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Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 09:33 AM PDT

A Late Morning Rant

by Chitown Kev

For some reason, white people (I know, I know, #not all white people, but for your sake and my blood pressure's sake, PLEASE don't go there) like to think that they know blah people and blah history so well and they forget that Wikipedia is their friend.

Otherwise, they would be able to make the distinction between "nonviolence" (a personal practice) and "nonviolent resistance or nonviolent disobedience" a method and technique of achieving goals.

White folks sure like to call for us blah folks to be "nonviolent" but seem to think that we come by practicing techniques of nonviolent resistance naturally, even and especially as white folks attack black folks violently and repeatedly.

The distinction here is important, in part, because the role of the Nation of Islam in brokering a gang truce in Baltimore in order for unified gangs to kill cops has been brought up.

My own personal philosophies are very far from most things that the Nation of Islam teaches but I will say that I respect them for some of what they do in the community.

And I say pretty much with confidence that with the possible exception of the assassination of El-Hajj Malik Shabazz, I have never known the NOI to be violent in any situation. This Malcolm X quote that has made the round the last few days

is what I understand to be NOI practice.

To be frank with you, on a theoretical level, they probably are justified in going after the cops (as the NOI and others have been at times) but even in those situations, I've always known the NOI to be peaceful.

So as far as nonviolence and nonviolent disobeidence, the only people that white folks need to talk to are the one that they see in the mirror.

Another thing: I have seen far too many nice white progressives justifying their use of the word "thug" by citing the use of the word by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and by President Obama.

I just have to say that it really burns me up when white folks cite their lists of approved negroes to justify saying what they want to say all along but didn't have the courage to say.

In fact, many black people do not approve Of Mayor Rawlings-Blake and President Obama's use of the word even in the context where they may have been trying to use it.

Plus, we blah folks also understand that there are audiences that must be catered to outside of the black community that really want and (it seems) need to hear that word.

Thank you for reading.


So, I learned of this Michael Eric Dyson/Cornel West thing in Black Kos last Friday.

My first thought on actually reading "The Ghost of Cornel West" was that this has to be the most acrimonious black intellectual takedown of another black intellectual since...well, Michelle Wallace took on bell hooks?

Folks are talking.

And I mean everywhere.

Chaunceydevega (respectable negro that he is) imagines the West/Dyson fracas as a video game.

Myself, I can't help but be reminded of the Roxanne Wars what with all the responses and the responses to the responses.

I will add that the comment sections of various blogs are equally hilarious. And circular. The occupiers of these various comment section seem to range from Stormfronter types to black nationalists with missing teeth in their afro picks to good-old fashioned Negrotarians.

Truthfully, I don't have much more to add but (lol, there it is)...

Well, there were a couple-two-three items Dyson's original piece that did catch my eye (and none of them have anything to do with Anita Baker).


I shared my three-part formula for discussing Obama before black audiences: Start with love for the man and pride in his epic achievement; focus on the unprecedented acrimony he faces as the nation’s first black executive; and target his missteps and failures. No matter how vehemently I disagree with Obama, I respect him as a man wrestling with an incredibly difficult opportunity to shape history. West looked into my eyes, sighed, and said: “Well, I guess that’s the difference between me and you. I don’t respect the brother at all.”
Well, yes...and to be sure Dyson has "vehemently" disagreed with the President at times.

But even here, Dyson left out a very important exception to this "code." Follow me Behind the Orange Veil...

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Mon Apr 27, 2015 at 12:05 PM PDT

Thank You, Daily Kos

by Chitown Kev

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thanks to Saturday's fundraiser, I now have a spanking new laptop that will be arriving shortly.

Also...there were some funds leftover after my equipment was purchased. I decided to donate a portion of those funds to earthquake relief efforts in Nepal and to Black Lives Matter.

A Special Thanks to Kossacks JoanMar and peregrine kate for organizing everything from start to finish.

Thank you to everyone who donated whatever funds they had available.

Thank you to all who donated a tip, a rec, and valuable suggestions.

And thank you, most of all, to the entire Daily Kos community. In fact, I feel as if this is more than my community; I feel as if Daily Kos is my home.

And coming from a guy as transient-minded as myself, that's saying something.

Thank you.

I do want to send a special shoutout, too, to Meteor Blades.

Because it's meaningful (at least to me) when someone with infinity mojo  recs most (and maybe all) of my comments that refer to me even thinking about writing something.

And, as I said, y'all have the right to expect and to ask for more posts and diaries from me which reminds me...

