Published: February 21, 2009
A headline in The New York Sun on Sept. 4, 1940, captured accurately, albeit with amused condescension, the startling anomaly embodied by Conchita Cintrón: “She’s a Timid Blue Eyed Girl But — She Kills Bulls Without Qualms.”
February 21, 2009    

Associated Press

Conchita Cintrón photographed in 1947 in Bayonne, France.

Associated Press/J. Sosa

Conchita Cintrón



Ms. Cintrón was 18 years old then and, as the headline went on to announce, had never been on a date, but she was already an international star of the bullring, a prodigy who was on her way to becoming perhaps the most celebrated torera in history. She was known as la Diosa Rubia, the Blonde Goddess.
“I have never had any qualms about it,” she said of her deadly skill in the article. “A qualm or a cringe before 1,200 pounds of enraged bull would be sure death.”
Ms. Cintrón, who retired from bullfighting after having killed as many as 750 bulls in the ring, died in Lisbon on Tuesday. She was 86.
The cause of death was a heart attack, family members told the Portuguese news agency Lusa. Her death and burial were confirmed by a funeral agency and a local church, The Associated Press reported.
“She made an indelible mark on a period of bullfighting history,” Hugo Ferro, of the Portuguese Bullfighters’ Union, said in an interview with The A.P.
Ms. Cintrón, an expert horsewoman and a dedicated athlete who was known for her seriousness of purpose and serene manner, was unusual in that she mastered two styles of bullfighting: Spanish, in which the matador (or matadora, in her case) is on foot, and Portuguese, in which the bullfighter is on horseback and known as a rejoneador or rejoneadora. She was one of the very few — if not the only, as some reports said — who used both styles in the same fight, opposing the bull first on foot, giving it a series of cape passes; then on horseback, from which she provoked the bull with short, barbed sticks; and finally making the kill, once again on foot.
She was injured many times in the ring and seriously gored twice, once in each thigh; both times she fought on and killed the bull. She described the technique of killing a bull in an interview with The A.P. in 1940.
“The bull to a certain extent commits suicide when he charges,” she said. “There is a little spot just forward of the shoulders which is not exposed to the matador’s sword unless the bull is charging.”
She continued: “No, it doesn’t take great strength to kill a bull. It does take a keen eye, a steady nerve and a true hand. But if the sword strikes the proper spot, it penetrates easily.”
She was born Concepción Cintrón Verrill in Antofagasta, Chile, on Aug. 9, 1922. Her parents were American. Her father, Frank Cintrón, was from Puerto Rico, a graduate of West Point and for a time a career Army officer before becoming a businessman in South America. Her mother, Loyola Verrill, was from Connecticut; in 1960 she wrote a book about her daughter’s life, “Goddess of the Bullring,” under the name Lola Verrill Cintrón.
When Ms. Cintrón was still an infant, the family moved to Lima, Peru, where she grew up and where she came under the tutelage of Ruy da Cámara, once a renowned rejoneador, who had just opened a riding school. He was taken with her, then age 11. She became his prize pupil, and in the early years of her international travel he was her chaperon. “My maestro,” she called him throughout her life.
Mr. da Cámara also tutored her in fighting bulls on foot — and killing them. She entered the bullring for the first time in Portugal at 13; she killed her first bull, in Tarma, Peru, at 15. When her autobiography, “Memoirs of a Bullfighter,” was published in 1968, an article in Vogue described how she got used to the idea of killing by practicing at a slaughterhouse, for days on end jabbing in vain at doomed oxen with a dagger.
“Day after day, sick at the gore, she went back to stab at more animals who bellowed and did not die,” the Vogue reporter, Robert Daley, wrote. “A friend told her she was closing her eyes with each stroke and thus missing the vital spinal gap behind the horns; she hated the idea of killing as much as that. She determined to kill that day’s six oxen with six strokes, keeping her eyes open, or give up bullfighting. She killed them each instantly, painlessly, and returned to Lima, singing.”
In 1949, Ms. Cintrón, who had fought in Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Portugal, Spain and France, declared she would give up bullfighting to get married if she should find a suitable man, an intellectual “who can dominate me,” she said in an interview with The New York Post. “All my professional life I have been dominating bulls, and I don’t want that to happen to the man I choose to marry.”
In 1951, she married Francisco de Castelo Branco, Mr. da Cámara’s nephew, a businessman and big-game hunter from a titled Portuguese family. They had a son, who survives her.
In her retirement she became an unofficial diplomat, working with the Peruvian Embassy in Portugal, and a breeder of hardy Portuguese water dogs.
Her final bullfight was legendary. (Some sources say it was her penultimate fight.) It was in Jaén, Spain, in 1949, and as the fight ended, she flouted the Spanish law that prohibited women from fighting a bull on foot. Dismounting, she allowed the bull to approach her but did not kill it, touching the bull lovingly with her hand instead as it hurtled by her. Another bullfighter completed the killing. She was immediately arrested, and then pardoned, as the crowd cheered, and she was awarded the highest honor of the ring: both of the bull’s ears and the tail. She wept as she left the arena.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: February 21, 2009
Alfred J. Kahn, a social-policy scholar and an educator who turned a critical eye on failures of local and state governments in child development and family support, and who later argued for a European-style social-welfare system available to all citizens, died on Feb. 13 in Hackensack, N.J. He was 90 and lived in Cliffside Park, N.J.
The death was confirmed by his daughter, Nancy Valerie Kahn.
Mr. Kahn, who taught at the Columbia University School of Social Work for 57 years, was a one-man watchdog organization who monitored the social services offered by the city and state of New York, most visibly as a longtime consultant to the Citizens’ Committee for Children, for which he wrote dozens of reports on matters like truancy, children’s courts and child-guidance programs.
“I represent a concern for what is being accomplished, rather than what is being done,” he told The New York Post in 1965. “‘Services rendered’ are not enough. I want to know what’s going on.”
Beginning in the 1970s, when social policy makers largely ignored developments in other industrialized countries, he carried out pioneering studies on social-welfare systems in Europe and their possible implications for the United States.
“He introduced comparative social policy to the United States,” said Sheila B. Kamerman, his collaborator on numerous reports by the Cross-National Studies Research Program at the School for Social Work.
Alfred Joseph Kahn was born in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and in the Bronx, where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. After graduating from City College in 1939, he earned a degree in Hebrew letters from the Seminary College of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
In World War II, Mr. Kahn was assigned to the Air Force’s first mental-hygiene unit, at Drew Field in Florida, where he studied the relationship between childhood truancy and a predisposition to break down under the stress of battle or to go AWOL. The experience led to his interest in childhood development and social welfare.
After earning a master’s degree in social work, he became an instructor at Columbia’s School of Social Work in 1947, and in 1952 he earned the first doctorate in social welfare granted by the school. For the next half century he wrote about 25 books and hundreds of articles intended to change ideas, and eventually government policy, on a wide range of social issues.
His early work focused on childhood development and delinquency. He lent his expertise to numerous government agencies and social-welfare organizations on issues relating to the family, child welfare and income support. In the early 1980s, he was chairman of the Committee on Child Development Research and Public Policy of the National Academy of Science.
In the late 1960s he broadened his focus to study poverty and its causes, and the role of social services in raising living standards. Government social services, he argued, should be regarded not as a form of welfare, but as a “social utility,” like fire departments and post offices. Such benefits, he said, ought to be “good enough for every American, not for the poor alone.” His comparative studies of European welfare systems were designed to shed light on this issue.
In addition to his daughter, Ms. Kahn, who lives in Manhattan, he is survived by a brother, Melvin, of Paramus, N.J., and a sister, Batya Weissman, of Burnsville, Minn.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: February 19, 2009
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The R&B singer and guitarist Snooks Eaglin, who counted platinum-selling rockers among his fans, died here Wednesday. He was 72.
Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos

