turning 60 just several weeks away I've begun to prepare for the transition and transformation by returning to my beginnings and going back to basics.

Looking at English and Math again. Keep my mind sharp.
Learning more local (DC) history.
Learning how things work.
Keeping a daily journal other than E-Notes.
Reading the unread books in my personal library.
Save money and make more money.
Listen more and talk less.
Don't wait for people to do things. Do it myself.
Don't apologize for beauty and truth.
Connect more to the earth and other living things.
Don't practice the same "Blackness" everyday.
Dress like DuBois when doing things in public.
Put things in my surroundings in order. Discard what is not needed.
Give more gifts to others.
Care for the elderly and the sick.


                 - BUDDHA
THE CAPITAL BOOKFEST is this upcoming Saturday:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

*Chicago Review* is gathering materials for a special issue on A. R. Ammons.
We are looking for critical essays (in the range of 1500 to 3000 words) on
any topic related to Ammons's work. If you would like to submit an essay (or
idea) for consideration, please send a 250-word abstract to by November 15, 2010.

Nothing but reckless eyeballing. The N.B.A. is going to crack down on players who complain. Funny how this is taking place while folks are still waiting for President Obama to show some emotion. The new rule states that even overt gestures made away from the referee could trigger a technical foul, if the referee considers it disrespectful or made in protest of a call. Say What? Kiss my foul.

Glad to see Albert Haynesworth (Washington Redskin) talking about his problem with the coaching staff as being one of principal. I love his statement:

" I guess, in this world, we don't have a lot of people with backbones. Just because somebody pays you money don't mean they'll make you do whatever they want. I mean, that means everything is for sale. I mean I'm not for sale. Yeah, I signed the contract and got paid a lot of money, but just because, that don't mean I'm for sale or a slave or whatever."

I kept telling folks not to echo what the media was saying about Big Al. I get tired of players taking a stand and then the media rascals talking about get with the program. What if the program is slavery? 
I will never know the
entire geography of
my horn
But I
will come out
each night and I will solo
and travel where
ever my horn leads me
on   let me stand.

 -  Sterling D. Plumpp


Back from Chesapeake Beach...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

 A friend recently sent me this information:

September 21, 2010, 05:00 PM ET

My Daily Read: Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah is a professor of philosophy at Princeton University.
Q: What’s the first thing you read in the morning?
A: E-mail, alas. Then I look at The New York Times front page on the web and read some of the main stories. Next, I look at the Arts section in the print version that arrives at our door. I do the Sudoku and the crossword and move on from there. So I’m probably best informed about the arts, especially in New York City, followed by the main stories in the world and national news. I’m most likely to follow stories on international human rights, and especially free expression, because of my work as President of the PEN American Center. And I read about Ghana, Nigeria, and Namibia, where my three sisters live. I get a daily e-mail from, which covers Nigeria, and less frequent blasts from

Q: What newspapers and magazines do you subscribe to or read regularly? What do you read in print vs. online vs. mobile?
A: We subscribe to The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York magazine, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Time Out, The American Scholar, N+1 and the New York Review of Books. Gosh: listed like that, it looks like an awful lot of magazine reading. I often buy The Financial Times to read on the train between Princeton Junction and New York City. (It’s on sale at both stations!) Online, as I say, I look at the Times often, sometimes and less often The Washington Post. I don’t read much on my iPhone, but the iPad is good for reading the papers on the train.

Q: What books have you recently read?
A: Last weekend I read Candia McWilliam's new memoir, What To Look For in Winter, which isn’t out in the US yet, and Robert Putnam’s forthcoming American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. (Both marvelous, by the way.) Now I’m reading W. E. B. Du Bois’s The World and Africa, in preparation for giving the Du Bois lectures at Harvard in the Fall. I try to read some poetry most days: at the moment I have Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi edited by Mahmood Jamal on the Kindle App on my iPad and I also dip into a Kindle volume of Thomas Hardy quite often. Oh, and I re-read Chekhov’s long short story "The Duel" last weekend, too. Great stuff. The best novel I’ve read in the last month was Brady Udall’s The Lonely Polygamist. What a fine writer!

Q: Has your reading of professional journals changed in the past 10 years? How so?
A: No, I don’t think so. I have read journals mostly by downloading PDFs from JSTOR or through Princeton’s library subscriptions for many years. But I have to confess that I’m not one for keeping up with the latest literature. Most of what I read is pointed to by friends or suggested by content alerts from

Q: Do you read blogs? If so, what blogs do you like best?
Rarely. But I do look at Andrew Sullivan fairly often and at; and during elections I am devoted to But I’m often put off by the sheer nastiness of the comments on blog pages.

Q: Do you use Twitter? If so, who do you follow?
A: No. If I did, I’d perhaps follow Sarah Palin and dump my blood-pressure medicine.

Q: What are the guilty pleasures in your media diet?
A: Guilt and shame are different, of course. But making public what you’re guilty about is shaming. So, as the author of The Honor Code, which defends the importance of a concern for one’s honor, I’m disinclined to answer this question. Suffice it to say, that as a scholar I consider almost all my time free—in the sense that I get to decide how to spend it—so there are plenty of opportunities for mischief. —Evan R. Goldstein
Sketch by Ted Benson