Monthly Archives: March 2010



Published: March 4, 2010

No one can accuse Naomi Davis of lacking ambition. She wants simultaneously to rebuild black America and save the planet – one neighborhood at a time. She knows she cannot do either alone. Her plan is to recruit and train an army. A green army.

That is why Ms. Davis, a petite, 54-year-old lawyer turned environmental evangelist, was squeezing her way through a crowded South Side nightclub Monday night, passing out energy-efficient light bulbs that resemble spiral soft-serve custard swirls to anyone who would sign her e-mail list. She has been collecting names from across the country for years, preparing for a war she is waging between the “old gray economy and the new green economy.” More than 10,000 names are on her list.

“Instead of waiting for the people to come to us, we go to them, wherever they are,” she said. “We’re going into the bars, the parks, the churches, the schools, the stores with this new green-economy education. We have to spread the word. Otherwise, people of color are going to be left behind.”

Ms. Davis is the founder and president of Blacks in Green, a three-year-old trade association and education and advocacy group based in Chicago that “teaches the benefits of the new green economy to communities of color through classes, programs, activities and enterprises.”

She is part of a new generation of black and Latino environmentalists who hope to revitalize their battered neighborhoods, struggling suburbs and rural towns with green-collar jobs and businesses.

Of the $787-billion federal stimulus package, about $80 billion was allotted for clean energy and other green initiatives. Ms. Davis said her goal was to ensure that black people “and other people of color have our share” of the money going to green jobs and businesses, ranging from solar energy projects and wind farms to the construction and renovation of office buildings and apartment towers to make them environmentally sound.

Ms. Davis also preaches do-for-self to go along with her gospel of green. “The move toward eco-friendly development, and the jobs it creates,” she said, “is an opportunity for blacks and other minorities to take more control of their destiny. In that sense, it is a way to move forward for communities that often feel left behind by economic opportunity.”

“What we reject is the ‘Help the Negro Industry,’ ” she said. “People coming into our community, thinking they know best, trying to save us. We can save ourselves.

“The ‘Help the Negro Industry’ is what allowed billions of dollars to come down for urban renewal, but the urban did not get renewed. We are absolutely committed that urban renewal not be repeated.”

Ms. Davis said she believed that minorities must educate and prepare themselves to take advantage of the changing, more environmentally attuned economy. It was just as important, she said, to educate people about the “economics of ecology” as it was to protest the dire environmental conditions in many black and Latino neighborhoods — including accusations by some that “environmental racism” contributes to the problem.

“There’s just a ton of work that going green can generate,” she said.

Then black people can rebuild their neighborhoods, she said, and make them “self-sustaining” — one of her favorite phrases. She calls it “building green villages,” meaning neighborhoods with grocery stores, clothing shops, pharmacies and other businesses, all within walking distance of people’s homes. It’s a far cry, she said, from what she sees today visiting many black or Latino neighborhoods haunted by knots of unemployed men, vacant lots, fast-food restaurants and shuttered businesses.

“The vision of Blacks In Green is self-sustaining black communities everywhere,” Ms. Davis said. “That’s our focus. To use the new green economy to achieve that is our strategy. We believe nothing trumps self-help.”

While she said she admired her fellow environmentalists who lay down in front of bulldozers or chained themselves to the gates of toxic-producing power plants, that is not her style. She is not a protester. She is, in effect, a town crier, spreading the word that blacks and Latinos should turn green.

Among those lauding Ms. Davis is Van Jones, a former green-jobs adviser to President Obama who resigned under fire after conservative critics asserted he had signed a petition accusing the Bush administration of deliberately allowing the Sept. 11 attacks, a claim he denies.

Ms. Davis has “been able to create an authentic, grass-roots urban expression of green politics,” said Mr. Jones, who is now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and teaches environmental policy and politics at Princeton University. “She’s playing almost a Paul Revere role for people who weren’t paying attention.”

Bart Schultz, director of the Civic Knowledge Project at the University of Chicago, recently worked with Ms. Davis to organize a panel focused on toxins in the South Side ecology.

“She puts in an enormous amount of energy into bringing people into the issue of sustainability, people who have not been involved before,” Mr. Schultz said.

Ms. Davis grew up in a black working-class neighborhood in Queens, N.Y.. Her father was a merchant seaman and was away from home for months at a time. Her mother, the daughter of Mississippi sharecroppers, was a public school teacher.

Ms. Davis majored in English and theater at Fisk University before moving to Chicago in 1976 to attend John Marshall Law School. When she was a student, she worked at the Palmer House hotel as a “gaslight girl.”

“It was the like the poor cousin of the Playboy bunnies,” she said. “I served cocktails, and every hour I got to sing three songs in a tiny costume.”

Since then, she has practiced law and run her own consulting firm. But it was not until 2001 that she began working toward her passion: preaching the power of green.

“I was suffering terribly, watching the disintegration of the black community,” she said. “Everywhere I looked, it was the same. It seemed that we had the worst of everything: health disparities, mis-education, dropouts, hyperincarceration, violence, unprepared parents, unemployment, misery.”

She started talking to people, reading, searching for solutions. The more she looked, the more convinced she became that the new green economy was the best way to rebuild black America. “It was back to the future,” she said. “It was back to the kind of self-sustaining neighborhood where I grew up.”

