Monthly Archives: July 2009


#1 Song 1967:   “Respect,” Aretha Franklin


Born:   Hattie McDaniel, 1895; Howlin’ Wolf (Chester Arthur Burnett), 1910; Gerald Gregory (the Spaniels), 1934; Shirley Alson (the Shirelles), 1941; Faith Evans, 1973




1957   The Bobbettes’ immortal “Mr. Lee” (#6) was released today along with such doo-wop standards as “Happy Happy Birthday Baby” by the Tune Weavers and “Desiree” by the Charts.


1967   An interesting mix of talent performed at the Fantasy-Faire and Magic Mountain Music Fest in Mount Tamalpais, CA, including the Miracles, Dionne Warwick, Jefferson Airplane, and the Doors.


1972   Chuck Berry’s album The London Chuck Berry Sessions charted on its way to #8 pop, the most successful album of his career. One side of the recording consisted of sides cut in a London studio with the Faces,  while the other side was a live and unauthorized (by Berry) recording with the Average White Band at the Lanchester Arts Festival in Coventry, England.


1978   George Benson’s remake of the Drifters’ 1963 hit, “On Broadway,” leveled off at #7 on the pop charts. Ironically, the Drifters’ version fifteen years earlier also reached #7, but on the R&B charts.



1991   Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin sang at the burial of Temptations’ lead singer David Ruffin. Michael Jackson paid for the funeral.


1991   The James Brown—Living in America live pay-per-view TV special aired. The show featured Bell Biv Devoe, Hammer, En Vogue, and C&C Music Factory, among others.


1996   Diana Ross performed at Boston Symphony Hall for a benefit for the  Anti-Defamation League. The diva raised $450,000.


1998   Diana Ross received the Hitmaker Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s twenty-ninth annual awards in New York. The presentation was made by Whitney Houston. It is interesting to note that Diana never wrote any of her hits and neither did her presenter. (Maybe they ran out of writers to honor.)

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#1 R&B Song 1979:   “We Are Family,” Sister Sledge


Born:   Johnny Ace (John Alexander), 1929; Jackie Wilson (the Dominoes), 1934




1956   The Five Satins’ immortal “In the Still of the Night” was picked up from the tiny Standord label and released on Ember while the Six Teens’ “A Casual Look” charted enroute to #25 pop, #7 R&B.



1958   Johnny Mathis’s Greatest Hits album reached #1. It remained there for what was then a record 490 weeks (almost ten years.)


1962   The Orlons leaped onto the Hot 100 with “Wah-Watusi,” rising to #2 pop and becoming their third straight Top 5 hit.



1962   Carole King’s babysitter, Little Eva, had her first single released. It became the rock ‘n’ roll standard “Locomotion,” a worldwide #1.


1990   MC Hammer’s album, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, reached #1 pop and stayed there for an amazing twenty-one weeks. It had the longest run at #1 or #2 of any album since 1963. The album was ten-times platinum and stayed in the Top 200 for 108 weeks. Not a bad reimbursement for an album that cost $10,000 to make.


1990   Bell Biv Devoe peaked at #3 pop with their debut single, “Poison.” The mixture of hip-hop, doo-wop, and soul became the first of nine R&B hits through 1993. The trio was formerly the nucleus of the teen pop R&B group New Kids on the Block.



1994   After an argument, TLC member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez accented her displeasure by setting fire to her boyfriend’s (professional football player Andre Rison) $2 million mansion. (And you thought TLC meant “tender loving care”). The star was rewarded with a five-year “probation” sentence.


1998   Stevie Wonder performed in Modena, Italy, at the Pavarotti & Friends concert for his War Child Charity.

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Jul 22, 2009 2:58 pm US/Central

Judge Tosses Charge Against Va. White Supremacist

MIKE ROBINSON, AP Legal Affairs Writer
CHICAGO (AP) ― A federal judge has dismissed a charge that an avowed white supremacist used his Web site to encourage harm to a juror, saying that the postings were protected by the constitutional right to freedom of speech.

William White of Roanoke, Va., the self-styled leader of the American National Socialist Workers Party, published the name, photograph, home address and phone number of the juror on his Web site, The juror had been a foreman of a jury that in April 2004 convicted another avowed white supremacist, Matthew Hale, of soliciting the murder of a federal judge.

Judge Lynn Adelman said in his ruling Tuesday the postings stopped short of specifically urging anyone to harm the juror.

