". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ken Harty Presents Racist Opinion as "Worth Thinking About"

Ken Harty, the publisher of the Wahpeton Daily News, owned by Wick Communications of Arizona, presents a racist meme as worth considering by the people of Richland County.

I base this statement on "Iowa flooding raises questions by Ken Harty, Publisher."

Ken Harty bylined this "Opinion" as Ken Harty, Publisher of the Wahpeton Daily News -- even though he didn't actually, you know write it himself, or least didn't write most of it. He presented that viral meme of righwingrethuggery, "an e-mail from a friend," sans any verification addresses, phone numbers, e-mail or url citations. IOW, this whole thing was made up, but Ken Harty made the choice himself, to spread this lying, racist meme into the minds of the people of Richland County. He's not reporting a racist meme as news. He's presenting it as his opinion. Since this meme consists of lies of omission and commission, logical fallacies of false equivalents, and of straw men, why did he choose to spread it?

There can be only one answser. Ken Harty chose to spread a racist meme because he favors racist thinking.

My friends who live in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and, yes, Louisiana, have been watching and discussing these catastrophic spring and early summer floods since before they began. Friends who live in Wisconsin fought over a 100 feet of snow over the course of the winter. They knew floods were bound to happen. When flooding of this extent happens upriver, the downriver Mississippi communities -- and, inevitably, New Orleans are affected. Again, the city has flooded because of the volume of water pouring down the river from Iowa, in particular. The levees just barely held. New Orleanians are still holding their breath.

In another entry I will break down Ken Harty's 'opinion'. Ken Harty tried to fool people into thinking that if he presented racism as an 'opinion' no one would notice that it was HIS opinion. A lie is still a lie, even when presented as 'opinion.' And so is racism

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ken Harty - Wahpeton Daily News - Does It Again

I wondered how long it would be before we saw this particular lying meme, filled with smug self-congratulatory, sense of how superior we are to Them, show up in the Wahpeton Daily News.

And sure nuff, here it is, penned/ganked by the publisher himself! He probably feels he's pandering to his subscriber base, but pandering is PANDERING, not journalism. It seems more like laziness, in fact. It's the weekend. "O nooooooooooos! It's the weekend. I have to WRITE something coz I iz, yannno, teh publisher of this papeh. Soze here we find teh stoopid, the talkin pints 4 rethuggehs. No haz 2 wrk."

Notice, that every line is ' Hai! frum somebody elsees, o nooooos, not meh, but iz gud 2 thiek bout, O noooooooooos, we ur no racist! okbai."

These are the sure signals of viral memes with no foundation in facts, intended to spread lies for the political gain of the rethugs. And notice, this newspaper publisher spells 'sets' 'set's'. He's about as qualified to do journalism as Ceiling Cat. Far less, in fact. This letter from the publisher is shamefully illiterate in terms of organization and argument as well. He'd never be allowed on a debating team either!

And -- Ken Harty is so lazy, in his cushy job as publisher of the Wahpeton Daily News that he ganked a satiric Tom Tomorrow comic strip! What a complete embarrassment as a news publisher Harty is.

[ "Iowa flooding raises questions" by Ken Harty, Publisher

I saw an interesting email the other day regarding the flood situation in Iowa. The email is titled “Just Wondering” and it makes comparisons of what was being said and done in New Orleans (after Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast) to what is now going on with the flooding in Iowa.

The following comments are from the email and they raise some very good points: Where are all of the Hollywood celebrities holding telethons asking for help in restoring Iowa and helping the folks affected by the floods? Where is all the media asking the tough questions about why the federal government hasn't solved the problem? Asking where the FEMA trucks (and trailers) are? Why isn't the Federal Government relocating Iowa people to free hotels in Chicago? When will Spike Lee say that the Federal Government blew up the levees that failed in Des Moines?Where are Sean Penn and the Dixie Chicks? Where are all the looters stealing high-end tennis shoes and big screen television sets? When will we hear Governor Chet Culver say that he wants to rebuild a"vanilla" Iowa, because that's the way God wants it? Where is the hysterical 24/7 media coverage complete with reports of cannibalism? Are the people declaring that George Bush hates white, rural people? How come in 2 weeks, you will never hear about the Iowa flooding everagain?