Snooks Eaglin in 2001.


The cause was a heart attack he suffered after falling ill and being hospitalized last week, said John Blancher, a family friend. Mr. Eaglin learned he had prostate cancer last year.
Musicians including Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant and Bonnie Raitt would seek out Mr. Eaglin to watch him perform, Mr. Blancher said. But New Orleans musicians knew him best.
“He played with a certain finger style that was highly unusual,” said the pianist Allen Toussaint, who was 13 when he formed a band with Mr. Eaglin. “He was unlimited on the guitar. Folks would assume, ‘I can do this or I can do that,’ but Snooks wouldn’t. There was nothing he couldn’t do. It was extraordinary.”
Mr. Eaglin was scheduled to perform this year at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where he was a popular draw. Quint Davis, the event’s producer, said his death leaves a hole in the festival and also in the city’s music scene.
“His death is like losing a Dizzy Gillespie, a Professor Longhair, a Johnny Adams or a Gatemouth Brown,” Mr. Davis said. “He’s one of those unique giants of New Orleans music.”
Mr. Eaglin was known for picking strings with his thumb nail. He played and recorded with New Orleans musicians including Professor Longhair, the Wild Magnolias and others. Blind from the time he was a young child, Mr. Eaglin was a self-taught musician who learned to play the guitar by listening to the radio. Playing the guitar with his thumb nail allowed him to perform very fast, Mr. Davis said.
One of Mr. Eaglin’s best-known songs was “Funky Malaguena,” a Latin song that he played with an unconventional funk and blues spin, Mr. Davis said.
Mr. Eaglin is part of 50 years’ worth of New Orleans recordings, from early folk to R&B and jazz, Mr. Davis said. “He played a six-string, a 12-string,” he said. “He could play anything with strings on it.”
The jazz bassist Peter Badie, who played with Mr. Eaglin in the 1960s at clubs on Rampart Street, said that “a lot of cats tried to copy him, the way he attacked the strings, but they couldn’t.”
Mr. Eaglin’s survivors include his wife of more than 30 years, Dorothea Eaglin, and a daughter.
SOURCE: The New York Times:
Published: February 18, 2009
DAKAR, Senegal (Agence France-Presse) — Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye, the veteran curator of Senegal’s historic House of Slaves, whose famous visitors included Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton, died here on Feb. 6. He was 86.
CAB Productions

Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye, in a 2007 documentary, at the House of Slaves in Senegal.