“The fact that defendant knew that white supremacists sometimes viewed his Web site and sometimes harmed people they perceived as enemies is insufficient to transform his lawful statements about Juror A into criminal advocacy,” he said.

“Knowledge or belief that one’s speech, even speech advocating law breaking, may cause others to act, does not remove the speech from the protection of the First Amendment unless the speech is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to produce such action.”

White’s Web site regularly attacked non-whites, Jews and homosexuals and expressed approval of acts of violence. The foreman’s name had not previously been public; the juror had been identified only as “Juror A” in court documents.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary S. Shapiro said the government was reviewing the ruling and would consider what steps to take next if any.

White’s attorney, Nishay Kumar Sanan, Adelman “obviously followed the law and made the right decision — that Bill White’s speech was protected by the First Amendment.” He said the government already has sought to stay the ruling while it decides whether to appeal.

White also faces federal charges in Virginia of making online threats to several others, including a civil rights lawyer in Canada and a mayor in New Jersey. Even if the government does not appeal, White cannot be released until there is a bond hearing in the Virginia case, Sanan said.

Adelman, whose court is in Milwaukee, was brought into the case after Chief Judge James F. Holderman recused all of the judges of the Chicago-based U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois from sitting in the case. He acted because the Hale case involved a Chicago-based judge.

(© 2009 The Associated Press.



This is what the perversion of free speech has led to. Any harm that comes to that jury foreman should be laid at the feet of Bill White. This judge’s ruling sets a bad precedent, sending the signal that it is alright to threaten the lives of jurors, not to mention that intimidation of jurors is acceptable, as this judge so blatantly has shown.

But, that is what has happened with the malignant belief from those who consider hate speech on the same level with free speech.

The prosecution should challenge this ludicrous ruling.

I would not be surprised if there will be some people in the future who will opt out of serving on a jury, for fear of their lives.

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July 30, 2009 ColorLines Direct. News and commentary from ColorLines magazine and RaceWire blog.


Green Jobs for Navajo Youth:
Q & A with Nikke Alex
Nikke Alex, youth organizer with Navajo Green Jobs and the Black Mesa Water Coalition, tells us how a youth-led campaign passed green legislation that will help bring back jobs to the reservation.


Portraits of Black Trans Men
Accomplished blogger and filmmaker, Kortney Ryan Ziegler noticed that movies about transgender people ignored the stories of Black people. Last year, Ziegler directed Still Black: A Portrait of Black TransMen, a film that examines the degree to which gender is fluid but race isn’t.

racewireCNN’s Black in America 2: Individual Solutions
Daisy Hernandez reviews CNN’s Black in America 2 and writes about the good, the bad and the ugly.

In Communities of Color, Pollution Looms over Growing Minds
In some New York City neighborhoods, kids may be set back in school long before they ever enter a classroom, thanks to dirty air. A new study by the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health draws a connection between prenatal exposure to neighborhood air pollutants and future IQ scores.

Wal-Mart, When Pushed, Agrees to Respect Muslim Worker’s Rights
Earlier this week, Wal-Mart rehired a Muslim employee in Minnesota, whom the store had initially fired for disobeying a ban on prayer during work breaks.

Reflections on Jimmy Carter’s Departure from the SBC
ARC’s Darlene Pagano reflects on former President Jimmy Carter’s announcement that he has left the Southern Baptist Convention as his faith home, because of their yet-again-affirmed statement that women may not serve as deacons, pastors or military chaplains.

Rinku Sen, Executive Director of ARC and Publisher of ColorLines Magazine at Netroots Nation
Will you be in Pitttsburgh for Netroots? ARC’s Rinku Sen will be at the national progressive blogger conference Friday, August 14th 2009.

“Reverse Racism”: Word Distracts from the Big White Elephant of Systemic Racism

ARC’s Terry Keleher digs into the term and explains that ‘reverse racism’ is nothing more than a way for those in power to change the subject away from systemic racism, a system that puts people of color at a disadvantage from birth until death.


ColorLines Direct is the weekly news update of the Applied Research Center (ARC) sent to subscribers, supporters and participants in ARC’s activities. ARC publishes ColorLines Magazine, and most recently hosted The Compact for Racial Justice Phone Forums.

