links for 2010-09-30

  • TWI: Are you preparing to explain the cuts to SNAP recipients? Are we going to have to prep them, so they know their budget is getting tighter?

    Berg: I won’t know what there is to say. I’m rarely at a loss for words. But what do I say to these people? You were screwed? You were shafted? Your children have less food? I couldn’t look in some one’s eyes and tell them that, and I don’t know how a senator could either. What do you say? Your kid’s need for food was temporary?

  • Related to link about Jessie Little Doe Bird. David Simon, writer of "The Wire" and "Treme" won, along with Gordon-Reed, others. –AP

    "[P]rominent storytellers this year include Annette Gordon-Reed, 51, whose book 'The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family' (W. W. Norton) won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in History and the 2008 National Book Award for nonfiction. Ms. Gordon-Reed investigated the story of the slave family that included Sally Hemings, a slave owned by Jefferson who scholars widely believe bore his children. A New Yorker, Ms. Gordon-Reed teaches law and history at Harvard. Some of her grant will go toward travel expenses as she researches another book on the Hemings, she said."

  • "Baird, 46, is one of 23 grant winners announced today by the nonprofit foundation. For the past 17 years, outside the media spotlight shining on her today, she has resurrected the long-silent language of her Wampanoag tribe, once spoken by tens of thousands in southeastern New England.

    "'It's just such an honor for my nation, for my tribe. It's just such an honor for all of us,' Baird said from her home in Mashpee, Mass., where her phone rang nonstop today. 'It's pretty crazy around here,' said the still-stunned linguist and teacher."

  • "For those living in a very dark hole, HBO’s new drama is produced and occasionally directed by Martin Scorsese. Set in Atlantic City at the beginning of Prohibition, the show follows corrupt politician and gangster Nucky "Steve Buscemi" Thompson as he claws his way to the top. Like 'Mad Men', the series takes us back to another popular decade for Halloween costume ideas. Unlike 'Mad Men', 'Boardwalk Empire' will have a black character with a life of his own. Fans of 'The Wire' collectively pissed their pants to see Michael Kenneth Williams (better known as Omar) portray Chalky White “the de facto Mayor of Atlantic City’s African-American community”, which at the time was twenty percent of the vote."
  • "It was not Bridget they blamed, but me: the fact it took a white woman to make me happy was evidence of how far I had strayed from who I once was. 'There's nothing Muslim or Pakistani about you,' my brother said. 'You can write books about how much your family mean to you [he was referring to my childhood memoir, Greetings from Bury Park] but we know the truth. The only time you even think about Islam is when you are in the media pretending to be a Muslim.' Despite their fierce disapproval, my family would still be attending the wedding. It was important the family be represented, out of duty if not support."
  • "It all leaves immigrants like our Filipina nursing aide struggling toward her aspirations—dreams that benefit us all—while living under a continual racist assault. Here we come to another wrinkle in the aging crisis. Grandma isn’t just using her Medicare benefits to give her aide a steady job; she’s also feeding a massive flow of remittances to transnational families in the Global South. Immigrants transferred hundreds of billions in wealth to developing countries in 2009 alone, according to the Migration Policy Institute."
  • "It repeats themes found in all four suits—that Long mined his youth ministry for young men with emotional holes in their lives; took them under his wing as a father figure and spiritual mentor; brought them into his celebrity world with international trips and expensive gifts, and then moved the relationship into sex.

    None of the young men had spoken beyond their court filings until last night, when Atlanta’s Fox affiliate, WAGA-TV, cornered Parris in the parking lot of a grocery store in Colorado, where he now lives. The interview is wrenching and feels utterly genuine. More than anything else, Parris appears as a person who is confused and deeply hurt by a lost love. He repeatedly professes unabashed love for Long—and in the next breath describes him as a monster. "

  • "Yonatan Shapira, currently a member of left-wing group Combatants for Peace, said he was treated "brutally" by Israeli soldiers when the ship was intercepted some 20 miles (30km) off the coast of Gaza on Tuesday.

    "I got shot with a Taser shock gun… and was brutally treated just like my brother Itamar. We were detained pretty violently," he told Reuters news agency."

  • "Though the official cause of death is still under investigation, colleagues noted that he had been despondent since August’s teacher rankings were made public.

    At a memorial held at the school this week, parents and students remembered Ruelas as a tireless instructor; someone from the community who cared deeply about his students’ lives both inside and outside of the classroom.

    “He took the worse students and tried to change their lives,” Ismeal Delgado, a 20-year-old former student told Southern California Public Radio. “I had friends who wanted to be gangsters, but he talked them out of it. He treated you like family.”