His death after an illness was announced by Hamady Bocoum, director of cultural heritage at Senegal’s Culture Ministry.
For 40 years, Mr. Ndiaye oversaw the memorial on Gorée Island, off the coast of Senegal at Dakar. The island was used to hold captured Africans before their perilous voyage to the Americas. “He was the main architect of the defense of the memory of the Atlantic slave trade, the man most fervent and unrelenting against any revisionism,” Mr. Bocoum said.
Mr. Ndiaye was born on Oct. 15, 1922, in Rufisque, near Dakar, and was among the soldiers from French colonies who fought for France during World War II and the Vietnam War.
After Mr. Ndiaye’s military career ended, he worked in commerce before dedicating his life to the House of Slaves.
He often said he would talk about the history of the slave trade “all my life.”
Countless tourists came to hear Mr. Ndiaye recount the mistreatment suffered by African slaves. Besides Mr. Mandela and Mr. Clinton, his visitors included celebrities, other heads of state and dignitaries including Pope John Paul II.
Mr. Ndiaye had two wives and seven children.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: February 19, 2009
J. Max Bond Jr., long the most influential African-American architect in New York and one of a few black architects of national prominence, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 73 and lived in Manhattan.
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Mr. Bond was an educator as well as an influential architect.

February 19, 2009    

Davis Brody Bond

Projects designed by J. Max Bond Jr. included the Bolgatanga Regional Library in Ghana.

February 19, 2009    

Roy J. Wright Photography

Mr. Bond also designed the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park in Upper Manhattan.



The cause was cancer, said Steven M. Davis, a partner of Mr. Bond’s in the firm Davis Brody Bond Aedas.
At his death, Mr. Bond was the partner in charge of the museum portion of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center. Davis Brody Bond is also the associate architect for the memorial.
But Mr. Bond’s reputation did not rest solely — or even principally — on design. He was known as an educator, at City College and Columbia University; an exemplar to younger minority architects; and a prickly voice of conscience within his profession on issues of racial and economic justice. “Architecture inevitably involves all the larger issues of society,” he said in a 2003 interview.
Gordon J. Davis, the founding chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center, said Mr. Bond had a “steel spine and rock-hard determination — qualities always masked by a handsome gentlemanly exterior, a gracious and extraordinarily collegial persona, and so many of the characteristics that are hallmarks of a great and wonderful teacher and mentor.”
From boyhood curiosity about a staircase in a Tuskegee Institute dormitory, through a trip to Tunisia that opened his eyes to North African construction, Mr. Bond developed a love of architecture. But at Harvard, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1955 and a master’s degree in 1958, he was counseled by a faculty member to forego his architectural aspirations because of his race. He persevered, despite the barriers in what was an almost all-white profession.
His early career took him to France, where he worked with André Wogenscky; to New York, where he was at Gruzen & Partners and Pedersen & Tilney; and to Ghana, where he worked for the government from 1964 to 1967. There, in the northern part of the country, he designed the Bolgatanga Regional Library, four buildings under the broad shade of a tabletop-like roof intended, along with natural ventilation, to eliminate the need for air-conditioning.
Mr. Bond led the Architects Renewal Committee of Harlem before founding the firm Bond Ryder & Associates in 1970, with Donald P. Ryder. Foremost among its projects were the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, which includes Dr. King’s tomb; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama.
When Mr. Ryder retired in 1990 the firm merged with Davis, Brody & Associates.
There, Mr. Bond was partner in charge of the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park for Columbia University in Upper Manhattan, which included the redevelopment of the Audubon Ballroom, where Malcolm X was assassinated. In 1992, Herbert Muschamp, then the architecture critic of The New York Times, said the design “gives new meaning to the term civil engineering: it seeks to balance by formal means the competing stakes in the land the building will occupy.”
That is not to say Mr. Bond’s work was universally admired. In 2001 his modernist addition to the Harvard Club of New York, at 27 West 44th Street, was harshly criticized by some club members as unsympathetic and inappropriate.
Mr. Bond’s family included the prominent 20th-century educator Horace Mann Bond and the civil-rights leader Julian Bond. His father, J. Max Bond Sr., was president of the University of Liberia in the early 1950s. His mother, Ruth C. Bond, also an educator, was renowned for quilts she designed in the mid-1930s.
Mr. Bond’s wife, Jean Carey Bond, survives him, as do their children, Ruth M. Bond of San Francisco and Carey Julian Bond of Manhattan; three grandchildren; a sister, Jane Clement Bond of Manhattan; and a brother, George Clement Bond of Teaneck, N.J.
Mr. Bond served on the New York City Planning Commission from 1980 to 1986. He was chairman of the architecture division at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning from 1980 to 1984 and dean of the School of Architecture and Environmental Studies at City College from 1985 to 1992.
Despite these insider’s credentials, Mr. Bond never lost an outsider’s perspective, applying it critically in 2003 to early plans that called for public spaces high up in the new skyscrapers at the World Trade Center site.
“It’s always been difficult for young blacks, for young Hispanics, for anyone who looks aberrant to get access to the upper realms of Wall Street towers,” Mr. Bond said. “For a city of immigrants, the public realm is more than ever now the street.”
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: February 17, 2009
Virgil Lee Griffin, who was an 18-year-old pumping gas when he joined the Ku Klux Klan and rose to become a prominent leader, particularly in the bloody clash between the Klan and leftist union organizers in Greensboro, N.C., in 1979, died Feb. 11 in Gastonia, N.C. He was 64.
Associated Press

Virgil Lee Griffin in 1981.