For sure, we will never be able to answer those questions, but we can try. One of the things that set’s Iowa apart from what happened in New Orleans is socio-economic stature. In other words the folks that were affected in New Orleans were not financially capable of evacuating the city as ordered. In fact the city did not follow its own disaster plan. The buses that were supposed to evacuate the poor sat empty in flooded parking lots. Whose fault is that?

Strong mid-western pride and a sense of duty are what are making the difference in Iowa just as it would here. We are too proud to sit around and wait for the federal government to come and fix our problems. We take care of ourselves, family, friends and neighbors etc. and that is why in 2 weeks, you will never hear about the Iowa flooding ever again. ]

Shame on you, Harty, and your Wahpeton Daily News.

I wrote him a personal letter, not an opinion response. I bet he doesn't respond. I 'm wondering whether something good to do is for everybody who loathes this sort of 'talking points rethuggery' to pick one of these so-called newspapers in smaller communities that spread these lies, and rebut to their paper of record's e-mail address, and the corporate owner of this paper, every time they publish lies of this nature, particularly those that think they are o so subtle in encouraging racism. That's how the rethugs do, except we'd be telling the truth while they lie.

Ken Harty in particular should be ashamed of ganking, and pretending he wrote the final bit of this 'Opinion'. He lived in Louisiana for a little while. Even he NEVER visited New Orleans, he KNOWS how impossible it is to get in and out of the place, unlike on the prairie, where you could walk away, if you had to, since these little towns built on the flood plain aren't SURROUNDED by water. Which, by the way, Ken Harty, might have something to do with that 'looting," you cited. As we all know when black people do survival it's looting, when white people loot, it's self reliance.

Ken Harty, you and Wick Communications, who employ you, who own the Wahpeton Daily News, are doing your best to embarrass my people in front of my friends, my North Dakota people friends and family, and my Louisiana people, friends and family. Wahpeton, North Dakota, you are being instructed in what to think by people in Arizona!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

ALICE GUNNESS, Abercrombie, N.D.

She warns Richland County in a letter published in the Wahpeton Daily News that the nation is about to elect a member of 'the muslim community' to be POTUS. Vile.

[ Who are we really electing?

My husband and I grew up during World War II. We still "remember Pearl Harbor" and the dastardly deed committed on us by the Japanese government on 12-7-1941.

Sixty seven years later, we also vividly remember the 9-11-2001 massacre of the Twin Towers, which was perpetrated on us by the Muslim community as an act of war.But after Pearl Harbor, at the next election, we did not nominate for the President of the United States, a Japanese American or a "Jap" as they were then called.

But now a man has been nominated of admittedly Muslim decent, parading as an apparent Christian, in the middle of a war with Muslim Iraq.

Could anything be more strange? Wake Up, America!

We are in grave danger of being destroyed and overtaken in the process of calling for "change".

There will be change, alright.

The Presidential race is not about white verses black, but about ideologies as different as night and day.

ALICE GUNNESS, Abercrombie, N.D. ]

This set me off, to scold the editor, who published this piece of horseshit without a correction. The fact is that Obama has never been, is not now, and presumably, never will be, a Muslim.

The editor responded with:

[ Thanks for your comments. Know that letters to the editor are strictly opinion and usually not edited for content, besides spelling errors, etc. If you wish, you are welcome to submit your own letter to the editor in response to Alice's.

Kristin Anderson, Daily News ]

Except that Anderson didn't write it. It was sent over the sig line and info of the managing editor:

Anna Jauhola
Managing Editor

So I will send a response letter to Gunnesss. She was a disgrace to have allowed that to run without a correction. This letter must be composed perfectly.

It will begin with a sad acknowledgment that here we see yet another American falling for the lies spread by the "Attack That Came Out of the Ether" (Scholar Looks for First Link in E-Mail Chain About Obama) and that she can learn all about it by reading this article. If she doesn't have a computer of her own, she can go to her public library and the librarian will help her find the Washington Post. Gunness can read it online or have it printed out for her to read She's not too old and frail to do this if she's got the energy to spread such vile, lying poison. If she really is alarmed about the state of the world, she should perhaps inform her fellow-citizens about how Cheney, via Bush, transfered a trillion and a half dollars of this nation's wealth to the coffers of Dubai, who are the bankers of the Sauds. This is treason.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Did The Terrorist Fist Bump With -- Odetta!