  • "Cameron, who was born in Ontario, Canada, met privately with aboriginal leaders and residents of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, on Tuesday to discuss the community's concerns about the connection between high cancer rates and water, air and wildlife pollution stemming from ongoing exploration and extraction of oil sands, according to The Vancouver Sun."

    "I will be meeting with [Alberta] Premier [Ed] Stelmach tomorrow and I will be doing a press conference afterwards to get the word out there about what's happening here," he told the paper. "Hopefully we can make a difference and get things moving in the right direction. It's going to be a fight, as I'm sure you know. But if you all stand together and work together with the other First Nations, I think we can draw a line in the sand here."

Letter To A Brotha

By Guest Contributor Konju Oruwari, cross-posted from Vegans Of Color

What follows is the last letter traded in an exchange between a couple of 26 year-old black dudes regarding my last post on “Liberation Veganism.” My comrade is not vegan, and is concerned about “the problem with the displacement of bread and butter struggle with raw foodisms,” etc, due to my attempt to mix veganism with human liberation, or in our case black liberation.

It is an important concern for all of us, whether or not thinking about or bringing up veganism in a context like African liberation discourse is appropriate. Or the problem with making something like going vegan or trumpeting ecological awareness THE issue or THE revolution, rather than just an aspect of it. And the problem of having advocacy of those causes which are “on the periphery for me, masking as if it is at the core,” as my friend challenged. He stated that to bring up veganism at a hypothetical “cop watch” meeting and try to make the meeting about veganism would be problematic, from which I gathered that something like “cop watch” to him was a “bread and butter” ‘hood issue (as opposed to, given the tenor of our exchanges, dietary, environmental, lifestyle, quality of life, sanitation, etc. issues, which to him are more associated with white liberal green/ vegan activists for whom those things are THE issue).

Lastly we had a disagreement on this point, and I quote my brotha: “one day you said to me the first responsibility of a revolutionary is to be healthy. That was the crucial difference for me, i thought you were wrong. Our health is not the priority, the people are, when the struggle becomes for our own person health (or morality) we are distant from the people.” In subsequent retorts from myself (because I believe the exact opposite of what he asserts) I struggled with this contradiction until he later stated, “a revolutionaries health is not an end to me, it is a means to the end which is revolution.” I play with this idea as well down below.

Without further ado, then, here’s my letter to my good brother comrade in struggle, on the “bread and butter” issues of liberation struggle as pertain to defining health, priorities of concern, “revolution” and so on.

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Mad Men, Race, and the American Lens

Mad Men Chocolate Bunny

Tami, over at, pens a different view on the role of race in Mad Men:

Fellow columnist Carl Chancellor reminded me of Ralph Ellison’s take on being a black man in the 50s: “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” Weiner deftly illustrates this invisibility — the way race is there, but not there in the lives of his white protagonists. The issue of race throbs beneath the narrative like a tell-tale heart. It may often be unseen, but you can always hear the thump…thump…thump. It seems an honest handling by a show that distinguishes itself by knowledgeable, delicate and nuanced analysis of humanity and 50s/60s society within a fictional context. But generally, these days, discussion of race is anything but knowledgeable, delicate and nuanced. And that is the rub. Mad Men does not have a race problem. We do.

It is the knowledge of the nation’s racial immaturity that plagues me when I watch Mad Men. And I suspect it is this that bothers those who have criticized the show’s handling of race. It is not that I cannot hear the thump, thump of race in the show’s narrative. It is that I know many other people aren’t as attuned to the sound.

A few weeks ago on Mad Men, a leather-clad socialist tried to educate hip young copywriter Peggy Olson to the Civil Rights Movement. Peggy is dismissive, noting that as a woman she cannot do many of the things “Negroes” cannot do. “There are clubs I can’t go to because I am a woman.” Her date snorts, “Yeah, let’s hold a civil rights march for women.” Peggy later insists that a black man could be successful at SCDP if he worked hard “like I did.” In this scene we see a man so wrapped in his gender privilege that he cannot even recognize sexism as a real and pressing problem. We also see a white woman refusing to own her own racial privilege and ignoring the existence of black women. It makes sense that a relatively sheltered young woman, in 1965, who suffers unrelenting sexism in the office, but little exposure to black people, would think this way. But many black women spent the whole of the 2008 presidential primary season arguing with white feminists who similarly marginalized us and minimized racism. Hearing fan favorite Peggy Olson take this position felt like an endorsement of a point of view that is sadly not dead yet. I found myself cringing at the scene, irritated at the writers, but perhaps more irritated at Mad Men’s viewers, who I guessed would miss a key element of the dialogue. Sure enough, Monday morning on show forums, many people were hailing Peggy for telling it like it is. Too many viewers noticed the sexism in the scene, but missed the racism. Mad Men got it right. Some viewers sadly missed the point.