On Monday night, Ms. Davis took her gospel to the people.

Blacks in Green set up an information table at the entrance of the New Dating Game nightclub on South Stony Island Avenue. It was “stepper’s night” at the club. Stepping is a smooth, stylized dance, favored by twosomes of a certain age who performed many of the same steps in the 1970s.

Latoyia and Theodore Gilbert drove in from Gary, Ind., to help Ms. Davis staff the table, which was covered with the swirly light bulbs and eco-literature. Mrs. Gilbert, 33, is working on a master’s degree in environmental education and said that “being a good steward of our environment is part of our faith.”

The couple’s eldest daughter almost died of an asthma attack when she was 6, in 2006. Since then, Mr. Gilbert, 39, a social worker, has been dedicated to making Gary and the rest of the country green. “It’s personal with me,” he said.

Ms. Davis picked up an armful of bulbs and brochures and ventured deeper into the club.

“Have you ever heard of the new green economy?” Ms. Davis asked, struggling to be heard over the ear-splitting music.

“Not really,” a man replied.

“Take this,” she said, handing him the pamphlet, “Five Things Every Black Person Should Know About Sustainable Communities and the New Green Economy.”

Then she handed himtwo 60-watt energy-efficient bulbs.

“I love these bulbs,” he said. “They last a long time. I need to keep the lights on at my house for security.”

Ms. Davis said, “You’re also helping to secure the planet by using them.”

As Ms. Davis moved through the club, her sign-up sheet collected 35 names and e-mail addresses, and the disc jockey, Sam Chapman, announced, “We’re stepping for green, y’all.”

The environmental evangelist smiled. Her army was growing.


Naomi Davis



Naomi Davis

In addition to raising a green army, Ms. Davis also shows another side of herself  here  in this interview about natural Black hair. Read part 2, here.



Blacks certainly cannot afford to be left behind where the green movement is concerned.

There are many ways to make their communities self-sustaining:  if living in an apartment, grow your own herbs or plant dwarf citrus trees in containers on your patios; if living in a home, cultivate your own small garden vegetable plot; form a food cooperative, and bring to market foodstuffs you have grown to sell to your neighbors. In addition to creating their own community supported co-opt, denizens of Black neighborhoods can look into a community supported agricultural local harvest organization, many of which offer reduced prices for low-income people/neighborhoods.

The $80 billion from the stimulous plan and the burgeoning green-job market looms in the future, and Blacks cannot afford to be left behind.

In so many ways, big and small, one can contribute to one’s own family and community.

The present proliferation of toxins, hazardous solid waste sites, and environmental pollutants in so many Black neighborhoods have wreaked enough devastation on Blacks lives for far too long. Climate change, global warming and the ecology is not something that stops outside Black neighborhoods.

The creation of a green army starts in one’s own backyard, and making the neighborhood self-sustaining helps everyone in the long run.

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World Meteorological Day  



World Meteorological Day 2010

60 years of service for your safety and well-being

23 March 2010

Each year, on 23 March, the World Meteorological Organization, its 189 Members and the worldwide meteorological community celebrate World Meteorological Day around a chosen theme. This day commemorates the entry into force, on that date in 1950, of the WMO Convention creating the Organization. Subsequently, in 1951, WMO was designated a specialized agency of the United Nations System.

This year, the theme is “60 years of service for your safety and well-being”.


Message of WMO Secretary-General for the World Meteorological Community

As we celebrate today the 60th Anniversary of the World Meteorological Organization, I would like to pay tribute to the meteorological community worldwide working together continuously beyond all borders to save and protect people, their homes and their livelihoods. My recognition especially goes to all staff in the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and all volunteers who support our work with generosity and dedication.

I am convinced that WMO, together with its Members, will be even more relevant in serving humanity over decades to come. We owe this capability to successive generations of meteorologists and hydrologists from all countries. To all of them, we express our gratitude.

Michel Jarraud


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Per the following article, apparantly tasering a pregnant woman, Maliaka Brooks, is in the interest of the public’s safety, as far as these cops were concerned, and the two dead-from-the-neck-up judges who ruled in their favor.

Ms. Brooks went on to deliver a healthy baby, but, she still bears the psychological and physical scars of her encounter with Seattle’s finest.

Yes, by all means, taser that ferocious pregnant woman with no regard for her unborn child. Perish the thought of allowing her to remain unscathed from the vigilant protection of savage cops Sgt. Steven Daman, Officer Juan Ornelas and Officer Donald Jones,  who have itchy trigger-finger taser mentality. Hell, they’ve taken the keys out of the ignition by then, why the need to taser Ms. Brooks as she sat in a car she could not start?

Most shocking of all is that there was one judge, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones, who actually believed that the cops violated Ms. Brooks’s rights in using excessive force in tasering her, and that judge rendered a fair decision for her. Usually the courts roll over, play dead, sit up, and fetch their bones from the DA, dirty cops, and abusive cops who never met any part of the Fourth Amendment they could like or respect.

But, as must be expected, reality bites and tears asunder when the two fine upstanding judges, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall and Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain , decided that abuse of citizens is on the okey-doke, and rendered in their opinion to side with the cop’s actions.

Then again, I am not surprised.