His death was announced by Woodlawn Funeral Home in Mount Holly, N.C., where Mr. Griffin lived. It gave no cause of death, but Mr. Griffin was known to have had two heart attacks and other health problems.
On Nov. 3, 1979, members of the Communist Workers Party, which was organizing textile workers in North Carolina, staged a “Death to the Klan” rally. Klansmen and members of the American Nazi Party held a counterdemonstration.
The Klansmen and the Nazis drove a caravan of cars through the throng of leftist demonstrators. Everybody seemed to agree that the leftists began hitting the cars, but accounts of what happened next differed widely. The leftists contended that the Klansmen and the Nazis left their cars and opened fire with shotguns, rifles and pistols. Five leftists were killed and 10 injured.
The Klansmen and Nazis contended that they reacted in self-defense to having their cars attacked. They said the leftists fired the first shot. Mr. Griffin said the shots that hit the demonstrators were not aimed at them.
“Maybe God guided the bullets,” he said.
In 1980, six Klansmen and Nazis, not including Mr. Griffin, were acquitted of murder charges in North Carolina state court. In 1984, Mr. Griffin was among nine acquitted in federal court on charges of violating the leftists’ civil rights.
Mr. Griffin was jubilant. “No matter what the communists say,” he said, “the K.K.K. is here to stay.”
What came to be called the Greensboro Massacre was recorded by four camera crews. The images were shown nationally, and critics of the not-guilty verdicts have since used them to try to press their case that the Klansmen and Nazis were guilty. The juries, however, said they saw nothing but confusion. The case was further complicated by the actions of informants for both the local police and the F.B.I. who had infiltrated the Klan.
In 2005, the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission held hearings in Greensboro to try to examine the events of 1979. In response to a question about race, Mr. Griffin said that he had grown up picking cotton and played with blacks as a child. He then worked at a gas station as what he called “a halfway mechanic.” He said black customers would ask for him first. A member of the commission asked if they knew he was in the Klan.
“Yes, ma’am,” he answered. “As much as I’m on TV, I’m sure everyone of them knew I was in the Klan. They knew what I was. And I knew they was in the N.A.A.C.P. What they do is their business.”
His reason for joining the Klan, he told the commission, was that he did not believe in mixing the races, particularly in marriage. “I’ll work around them,” he said, “but when I go home, I go home.”
Over the years, Mr. Griffin moved from the leadership of one splinter of the Klan to another. In 1979, he was identified in The New York Times as grand dragon of the North Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He later founded the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and has most recently been identified as the imperial wizard of the Cleveland Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He was known for organizing many marches.
For most of the last three decades, the Klan has lost both prominence and viciousness, according to the Anti-Defamation League and other anti-hate groups. But its opposition to illegal immigration has helped draw new sympathizers, and Mr. Griffin tried to be a leader in that effort.
“Shoot one, and let them know we are sealing our borders,” he said in an interview with of Charlotte, N.C.
Mr. Griffin is survived by his wife, Linda; his sisters, Geraldine Peebles and Janie Weant; his daughters, Linda Dellinger and Shirley Williams; his sons, John and James; 14 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Seeking Closure on ‘Greensboro Massacre‘ (…3, 1979, “Greensboro Massacre” that took place in broad daylight and was taped by local television news crews. No one was convicted in two criminal trials… – Similar pages Democracy Now! | Remembering the 1979 Greensboro Massacre: 2…

Nov 18, 2004 This month marks the 25th Anniversary of the Greensboro Massacre, when forty Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis opened fire on an anti-Klan… – 45k – Similar pages

Democracy Now! | Survivors of 1979 Greensboro MassJul 19, 2005 We look back at the 1979 Greensboro Massacre, when forty Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis opened fire on an anti-Klan demonstration in


 25 Years After

Greensboro Massacre: We Will Not Forget!

Reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 835, 29 October 2004.

On 3 November 1979, in broad daylight, nine carloads of Klansmen and Nazis drove up to a black housing project in Greensboro, North Carolina, where an anti-Klan rally was gathering. With cool deliberation, the killers took out their weapons, aimed, fired and drove off. Five union officials and organizers and civil rights activists—supporters of the Communist Workers Party—lay dying in pools of blood. Ten others were wounded or maimed for life. The Greensboro Massacre was the bloodiest fascist attack in the U.S. in decades.

Greensboro was a conspiracy of the fascists and their capitalist state patrons. From the outset, the fascists were aided and abetted by the government, from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who helped train the killers and plot the assassinations, to the “former” FBI informer who rode shotgun in the motorcade of death and the Greensboro cop who brought up the rear. When the two-minute fusillade ended, the cops moved in to arrest the survivors for “rioting.”