ColorLines Magazine Online :: The Applied Research Center

ColorLines Magazine
900 Alice Street, Suite 400 :: Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: 510-653-3415 :: Fax: 510-986-1062
Subscription Orders: 1-888-287-3126

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Happily Natural Day E-Blast

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Published: July 24, 2009
E. Lynn Harris, whose novels about successful and glamorous black men with sexual identity conflicts (and the women and men who love them) made him one of the nation’s most popular writers, died in Los Angeles on Thursday. He was 54 and lived in Atlanta.
John Bazemore/Associated Press

E. Lynn Harris

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County coroner said the cause of death had not yet been determined.
Mr. Harris fell briefly ill earlier in the week on a train to Los Angeles, said Laura Gilmore, a publicist for Mr. Harris, but he had seen a doctor and everything seemed fine. She said she had spoken to him by phone at his hotel Thursday evening and had no inkling of a problem. He died shortly thereafter.
“A doctor was called and couldn’t revive him,” Ms. Gilmore said.
Mr. Harris clearly tapped a rich vein of reader interest with his racy and sometimes graphic tales of affluent, ambitious, powerful black men — athletes, businessmen, lawyers and the like — who nonetheless struggled with their attraction to both men and women. His books married the superficial glamour of jet-setting potboilers with an emotional candor that shed light on a segment of society that had received little attention: black men on the down low — that is, men who are publicly heterosexual but secretly have sex with men.
Mr. Harris, who was openly gay but who lived for many years in denial or shame or both over that fact, was able to draw on his own experiences to make credible the emotional conflicts of his characters, and his readers, many of them women, were drawn to his books because they addressed issues that were often surreptitiously pertinent to their own lives.
“But our sex life was not without its complications,” A. J. Richardson, the gay narrator of Mr. Harris’s most recent novel, “Basketball Jones,” says about his love affair with a closeted professional athlete. “After our first time together, I could see how guilty he felt the moment sex was over. He shut down suddenly, as if someone had thrown a switch.
No longer the sweet-talking, smooth-as-silk man between the sheets, he turned dead serious, and in a tone more forceful than the situation called for, Dray made me promise to keep what we’d done a secret. He was especially terrified of his father finding out, believing the family would disown him.”
Mr. Harris’s leap to fame was an unlikely success story. He was in his mid-30s, making his living as a computer salesman, when he began to write. His first book, “Invisible Life,” was self-published in 1991 — and he sold it himself, too, out of his car, on black college campuses, in barbershops in black neighborhoods — until it was discovered and published as a trade paperback in 1994.
After that Mr. Harris wrote 11 other books, including “Just as I Am,” “If This World Were Mine,” “A Love of My Own” and “Any Way the Wind Blows.” A memoir, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” underscoring how far and how fast Mr. Harris’s star rose, begins with his suicide attempt in August 1990. According to his publisher, Doubleday, Mr. Harris had 10 consecutive books on the New York Times best-seller list, and more than four million copies of his books are in print.
“He wasn’t considered a literary writer,” his agent, John Hawkins, said in an interview on Friday, a fact of which Mr. Harris was very conscious. “He always said he’d like to learn someday to be a good writer, and the people around him all said, ‘Keep still.’ Because his writing touched people.”
Everette Lynn Harris was born in Flint, Mich., on June 20, 1955, and grew up in Little Rock, Ark. He met his father only briefly, when he was 14, and for years had believed that Ben Odis Harris, who had married his mother, was his biological father. In his memoir Mr. Harris wrote that his stepfather, a sign painter by trade, was a drinker who beat him and his mother, Etta, and who routinely humiliated him for any behavior he deemed “sissy.” His first homosexual experience occurred in the ninth grade; it and many others ended badly. The confusion and alienation he felt as a boy and as a young man would become the fuel for his fiction.
“There was no category for someone like me,” Mr. Harris said in an interview with The New York Times in 2003, “who wanted everything I saw on TV and who wanted everything I thought the world wanted for me — a relationship with someone, a home, to achieve a certain degree of the American dream.”
Mr. Harris studied journalism at the University of Arkansas, where he was a cheerleader, a pursuit that became a lifelong passion; he later coached cheerleaders at his alma mater.
After college he went to work as a salesman for I.B.M.
In addition to his mother, who lives in Little Rock, he is survived by three sisters, Anita Harris-Nelson and Janetta Ogbulafor, both of Little Rock, and Zettoria McDaniel of Irving, Tex.
In one way, Mr. Harris owed his success to a stranger. One day in the early 1990s, he walked into a bookstore in Atlanta to try to persuade the store manager to carry his self-published book and was given some advice from a saleswoman on the floor whose name he never learned. She told him that he needed a New York agent and that the agent he needed was a man named John Hawkins.
“She mentioned me,” said Mr. Hawkins, who took on “Invisible Life” and sold it to Anchor Books.
“I have no idea who she was or how she knew of me,” Mr. Hawkins said. “But he contacted me, and I read his book, and I said ‘Sure.’ ”
Published: July 25, 2009
LONDON — Harry Patch, the last British survivor of the fighting in the trenches on the Western Front where hundreds of thousands of soldiers from Britain and its colonies were killed in World War I, died Saturday at the age of 111, according to staff members at the nursing home in western England where he lived his last years.
July 26, 2009    