The courts, both SCOTUS and state, have been giving free rein to cops to abuse and terrorize citizens.

I wonder how those same judges would respond if their family members were treated so brutally?

I wonder what kind of a tune would they be singing when the shoe fits on the other foot?

Then again the nasty, brutish abuse of Black American women is as old as America.


Court: Seattle police OK to stun pregnant woman

By GENE JOHNSON (AP) – 4 days ago

SEATTLE — Three Seattle police officers were justified when they used a stun gun on a pregnant mother who refused to sign a traffic ticket, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a case that prompted an incredulous dissent. 

Malaika Brooks was driving her son to Seattle’s African American Academy in 2004 when she was stopped for doing 32 mph in a school zone. She insisted it was the car in front of her that was speeding, and refused to sign the ticket because she thought she’d be admitting guilt. 

Rather than give her the ticket and let her go on her way, the officers decided to arrest her. One reached in, turned off her car and dropped the keys on the floor. Brooks stiffened her arms against the steering wheel and told the officers she was pregnant, but refused to get out, even after they threatened to stun her. 

The officers — Sgt. Steven Daman, Officer Juan Ornelas and Officer Donald Jones — then stunned her three times, in the thigh, shoulder and neck, and hauled her out of the car, laying her face-down in the street. 

Brooks gave birth to a healthy baby two months later, but has permanent scars from the Taser. She sued the officers for violating her constitutional rights, and U.S. District Judge Richard Jones allowed the case to continue. He declined to grant the officers immunity for performing their official duties and said Brooks’ rights were clearly violated. 

But in a 2-1 ruling Friday, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall and Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain held that the officers were justified in making an arrest because Brooks was obstructing them and resisting arrest. 

The use of force was also justified because of the threat Brooks posed, Hall wrote: “It seems clear that Brooks was not going to be able to harm anyone with her car at a moment’s notice. Nonetheless, some threat she might retrieve the keys and drive off erratically remained, particularly given her refusal to leave the car and her state of agitation.” 

They also noted that the force used wasn’t that serious because the Taser was in “touch” mode rather than “dart” mode, which hurts more. They reversed the lower court’s opinion and held that the officers were entitled to immunity from the lawsuit. 

The officers’ lawyers, Ted Buck and Karen Cobb, said the officers made the right decision under the circumstances they faced. 

“Police officers have to have the ability to compel people to obey their lawful orders,” Buck said. That’s all the court recognized today. The 9th Circuit just applied the law instead of getting caught up in the otherwise unfortunate factual circumstances.” 

The majority’s opinion outraged Judge Marsha Berzon, who called it “off the wall.” 

“I fail utterly to comprehend how my colleagues are able to conclude that it was objectively reasonable to use any force against Brooks, let alone three activations of a Taser, in response to such a trivial offense,” she wrote. 

She argued that under Washington law, the officers had no authority to take Brooks into custody: Failure to sign a traffic infraction is not an arrestable offense, and it’s not illegal to resist an unlawful arrest. 

Berzon said the majority’s notion that Brooks obstructed officers was so far-fetched that even the officers themselves didn’t make that legal argument. To obstruct an officer, one must obstruct the officer’s official duties, and the officers’ only duties in this case were to detain Brooks long enough to identify her, check for warrants, write up the citation and give it to her. Brooks’ failure to sign did not interfere with those duties, she said. 

Furthermore, Brooks posed no apparent threat, and the officers could not have known how stunning her would affect the fetus, or whether it might prompt premature labor — another reason their actions were inexcusable, Berzon said. 

Brooks’ lawyer, Eric Zubel, said he would ask the 9th Circuit to rehear the case. 

“This is outrageous — that something like this could happen to a pregnant woman, in front of an elementary school, at 8:30 in the morning, to someone who posed no threat whatsoever,” he said.

Malaika Brooks


Here are previous articles on the tasering of Ms. Brooks.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Pregnant woman ‘Tasered’ by police is convicted


She was rushing her son to school. She was eight months pregnant. And she was about to get a speeding ticket she didn’t think she deserved.

So when a Seattle police officer presented the ticket to Malaika Brooks, she refused to sign it. In the ensuing confrontation, she suffered burns from a police Taser, an electric stun device that delivers 50,000 volts.

“Probably the worst thing that ever happened to me,” Brooks said, in describing that morning during her criminal trial last week on charges of refusing to obey an officer and resisting arrest.

She was found guilty of the first charge because she never signed the ticket, but the Seattle Municipal Court jury could not decide whether she resisted arrest, the reason the Taser was applied.

To her attorneys and critics of police use of Tasers, Brooks’ case is an example of police overreaction.

“It’s pretty extraordinary that they should have used a Taser in this case,” said Lisa Daugaard, a public defender familiar with the case.

Law enforcement officers have said they see Tasers as a tool that can benefit the public by reducing injuries to police and the citizens they arrest.

Seattle police officials declined to comment on this case, citing concerns that Brooks might file a civil lawsuit.

But King County sheriff’s Sgt. Donald Davis, who works on the county’s Taser policy, said the use of force is a balancing act for law enforcement.

“It just doesn’t look good to the public,” he said.

Brooks’ run-in with police Nov. 23 came six months before Seattle adopted a new policy on Taser use that guides officers on how to deal with pregnant women, the very young, the very old and the infirm. When used on such subjects, the policy states, “the need to stop the behavior should clearly justify the potential for additional risks.”