Are Daily Kos bumper stickers a thing? I kinda sorta want to use it as an inventory tag, lol.

Peace, everyone!  


Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 02:09 PM PST

What The Black Man Wanted

by Chitown Kev

Frederick Douglass
Last Sunday evening, I was treated to a black conservative creature feature.

First, there was Stanford professor Dr. Shelby Steele's appearence with The Atlantic magazine national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates on This Week, reported here at Daily Kos by Egberto Willis.

The most shocking statement from Shelby Steele occurred when George Stephanopoulos asked if government action is not the answer to solve the structural wealth disparity between blacks and whites than what is. "You don't close it," said Shelby Steele. "You don't do anything. You leave it alone. You practice as best as possible a discipline of freedom where your struggle is not for some sort of advantage. But your struggle is for freedom itself. That's what you do."
Pretty much at the same time, I was reading Juan Williams' pig-sh*t shoveling paean to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas published in the Wall Street Journal, which I diaried about in the Tuesday's Chile edition of Black Kos. I noted a quote by Black abolitionist/woman's suffragist Frederick Douglass:
In his dissent in Grutter v. Bollinger, a case that preserved the affirmative-action policies of the University of Michigan Law School, he quoted an 1865 speech by Frederick Douglass : “‘What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.’ . . . Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators.”
I doubt that Mr. Douglass was referring, specifically, to "the meddling of university administrators" in an 1865 speech; Mr. Douglass probably had more pressing matters that needed his attention. Nevertheless, I looked up the Douglass speech, What The Black Man Wants, and found a sentiment (talking point?) articulated by Dr. Steele on This Week (and explicitly quoted in Clarence Thomas's Grutter v. Bollinger dissent).
Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, “What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall.
The specific historical context of Frederick Douglass 1865 (impromptu!) speech before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, What The Black Man Wants is, in part, the subject of this diary. The other subject of this diary is the use and abuse of the legacy of Frederick Douglass'  by modern conservatives.
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The madness of unnecessary deaths at the hands of those who "serve and protect" acquired a twist of international celebrity Tuesday as the surfing world mourns the death of professional surfer, Ricardo dos Santos, near his home in Brazil.

From Surfer Magazine

Reports flooded social media channels all day with differing accounts of the incident, but it appears that dos Santos was murdered by an off-duty police officer after an altercation during which dos Santos attempted to stop a group of men from openly using drugs in the street. After being shot three times, dos Santos was flown by helicopter to a local hospital. Doctors performed multiple surgeries, but ultimately the blood loss was too severe, despite waves of blood donors, eager to help save dos Santos’ life.

Local police have taken two men into custody—a pair of brothers, 25 and 17-years-old, with the older of the two suspected to have fired on dos Santos, and reported to be the off-duty cop.

Dos Santos was a fearless, world-class tuberider, who captured the surf world’s attention with an incredible performance at the 2012 Billabong Pro, Tahiti, for which he took home the Andy Irons Forever Inspiration Award. He was recently featured in a gorgeous, pristine barrel on the cover of our November, 2014 issue.

Dos Santos is probably best known for dethroning 11-time world champion Kelly Slater  in the 2012 Billabong Pro Tahiti surfing competition, having entered the competition as a wild card. Slater paid a moving tribute to Santos on Instagram.

Can only SMDH at a death so far removed yet, in many ways, so so familiar.

RIP, brother.


It's appropriate, I suppose, that the city leadership of Ferguson, MO would say something...anything to calm their citizens (who pay their salaries) but a second clarion call for Ferguson residents to stay home when the sun goes down really won't help matters, I don't think.

"It is our hope that as we continue to work for the well-being of Ferguson, residents will stay home at night, allow peace to settle in, and allow for the justice process to take its course," said the city leadership in a press release.
I guess that you can't very well call it a true "sundown town" when the population of Ferguson is over 70% black but it may as well be if you can't see any of the residents, right?

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 02:06 PM PDT

Gabriel Garcia Marquez dead at 87

by Chitown Kev

Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of the world's best known and best loved novelists, passed today at the age of 87.

From the New York Times:

Mr. García Márquez, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, wrote fiction rooted in a mythical Latin American landscape of his own creation, but his appeal was universal. His books were translated into dozens of languages. He was among a select roster of canonical writers — Dickens, Tolstoy and Hemingway among them — who were embraced both by critics and by a mass audience.

“Each new work of his is received by expectant critics and readers as an event of world importance,” the Swedish Academy of Letters said in awarding him the Nobel.