Don McCullin/Ministry of Defense

Harry Patch in 2008.

Mr. Patch’s death came 92 years after he fought in the army as a machine gunner in one of the bloodiest battles of the war, at Passchendaele in 1917.
“He just quietly slipped away at 9 a.m. this morning,” said Andrew Larpent, chief executive of the nursing home at Wells in Somerset. “It was how he would have wanted it, without having to be moved to hospitals, but here, peacefully with his friends and carers.”
In recent years, Mr. Patch and a dwindling group of other World War I veterans became poignant symbols in Britain of what President Woodrow Wilson called “a war to end all wars,” and a reminder of the 20 million people historians estimate to have died in the conflict.
To many, the veterans stood as totems of a vanished age of self-sacrifice, loyalty and honor, and, some said, as a living rebuke to the more self-centered mores of contemporary Britain.
Those themes were echoed in the tributes that poured forth for Mr. Patch on Saturday, including from Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
“We will never forget the bravery and enormous sacrifice of his generation, which will continue to serve as an example to us all,” the queen said in a statement issued by Buckingham Palace.
Mr. Brown told reporters that he shared the grief “at the passing of a great man” and said: “The noblest of all generations has left us, but they will never be forgotten. We say today with still greater force, ‘We will remember them.’ ”
Just a week before Mr. Patch died, the only other living Briton who served on the Western Front, Henry Allingham, who at 113 was Britain ’s oldest man, died in a nursing home in Brighton. Mr. Allingham, who saw combat on land, at sea and in the air as a mechanic for the Royal Naval Air Service, was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as being the world’s oldest man, according to available documentary records.
Mr. Allingham’s death led the Defense Ministry to describe Mr. Patch as “the last British survivor of the First World War.” That appeared not to take into account another British-born survivor, Claude Choules, 108, who served in the Royal Navy and lives in Australia.
In any case, Mr. Patch was unquestionably one of the last surviving veterans from a war in which nearly 70 million men on all sides were mobilized. An account of his death by The Associated Press said there were no French or German veterans of the war still living. The last living American veteran is Frank Woodruff Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia, 108, who served in Britain and France during the war driving army ambulances and motorcycles.
In May 1917, Mr. Patch arrived in the frontline trenches and was almost immediately thrust into the fighting at Passchendaele, near the Belgian town of Ypres.
The battle was the brainchild of Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, who intended the Allied offensive to punch through the front lines to German-occupied ports on the Belgian coast. The offensive quickly bogged down in the morass created by torrential rain and artillery fire, and gained only a few miles of wasteland at the cost of nearly half a million Allied soldiers’ lives.
According to his 2007 memoir, “The Last Fighting Tommy,” Mr. Patch survived three months of fighting unscathed until a German shell exploded over the heads of his machine-gun crew on the night of Sept. 17, 1917, killing three of his closest friends and wounding Mr. Patch so severely that he was sent home.
Born on June 17, 1898, Mr. Patch left school at 15 to become an apprentice plumber but was conscripted for military service on his 18th birthday. After World War I, he returned to plumbing, raised a family and outlived three wives and two sons from his first marriage. But for 80 years, until the end of the 20th century, he avoided talking about his wartime experiences.
When he did reminisce, it was with a sense that war was pointless. At a remembrance ceremony in 2007, he said he felt humbled to be “representing an entire generation,” but he insisted that the occasion was not about him. “It is for the countless millions who did not come home,” he said. “They are the heroes. It is also important that we remember those who lost their lives on both sides.”
In an interview with Britain’s ITN television news channel shortly before he died, Mr. Patch was asked if the effort invested by the Allies in World War I was worth the lives that were lost.
“No, it wasn’t worth one,” he said.
Published: July 26, 2009
Vernon Forrest, who held three boxing championships and scored a memorable upset of the welterweight titleholder Shane Mosley in 2002, died Saturday night, apparently in an exchange of gunfire after he was robbed at a gas station in Atlanta. He was 38.
July 26, 2009    

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Vernon Forrest, right, landed a right hand hook against Ike Quartey during their Junior Middleweight fight at Madison Square Garden in 2006 in New York City.