Odetta's in a wheelchair now, skin and bones and hardly gets out. American Legacy, the black history magazine, had a party this evening in the Forbes Magazine Gallery to celebrate the magazine's annual music issue (Vaquero's article re Mongo Santamaria was the other centerpiece, matched up with the article on Odetta, written by the editor).

Odetta doesn't go out much, but she came to this. Her caretakers were enormously solictious. And she is beautiful. Just beautiful.

As well, there was a black string band, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, who played, who are also featured in the issue. Odetta said if she felt energetic enough, she'd also perform, but of course she didn't. She's really frail, but as I got the opportunity to ascertain, her heart, her mind and her soul are just fine.

The place was packed. After about an hour it was clear I needed to sit. A chair was provided, that sat me close to Odetta, just before the performance started.

Editor gave an introduction, shouting out the writers of the pieces in the magazine who were there, and about the Chocolate Drops, from her home state, and about Odetta. She included a bit of history of the black string bands, how they developed from early slave days. when plantation workers were given access to violins (aka 'fiddles') so white folk could dance and be entertained, but that this was really home music, music. As the Chocolate Drops stated from stage, this music was not made ever for theatrical performance, but for / by people on their porches, at the end of long days.

"This is how the tradition, this African American tradition of playing, entered American popular music." Without thinking I muttered, "African American music tradition and American popular music are the same thing, baby." Odetta flashed me a huge smile, put down her glass of wine, and reached out her fist, expecting me to know what to do. And then we had a bit of conversation, as to who what when where.


Way back in the day these (white) guys brought around these records of Odetta, who I had never heard of, of course. Who knew? Not nordic farmgirl me.

It was a great evening, and the music was fabulous. (Not to mention the sky display.)

BTW, the Carolina Chocolate Drops will be playing at the Prospect Park Bandshell at Celebrate Brooklyn tomorrow night . They are so worth hearing!

Look what fauxnewz created -- entire populations laughing at them while delighting in the fist bump, who might never have bothered before. I have never fist bumped previously. I know who I am. But when called upon, I can. :)

Yes, we can!

Monday, June 23, 2008

From The Wahpeton Daily News (though it isn't daily)

A long opinion piece that includes reactions of various communities in North Dakota to the January National Geographic pictoral feature, "Emptied Prairie" showing "desolate farm buildings, abandoned schools, rusting automobiles and empty houses."

[ All 210 communities with populations of 250 or less are in jeopardy. Many cannot be salvaged, but some can. Those that fail to fight back will become a future article for National Geographic called “The Emptied Prairie II”. For those interested in defying the trend, Hersrud is compiling a Rural Community Resource booklet filled with small town experiences and ideas for using school buildings, saving businesses and building communities. Her e-mail address is ]

You can find the entire letter by former North Dakota lieutenant governor and UND professor, Lloyd Omdahl, here.

This is particularly of interest now, with the number of small towns flooded out in Iowa and Illinois, this spring who are saying they may probably not be rebuilt.

Which means even more land turned over to that polluting, food stealing boondoggle of ethanol, leading to even more flooding.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The best parts:
--The locations, the vistas, the action, the people -- none of them are digital. This is all location and real people riding real horses. It does look different, and so much better, I do say.--The landscape is, as one expects, has the leading role in Mongol. You will not be disappointed. Vistas of snow, of arid slopes, green rolling spring grass, doesn't seem foreign to someone who grew up on the Great Plains, though, no we didn't have mountains where I grew up. But I did visit the Black Hills, which are really mountains, often on family summer vacations, and the Badlands, in both South Dakota and North Dakota. The Missouri-Platt system meanders through parts of both these states on their way to the Mississippi, so I saw those too on summer vacations. These are true vistas and landscapes, from my own life, and the lives of these characters in Mongol.
--The riders' skill is as much a pleasure to look at as the vistas. Mongols ride like no one else who has not been almost literally born in the saddle. That's not to say there are not other forms of good ridership, but there's nothing like this one. You probably saw this kind of riding with the Lakota tribes, for instance, when they achieved horses and horseback, and became powerful, post being kicked out of their eastern territories by more powerful tribes who had gotten weapons from the Europeans. Indeed, there are so many commonalities among any hunter-herder-warrior, animist, nomadic culture, no matter what their continent of habitation, and you see all these commonalities in Mongol, including the shamanist practices. The special pleasure of watching the riders' skills is in the children who play the principals when they are young. The deep seat, the natural use of quirt and heel, all that shows someone literally brought up in the saddle.
--They drink, they sing, they laugh, they have fun, tell jokes. Sometimes they are very funny. The men getting drunk, singing in the Mongolian throat singing style, in the bonding celebration post a successful battle. At times they sang horse neighing, other times belches and soundsless polite, while getting drunker and drunker.
--The horseback attack with the double swords against a much larger mounted warrior line. The warriors used those sabres like the chariots used razors on their wheel hubs to take out the competition in the Coliseum races in Ben Hur. It was shot from inside the charge, and inside those the tactic was decimating (yes, I'm using decimate as it should be used), and it was shot from a ground distance, and from above. The viewer saw how a suicide cohort of those riders could devastate, then break up the charge of a much greater force of mounted warriors. This was particularly interesting in that Saturday's remedy for attempting to hide from the pain meant I'd been reading the section of Sherwood Smith's King's Shield in which mounted cohorts, fighiting from horseback play their essential role (goddessa, she writes these scenes so very well!). Thus I couldn't help but layer this extensive filmic sequence on to Sherwood's book, and vice versa.