Signe Waller, widow of Greensboro martyr Jim Waller, recounted, “The FBI had men going around the textile mills and showing people pictures, asking for their identification. Many of the pictures were of people who were later killed in the Greensboro Massacre, and one of them was Jim’s” (The Carolinian Online, 18 October). Two successive all-white juries acquitted the killers of all charges, affirming once again the meaning of “justice” in this racist capitalist country.

Carried out during the Democratic Carter administration, the Greensboro Massacre was the opening shot of what would be the Reagan years’ war on labor and blacks. When the Klan announced it would “celebrate” this massacre on November 10 in Detroit, the Spartacist League initiated a labor/black mobilization that drew over 500, many of them black auto workers, who made sure that the Klan did not ride in the Motor City. In organizing the protest we had to […]

Published: February 18, 2009
Joe Cuba, the band leader and conga player who became known as the father of Latin boogaloo because of a string of innovative hit records in the 1960s and ’70s that fused Latin and soul elements, died in Manhattan on Sunday. He was 78 and lived in New York City.
February 18, 2009    

Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos

Joe Cuba performing with his sextet at S.O.B.’s in 1996.

The cause was a generalized bacterial infection, said Aurora Flores, a family friend and spokeswoman for his recording label. Mr. Cuba had been in and out of hospitals since hip replacement surgery last year, she said.
Originally the leader of a Latin band with jazz leanings, Mr. Cuba found commercial success by mixing rhythm and blues into his music and Spanish and English into his lyrics. Hits like “Sock It to Me Baby” and “Bang Bang,” both from 1967, demonstrated a crossover popularity that was unusual for the time, appealing almost equally to Latinos, blacks and mainstream audiences.
“Joe was really the pioneer in making the move to singing in both languages, and it blended very well with those up tempos he liked to use,” said the jazz and salsa pianist Eddie Palmieri, who first met Mr. Cuba in 1955, when both men were playing in the Catskills. “He takes a top position in the history of the music for that, and also because he showed what you can do with a small group.”
Born Gilberto Miguel Calderon in the Spanish Harlem section of Manhattan, to parents who had migrated to the city from Puerto Rico, Mr. Cuba took up the conga drums as a teenager. He enrolled in college, but after seeing the percussionist Tito Puente in performance and striking up a friendship with him, decided to become a professional musician.
After stints in several New York-based ensembles, Mr. Cuba formed his own group in the mid-1950s, at the height of the mambo dance craze. At his agent’s suggestion, he soon changed the band’s name from the Jose Calderon Sextet to the Joe Cuba Sextet. The group found work playing shows of all kinds, from weddings to Latin dance parties, up and down the Eastern seaboard.
In contrast to the majority of Latin orchestras of the era, which were larger and relied on trombones and other brass instruments to define their sound, Mr. Cuba’s group went for a cooler approach. A vibraphone and piano often played the main melodic lines, floating atop a strong and assertive rhythm section.
“A bastard sound” is what Mr. Cuba called the “Latin boogaloo” style he pioneered in the mid-1960s. “You don’t go into a rehearsal and say, ‘Hey, let’s invent a new sound or dance,’ ” he explained in the book “Salsa Talks! A Musical Heritage Uncovered” (Digital Domain, 2005), by Mary Kent. “They happen.”
“The boogaloo came out of left field,” he said, and was the result of years of playing dances and watching to see how “the audience relates to what you are doing.”
Mr. Cuba is survived by his wife, Maria Calderon; three children, Mitchell, Cesar and Lisa; and three grandchildren.
The rise in popularity of Mr. Cuba’s bilingual songs and mixture of American and Caribbean rhythms coincided with the emergence of a distinct Nuyorican identity among Puerto Rican New Yorkers, and Mr. Cuba became one of the most visible symbols of that phenomenon.
“He was the soul of El Barrio,” said Hector Maisonave, a veteran talent manager and show booker, “but he also knew how to break down and reach across barriers.”
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: February 17, 2009
Xiangzhong Yang, a reproductive biologist who did early work on the cloning of farm animals and helped establish the safety of meat and milk produced by cloned cattle, died Feb. 5 in Boston. He was 49.
Jack Sauer/Associated Press

Jerry Yang in 2003.