“Obviously, (law enforcement agencies) don’t want to use a Taser on young children, pregnant woman or elderly people,” Davis said. “But if in your policy you deliberately exclude a segment of the population, then you have potentially closed off a tool that could have ended a confrontation.”

Brooks was stopped in the 8300 block of Beacon Avenue South, just outside the African American Academy, while dropping her son off for school.

In a two-day trial that ended Friday, the officer involved, Officer Juan Ornelas, testified he clocked Brooks’ Dodge Intrepid doing 32 mph in a 20-mph school zone.

He motioned her over and tried to write her a ticket, but she wouldn’t sign it, even when he explained that signing it didn’t mean she was admitting guilt.

Brooks, in her testimony, said she believed she could accept a ticket without signing for it, which she had done once before.

“I said, ‘Well, I’ll take the ticket, but I won’t sign it,’ ” Brooks testified.

Officer Donald Jones joined Ornelas in trying to persuade Brooks to sign the ticket. They then called on their supervisor, Sgt. Steve Daman.

He authorized them to arrest her when she continued to refuse.

The officers testified they struggled to get Brooks out of her car but could not because she kept a grip on her steering wheel.

And that’s when Jones brought out the Taser.

Brooks testified she didn’t even know what it was when Jones showed it to her and pulled the trigger, allowing her to hear the crackle of 50,000 volts of electricity.

The officers testified that was meant as a final warning, as a way to demonstrate the device was painful and that Brooks should comply with their orders.

When she still did not exit her car, Jones applied the Taser.

In his testimony, the Taser officer said he pressed the prongs of the muzzle against Brooks’ thigh to no effect. So he applied it twice to her exposed neck.

Afterward, he and the others testified, Ornelas pushed Brooks out of the car while Jones pulled.

She was taken to the ground, handcuffed and placed in a patrol car, the officers testified.

She told jurors the officer also used the device on her arm, and showed them a dark, brown burn to her thigh, a large, red welt on her arm and a lump on her neck, all marks she said came from the Taser application.

At the South Precinct, Seattle fire medics examined Brooks, confirmed she was pregnant and recommended she be evaluated at Harborview Medical Center.

Brooks said she was worried about the effect the trauma and the Taser might have on her baby, but she delivered a healthy girl Jan. 31.

Still, she said, she remains shocked that a simple traffic stop could result in her arrest.

“As police officers, they could have hurt me seriously. They could have hurt my unborn fetus,” she said.

“All because of a traffic ticket. Is this what it’s come down to?”

Davis said Tasers remain a valuable tool, and that situations like Brooks’ are avoidable.

“I know the Taser is controversial in all these situations where it seems so egregious,” he said. “Why use a Taser in a simple traffic stop? Well, the citizen has made it more of a problem. It’s no longer a traffic stop. This is now a confrontation.”



Originally published Friday, June 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Taser lawsuit allowed to go to trial

A federal judge says a civil-rights lawsuit against three Seattle police officers can go to trial next month, ruling that the officers used…

By Mike Carter

Seattle Times staff reporter

A federal judge says a civil-rights lawsuit against three Seattle police officers can go to trial next month, ruling that the officers used excessive force when they Tasered a pregnant woman who refused to sign a traffic ticket in 2004.

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones ruled that a lawsuit filed against the officers by Malaika Brooks can go to trial July 7. The judge, however, dismissed the city, the Police Department and Chief Gil Kerlikowske from the lawsuit, saying there is insufficient evidence to show the incident sprang from improper training or the negligence of policymakers.

Jones noted in his ruling that he must consider the evidence in a light most favorable to Brooks but points out that there is little dispute about the facts surrounding the November 2004 traffic stop that led to the incident: Brooks, 34, was stopped for speeding in a school zone. When she refused to sign the citation the officers decided to arrest her.

When voice commands didn’t work, court documents show, they used a “pain compliance” hold on her arm. When that didn’t work, Officer Donald Jones jolted the woman with a Taser three times “in rapid succession.” Brooks was seven months pregnant at the time.

“Any reasonable officer would have acknowledged numerous factors limiting the degree of force he could use against Ms. Brooks,” the judge wrote. Court documents show Brooks did not threaten the officers or otherwise resist except by clutching the steering wheel and refusing to leave the car.

Ted Buck, one of the attorneys representing the officers, said he had not read the decision and could not comment. However, he did say that a judge or jury would have to address the issue of what an officer should do in such situations — use a Taser, which causes no permanent injuries, or risk an officer or suspect being hurt “trying to drag someone from a car.”

Brooks, he said, “weighs something like 240 pounds.”

“How long are the officers supposed to wait around?” he asked.

In their court filings, the officers argued they were concerned that Brooks might drive away and injure the officers or others.

The judge pointed out, however, that one of the officers swore in a declaration that he had reached into the car and taken the keys from the ignition.

“In the face of this admission, Defendants’ repeated insistence that Ms. Brooks might have hurt someone with her car is wholly unconvincing, at best, and a misrepresentation to the court at worst,” the judge wrote in an order issued late Thursday. “The facts before this court show that Ms. Brooks posed no threat to anyone.”