Why I was disappointed:
-- It was a lot more like what I saw of this conquerer's bio on the History channel when I was in New Orleans than a real tale. The broken chronology was unnecessary, and unintentionally dislocating -- when it must have been intended to be just the opposite, to make the audience feel at home in the sequences of GK's life arc. The film did not achieve a connected and developed narrative, i.e. a story, much less developed characters. Things happen, and unless you are capable of reading between the lines because of what you already know about the history and / or mythology of Genghis Khan, you really wonder how we get from here to there. You will wonder anyway. There are many versions of his story out there. This one was rather different than any I'd seen before, in terms of his relationships, at least. Nor have I ever read that he was a slave exhibit in a far off northern city, though yes, he was enslaved by enemies as a child, when his father was killed.
If you start without characters' motivation and relationships, they create story gaps, gaps that affect later action to greater degree the longer the work continues. This is even more so if you began with unnecesary chronological dislocation. This movie is much worth looking at, though you have seen all this in other movies. But it isn't that good in terms of what matters most to me, and what matters most to me is not battle scenes, though one needs them in this movie, and I certainly want them to be good. And they are. They are better than the story that is told
Also, think about this, here where I live a movie ticket at any time of day, night, week in and weekend, cost 12 dollars. There are no discounts, except for seniors, at certain showtimes. This is why netflix does so well. You cannot afford to take your family of four to the movies, especially if they want to eat movie popcorn (I don't, but then I'm not a family of four either). Then, if you count in travel costs -- you could so easily end up spending $100 for a family of four to go to a movie here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Racisim Still, So Alive, So Well

This was sent to us by New Orleans recording studio owner, Mark Bingham. He's a most reputable source. I am passing this on, as is requested by the Musicians Clinic.


[ Begin forwarded message:
From: Musicians Clinic Mailing List <>
Date: June 20, 2008 11:29:06 AM CDT

Subject: Re: [Musicians Clinic] It is alive and well.

Everybody,I just read this, sent to me by my good friend, Todd Duke. My anger and shame is palpable. As a white man, raised in Natchitoches, and surrounded by Jim Crow all my young life, I am not surprised at this story. I am shocked and outraged, but not surprised. This narrative should be sent to newspapers read by a variety of people, black and white, like the New Orleans Times-Picayune or even The Gambit.

Stories like this one tend to get hidden within e-mails to a number of friends. It should be out there for thewhole world to see. Every time this happens, we should broadcast it all over the place. EVERY TIME! The term "Racism" is much too polite a word. Another wordshould be invented that has an even more negative power, more shameful and more vile. The story of the Jenna Six made me want to crawl into a hole. Once again, Louisiana was presented to the world as a stupid and backward place where rampant racism still not only was accepted, but thrived. I, too, have a large network of friends around the country. I am sending this to all of them today. It is not enough for us to stand around, shifting ourbalance from one foot to the other, muttering under our breath and shaking our heads. It is NOT enough.

Please find the following account as reported to The New Orleans Agenda:

"May 20, 2008 was one of the saddest days of our lives. It was the day we realized that racism still exists in this world. Or should I say in Gretna. I guess on some level we still know that racism exists but it's a harder realization when you experience racism personally. For us, it became a reality at the Red Maple Restaurant (1036 Lafayette Street, Gretna, LA 70053).

