Saturday, September 17, 2005

Tonight I watched some of the hurricane relief special on PBS. I must say that I love Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte. They have always been men of such great integrity and courage. I admire them both.
One thing I meant to blog about yesterday was the legacy of Barbra Streisand's early career. She truly was an exceptional presence at the beginning of her career, especially by the late sixties--as she was perhaps the most genuine and unique sounds available during that time among highly popular music, and yet her style, her music selections, and the persona that was placed before the public was such an ultimate throwback to the classic days of Barbra's alter-persona, Fanny Brice. She truly was a revival of that tradition and the legacy of that style and sense of wit. "Father has a business, strictly second hand, everything from toothpicks to a baby grand......" And the fact that the American public took to her style and music in the sixties says something about the American public as well (Her concert in Central Park in 1967 was the largest gathering of people for an individual concert in history for a very long time. Perhaps it still holds the record). Alas, Barbra is truly one of the exceptional divas. her career will forever be defined by the ultimate creativity, ultimate imagination, and inspiring talent.
This evening, right before I left home, I heard some of the scariest shit imaginable---and it has been heard before. The Bush administration has serious proposals out to A: Allow the EPA to completely waive rules for the protection of the environment in cases deemed "Acts of Gods" or dire emergencies by the Bush administration. According to the news report, this has already resulted in the selling of a dirtier grade of fuel because of the shortage due to the disruption of the flow from the Gulf. Also, the Bush administration and the conservative right wing agenda, under the leadership of Senator John Warner of Virginia, have set out a new proposal--an earlier one surfaced right after September 11th-- to allow the dissestablishment of
Posse Commitatus, which provides that military forces cannot be housed, or used as a police force against the civilian population of the United States. Both of these are very dangerous proposals set out by the Bush adminstration and just clearly show how unscrupulous and filthy these people reall are.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I am feeling a bit quesy tonight. I drank a beer simply because I felt obliged to because someone gave it to me. I dont like beer. I then proceeded to drink some coffee with Kahlua and rum, which is why I suppose I am sick. One thing I wanted to say though is that I absolutely love it when my students tell me how much they appreciate me and my work. Thanks.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

FR is a wonderful person. It is absoluytely something else when you can listen to a horn, with no words, and know exactly what it is saying. Music is beautiful.
When I was in the third grade, the persona I adopted was Anne of Green Gables. I was Anne for a while.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tonight's forum was very much a progressive step forward. From the exchange and some of what was said, there definitely is a lot of work that needs to be done. I am glad that there is movement underfoot.

Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair

Black is the color of my true love's hair
His face so soft and wondrous fair
The purest eyes
and the strongest hands
I love the ground on where he stands
I love the ground on where he stands

Black is the color of my true love's hair
Of my true love's hair
Of my true love's hair

Oh I love my lover
and where he goes
yes, I love the ground on where he goes
And still I hope
that the time will come
when he and I will be as one
when he and I will be as one

So black is the color of my true love's hair
Black is the color of my true love's hair
Black is the color of my true love's hair
Yesterday while I was at the SSA office, I picked up a copy of Newsweek with Sandra Day O'Connor on the front cover. I started laughing hysterically when I read that during her interview with Reagan for her nomination to the Supreme Court, she "wooed Reagan with tales of growing up on the ranch and being a cowgirl." The article further said that after interviewing her, Reagan canceled all other interviews for the position. Reagan was truly something else..... However, I must say I do respect Sandra Day O'Connor immensely.
Last night I had such insomnia, I couldn't sleep to save my life. I was terribly congested and this cold I have just made sleeping intolerable so I spent most of the night looking for my uncle's obituary. I didn't find it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Steven Sherman's Whats to Be Done? over at Counterpunch provides a magnificent analysis of the situation down in New Orleans and stresses the ways in which the issues that are now facing that communities most vulnerable communities ( Blacks, the poor) reflect broad issues present on the national scene-- and how the progressive community as a whole fails to combine its push to wars on foreign soil( a predominantly white anti-war movement) and the needs and concerns of those communities suffering within the United States of America. Sherman does make a very significant point in emphasizing the critical rift that exists between these two movements, yet I would like to highlight some places where these issues have blended and where there were efforts of TRUE coalition and efforts to unite the issues of Peace and Justice (alas, United for Peace and Justice!).