Moreover, the officers were not in a life-and-death situation where they had to make a split-second decision. “Using a Taser to inflict extreme pain to effect the arrest … of a nonviolent pregnant woman already under police control is a Fourth Amendment violation,” the judge wrote.

Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or


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News Observing Photo Gallery Magazine Archive Shop at Sky

Map of dark matter
NASA / ESA / P. Simon / T. Schrabback

Bulletin at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

March 25, 2010 | Thanks to a huge photographic survey undertaken by the Hubble Space Telescope, cosmologists have used the distorted shapes of primordial galaxies to “weigh” the distribution of unseen matter in the early universe and confirm the existence of the mysterious “dark energy.” > read more


An Amateur’s Mercury Odyssey

March 22, 2010 | In 1998 a trio of amateur astronomers slapped a video camera on Mount Wilson’s 60-inch reflector and aimed it at Mercury. A decade later, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft rediscovered many of the surface features they found. > read more




Recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi
David A. Hardy / PPARC
March 23, 2010 | At first observers thought they’d discovered a nova — a “new star” erupting from obscurity. But astronomers quickly realized that it was a well-known, formerly well-behaved variable star suddenly gone bonkers. > read more


Mercury Takes the Spotlight

March 26, 2010 | The normally elusive innermost planet has its best apparition of the year — with dazzling Venus to point the way!! > read more


Tour April’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

March 26, 2010 | If you’ve always wanted to spot Mercury, here’s your chance. Find out where and when to look for the fleet-footed planet using this month’s audio sky tour. Host: S&T’s Kelly Beatty. (6.5MB MP3 download: running time: 6m 52s) > read more


Vesta in 2010

January 1, 2010 | Vesta was at opposition on February 18, 2010, and it shines at magnitude 7 or brighter through mid-May. > read more


A Saturn Almanac

November 12, 2008 | Spectacular Saturn is now rising shortly after dark. Click here to find printable data on the positions of Saturn’s rings and planets. > read more


Making the Most of Mars

January 25, 2010 | Mars is receding from Earth, but it’s still a fine, though small, target for telescopes. > read more


This Week’s Sky at a Glance


Inner-planet meetup
Sky & Telescope magazine
March 26, 2010 | Venus and Mercury begin their lovely early-spring pairing low in the western sunset. > read more


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Little by little, piece by piece, America is reverting back to the dismal vicious days of blatant in-your-face race hatred, as the following SPLC article attests to.

But, then again, America never left behind, nor has confronted the still festering pus called racism, which is why these domestic terrorist monsters had no fear in committing the lowlife crimes they are so proud of. Many tea party members have not the sense that God gave an onager to realize that they are being used in a racist assault (congressioanl supporters of the bill have been called “nigger” and “faggot”), but, then again, this type of foot soldier mentality is nothing new in America. It was seen in the European indentured servants during the time of Bacon’s Rebellion, and it was seen in poor Whites after the Civil War. It is now seen in the so-called tea party members, most of whom are midddle-class Whites.

As for the lie that “government is the problem”, well, government was never the problem to the haters and destroyers when slavery and segregation was the law of the land. Only a small minority of people rose up and stood against such evils.

But, let government be in the way of helping all American citizens, then, presto-chango-voila!- government becomes a problem.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tea party leader’s enemies?

The real enemies are these pieces of human excrement cowards.


Calling All Thugs: Gasline Cut After Tea Party Leader Posts Enemy’s Address

by  Mark Potok  March 24, 2010

The latest news from the opponents of health care reform who like to suggest that supporters should suffer for their transgressions: A day after two Virginia Tea Party activists posted the address of the brother of a congressman who voted for the bill, authorities discovered that someone had severed a gas line at the man’s home.

According to The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Va., Danville Tea Party leader Nigel Coleman was one of the two people who posted the address of Bo Perriello, the older brother of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Ivy), who voted for the health care bill. “This is Rep. Thomas Stuart Perriello’s home address,” Coleman wrote Monday, going on to suggest that others who oppose the health care bill “drop by” and “express their thanks.” He added, “I ain’t holding back no more.”

According to the Politico website, Coleman, upon learning he had posted the wrong address, said on a blog: “Do you mean I posted his brother’s address on my Facebook? Oh well, collateral damage.”

Told by The Daily Progress of the severing of the line that connected a propane tank to a grill on Perriello’s screened-in porch, Coleman said he was “shocked” and “almost speechless.” He claimed innocently that he was against violence, and in any case wasn’t sure that the attack, which is under FBI investigation, was related to his post.

Coleman’s absolutely despicable actions were remarkably similar to those of American neo-Nazi leaders who in recent years have made a practice of posting their enemies’ addresses and other personal information. They, too, often suggested that their sympathizers drop by to let enemies know their feelings. But that certainly didn’t stop Coleman from engaging in his own mindless and dangerous provocation.

The news of Coleman’s post and its apparent result followed boasts earlier in the week from Mike Vanderboegh, a former Alabama militia leader who last Friday called on enemies of health reform to smash the windows of local Democratic Party headquarters around the country. Vanderboegh’s threatening blog post, which suggested that civil war could be around the corner, was followed by bricks or stones being thrown through party offices in three states. The offices of two Democratic congressmen in New York and Arizona were similarly attacked.