The cause was complications of cancer, his family said.
In the 1990s, Dr. Yang, who was known to friends and colleagues as Jerry, worked at the University of Connecticut to refine the cloning of cows and bulls through use of adult cells harvested from animals.
In 1996, Scottish researchers cloned a sheep with cells taken from another sheep’s mammary tissue. That famous clone, named for Dolly Parton, was considered an advance on earlier cloning experiments, which relied on embryonic tissue for their biochemical seed material.
Dr. Yang collaborated with Japanese scientists in 1998 to clone a prize bull with cells scratched from the animal’s ear. The resulting clone proved that viable cells were relatively easy to obtain and could improve efficiency in cloning cattle for size and weight, high milk production and other favorable genetic traits.
With other researchers, Dr. Yang then used adult cells to clone a cow at the Storrs campus of UConn in 1999. That clone, named Amy, was a “further and important refinement of the techniques we use in the basic cloning of large animals,” said George E. Seidel Jr., a professor of biochemical sciences at Colorado State University.
At UConn, Dr. Yang gathered researchers to help found the university’s Center for Regenerative Biology in 2001. As the center’s director, he continued his studies of cell differentiation, with the goal of producing tissue to be used in heart surgery, organ replacement, repairs of birth defects and other medical procedures. Scientists at UConn and elsewhere are seeking ways to use a patient’s own cells to grow tissue that will not be rejected by the immune system.
Dr. Yang and others also studied the milk and meat of cloned cattle, to determine whether they differed from those of cows that had been reproduced sexually. Their results, published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2005, suggested no significant differences. In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration issued a review of cloned pigs, goats and cattle that found the livestock to be at least as safe to consume as conventionally bred animals.
Xiangzhong Yang was born on a farming collective about 300 miles south of Beijing. After graduating from Beijing Agricultural University, he studied at Cornell, receiving his doctorate in reproductive physiology in 1990.
He was named an associate professor of animal science and biotechnology at UConn in 1996 and became a professor of animal science there in 2000.
Dr. Yang, who lived in Storrs, is survived by his wife, Xiuchun Tian, an associate professor of animal science at UConn; a son, Andrew, also of Storrs; and his parents, three brothers and a sister, all of China.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: February 18, 2009
Marina Svetlova, who played an important role in American dance education after a wide-ranging performing career in international ballet from the 1930s to the 1960s, died on Feb. 11 at her home in Bloomington, Ind. She was 86.
Bruno of Hollywood, N.Y.C.

Marina Svetlova about 1951.


She died after being in failing health since a stroke several years ago, said Lawrence Davis, a longtime friend.
Ms. Svetlova made her professional debut as a child in 1931 in Paris with the legendary experimental troupe of Ida Rubinstein. A soloist with the Original Ballet Russe and a ballerina with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, she later earned a reputation as a major teacher.
She was professor of ballet and chairwoman of the ballet department at Indiana University in Bloomington from 1969 to 1992. Hundreds of young students trained with her at the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester from 1959 to 1964. And she directed her own summer school, the Svetlova Dance Center in Dorset, Vt., from 1965 to 1995. She also choreographed for regional opera companies from the 1960s to the early 1980s.
Ms. Svetlova was born Yvette von Hartmann in Paris on May 3, 1922, to Russian parents and studied there with Vera Trefilova, Lubov Egorova and other Russian émigré ballerinas as well as with Anatole Vilzak in New York from 1940 to 1957.
After appearing with Rubinstein’s troupe in “Amphion,” a ballet inspired by Paul Valéry’s poem about the god Mercury, and choreographed in Constructivist style by Léonide Massine, the young dancer attracted notice by winning ballet prizes in Paris.
From 1939 through 1941, she was a soloist with the Original Ballet Russe, one of the successor companies to Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, and danced on its 10-month tour of Australia during the first months of World War II. It was on that tour that David Lichine choreographed “Graduation Ball,” a comic work about a cadet ball that became a classic of American ballet companies. In an early version, Ms. Svetlova appeared in a now-discarded trio, titled the “Mathematics and Natural History Lesson.” She portrayed a pupil facing two women dressed as balding professors who held a compass and a butterfly net.
Ms. Svetlova’s classical training was put to more conventional use when she danced leading roles in “Aurora’s Wedding” from “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Les Sylphides.”
When the company was in New York in 1941, George Balanchine choreographed “Balustrade,” to a Stravinsky score, with Ms. Svetlova in its second section. In 1968, she worked with Stravinsky, staging his “Histoire du Soldat” in Seattle.
Ms. Svetlova was guest artist with Ballet Theater (now American Ballet Theater) in 1943, shortly before she joined the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, where she was its ballerina from 1943 to 1950, often partnered by Leon Varkas. She danced with the New York City Opera in 1951-52 and toured nationally and internationally with her own concert group from 1944 to 1969.
No immediate family members survive.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: February 16, 2009
Alfred A. Knopf Jr., who left the noted publishing house run by his parents to become one of the founders of Atheneum Publishers in 1959, died on Saturday. He was 90, the last of the surviving founders, and lived in New York City.

Alfred A. Knopf Jr. in 1978; in 1959, a brownstone bookman.