A reservation was made prior to the arrival at the restaurant. We were celebrating our son's graduation from Hahnville High in Boutte. We had nine people in the party. We arrived around 8:20 PM and we were seated in a room away from all the other patrons. Not realizing we were being discriminated against we were not even offered the complimentary amenity of bread and butter while waiting to be serviced. One of our party guests asked the waitress about this and was told she forgot to offer this amenity to us. She apologized and did get the bread. Atthis point, still not realizing we were being discriminated against, Our orders were taken and we received our appetizers around 9:00 PM.

As 10:00 approached the children that were in the party had fallen asleep, and the adults were getting restless. The head of the party asked the waitress how much longer we were going to have to wait for our food. The waitress said not long. Ten minutes had passed and still no food had arrived. Finally we could no longer wait and we asked for the bill. We asked to pay for the appetizers and the drinks. We told the rest of the party they could wait for us outside. Wewere given a bill for $275.00 and told to pay cash only. The Red Maple does accept all credit cards but we were told by the owner/manager on duty that he would not take credit cards from our kind of people.

The owner had then called the police and immediately 2 cars arrived at the restaurant. All four policeofficers were white males. The police got out of their cars and began to speak to the owner/manager. One of the police officers then approached a member in the party, put his hand in her face and said for her to pay cash or go to jail. The member of the party told this police officer that no food had arrived and that we should not have to pay for food we did not receive. The police officer said he did not want to hear what we had to say and to either pay or go to jail.
So, we had no choice and $275.00 was paid in cash.

The police office said if you don't have it we'll take you to an ATM machine, after begging and borrowing the money from the children in the party. The owner then told us to never come back, that we were in Jefferson Parish and not Orleans Parish, and for us to tell our friends not to come there. Owner/manger remarked that you kind of people are not welcomed here.

The police were called out to protect and serve the owner/manager. Our rights were violated and we were discriminated against because of the color of our skin. We did not serve a threat to anybody. We did not have a problem paying for what we consumed, but we should not have been forced to pay for food we did not receive. Our voices were not raised and when the police came our voices had no sound. It is 2008, when will this nonsense end. This was the same Police Force that would not let African American cross the bridge for food and water during Katrina. Businesses like this should not be in existence. It is time for us to stop being passive about this kind of treatment and take a stand and pass this on.

We are out the money for food we did not eat and most of all our dignity was lost by the ugliness of this Business Owner (BRENT TRAUTH)/manager on duty. This should not have happened this way especially in front of the children that we are trying to teach respectfully.

Jerry & Patricia G. Miles
Phone: 504-270-5039, FAX: 504-595-3868
--George French
The George French Band
504-723-4106 cell

Musicians Clinic mailing list ]

Mars Lander Signals "Water Ice"

[ There is water ice on Mars within reach of the Mars Phoenix Lander, NASA scientists announced Thursday.

Photographic evidence settles the debate over the nature of the white material seen in photographs sent back by the craft. As seen in lower left of this image, chunks of the ice sublimed (changed directly from solid to gas) over the course of four days, after the lander's digging exposed them.

"It must be ice," said the Phoenix Lander's lead investigator, Peter Smith. "These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it's ice." ]

Colonization in the offing? If so, a neo-slavery labor system in the offing also?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

E-mail From Vaquero

If anyone's around this part of the world, his music events listing may be of interest. Yes, he this obnoxious e-mail habit of ignoring the use of the shift key -- he says it saves him keystrokes It drives me nutz.

[ an episode of afropop worldwide uplinked this week that i guest-produced: Afropop Shoutouts to Colombia and Cuba. If you don't live in a city where the public radio station carries afropop worldwide, you can stream it at:
(go to the "listen on air" section). there's a variety of music on the show, but my favorites might be banda la república from medellín (a sharp 13-piece band that plays pan-american music and does a really good job of reinterpreting the sound of cuban timba) and choc quibtown (a bogotá-based trio from quibdó, in the province of chocó, that does afro-colombian roots music in a hiphop context).

we are now in the high season of music in new york. if you had nothing todo but run around town catching musicians from all over the globe, and an unlimited amount of money to spend or infinite guest-list cachet, you could have a great musical experience every night and quite a few afternoons.