Mr. García Márquez was considered the supreme exponent, if not the creator, of the literary genre known as magic realism, in which the miraculous and the real converge. In his novels and stories, storms rage for years, flowers drift from the skies, tyrants survive for centuries, priests levitate, and corpses fail to decompose. And, more plausibly, lovers rekindle their passion after a half century apart.

I have to admit that I haven't read much Garcia Marquez other than his best-known novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Love in the Time of Cholera, one of my all-time favorite novels.

The literary world lost a giant today.

RIP, sir.

UPDATE: Just read Garcia Marquez's 1982 Nobel Prize Lecture:

Latin America neither wants, nor has any reason, to be a pawn without a will of its own; nor is it merely wishful thinking that its quest for independence and originality should become a Western aspiration. However, the navigational advances that have narrowed such distances between our Americas and Europe seem, conversely, to have accentuated our cultural remoteness. Why is the originality so readily granted us in literature so mistrustfully denied us in our difficult attempts at social change? Why think that the social justice sought by progressive Europeans for their own countries cannot also be a goal for Latin America, with different methods for dissimilar conditions? No: the immeasurable violence and pain of our history are the result of age-old inequities and untold bitterness, and not a conspiracy plotted three thousand leagues from our home. But many European leaders and thinkers have thought so, with the childishness of old-timers who have forgotten the fruitful excess of their youth as if it were impossible to find another destiny than to live at the mercy of the two great masters of the world. This, my friends, is the very scale of our solitude.

In spite of this, to oppression, plundering and abandonment, we respond with life. Neither floods nor plagues, famines nor cataclysms, nor even the eternal wars of century upon century, have been able to subdue the persistent advantage of life over death. An advantage that grows and quickens: every year, there are seventy-four million more births than deaths, a sufficient number of new lives to multiply, each year, the population of New York sevenfold. Most of these births occur in the countries of least resources -- including, of course, those of Latin America. Conversely, the most prosperous countries have succeeded in accumulating powers of destruction such as to annihilate, a hundred times over, not only all the human beings that have existed to this day, but also the totality of all living beings that have ever drawn breath on this planet of misfortune.


(I am honored to fill in at the request of the regular poster of this diary, plf515.)

In this series I note what I am reading and people comment with what they're reading. I have also written occasional reviews here at Daily Kos.  

If you like to trade books, try bookmooch.

Just finished (within the past month or so)
(started and finished)

Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling and a World on the Brink by David Margolick. Political context is everything in this behind the scenes history of the two Louis/Schmeling heavyweight bouts. Good material and illustrations on the reactions of the Nazi press and hierarchy.

Bloomsbury: A House of Lions by Leon Edel. A great introduction to the (in)famous group of early 20th century British intellectuals, writers, and artists by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of a five-volume Henry James biography. Edel’s style in Bloomsbury is (appropriately) a homage to Lytton Strachey. I will probably re-read before the end of the year but only with a compilation of writings by Bloomsbury members (i.e. Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes).

My Life as a Pornographer & Other Indecent Acts by John Preston. A collection of essays, profiles, and lectures by the self-described pornographer. Preston’s 1993 lecture at Harvard and his profile of Samuel Steward are brilliant.

Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis. A quirky and likable memoir of the author’s journey to become a competitive Scrabble player. Fatsis plays up the “freak” angle more than it seems necessary. As a longtime Scrabble aficionado, this book is encouraging me to take "the next step." (studying word lists and rack formations, etc.)

Now reading
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself; a New Critical Edition by Angela Y. Davis including her “Lectures on Liberation” by Frederick Douglass and Angela Davis. The provenance of this reprinting of Davis’ 1969 UCLA lectures on Frederick Douglass is nearly as fascinating a story as Davis’ lectures and Douglass’ narrative.  

Divine Fury: A History of Genius by Darrin M. McMahon. A history of the concept of “genius” from classical antiquity to the present.

Just started
Have Mercy On Us All by Fred Vargas. I’m at page 60 or so of this novel, so I really don't too much know what the mystery is.  I have been enjoying learning a little about the history of "town criers." The detectives, Chief Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and Adrien Danglard, bear more than a little resemblance to Holmes and Watson and the cast of characters that I've been introduced to (thus far) are eclectic. Kind of a Caleb Carr-feel to this novel (which is a good thing!)

The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America by Edward White. A biography of the author and patron of the Harlem Renaissance writers and artists.

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Don Yelton, a Republican Party Precinct Chair for Buncombe County, North Carolina has resigned from his position due to racially offensive comments made about North Carolina's voter ID laws made on The Daily Show.