Firstly, in the late 60s, the cooperation and coalition-building between such presences as the Black Panther Party, the radical Free Speech movement, the anti-war movement, and other progressive movements were real and were points where there was real potential to unite these struggles. Firstly, Huey P. Newton and other Panthers, constantly stressed an anti-war message--indeed making it a part of the Panther campaign. They constantly talked about the injustice of Blacks being used in the military of a country that was hostile to them and showed them no respect and they constantly expressed sympathies and shows of unity with the peoples of Vietnam......THIS is anti-war activism. Also, the personal relationships and coalitions between Black Power radicals and those of other movements were places where seeds were planted and could have been fostered to bring about true and total revolution. The Chicago Seven could have been a perfect vehicle.

I believe the the blending of such figures as Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Abbie Hoffman, Jane Fonda, and others of their ilk and dedicaation could definitely have blossomed into a unified front on the parts of both Labor and workers movements, especially among Blacks and other minorities and the Antiwar effort. These seeds could have been fostered. Is there still such an opportunity? Are there any leaders left with the same integrity, dedication, and will as these people had? I have no clue, but I would definitely like to see it happen.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I Believe I Will Repost the Essay that I Wrote After 9/11 for the Second Anniversary

September, 2002
911 Commemorative

When I think of progress, I think of Quakers risking their lives to transport slaves across to freedom, I think of union organizers in the first decades of the Twentieth Century who risked physical harm and political persecution by going down into the backwoods of the South and Appalachian country to organize workers, I think of the teachers who risked loss of employment and jail terms to participate in the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s- people who defied the social order in order to make life better for their fellow human beings.
It seems in times of crisis, there are always those who are moved by the energy caused by the frenzy to do good. These are the elements that I find necessary to progress. In recent years, it has been hard to keep faith in progress, with a multitude of shouts for war and the growing boldness and arrogance with which the current administration is trampling over our rights. It seems that any real meaning of progress has gone into hibernation and left us to the wolves.
As the one year anniversary of September 11th approaches, I think back to that day which I remember with great clarity. I was beginning my junior year of college and I had wakened early so that I could make it to my eight o’clock class, Biology-- a class that I dreaded, but survived because the teacher was a delight to be around. I also wanted to be fresh for my second class of the day, Milton-- a class that I enjoyed , but approached tepidly, as it was the one class in which I was confronted two times a week with my dying pangs of lovesickness as I came face to face with the pale faced boy with black curls that I had been infatuated with for the two previous semesters, but for whom those feelings were no longer there.
As I grudgingly began to climb the three flights of stairs that would take me to the classroom in which my Milton seminar was taught, I was stopped by the frantic wailing of one of my classmates who was descending the staircase as I began to go up, who explained to me gravely, tears staining her cheeks and dampening the auburn curls that fell in her face, “Our nation is under attack.” Thinking the girl ludicrous- this couldn’t possibly be right, the poor child’s gone berserk- I, relieved temporarily at least of the burden of climbing the stairs to the third floor, turned and started walking towards the front entrance.
It was then that I saw my professor, who was also the Dean of Students, walking towards me without book or briefcase, at which point I asked him, “ Dr. ____ are we having class today?” Having answered in the negative, I gleefully left the building and returned to my single, private room on the other side of campus where I immediately turned on my television which confirmed what my distraught classmate had said; that two hijacked planes had demolished the twin towers of the World Trade Center and a third had taken out part of the Pentagon.
I stop here to consider the significance of these acts and the ways in which they have been interpreted. I thought, and think now of the significance of 19 men- not diplomats, or dignitaries, or government officials, but plain, ordinary men trained and indoctrinated in the teachings of the Al-Queda network, boarding three different planes and proceeding to wreck the daily prominence and supreme authority of the largest economic power in the world. Wow. It transcends the scope of the imagination that these men could cause the stock market to plunge with no relief in sight, record unemployment, and a schizophrenic government that issued almost daily terror alerts in the face of unknown enemies and anthrax scares which brought psychic turmoil in this country back to levels reached during the darkest days of the Cold War. Wow. And to think that these ordinary men could penetrate the United States’ protective shield to commit these acts, to indeed attack the Pentagon itself- the core of US military operation and one of the most vital symbols of US imperialistic might. Wow.
Now, I am not here to either glorify or condemn these men- I will leave their fates to judgment of history, although it is my prediction that their names will be forgotten in light of the larger scope of things. Yet, the significance of their actions is quite real and puts things into a clearer perspective; namely that the United States is not invincible. Neither are the inhabitants of this country. Especially considering that the Justice Department, with John Ashcroft at the helm, has fashioned itself in the style of its years under J. Edgar Hoover, with secret wiretaps and illegal surveillances, as well as infringements on the protections guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. Not to mention the rights of the political prisoners held by the US government which are being violated flagrantly in a total lack of respect for international law.
This leaves the ordinary citizens of the United States vulnerable to the repression and terror imposed by the U.S. government- the threat of overturning Posse Commitatus, the virtual eradication of our basic rights, our loss of privacy, and who knows, we may face another mass disenfranchisement as seen in the last presidential election. Not only that, but we may once more have to pay with our own lives for the crimes of the government that we support and that represents us. And we are culpable. Yet we do have a chance for redemption.
History and scientific knowledge teach us that everything that rises must fall. In relation to empires, the terrorization of three quarters of the globe and the alienation of international sentiment can hasten that process. This is the course on which I see the United States headed; and it is a fate that is reserved for the most dazzling, yet the most indiscreet of empires. The Roman empire comes to mind.
The media, the government, and the public at large are quick to throw around the word terrorist, damning the men who acted on 9/11 and those who support them in sure and quick measures. Yet, was it not terror and the long-suffering caused by the United States that forms the groundswell of support for the organizations that carry out such acts? It was my sincere hope after September 11th that the United States would stop and learn from this tragedy. That it would learn how to walk a better path through the world, one of inspiring dignity, integrity, and hope. I was disappointed. Alas, the United States also fails to take a lesson from history. Did not the Romans fall to a band of barbarians who were generally looked upon as terrorists as well?
I would hope that this country would learn that it is better to walk with a sense of humility and a sincere respect for the broader range of humanity, not just for Americans. And that means relieving the people of Southeast Asia who slave away in your textile industries for less than a dollar a day. That means stop supporting imperialistic monsters like Israel (modeled in the shape of its benefactor) by providing the weapons and money that oppress and deny the humanity of Palestinians. That means funding no more wars in Central and South America. That means ceasing to imprison, disenfranchise, and commit genocide in minority communities within your own borders.
My hopes are still alive. It takes a crisis to turn the wheels of progress. Needless to say, on that fateful day which brought about such grief and devastation, I rejoiced.