for that matter, there are a lot of free shows, like victor manuelle at centralpark summerstage this past sunday afternoon. yesterday evening i went to a press party for the queens theater in the park 12th annual latino cultural festival, a great series that this summer will have los gaiteros de san jacinto (a fine revived version of the folkloricinstitution from the caribbean coast of colombia), zemog el gallo bueno (modernist puerto rican music from nyc), aquiles baez (guitarist fromvenezuela), and lots more, including -- my reason for being there -- the bachata roja tour.

which was how last night i got to meet ramón cabrera, better known as el chivo sin ley (the lawless goat), possessor of one of the great voices of old-school dominican bachata, who had arrived the day before and was singing in new york for the first time ever last night (two numbers), backed up by joan soriano (el duque de la bachata) and el chivo's longtime colleague edilio paredes (who plays most friday nights at the 27 de febrero restaurant on st. nicholas, about 11:30). el chivo's comment: "who ever heard of a flying goat? but i flew!" the bachata roja tour kicks off in chicago next week:
and finishes up at the queens theater on august 1.

i dashed from there up to tavern on the green for eddie palmieri's latin jazz sextet. three cubans (yosvany and yunior terry, mike rodriguez) andthree puerto ricans (little johnny rivero, josé clausell, and EP), playingthat palmieri book, and it was a magical set in the TOTG's glass gazebo,with elaborate chandeliers and a full house demanding more.this weekend is dafnis prieto at the jazz standard, and there are more installments of the week-long tribute to miguel "angá" díaz at the jazz gallery, reaching a peak on saturday.

on friday (the summer solstice and official first day of summer), we havethe superduper cheo feliciano 50th anniversary concert at the madison squaregarden wamu theater, which will feature, besides Cheo, Ruben Blades, EddiePalmieri, Johnny Pacheco, Ismael Miranda, Papo Lucca, Bobby Valentin,Roberto Roena, Jimmy Sabater, Oscar Hernandez and The Spanish harlem Orchestra. Fox here: I'm really looking forward to this one!

more: sunday is joa~o gilberto at carnegie hall, and the 24th is gilberto gil at the nokia theater.and the smithsonian folklife festival kicks off next week in washington dc. in the middle of a week dedicated to texas, with a lot of first-rate people(mingo saldivar, lloyd maines and terri hendrix, joe ely, asleep at thewheel, guy clark, marcia ball) they have a concert at 6 PM on the 28th honoring rené lópez, featuring a reconstituted version of the groundbreaking (in the 70s) grupo folklórico y experimental nueva yorquino. schedule at:

james early's piece about rené is at ]

In the meantime, the rivers flood and the levees fail. Our agricultural practices, I'm convinced, have played a significant role in this disaster.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fairly Decent, Balanced, Profile of Michelle Obama

In today's NY Times. Her experience accumulated on the ground to deal with health care in this country is not that of lobbying on behalf of the health insurance corporations. From the third page of the story:

[ Hospital brass had gathered to break ground for a children’s wing when African-American protesters broke in with bullhorns, drowning out the proceedings with demands that the hospital award more contracts to minority firms.

The executives froze. Mrs. Obama strolled over and offered to meet later, if only the protestors would pipe down. She revised the contracting system, sending so much business to firms owned by women and other minorities that the hospital won awards.

In the mostly black neighborhoods around the hospital, Mrs. Obama became the voice of a historically white institution. Behind closed doors, she tried to assuage their frustrations about a place that could seem forbidding.

Like many urban hospitals, the medical center’s emergency room becomes clogged with people who need primary care. So Mrs. Obama trained counselors, mostly local blacks, to hand out referrals to health clinics lest black patients felt they were being shooed away.

She also altered the hospital’s research agenda. When the human papillomavirus vaccine, which can prevent cervical cancer, became available, researchers proposed approaching local school principals about enlisting black teenage girls as research subjects.

Mrs. Obama stopped that. The prospect of white doctors performing a trial with black teenage girls summoned the specter of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment of the mid-20th century, when white doctors let hundreds of black men go untreated to study the disease.

“She’ll talk about the elephant in the room,” said Susan Sher, her boss at the hospital, where Mrs. Obama is on leave from her more-than-$300,000-a-year job. ]

Part 2 of The Bomb Magazine Interview Is Now Up

Bomb Magazine, the arts and literature journal, has put up on it's online site the second part of the two-part interview with Ned Sublette, by the brilliant up-and-coming Jamaican-turned NYer writer and scholar, Garnette Cadogan. You can read it here.