What's hard for me to believe is that the man is so baldly racist that all of these comments were made in one...just ONE... television interview...

5. "Matter of fact, one of my best friends is black."
4. "When I was a young man, you didn't call a black a black, you called him a negro."
3. "I had a picture one time of Obama sittin' on a stump as a witch doctor and I posted that on Facebook. I was making fun of the white half of Obama, not the black half."
2. "If [the law] hurts the whites so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it."
1. "Now you have a black person using the term n*** this and n*** that and it's okay for them to do it."
Buncombe GOP Party Chairman Henry Mitchell released a statement saying:
Mitchell called the remarks "offensive, uniformed and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party."

"Let me make it very clear, Mr. Yelton's comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe Republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon," Mitchell said in a press release. "This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party."


Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 06:53 PM PDT

You would think that...

by Chitown Kev

more people would investigate more of the goings-on regarding the non-vote on marriage equality in Illinois.

In that light, it is imperative to know a little something about the Downstate Illinois Democratic caucus.

By the way, just how the downstate Democratic Caucus might have voted on the Illinois marriage equality bill if it had been voted on:

There are 19 members of the Illinois Downstate Caucus.

Dan Beiser-No

John Bradley-No

Linda Chapa-LaVia-No

Kate Cloonen- No

Deb Conroy- undecided

Jerry Costello- Likely no

Jack Franks- undecided

Jehan Gordon- Yes (she's black, by the way)

Jay Hoffman- probably no

Eddie Jackson- no

Naomi Jacobson- yes

Chuck Jefferson-no

Stefanie Kifowit- undecided

Frank Mautino- no

Emily Mcasey- probable yes

Brandon Phillips- No

Sue Scherer- undecided, seemed to be leaning no

Elgie Sims- yes (he's black too...)

Mike Smiddy- yes

Larry Walsh- probable yes

Patrick Verschoore- no

Sam Yingling-Yes

anywhere from 9-13 no votes were coming from downstate Illinois.

But the Chicago media, LGBT blogs, and even here at The Great Orange Satan, the Black Caucus has been getting ALL of the blame?! When there were anywhere from 6-8 (or more) white Democrats in downstate Illinois prepared to vote no on SB 10?



This diary will be short and sweet and to the point...

Darius Rucker, lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, last two albums have been well-reviewed and well received country music albums (according to Wikipedia, Rucker has four #1 country singles). But that still didn't stop a racist blowhard from...well, being racist


Darius Rucker performed "Wagon Wheel," a unfinished Bob Dylan song popularly covered by Old Crow Medicine Show in 2004, at the Grand Ole Opry last month. The 47-year-old former frontman of Hootie and the Blowfish also included the famous tune on his latest solo album, "True Believers."

Rucker just couldn't ignore one country music fan's response to his song choice over the weekend, firing back at a fan who tweeted: "Leave country to the white folk."

"WOW. Is this 2013 or 1913," Rucker hit back.

"I'll take my grand ole Opry membership and leave your racism," the country music star said.

Rucker has been getting a mostly positive response on Twitter.

The sad thing is I'm not at all surprised that Rucker got the tweet but I am a bit surprised by the positive responses and support that Rucker received for his response.

Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Professor of Law and Ethics at The University of Chicago, believes that it is her duty to address the general public as well as her academic peers. In a 2008 interview, Dr. Nussbaum decried “the academic professionalization of philosophy,” noting that moral and political philosophers, traditionally, “addressed a wider public.” In the public sphere, Dr. Nussbaum has collaborated with Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen and others in developing “the capabilities approach,” which, in turn, lead to the development of new indicies designed to calculate wealth, development, and growth in nations (i.e. The Human Development Index).  She has traveled extensively to India and done fieldwork with Indian feminists in improving the conditions of impoverished women in that part of the world. Her early academic work dealt with the intersection of philosophy and literature and the emotions, the subjects of books like The Fragility of Goodness, Love’s Knowledge, and the Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. Her 19th book, Philosophical Interventions, is “the record of twenty-five years of engagement with political and cultural issues from the vantage point of philosophy through the genre of the book review.” Altogether, PI has 35 (mostly) book reviews; 75% of the book reviews were originally published in The New York Review of Books and The New Republic. Dr. Nussbaum’s collection, her first career retrospective, covers a vast array of subject matter, including feminism, philosophy, classics, education, law, and literature. In addition to the reviews of mostly scholarly and academic books, there are two film reviews and a poetry review, as well as some introductory remarks.
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