My day today was quite interesting. I picked up the Purdue Exponent this morning and got pissed about the Nwaneri case all over again and so I started to do some research and came up with this from the Chronicle of Higher Education which led me to the book, In the Matter of Color, by A. Leon Higginbotham who discusses in the introduction his time as a student here at Purdue in which he recounts how the president of the university, back in 1944, told him that if he didn't like living in the too-cold segregated housing that was provided for them then he could leave the university. Hmm. Is that where it comes from. I believe someone should have been missing a penis.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

My grandmother has bone cancer (or so the doctor says). Now she must get her finances in order so that she will be comfortable. I called my cousin Andre so he can invest her money for her and make sure that the money she does have will be protected (hopefully).
I just finished Sharon Solwitz's story "A Country of Herself," I liked it but i didn't like it. I hated that she did not take the baby with her when she died and that he was left for her goyim, white male husband. I hate that she was not vindicated. People never want anyone to be too free. Why did Alice Walker let those white men beat up on Ms. Sophia? Why couldnt she have bashed their heads in? Why didn't the entire community of colored people-- and others who would join... gather together in a revelrie of kicking much white male ass? I don't understand.......why systems of oppression always have to exist....
Something led me to pick up Sharon Solwitz's Blood and Milk. I love it. I am glad I picked it up. Indeed, I believe I am her main character in "A Country of Herself." I have not finished that story yet, but I hope if anything happens-- I hope she castrates her husband. She shouldnt have married a white man--- a goy-- in the first place.