The cause of death was complications following a fall, his wife, Alice, said.
The only child of the publishing giants Alfred A. and Blanche Wolf Knopf, Pat Knopf, as he was called, worked at his parents’ company, concentrating mainly on sales and marketing, when he approached his father about hiring the editor Simon Michael Bessie as the Knopfs’ eventual successor. Mr. Bessie had recently been passed over for the position of editor in chief at Harper & Row in favor of Evan Thomas.
When his father refused, blaming his mother’s resistance (she apparently didn’t like Mr. Bessie), Mr. Knopf said in an interview in 2005, Mr. Knopf (pronounced with a hard “k”) decided to join Mr. Bessie and Hiram Haydn, an editor at Bobbs-Merrill, in founding Atheneum. They lined up four backers, each willing to put up $250,000, and established their offices in a four-story brownstone on East 38th Street. Cornelia Schaeffer, who would later become Mr. Bessie’s wife, joined the house as an editor about a year after its founding.
Atheneum got lucky fast. Its first three lists produced three No. 1 best sellers: “The Last of the Just” (1960), a novel about the Holocaust by André Schwarz-Bart; “The Making of the President, 1960” (1961), the first in Theodore H. White’s series on presidential campaigns; and “The Rothschilds: A Family Portrait” (1962) by Frederic Morton. These books were acquired by Mr. Bessie, although by informal understanding each of the founders had to agree on every book the house published.
Other projects, if not best sellers, also did well for the house. The first list included Jan de Hartog’s crime novel “The Inspector,” Wright Morris’s “Ceremony in Lone Tree” and William Goldman’s “Soldier in the Rain.” Atheneum later published Edward Albee’s play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1962), which sold more than 70,000 copies in hard- and softcover editions. On the other hand, having published Mario Puzo’s second novel, “The Fortunate Pilgrim” (1965), the house turned down “The Godfather” (published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 1969). Mr. Haydn thought it “junk,” Mr. Knopf said.
Although the founders called on their backers for what Mr. Knopf said was almost a second million, in part to start up a children’s book division in 1964, Atheneum prospered, and the three founders were able to exercise options to buy the company’s stock. “We had good lawyers,” Mr. Knopf later commented in an interview. “Everybody, including the original backers, was very happy.”
In the 1970s, economic conditions began to make it harder for independent publishers to stay afloat. After selling 10 percent of the company to Raytheon, the electronics conglomerate, Atheneum in 1978 merged with Charles Scribner’s Sons, another independent house, to form a third entity, Scribner Book Companies, of which Charles Scribner Jr. became chairman and Mr. Knopf vice chairman, although both houses continued to operate independently. Mr. Haydn and Mr. Bessie had both left Atheneum by then.
In 1984, Scribner Book Companies was acquired by Macmillan Inc., and Mr. Knopf assumed responsibility for all adult books put out by Scribner’s houses. He continued as a senior vice president of Macmillan until his retirement in 1988.
Mr. Knopf was born in White Plains, N.Y., on June 17, 1918. At 7 he was sent to boarding school, first at the Riverdale Country Day School, in the Bronx, then from 1933 until 1937 at Phillips Exeter Academy. The summer after he graduated from Exeter, according to a 1959 story in Time magazine, he ran away from home, despondent over being turned down by Princeton and determined (he said in a note) not to return until he made good.
Following a police search, he was found in Salt Lake City, “barefoot, hungry and broke.”
After attending Union College for three years, he was inspired by the Veronica Lake film “I Wanted Wings” to join the United States Army Air Force, which called him up in December 1941. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his work in the 446th Bomb Group in the Eighth Air Force, rising to the rank of captain. (Union awarded him a B.A. in 1945.)
When he was discharged, he telephoned his father, who asked what he planned to do for a career. “I guess I’m going to work for you,” he said, and did. In 1952, he married Alice Laine. They had three children, Alison Insinger and Susan Knopf of New York and David A. Knopf of San Francisco.
SOURCE:  The new York Times:
Published: February 17, 2009
Louie Bellson, a crisp and dazzling drummer who worked with many of the major figures of the swing era and a gracious entertainer who made frequent appearances at the White House and on “The Tonight Show,” died on Saturday in Los Angeles.
February 17, 2009    

Fraser MacPherson Estate, via Creative Commons License

Louie Bellson playing percussion with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1952, with, from left, Cat Anderson and Clark Terry.