Read the rest.

links for 2010-09-29

  • "You wouldn’t call someone a w*tback, or the n-word. Saying 'illegals' is just as bad.

    "The I-Word creates an environment of hate by exploiting racial fear and economic anxiety, creating an easy scapegoat for complex issues, and OK-ing violence against those labeled with the word.

    "People are not illegal.

    "Let’s stop feeding the hate machine.

    "Drop the I-Word."

  • "Harris states: 'Indie rock's bleached-out state dates from when punk started to harden into the musical orthodoxy of the new wave. Out went the black influence one heard in, say, the music of the Clash; in came a generic narrowing that has never really gone away.'

    "However, the unpleasant fact is that this is part of a larger picture in rock'n'roll, even though the genre owes its very existence to musicians such as Chuck Berry and his peers.

    I"n America, unfortunately, white rock has always been considered as art, and black music as commerce."

  • "As the DREAM act was facing imminent defeat in the face of a Republican filibuster last week, the state of Georgia rubbed salt in the wound. A committee appointed by Georgia’s public university system recommended that the state bar undocumented residents from attending the system’s colleges and universities.

    "The DREAM act, which would provide a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants who graduate from college or serve in the military, is not likely to pass this year. Without it, most undocumented students will be confronted with high and often unaffordable tuition. In Georgia, some may now be legally barred from access to any higher education at all."

  • Bwahahahahahahahahaha! –AP

    "Last spring, the state’s school superintendent Tom Horne proposed the ban, alleging that the classes were, in effect, prejudiced against white people. At best, Horne argued, they promoted 'ethnic chauvinism.' And at their worst, they encouraged students to overthrow the U.S. government. Riding a wave of white populist sentiment after signing SB 1070 into law, Gov. Jan Brewer then legalized the ban. Districts that refuse to comply risk losing 10 percent of their state funding, and already some of the state’s ethnic studies teachers are toying with the idea of a constitutional challenge before the law goes into effect on December 31.

    "Students don’t seem too bothered. In fact, Mary Ann Zehr writes in Education Week that in Tucson, which has the only district-wide ethnic studies program in the state, enrollment in Mexican-American studies has doubled."

Illegal immigrants ‘are all over my house’

By Guest Contributor Tomas Summers Sandoval, cross-posted from Latino Like Me

Colin Powell appeared on “Meet the Press” (9/19/10) and spoke about a Republican party he described as “waiting to emerge once again,” a party of moderates who are more balanced in their approach to several issues, including immigration.

Here is the section of his interview where he responds to the opportunistic xenophobia that is currently the preferred stance on immigration within the GOP:

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links for 2010-09-28

  • The No Wedding No Womb event, in which dozens of bloggers wrote essays lamenting the high number of black children born out of wedlock, is just the latest example of [the 'salvific wish']….There are reasons besides the push’s barely masked antifeminism to be ambivalent about this whole endeavor. The movement has the stunty feel of holding funerals for “nigger” or stomping on hip-hop CDs (‘member those?) with explicit lyrics; it’s taken a tricky issue and reduced it to a bunch of folks being showily indignant.
  • "Some vanilla flavored or young POC transperson will read my stuff blasting the erasure and trot out various spin lines such as 'we're a small community', 'we're one people' accuse me of being 'too fixated on race' to deflect the reality that as a subset of the larger culture, the trans community is infected by the same ills and isms of the dominant culture.

    "And one of those isms that we don't grapple with enough is dealing with racism."

  • "Such is the case with the images and videos forwarded by Mr. Paladino to a wide variety of people. The public should know about these mailings, and Mr. Paladino should give a full, thoughtful explanation of why he trafficked in such filth.

    "Example: A doctored photo of President and Mrs. Obama showing the president in a stereotypical pimp’s costume holding the hand of the first lady, who is dressed as a prostitute in a grotesquely revealing outfit."

  • "Reps. Duncan and Moore’s 'us vs. them' mentality exemplifies the mainstreaming of extreme right-wing Islamophobia. Once hawked by fringe figures, the 'creeping Sharia' delusion is finding champions among staunch conservative leaders like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose crusade against all-things-Islamic culminated in his call for 'a federal law that says sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States' at the Value Voters Summit this month."