This begins with the NY-New Orleans-Cuban connections, and Ned's participation in the downtown scene.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Terrific Music Source Site

Go here.

I almost got to see the movie, Mongol. I gotta get there real soon because it's playing on only one screen here, and I don't think it's been released anywhere else here yet. This is one of those big screeen action films that I want to see on a movie theater sized screen. An old fashioned adventure movie with lots of horses and horseback warriors and vistas.

Obama's been filling sandbags. The bombombomb guy can't, of course, coz, he's too old, and it wouldn't be fair to ask him to.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Venezuela at work on undersea fiber-optic cable

Havana, Jun 9 (EFE).- Cuba expects, starting in the first half of 2010, touse a "shark-proof" underwater fiber-optic cable that will connect theisland with Venezuela and increase 3,000-fold its current capacity for phoneconnections abroad, state media reported Monday.

For entire story, go here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Summer Arrives with Dragon Breath

100 degrees.

A pile of requests had been waiting for me at the library, so I was there when the doors opened at 10 a.m.

  • Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon
  • James Buchanan by Jean H. Baker
  • Gender and Jim Crow by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore
  • Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney, the Illustrated Edition
  • Havana Red by Leonardo Padura
  • Age of Bronze, Part 1 -3A, The Story of the Trojan War by Eric Shanower (graphic novel)

It's all bedtime reading though, with the exception of two titles for the ongoing research.

I've already made the sticky rice so it will be cold, with the shrimp, tofu and chicken by dinner time. The rice is the bed for spinach, sliced avocado, mango, green and red bell peppers, drizzled with chili-seseme oil and lemon and lime juice.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Smithsonian Magazine

Sold the Bo Diddley piece to them, for the August issue.

That Bomb Thang ....

We have another reaction to the interview, by another guy that is very well known in these circles, Jeff Chang.

Check out what he says here.

I hope you all will excuse me, but it just does my heart muscle so much good to read something like this:

[ It's a taster of the complete argument he lays out in The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square, a red pill of a book that reframes the entirety of American history and music. Fuck what you know about John Adams or Bob Dylan. (Understand: no disrespect intended at all, but I believe with a convert's zeal that Ned's works ought to be as widely known and debated as Greil Marcus's.) In fact, forget even the notion that America is defined by what Chuck D has called the "48 state box". Ned's outside-the-box thinking begins with an expansive definition of "America" that points directly to a post-George W. Bush world. ]

And -- Jeff calls Garnette "... the great Jamaican-American journalist ...."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

KGB Radio Hour: NYC's only live radio show with live drinking

Except it is 2 hours, and a bit difficult to notic when the live radio begins and ends, since, unlike, say Ellen D.'s KGB sf/f/horror reading series, when the 'guests' and hosts leave the mics, the participants in this series don't leave the room. Nor do the attendees. They stay and talktalktalktalk and continue drinking, way into the night. We might still be there except at 11 p.m. I told Vaquero, "Hey, buddy, I gotta go -- and so do you, if you're smart!"

We had a really good time, meaning a fascinating night, filled with really interesting people who do all kinds of interesting things.

To start with go here. Then, go here. Check out the co-writer of American Gangster. This radio series is Mark Jacobson's project. He's also an investigative journalist, with a long bibliography of articles published all over. New York Magazine even has an archive of his articles. There's more about him in this Wiki entry.

We met Mark for the first time last month, at the Brecht Forum part for The World That Made New Orleans. Mark was brought by another friend, Kurt, who runs a rare and out-of-print storefront out of the street level of his Jumal Terrace brownstone and his equally interesting wife. Camilla is currently at Jefferson's Monticello, working for two month, hands on, and hands in, in the gardens, restoring the 18th Century fruits, flowers, and other botanicals that actually grew there while Jefferson was still alive -- she's also a couturiere, working up specialty designer wardrobes to order. Camilla -- and Kurt -- were brought in first class last week by Vienna's annual transgender festival, to provide the costumes and so on for the runway show and other presentations for the week. I've seen the photos -- oolalala! But Camilla's first love is historical horticulture, particularly 18th century American. Her couture work pays for it. Anyway, Kurt and Camilla know an endless supply of really interesting people, who do interesting work, and that's how this night came to be.