He was 84 and lived in Los Angeles. His death was announced by Remo, the drum company for which he was a vice president. Matt Connors, the company’s manager for artist relations, said Mr. Bellson had been recovering from a broken hip since November.
Mr. Bellson was a dynamic, spectacular soloist known for his use of two bass drums, a technique he pioneered as a teenager and developed from a novelty into a serious mode of expression. But he wasn’t strictly a solo exhibitionist: his attentiveness and precision made him a highly successful sideman, and he was capable of extreme subtlety.
He always proudly maintained that Duke Ellington had called him the world’s greatest drummer. During his tenure with the Ellington band in the early 1950s he was often granted a long drum feature, which he attacked with relish and poise. He also wrote compositions like “The Hawk Talks” and “Skin Deep” that were regularly performed by the band. Later, in 1965, he participated in Ellington’s first Sacred Concert.
Before joining Ellington’s band, Mr. Bellson logged time with the top-flight orchestras of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Harry James. He later worked briefly with Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald. As a regular on the impresario Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic tours in the 1950s, he appeared in combos with all-stars like the trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, the alto saxophonist Benny Carter, and the pianists Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson.
In 1952 Mr. Bellson married the singer and actress Pearl Bailey, who had a Top 10 hit that year with her version of “Takes Two to Tango.” He became her bandleader, and their high visibility was significant at a time when interracial relationships were far from common.
Partly because of Ms. Bailey’s political views, the couple enjoyed warm relationships with the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford, and they were often invited to the White House.
Ms. Bailey died in 1990. Among Mr. Bellson’s survivors is Francine Bellson, his second wife and manager.
Mr. Bellson was born Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni in Rock Falls, Ill., on July 6, 1924. His father owned a music store, and he began playing drums at age 3. He was a considerable talent by his teenage years: at 17 he won the Slingerland National Gene Krupa contest, beating out thousands of other young competitors. (Krupa, one of the world’s most popular drummers at the time, picked him as the winner.)
The combination of energy, precision and showmanship that marked Mr. Bellson’s playing was perfect for the big-band era and made him a worthy competitor and colleague to the other drummers in his league. Buddy Rich, with whom he sometimes sparred in heavily promoted drum battles, was among those who professed their lifelong admiration.
Mr. Bellson also led his own bands for decades: small groups as well as ensembles like the Big Band Explosion. In 1969 his was the band chosen to back James Brown on “Soul on Top,” a crossover jazz album released on the King label. In contrast to many of his contemporaries, Mr. Bellson spoke appreciatively of popular music, including rock ’n’ roll, throughout his career.
He was also a prolific composer who performed and recorded a number of his own pieces, sometimes branching beyond swing to orchestral and choral work. Especially in his later years, he was a tireless educator and clinician who nurtured generations of young musicians, particularly fellow drummers.
Among the honors Mr. Bellson received were a Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Living Jazz Legend Award from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He was also designated an ASCAP Jazz Living Legend by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Mr. Bellson remained active until his recent injury. On his own label, Percussion Power, he released “The Sacred Music of Louie Bellson & the Jazz Ballet,” which included a big band, strings and a choir, in 2006. His most recent album — “Louie & Clark Expedition 2,” made with the trumpeter Clark Terry — was released last year.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: February 16, 2009
Jack Cover, the physicist who invented the Taser stun gun, the police weapon that subdues its targets with jolts of electricity, died Feb. 7 in Mission Viejo, Calif. He was 88 and lived in San Clemente, Calif.
United Press International

Jack Cover with a model of his invention in September 1975.



The cause was pneumonia brought on by Alzheimer’s disease, said his wife, Ginny.
Mr. Cover (pronounced KOH-ver), who worked as an aerospace scientist and was affiliated with NASA’s Apollo moon landing program, came up with the idea for a nonlethal weapon for use in law enforcement in the 1960s as a response to emergencies in the news, including airplane hijackings.
The scientific inspiration, Ms. Cover said, was a newspaper article about a man who had inadvertently walked into an electrified fence and survived, though he was temporarily immobilized.
“When he read that had happened, he knew an electric current could be used without danger,” Ms. Cover said.
Mr. Cover named his invention as a tribute to another inspiration, the Tom Swift science fiction novels he read as a child, one of which was “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.” He created an acronym from “Thomas Swift Electric Rifle,” adding the “A,” he explained to The Washington Post in 1976, “because we got tired of answering the phone ‘T.S.E.R.’ ”
The Taser gun shoots electrified darts connected to the gun by insulated wires, and it works by flooding the target’s body with current, causing uncontrollable muscle contractions.
Small amounts of current are not inherently dangerous, but the safety threshold is not absolute, especially involving people whose heart circuitry has been made vulnerable by drug use or overexertion, common factors among resisting offenders.
Law enforcement agencies generally support the Taser as a worthy tool that protects officers from violent offenders and protects the suspects as well. According to Taser International, founded in 1993, which markets products based on Mr. Cover’s original invention, more than 13,400 law enforcement agencies around the world now use Tasers.
More than 375,000 individual officers have them, and so do more than 181,000 private citizens.
From 1976 to 1995, Tasers were considered firearms because the darts were propelled by gunpowder. Approached in 1993 by Taser International, Mr. Cover modified the weapon so that it was powered by compressed nitrogen, allowing Tasers to be freely sold to the public.
The proliferation of Tasers has made them controversial, as their frequent use has led to fears of their overuse. According to Amnesty International, which seeks to have the use of Tasers by private citizens prohibited and use by the police curtailed pending further study, at least 334 people have died since 2001 after being shot with Tasers by police officers.
In a statement sent by e-mail on Friday, a spokesman for Taser International, Steve Tuttle, said, “We stand by the safety of our devices.”
John Higson Cover Jr., known as Jack, was born in New York City on April 6, 1920, and grew up mostly in Chicago, where his father was a professor of economics and his mother earned a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Chicago. Mr. Cover later earned a B.S. and a Ph.D. in physics there.
He was a scientist at North American Aviation (which later became Rockwell International), a National Aeronautics and Space Administration contractor, and he led the company’s team of researchers working on the Apollo project.
Mr. Cover’s first two marriages ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Steven, of Newport, Wash.; three daughters, Dede Rhodes, also of Newport, Melissa Beckley of Brush Prairie, Wash., and Cathy Cover of Tucson; two stepchildren, Shawn Kerr of San Clemente and Aron Fisher of Menifee, Calif.; 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
On the issue of Taser safety, Mr. Cover was unwavering.
“He used to say he saved 100,000 lives,” his wife said.
SOURCE:  The New York Times: 

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  1. Pingback: Posts about Christian Fiction as of February 23, 2009 | Aggi Pursued

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