Archive for February, 2011

Thanks!

Posted: February 28, 2011 in Uncategorized
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To all the folks who have stumbled upon my blog and all my regular readers, thanks for making this short February the best month I’ve had yet!

Ya'all come back now, ya heah!

Remember "Long Dong Silver"

The article below is reprinted from a “Daily Times” of Los Angeles article with contributions from Mark Pratt of AP. It gives you a recent picture of the principal characters and how they are dealing with repercussions of the monumental struggle between Hill and Thomas during Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings so long ago. Personally, I cannot believe Thomas was confirmed in the light of her testimony. Of course I am an unabashed liberal and a feminist to boot; worked with women almost exclusively in my educational career; so I suppose I am biased, so sue me.  

WASHINGTON — Anita Hill is refusing to apologize for accusing then-Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas of sexually harassing her, in an issue that Thomas’ wife has reopened 19 years after his confirmation hearings.

“I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony,” Hill, now a Brandeis University professor, said in a statement released Tuesday night.

Thomas’ wife, Virginia, had left a voicemail message on Hill’s phone on Oct. 9 asking her to say she was sorry for the allegations that surfaced at Thomas’ confirmation hearings for a seat on the high court bench in 1991.

In her statement, Hill said, “I certainly thought the call was inappropriate.”

 She had worked for Clarence Thomas in two federal government jobs before he was selected for the court by President George H.W. Bush for the Supreme Court.

 Virginia Thomas is a longtime conservative activist and founder of a new nonprofit group, Liberty Central, which opposes what she has characterized as the leftist “tyranny” of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats. She was a keynote speaker earlier this month in Richmond, Va., at a state convention billed as the largest tea party event ever.

Mrs. Thomas said in a statement that she was “extending an olive branch” to Hill.

In a transcript of the message provided by ABC News, which said it listened to the recording, Thomas identified herself and then said, “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day,” Thomas said.

When Hill heard the voicemail, she contacted Brandeis’ public safety office, which in turn informed the FBI.

In her statement, Virginia Thomas said she did not intend to offend Hill.

“I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get passed what happened so long ago. That offer still stands, I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same,” Thomas said.

Hill declined comment to reporters who stopped her in Waltham on her way to work Wednesday, asking them politely to move.

“I need to get off this street and I don’t want anybody to get hurt,” she said. “I don’t have any comment right now. Please, let me go teach my class.”

Andrew Gully, a spokesman for Brandeis, said the school “completely supports” Hill’s decision to alert campus security about the call. He said Wednesday was “a routine day” on campus.

“We’ve moved beyond it,” he said. “We’re finished on this end.”

FBI Special Agent Jason Pack, a spokesman at bureau headquarters in Washington, declined to comment on the voicemail.

During his Senate confirmation hearings, Clarence Thomas adamantly denied Hill’s accusations that he made inappropriate sexual remarks, including references to pornographic movies. Thomas said he did talk about X-rated movies while at Yale Law School, adding that so did many other young people in the 1970s.

The allegations nearly derailed his nomination and sparked a national debate about sexual harassment on the job.

Thomas called the nationally televised hearings a “high-tech lynching.”

He broke a 16-year silence about the hearings in a 2007 book, “My Grandfather’s Son,” writing that Hill was a mediocre employee who was used by political opponents to make claims she had been sexually harassed. The justice’s wife first suggested Hill apologize in interviews the couple gave after the release of the book.

Makes s**t better. Makes better s**t.

Samuel L. Jackson has been crafting memorable characters on screen for over two decades now. Many fans would say his Jules Winnfield, the foil for Travolta’s Vinnie Vega, in “Pulp Fiction” (1994) was the role that put him squarely in the public eye. That may be true but if I had to pick my personal favorite it would have to be “Black Snake Moan”. If I had to pick a Jackson part I wish I had never seen. it would have to be his Octopus bit in “The Spirit”.

“Black Snake Moan” had several factors I look for in film likeability: blues music, social commentary, positive character evolution, and sleaze. And it was a showcase for Mr. Jackson’s considerable talents, as thespian and musician.
“The Spirit”, wuddint nuttin’ goodaboutit.
To end on a positive note, if you like Soul music (sweet soul music) and you have not yet seen “Soul Men” with SJ and Bernie Mac playing off each other as an estranged Sam and Dave-like soul duo, give yourself a treat and rent this hilarious mofo. 
Harlem Renaissance Man
Let America Be America Again  
by Langston Hughes
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? 
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!


O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

Smarter than Kanye

Theologist, Philosopher, Intellectual, Performer, Musician, Orator, Writer, and I suspect that’s not nearly the whole of this man’s life, Cornell West, is one of a kind. Softball Marxist, Southern Baptist, Jazzbo-HipHopper, Serious Jokester, Popstar and Pundit rolled into a likeable ball.

Cornel Ronald West (born June 2, 1953) is a Professor at Princeton University, where he teaches in its Department of Religion. West is known for his combination of political and moral insight and criticism and his contribution to the post-1960s civil rights movement. The bulk of his work focuses on the role of race, gender, and class in American society and the means by which people act and react to their “radical conditionedness.” West draws intellectual contributions from such diverse traditions as the African American Baptist Church, pragmatism and transcendentalism.[1]

His activism, academic credentials, political experience, and philosophical ruminations are noteworthy, but I know you are more interested in his contributions to pop culture, so here:

West appears in both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. He plays Councilor West, who serves on the council of Zion. West’s character advises that “comprehension is not a requisite of cooperation.” In addition, West provides philosophical commentary on all three Matrix films in The Ultimate Matrix Collection, along with integral theorist Ken Wilber.