As if that wasn’t enough, opponents of health care legislation demonstrating in Washington, D.C., this weekend spit on a black congressman, shouted racial slurs at two others, and shouted an anti-gay epithet at yet another. A week earlier, a group at a Tea Party in Columbus, Ohio, taunted a man sitting on the ground with a sign saying he had Parkinson’s disease. “If you’re looking for a handout,” one of the protesters told the health care reform supporter in a scene captured on video and posted to YouTube, “you’re in the wrong end of town.”

These despicable attacks and those who help foment them are unworthy of any citizen of a democracy, let alone of those who pretend to be standing up for principled conservatism. What we are seeing is the infuriated response of thugs and those who like to encourage thugs. And what may be most appalling of all is the absolute temerity, not to say cowardice, of supposedly responsible leaders of those who opposed health care reform, almost none of whom have condemned the latest round of hate. It’s a sad commentary on America that this is what our political process has become.


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The proposed health care bill is still weak. It favors insurance companies’s profits.The Individual Mandate still needs work. Incidentally, it was Republicans Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, in 1993, who co-sponsored a bill with individual mandates; even Mitt Romney championed and spoke of individual mandates in his 2008 run for the presidency:


Now, they are two-stepping, polka dancing around this very issue, and are saying they are against individual mandates.


But, for those of us who still have questions on the new health care bill and what to expect from healthcare providers, health insurance companies and the government’s role in ensuring the health of all of its citizens, here is an article which lays out what to expect and how the bill will affect us.


10 Ways the new healthcare bill may affect you

by Katie Adams
Friday, March 26, 2010

provided by

The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, more commonly referred to as the “healthcare bill”, has taken over a year to craft and has been a lightning rod for political debate because it effectively reshapes major facets of the country’s healthcare industry.

Here are 10 things you need to know about how the new law may affect you:

1. Your Kids are Covered

Starting this year, if you have an adult child who cannot get health insurance from his or her employer and is to some degree dependent on you financially, your child can stay on your insurance policy until he or she is 26 years old. Currently, many insurance companies do not allow adult children to remain on their parents’ plan once they reach 19 or leave school.

2. You Can’t be Dropped

Starting this fall, your health insurance company will no longer be allowed to “drop” you (cancel your policy) if you get sick. In 2009, “rescission” was revealed to be a relatively common cost-cutting practice by several insurance companies. The practice proved to be common enough to spur several lawsuits; for example, in 2008 and 2009, California’s largest insurers were made to pay out more than $19 million in fines for dropping policyholders who fell ill.

3. You Can’t be Denied Insurance 

Starting this year your child (or children) cannot be denied coverage simply because they have a pre-existing health condition. Health insurance companies will also be barred from denying adults applying for coverage if they have a pre-existing condition, but not until 2014.

4. You Can Spend What You Need to

Prior to the new law, health insurance companies set a maximum limit on the monetary amount of benefits that a policyholder could receive. This meant that those who developed expensive or long-lasting medical conditions could run out of coverage. Starting this year, companies will be barred from instituting caps on coverage.

5. You Don’t Have to Wait

If you currently have pre-existing conditions that have prevented you from being able to qualify for health insurance for at least six months you will have coverage options before 2014. Starting this fall, you will be able to purchase insurance through a state-run “high-risk pool”, which will cap your personal out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare. You will not be required to pay more than $5,950 of your own money for medical expenses; families will not have to pay any more than $11,900.

6. You Must be Insured

Under the new law starting in 2014, you will have to purchase health insurance or risk being fined. If your employer does not offer health insurance as a benefit or if you do not earn enough money to purchase a plan, you may get assistance from the government. The fines for not purchasing insurance will be levied according to a sliding scale based on income. Starting in 2014, the lowest fine would be $95 or 1% of a person’s income (whichever is greater) and then increase to a high of $695 or 2.5% of an individual’s taxable income by 2016. There will be a maximum cap on fines.

7. You’ll Have More Options

Starting in 2014 (when you will be required by law to have health insurance), states will operate new insurance marketplaces – called “exchanges” – that will provide you with more options for buying an individual policy if you can’t get, or afford, insurance from your workplace and you earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid. In addition, millions of low- and middle-income families (earning up to $88,200 annually) will be able to qualify for financial assistance from the federal government to purchase insurance through their state exchange.

8. Flexible Spending Accounts Will Become Less Flexible

Three years from now, flexible spending accounts (FSAs) will have lower contribution limits – meaning you won’t be able to have as much money deducted from your paycheck pre-tax and deposited into an FSA for medical expenses as is currently allowed. The new maximum amount allowed will be $2,500. In addition, fewer expenses will qualify for FSA spending. For example, you will no longer be able to use your FSA to help defray the cost of over-the-counter drugs.

9. If You Earn More, You’ll Pay More

Starting in 2018, if your combined family income exceeds $250,000 you are going to be taking less money home each pay period. That’s because you will have more money deducted from your paycheck to go toward increased Medicare payroll taxes. In addition to higher payroll taxes you will also have to pay 3.8% tax on any unearned income, which is currently tax-exempt.

10. Medicare May Cover More or Less of Your Expenses

Starting this year, if Medicare is your primary form of health insurance you will no longer have to pay for preventive care such as an annual physical, screenings for treatable conditions or routine laboratory work. In addition, you will get a $250 check from the federal government to help pay for prescription drugs currently not covered as a result of the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole”.