Detective Lt. Keith Meadows of the Atlanta police told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a gunman robbed Forrest of several items after Forrest took his Jaguar to the gas station to put air in its tires. Forrest, who was armed as well, chased after the robber and evidently fired his weapon but was shot seven or eight times in the back, Meadows said.
The gunman and an accomplice fled in a car, and it was not clear whether Forrest had shot either of them. The 11-year-old son of Forrest’s girlfriend was with him at the gas station and saw the holdup but not the shooting, Meadows said.
The 6-foot-1 Forrest, known as the Viper for the speed of his fists, had fought professionally since 1992 and was considering a comeback from an injury.
He won the World Boxing Council welterweight championship in January 2002 in a 12-round decision over Mosley, who was considered by many to be the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
Forrest had gained a spot on the United States Olympic boxing team for the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain, by defeating Mosley at the trials, prompting the January 2002 title fight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden to be hyped as Sweet Revenge.
Mosley came in at 38-0 as a pro but was unable to exact vengeance over Forrest, who had vacated his International Boxing Federation welterweight title to fight Mosley and entered with a 33-0 record. Forrest knocked Mosley down twice in the second round and won a 12-round unanimous decision, then outpointed Mosley in July 2002 in Indianapolis to retain his crown.
Forrest, who had a record of 41 victories (29 by knockout) and 3 defeats, lost his title in 2003 to Ricardo Mayorga, the World Boxing Association welterweight champion. Forrest won the W.B.C. light-middleweight title with a victory over Carlos Baldomir in July 2007, lost it to Sergio Mora, then regained it from him in September 2008. Forrest was forced to vacate the title because of a rib injury.
A native of Augusta, Ga., Forrest was 9 when he wandered into a gym near his home, saw boxers training and vowed to emulate them. He became a top amateur boxer and studied business administration at Northern Michigan University before making the 1992 Olympic team, losing in the first round after suffering from food poisoning. He turned pro later that year.
Forrest is survived by a son, Vernon Jr., his publicist, Kelly Swanson, told The Associated Press.
Before he fought Mosley for a title, Forrest said, “This is going to define my career.”
But he pursued a calling far beyond the boxing world as well. In the late 1990s, he founded the nonprofit Destiny’s Child, providing group residences in Atlanta for people with mental and emotional disabilities. He bought a home for some of the wards and lived for a time in its basement, which became the organization’s office.
Forrest took several Destiny’s Child residents to his second bout with Mosley. Right after winning the decision, he ran into the stands to embrace them.
“The people I work with have been abused and neglected,” he said. “These are people that society turned their back on. Everybody needs help and everybody needs love.”
Published: July 22, 2009
John S. Barry, an executive who masterminded the spread of WD-40, the petroleum-based lubricant and protectant created for the space program, into millions of American households, died on July 3 in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. He was 84.
John S. Barry