West makes frequent appearances on the popular political show Real Time with Bill Maher.[25][26][27][28][29]

West was featured on Starbucks Coffee Cups with The Way I See It #284 quoted, “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people, if you don’t serve the people.”

West’s book “Race Matters” appears in a second season episode of the West Wing, in which the character Charlie Young is reading at his desk.

In Anna Deavere Smith‘s work Twilight: Los Angeles, she briefly delivers a speech in the style and words of West.

In the 2008 film Examined Life, a documentary featuring several noted academics discussing philosophy in real-world contexts, Cornel, “driving through Manhattan, . . . compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be.”[30]

West appeared in the rock-umentary Call + Response, a video aiming to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Rapper Lupe Fiasco mentions West in his song ‘Just Might Be OK’ from his album Food & Liquor with the line ‘I ain’t Cornel West, I am Cornel Westside, Chi-town Guevara.”

West has recorded a recitation of John Mellencamp‘s song “Jim Crow” for inclusion on the singer’s upcoming box set On the Rural Route 7609.

West has recently completed recording with the Cornel West Theory, a Hip Hop band endorsed by West which also bears his name.[31] He has also released two hip-hop/soul/spoken word albums, one under “Cornel West” (entitled Street Knowledge), the other under “Cornel West & B.M.W.M.B.” (entitled Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations).[32] Both works are musical expressions of West’s personal politics and beliefs which he has annunciated in his previous written works.

He appears in conversation with Bill Withers in the Bill Withers documentary, “Still Bill”.

Harvard University‘s undergraduate student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, suggested in October 2002 that the premise of Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode “Anti-Thesis” was based on the West’s conflicts with Harvard president Lawrence Summers.[33]

West appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on February 1, 2011 to begin Black History Month, and held a near hour long discussion on the importance of studying black history for all people to answer the question, “What does it mean to be human?”

Everything that isn’t italicized came from that wonderful Wikipedia.

Paint it black.

Lois Mailou Jones (November 3, 1905 – June 9, 1998) was a prize winning artist who lived into her nineties and who painted and influenced others during the Harlem Renaissance and beyond during her long teaching career. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts and is buried on her beloved Martha’s Vineyard in the Oak Bluffs Cemetery.

Dr. Jones began painting as a child and had shows of her work when she was in high school. “Every summer of my childhood, my mother took me and my brother to Martha’s Vineyard island. I began painting in watercolor which even today is my pet medium.”

After graduation from the School of the Museum of Art in Boston, she designed textiles until a decorator told her–“You couldn’t have done this, you’re a colored girl.” She began looking for a way for her name to become known and was turned down for a job at her alma mater. She was hired by Charlotte Hawkins Brown after some initial reservations and founded the art department at Palmer Memorial Institute in North Carolina. As a prep school teacher, she coached a basketball team, taught folk dancing, and played the piano for church services. Only one year later, she was recruited to join the art department at Howard University in Washington D.C and remained as professor of design and watercolor painting until her retirement in 1977. While developing her own work as an artist, she is also known as an outstanding mentor.

In 1937, for her first sabbatical from Howard University on a general educational fellowship, she went to Paris for the first time where she worked very hard producing 35 to 40 pieces during one year’s time, including “Les Fetiches” a stunning, African inspired oil which is owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum [1] and one of her best known works and her first piece which combined traditional African forms with Western techniques and materials to create a vibrant and compelling work.

“The French were so inspiring. The people would stand and watch me and say ‘mademoiselle, you are so very talented. You are so wonderful.’ In other words, the color of my skin didn’t matter in Paris and that was one of the main reasons why I think I was encouraged and began to really think I was talented.”

After marrying Haitian artist Louis Vergniaud Pierre-Noel in 1953, Jones traveled and lived in Haiti. In many of her pieces one can see the influence of the Haitian culture, with its African influences, which reinvigorated the way she looked at the world. Her work became more abstract and hard-edged, after her marriage to Pierre-Noel. Her impressionist techniques gave way to a spirited, richly patterned, and brilliantly colored style. Further travels to eleven African countries enabled Jones to synthesize a body of designs and motifs that she combined in large, complex compositions.

In 1980, she was honored by President Jimmy Carter at the White House for outstanding achievements in the arts. Her paintings grace the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Museum of American Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Portrait Gallery, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the National Palace in Haiti, and the National Museum of Afro-American Artists and many others.

In her nineties, Jones still painted. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton collected one of her island seascapes “Breezy Day at Gay Head” while they were in the White House. Lois felt that her greatest contribution to the art world was “proof of the talent of black artists.” The African-American artist is important in the history of art and I have demonstrated it by working and painting here and all over the world.” But her fondest wish was to be known as an “artist” — without labels like black artist, or woman artist. She has produced work that echoes her pride in her African roots and American ancestry.

 The above excerpts were taken from a longer article in Wikipedia. I am learning right along with you other ignorant folks out there who were not aware of this rare talent. And Lois was not aware of my rare talent either, so we’re even on that score. My genius will only be appreciated long after my demise. A gypsy woman told me that a long time ago. But enough about me, here’s one of Lois’ pictures:

Ubi Girl

 

Shake Your Hips Rhythmically