However, if you are a high-income individual or couple (making more than $85,000 individually or $170,000 jointly), your prescription drug subsidy will be reduced. In addition, if you are one of the more than 10 million people currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan you may be facing higher premiums because your insurance company’s subsidy from the federal government is going to be dramatically reduced.


Over the next few months you will most likely receive information in the mail from your health insurance company about how the newly signed law will affect your coverage. Read the correspondence carefully and don’t hesitate to ask questions about your policy; there may be new, more affordable options for you down the road.



For more in-depth information on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, below are links to help you sort out where you stand in this health issue, whether you are insured, or not.



The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act

Full Text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148)

Note: To save a copy of this legislation on your computer, please right-click on the link and select the “save” option.



Section-by-Section Analyses

Immediate Benefits


Archived Materials

The following links provide access to documents that were distributed by DPC earlier in the health care debate. Please note that the most current versions of all documents are listed above.

Note: If you need these reports in a format other than pdf, please contact DPC.


Also, see: “Plain Text or PDF Formats of H.R. 3590

Also, see the U.S. Constitution concerning Commerce and General Welfare  (Commerce Clause, Article 1; Tax and Spend Clause, Article 1, section 8 cited by the new health care bill).

Also, see: “Hatch: I Supported the Unconstitutional Individual Mandate in 1993 to derail HillaryCare

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The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American motion picture that dramatized the biblical story of Moses, an adopted Egyptian prince-turned deliverer of the Hebrew slaves. Released by Paramount Pictures in VistaVision on October 5, 1956. It was directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starred Charlton Heston in the lead role, Yul Brynner as his adoptive brother, Pharaoh Ramesses II, Anne Baxter as Nefretiri, John Derek as Joshua, Edward G. Robinson as Dathan, Yvonne De Carlo as Sephora, Cedric Hardwicke as Pharaoh Seti I, Vincent Price as Baka, and John Carradine as Aaron.

This was the last film that Cecil DeMille directed. It was also narrated by him.

The Ten Commandments is a remake of DeMille’s 1923 silent film.

Some of the cast and crew of the 1956 version worked on the original. It was remade again as a television miniseries broadcast in April 2006.

The Ten Commandments is one of the most financially successful films made, grossing over $65 million at the North American box office. Adjusting for inflation, this makes it the fifth highest grossing movie in North America, with an adjusted total of $977 million in 2010.

In 1999, The Ten Commandments was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. In June 2008, AFI revealed its “Ten top Ten”—the best ten films in ten “epics” American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. The Ten Commandments was acknowledged as the tenth best film in the epic genre.

The Ten Commandments DVD cover. SOURCE

The Ten Commandments movie poster. SOURCE

Often shown on or a day before Easter Sunday, The Ten Commandments has become a perennial favourite.

What a spectacle of a movie it is.

The finding of baby Moses in the bulrushes by Ramses’s sister, Bithia. The Seven Plagues visited upon Egypt. The Passover of the Angel of Death, striking down with death Egypt’s firstborn. The parting of the Red Sea when the “stiff-necked Hebrews” left on their Exodus from bondage in Egypt. The burning bush of God’s voice when Moses went upon Mount Sinai.

The 10 Commandments etched into stone by the fingers of God. The golden calf idol. Moses bringing the children of Israel to the Promised land, and sorrowfully, his being denied entry into the new land because of his anger in breaking the tablets.

The beauty and the pagentry, and yes, some of the campiness of the lines and acting (Anne Baxter, as Nefetiri and Edward G. Robinson, as Dathan, most notably) still warms the heart. Yes, The Ten Commandments plays footloose and fast with the incidents depicted in the Bible, as well as the recorded history of ancient Egypt concerning the Pharoahs, but, as a movie, it is enjoyable in its drama, costumes, and cinematography. The dialogue is no slouch in memorable moments either.

And who can forget those memorable lines in the movie?

Moses: No son could have more love for you than I.
Sethi: Then why are you forcing me to destroy you? What evil has done this to you?
Moses: The evil that men should turn their brothers into beasts of burden, to be stripped of spirit, and hope, and strength – only because they are of another race, another creed. If there is a god, he did not mean this to be so.

Sethi: Harden yourself against subordinates. Have no friend. Trust no woman.

Sethi: Do you mean to tell me he would turn the slaves against me? I’ve been his father!
Jannes: Ambition knows no father.

Sethi: The one who I choose will be the best man to rule Egypt. I owe that to my fathers, not to my sons.

[Answering accusations that he is treating the slaves too generously.]
Moses: The city is made of bricks. The strong make many, the starving make few, the dead make none. So much for accusations.

Moses: Great one, I bring you Ethiopia.
[Trumpets play, Ethiopians step forward.]
Rameses: Command them to kneel before Pharaoh.
Moses: Command what you have conquered my brother.

Baka: We use the old ones for greasing the stones. If they are killed it is no loss.
Moses: Are you a master builder or a master butcher?
Baka: If we stop moving stones for every grease woman who falls, the city will not rise.
Overseer: If the slaves are not driven they will not work.
Joshua: If their work lags it is because they are not fed.
Moses: You look strong enough.
Joshua: I am a stone cutter. The pharoah likes his images cut deep.