But -- how cool was it, that I got to hang out with The Family's author, Jeff Sharlet? And I knew his book and articles in Harpers, etc. about this shadowy religious organization, that is interested only in the powerful, wealthy movers-and-shakers? Jeff is also a lot of fun and very nice, as well as being really, really smart. One of the most interesting things discussed was one of the biggest differences, as I understand it, between Clinton and Obama. Clinton's old school, top-down, while he is street style activist, of bottom-up. This shows even in their respective churches: she's that top-level elite form of Methodism, speaking as God's representative, while he's the Black Church Liberation Theology, street level activism. Clinton's a friend (official Family term), if not full-blown member, of the Family, as told in The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. What I also liked about Jeff, was how he explained that, while this is a conspiratorial organization, it isn't the most dangerous one the nation is facing by a long shot. But it is another wheel within the machine that manufactures and keeps power in place and functioning.

Mark, who also has infinite number of really interesting friends doing interesting things, including the owner of KGB, takes on this persona as host for his show as a dimwitted drunk. However Mark is ANYTHING but dim. Or drunk. I can vouch for the fact he hadn't drunk anything, until the mics were shutoff. One of his old friends present was the biggest male porn star of the 70's -- not for gay porn but hetro. Not that I would know coz I don't pay attention to that stuff, except occasionally, but that's what I was told.

Bob Christgau was also a participant. The actual discussion was kinda disoriented. But Vaquero played two songs: "Kiss You Down South," and "Pastor Ted's Valedictory" (for Jeff, of course!). Sold some more books too.

The night began with Bo Diddley and ended with Bo Diddley. It was lamented that he hadn't been able to live so long as to see the first black president. Bo was born 2 weeks after Martin Luther King. The official part that is. The talking and drinking continued unabated. Indeed we the audience participated as much as anyone else, asking questions of anybody as we felt like, making comments and so on. It was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In The New Yorker

Sasha Frere-Jones in the New Yorker re the interview in Bomb.

[ Garnette Cadogan recently interviewed the musician, composer, and scholar Ned Sublette for Bomb, the only art magazine I have ever subscribed to. (Nothing against art magazines; I can let only so many things pile up unread.) Here is an excerpt from their conversation, which serves as a decent précis of Sublette’s new book, “The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square”:

In its early days as a United States territory, New Orleans was in effect a colony of Virginia, a fact that I think hasn’t been sufficiently appreciated. The Virginians had surplus slave labor to dispose of. If you were an enslaved person in Virginia, you knew that not only did you have no future, your children and your grandchildren would be enslaved. In Spanish Louisiana, although enslaved people were treated badly, there did at least exist a path to freedom. And because enslaved people in Spanish Louisiana were also allowed to play ancestral drums and to dance in public and gather en masse by the hundreds, they had a past. They had an identity and a future. Imagine the difference in morale between those two populations.

Sublette read an early draft of the book’s last chapter, “We Won’t Bow Down,” at the 2005 Experience Music Project’s Pop Conference. It is the only academic presentation that has ever made me weep. ]

Now it's time to get ready for KGB.

Larry Blumenfeld Writes About New Orleans & Michael White's New Album


[ NEW ORLEANS IS TWO PLACES NOW: one, loudly welcoming tourists back; the other, a silent stretch of barren homes. There's danger and dislocation around many corners, yet it's hard to feel more secure and connected than while dancing through the streets behind a brass band in a Sunday second line. It's still too soon to fully grasp the effect of the floods that followed Hurricane Katrina. And we've only just begun to hear real echoes of the experience as channeled through music.

Dr. Michael White's Blue Crescent (Basin Street) offers careful musical consideration of questions that are at once highly personal and broadly aesthetic: What did all this mean? How do we move forward without forsaking -- but, rather, by nurturing -- what we once held dear? The album is "not intended to be another trendy 'Katrina CD' or an escape from and cover-up of reality," writes the clarinetist and Xavier University professor in his liner notes. ]

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Vaquero Re Mr. Diddley on NPR

If you want to hear Ned's NPR rundown re Mr. Diddley, you can go here

Click on "Listen to Today's Show" and the NPR media player comes up with today's selections. Click on "Bo Diddley Assisted Listen" and there you are.

If your speakers are on. :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

RIP Bo Diddley

Vaquero's going to on PRI's "The World" this afternoon talking about Bo Diddley's career.

He'll be recording a piece on Bo Diddley tomorrow morning for the local public radio station's 3 hour prime time variety talk show.