The cause was pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease, said Garry Ridge, president and chief executive of the WD-40 Company.
The company says surveys show that WD-40, the slippery stuff in the blue and yellow aerosol can, can be found in as many as 80 percent of American homes and that it has at least 2,000 uses, most discovered by users themselves. These include silencing squeaky hinges, removing road tar from automobiles and protecting tools from rust.
Mr. Barry was not part of the Rocket Chemical Company in 1953, when its staff of three set out to develop a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for the aerospace industry in a small lab in San Diego. It took them 40 attempts to work out the water displacement formula. The name WD-40 stands for “water displacement, formulation successful in 40th attempt.”
Convair, a unit of General Dynamics, first used WD-40 to protect the outer skin of the Atlas missile from rust and corrosion. The product worked so well that employees sneaked WD-40 cans out of the plant to use at home. Norm Larsen, the Rocket Chemical technician who invented WD-40, soon came up with the idea of selling it to the general public.
WD-40 hit store shelves in San Diego in 1958. In 1961, employees came in on a Saturday to produce the first truckload shipment to meet disaster needs of victims of Hurricane Carla on the Gulf Coast. WD-40 was used to recondition flood-damaged vehicles.
Sales continued to increase, but it was the arrival of Mr. Barry as president and chief executive in 1969 that jolted the company to dominance in its unusual niche market. He immediately changed the name of Rocket Chemical to the WD-40 Company, on the indisputable theory that it did not make rockets.
Mr. Barry was fiercely dedicated to protecting the secret formula of WD-40, not to mention its trademarks and distinctive container. The company never patented WD-40, in order to avoid having to disclose the ingredients publicly. Its name became synonymous with the product, like Kleenex.
Mr. Barry acknowledged in interviews with Forbes magazine in 1980 and 1988 that other companies, including giants like 3M and DuPont, made products that closely resembled WD-40.
“What they don’t have,” he said, “is the name.”
Mr. Barry brought marketing coherence and discipline to the company. He spruced up the packaging and increased the advertising budget, but most of all he pushed for distribution.
He emphasized free samples, including the 10,000 the company sent every month to soldiers in the Vietnam War to keep their weapons dry.
Within a little more than a decade, Mr. Barry was selling to 14,000 wholesalers, up from 1,200 when he started.
He kept tight control of the product. When Sears wanted to package WD-40 under its own label, Mr. Barry said no. When another big chain wanted the sort of price concessions to which it was accustomed, he refused.
He pushed to get WD-40 into supermarkets, where people buy on impulse. He also began an aggressive effort to sell WD-40 in foreign countries.
“We may appear to be a manufacturing company,” Mr. Barry said to Forbes, “but in fact we are a marketing company.”
Under Mr. Barry’s leadership, annual sales increased from $2 million in 1970 to $91 million in 1990. WD-40 reported sales of $317 million in 160 countries in its most recent fiscal year.
John Steven Barry was born in Minneapolis on Aug. 31, 1924. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota, then enlisted the United States Navy in a program for officer candidates, under which he studied at Harvard and Columbia.
He then earned a master’s degree in business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and went to work for 3M. He was soon recalled by the Navy to serve in the Korean War.
He returned to 3M and worked for it and other companies until he succeeded his father-in-law, Cy Irving, as president of what would soon become the WD-40 Company. After resigning the company presidency, Mr. Barry stayed on as chairman until 2000.
Mr. Barry is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Marian Irving; his sons, Randy and Steve; his daughter, Deborah Faneros; and four grandchildren.
People’s enthusiasm for sending in ideas for using WD-40 mushroomed under Mr. Barry.
The uses included preventing squirrels from climbing into a birdhouse; lubricating tuba valves; cleaning ostrich eggs for craft purposes; and freeing a tongue stuck to cold metal.
A bus driver in Asia used WD-40 to remove a python that had coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus.
Published: July 23, 2009
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Brenda Joyce, who played Jane with two movie Tarzans, died here on July 4. She was 92.
July 23, 2009    

RKO Radio Pictures, via Photofest

Brenda Joyce with Johnny Weissmuller in “Tarzan and the Amazons” (1945).



A family friend, David Ragan, said she died of pneumonia at a nursing home after suffering from dementia for a decade.
Ms. Joyce, who was born Betty Leabo, appeared in about two dozen movies, but was best known for succeeding Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane in the “Tarzan” pictures. She appeared in five “Tarzan” movies in the 1940s, beginning with “Tarzan and the Amazons” opposite Johnny Weissmuller in 1945. Her final “Tarzan” film was “Tarzan’s Magic Fountain,” with Lex Barker, in 1949, which was also the last year she acted in movies.
Mr. Ragan said that she later spent a decade working with recent immigrants to help them find housing and jobs.
She is survived by a son, two daughters and three grandchildren.

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Kevin Moloney for The New York Times

Fred and Clara Slowman near their newly rebuilt home near Teec Nos Pos, Ariz. Many homes were contaminated with uranium.

Published: July 26, 2009
TEEC NOS POS, Ariz. — It was one year ago that the environmental scientist showed up at Fred Slowman’s door, deep in the heart of Navajo country, and warned that it was unsafe for him to stay there.

Times Topics: Indians, American | Environment

July 27, 2009    

Kevin Moloney for The New York Times


“There were a lot of things people weren’t told about the plight of Navajos and uranium mining,” Stephen B. Etsitty said.


The Slowman home, the same one-level cinderblock structure his family had lived in for nearly a half-century, was contaminated with potentially dangerous levels of uranium from the days of the cold war, when hundreds of uranium mines dotted the vast tribal land known as the Navajo Nation. The scientist advised Mr. Slowman, his wife and their two sons to move out until their home could be rebuilt.
“I was angry,” Mr. Slowman said. “I guess it was here all this time, and we never knew.”
The legacy wrought from decades of uranium mining is long and painful here on the expansive reservation. Over the years, Navajo miners extracted some four million tons of uranium ore from the ground, much of it used by the United States government to make weapons.
Many miners died from radiation-related illnesses, and some, unaware of harmful health effects, hauled contaminated rocks and tailings from local mines and mills to build homes for their families.
Now, those homes are being demolished and rebuilt under a new government program that seeks to identify what are very likely dozens of uranium-contaminated structures still standing on Navajo land and to temporarily relocate people living in them until the homes can be torn down and rebuilt.
Stephen B. Etsitty, executive director of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, and other tribal officials have been grappling for years with the environmental fallout from uranium mining.
“There were a lot of things people weren’t told about the plight of Navajos and uranium mining,” Mr. Etsitty said. “These legacy issues are impacting generations. At some point people are saying, ‘It’s got to end.’ ”
After a Congressional hearing in 2007, a cross-section of federal agencies committed to addressing the environmental and health impacts of uranium mining on the reservation. As part of that commitment, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Navajo Nation began working together to assess uranium levels in 500 structures through a five-year plan set to end in 2012.
Using old lists of potentially contaminated structures, federal and Navajo scientists have fanned out to rural reaches of the 27,000 square mile reservation — which includes swaths of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah — to measure levels of radium, a decay product of uranium that can cause lung cancer. Of 113 structures assessed so far, 27 contained radiation levels that were above normal.
“In these situations, you have contamination in somebody’s yard or in their house,” said Harry Allen, the E.P.A.’s section chief for emergency response in San Francisco who is helping lead the government’s efforts. “To us, that is somewhat urgent.”
Many structures that showed high levels of radiation were vacant; some families had already moved out after hearing stories of contamination in their homes. But eight homes still had people living in them, and the E.P.A. and Navajo officials have worked to convince residents that it would be unsafe to stay.
“People had been told they were living in contaminated structures, but nobody ever did anything about it,” said Will Duncan, an environmental scientist who has been the E.P.A.’s main representative on the reservation. “They would tell us, ‘We don’t believe you are going to follow through.’ ”
But with a budget of nearly $8 million, the E.P.A. has demolished all 27 contaminated structures and has begun building ones to replace those that had been occupied.
Typically, the agency pays a Navajo contracting company to construct a log cabin or a traditional hogan in the structure’s stead, depending on the wishes of the occupants. Mr. Allen said the cost, including temporarily relocating residents, ran approximately $260,000 per dwelling and took about eight months.
The agency also offers $50,000 to those who choose not to have an old home rebuilt.
Lillie Lane, a public information officer with the Navajo Nation E.P.A. who has acted as a liaison between the federal government and tribal members, said the program held practical and symbolic importance given the history of uranium mining here.
Ms. Lane also described the difficulty of watching families, particularly elders, leaving homes they had lived in for years. She told of coming upon two old miners who died before their contaminated homes could be rebuilt.
“In Navajo, a home is considered sacred,” Ms. Lane said. “But if the foundation or the rocks are not safe, we have to do this work.”
Some families, Ms. Lane said, complained that their children were suffering from health problems and had wondered if radiation were to blame.
The E.P.A. has started sifting through records and interviewing family members to figure out whether mining companies that once operated on the reservation are liable for any damages, Mr. Allen said.
On a recent summer day, Fred and Clara Slowman proudly surveyed their new home, a one-level log cabin that sits in the quiet shadows of Black Rock Point, miles away from the bustle of Farmington, N.M., where the family has been living in a hotel.
Mr. Slowman said he suspected that waste materials from a nearby abandoned mine somehow seeped into his house. The family plans on having a traditional Navajo medicine man bless their dwelling before they move in next month.
“In our traditional way, a house is like your mom,” Mr. Slowman said. “It’s where you eat, sleep, where you’re taken care of.
“And when you come back from the city, you come back to your mom. It makes you feel real good.”

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#1 R&B Song 1968   “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye


Born:   Sherman Garnes (the Teenagers), 1940




1946   The King Cole Trio featuring Nat King Cole charted with “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66,” reaching #3 R&B and #11 pop. It was their twelfth hit, all but one of which reached the Top 5. The “failure” was a B-side titled: “I Realize Now,” which only made #9.



1956   The Cadillacs drove into Detroit for a three-day performance at the Motorama, while in New York, Clyde McPhatter made his last appearance with the Drifters at the Apollo Theater.


1959   An obscure group called the Parliaments had their first single, the beautiful, plaintive ballad “Lonely Island” issued on the Flipp label. Though the record went nowhere, the New Jersey doo-wop group would develop into one of the funkiest aggregations to ever storm a stage, Parliament/Funkadelic, with brain trust George Clinton at the helm just as he was on that “Lonely Island” debut.


1985   The Mary Jane Girls peaked at #7 pop for three straight weeks (#3 R&B) with the infectious dance hit “In My House,” which was written and produced by Rick James.



1991   Diana Ross showed another side of  her talents when she filled in for a British disc jockey on BBC-Radio 1 in London for a week.


1996   The Fugees with lead vocalist Lauryn Hill reached #1 in England with “Killing Me Softly,” a remake of Roberta Flack’s hit from 1973. A week later it became the first single to reach #1 in Germany in its first week on the charts. In contrast, it never made the U.S. pop or R&B Top 100 lists, though it did reach #2 in pop airplay.


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#1 R&B Song 1975:   “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” Major Harris


Born:   Billy Butler (the Enchanters), 1945; Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson), 1958




1979   Chuck Berry performed at the White House by the special request of President Carter. A month later (July 10), he was sentenced to four months in jail for income tax evasion.


1980   Joan Armatrading hit the Top 200 albums with her fifth and bigest success, Me, Myself, I. It reached #28. Though she had charted twelve times on the album Top 200, Joan never had a single on the R&B charts. Lack of commercial product was her eventual undoing in America.



1980   Bob Marley and the Average White Band performed at the Summer of ’80 Garden Party at the Crystal Palace Concert Bowl in London.


1993   Chuck Berry was among those who attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH.


1993   Prince, who turned thirty-five today, decided to celebrate by changing his name to a symbol that doesn’t exist on a computer keyboard. The press began calling him the Artist Formerly Known  as Prince. (Maybe they should have just referred to him as $).


1997   New Edition’s “One More Day” charted en route to #22 R&B and #61 pop. It would be the last of twenty-five R&B hits for the quintet since starting in 1983.

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 Michael Jackson:  A Sister’s Tribute

Michael Jackson, Magic & Social Change
Michael Jackson Pictures

  SISTER ANGELA’S NOTEWe will surely miss the talent that Michael Jackson shared with the world.  I was taking my daughter and her best friend…
SISTERMAIL Most of the letters received were in response to a stage performance at the BET Awards show, which…


Women’s Hip-Hop Film: Say My Name   The film stars recording artists Erykah Badu, Dr. Roxanne Shante (from “Roxanne’s Revenge”), Monie Love, MC Lyte, Rah Digga,…


Talented Muslim Female Artists Unite
Daeyah presents Sisterhood “The Mixtape,” a collaborative mixture of sounds, rhythms, hearts, and soul from a strong network… 
Does Disney’s First Black Princess Overcome Stereotypes?

If you have a little girl, you probably know about the newest Disney Princess:  Tiana.  Even though she’s starring in a film, The Princess and the Frog,… 

Queen Ifrica Teaches Self-Love and Respect
Queen Ifrica, born in Spanishtown, but raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica has “officially and professionally” been making music since 1998…


African Queens
Do you know your history?  Before there was a King of Pop, Queen Ifrica, and the Disney princesses, there were queens in Africa who ruled …



Pick Your Favorite Natural Style! Public Service Announcement
Real Sisters Rising promotes economic empowerment.

The Williams Sisters Do It Again
They are unstoppable forces in tennis, individually and together as sisters….TOOLS FOR SURVIVAL
3 Reasons Women Make Great Entrepreneurs
 “As more people are looking at alternative forms of income, we are seeing more and more women make the leap…


The Black Star Project:  Devastating  Facts About Black Males
Only strong, organized, committed and courageous Black parents can stop this genocide.  Not the police.  Not teachers.  Not schools… I Love Me!

Quirky Black Girls
Because Audre Lorde looks different in every picture ever taken of her.  Because Octavia Butler didn’t care.  Because…


56 Year-Old Wins Bodybuilding Championship
Known as the “Fitness Warrior,” Wendy Ida is a championship bodybuilder who did not begin  training until after age 40…   
Look for new entrepreneurship training and business development opportunities coming soon…



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