Baka: Will you lose a throne because Moses builds a city?
Rameses: The city that he builds shall bear my name, the woman that he loves shall bear my child. So let it be written, so let it be done.

Sethi: Let the name of Moses be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of Egypt. Let the name of Moses be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time.

Bithiah: Your tongue will dig your grave, Memnet.

Joshua: God made men. Men made slaves.

Nefretiri: You will be king of Egypt and I will be your footstool!
Moses: The man stupid enough to use you as a footstool isn’t wise enough to rule Egypt.

Moses: Love cannot drown truth, Nefretiri.

Nefretiri: Oh Moses, Moses, you stubborn, splendid, adorable fool!

Moses: What change is there in me? Egyptian or Hebrew I am still Moses. These are the same hands, the same arms, the same face that were mine a moment ago.

Baka: You make no outcry, Joshua, but you will; you will cry for the mercy of death.
Joshua: One day you will listen to the cry of slaves.
Baka: This is not that day, Joshua.

Rameses: You have a rat’s ears and a ferret’s nose.
Dathan: To use in your service, son of Pharaoh.

Rameses: Now speaks the rat that would be my ears.
Dathan: Too many ears tie a rat’s tongue.

Moses: It would take more than a man to lead the slaves from bondage. It would take a god.

[To Nefretiri.]
Rameses: You will be mine, like my dog, or my horse, or my falcon, except that I shall love you more–and trust you less.

Sethi: With my last breath I’ll break my own law and speak the name of Moses… Moses.

Rameses: [banishing Moses to the desert] Here is your king’s scepter, and here is your kingdom, with the scorpion, the cobra, and the lizard for subjects. Free them if you will. Leave the slaves to me.

Moses: There is a beauty beyond the senses, Nefretiri. Beauty like the quiet of green valleys and still waters. Beauty of the spirit that you cannot understand.

Nefretiri: You need have no fear of me.
Sephora: I feared only his memory of you.
Nefretiri: You have been able to erase it?
Sephora: He has forgotten both of us. You lost him when he went to seek his god. I lost him when he found his god.

Nefretiri: I saved your son.
Moses: It is not my son who will die, it is the first born of Egypt, it is your son, Nefretiri!
Nefretiri: You would not dare strike Pharaoh’s son!
Moses: In the hardness of his heart, Pharaoh has mocked God and brings death to his own son!
Nefretiri: But he is my son. You would not kill my son.
Moses: Without God I am nothing. I am the tool by which he works his will.
Nefretiri: But I saved your son!
Moses: I cannot save yours.

Dathan: Moses has words. Pharaoh has spears!

Commander of the Host: Let us go from this place, men cannot fight against a God.
Rameses: Better to die in battle with a God then to live in shame.

Moses: The Lord of Hosts will do battle for us. Behold his mighty hand.

Little Boy: The wind opens the sea.
Old Blind Man: God opens the sea with a blast of his nostrils.

Moses: Go, proclaim liberty throughout all the land, and to all the inhabitants thereof.

Rameses:His God… *is* God!

And my most favourite one uttered by Rameses: “So, let it be written, so let it be done.”

The soundtrack/score by Elmer Bernstein is exquisite, from the opening trumpeting of horns to the violins and tympani drums crescendo, the music of The Ten Commandments is thrilling and stirring.

One major aspect left out of the movie is that of Moses wife Zipporah.

His Ethiopian wife.

This neglect and banishment to historical amnesia has kept Zipporah unknown to millions of people for centuries, and only recently are people learning of her existence.

Moses love for his black (Cushite) wife is vehemently opposed by his sister Miriam, and his brother Aaron in Numbers, Chapter 12:

 1. And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) 4 And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. 5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.

6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.

8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

9  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. 10. And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. 11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb. 13. And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again. 15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.

16 And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.

SOURCE: Numbers 12: 1-16, The King James Bible


The Ten Commandments was De Mille’s crowning achievement, drawing millions of people at the time of its release.

Very few movies have compared to The Ten Commandments “cast of thousands”, and the special-effects are mesmerizing: the Pillar of Fire that blocks Rameses’s chariots; the turning of the Nile to blood; the snakes of Moses’s swallowing up the snakes of Pharoah’s magicians.

As epics go, The Ten Commandments is a one-of-a-kind, and in a class by itself.

They definitely do not make them like this anymore.


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In 2008 I posted an article on Ms. Nitra Gipson who was accused of trying to exchange counterfeit money orders at a local Wal-Mart in Houston, Texas.

The following is an update on her case, and I am proud to say that justice for her has prevailed. (Some what prevailed, as Wal-Mart is refusing to face the music and is appealing the case, which may drag out the settlement for years. Neither has Wal-Mart had the guts to apologize to Ms. Gipson nor have the charges against her be expunged. Obviously Wal-Mart cares nothing for Ms. Gipson nor for itself. If Wal-Mart gave a damn about its precious image, it would at least offer an olive branch to Ms. Gipson and ask her forgiveness for their insult upon her and the loss she suffered from going to jail behind their malicious attack upon her. Then again, obviously Wal-Mart is too stupid to even think intelligently about a matter that they started.)

Congratulations to you Nitra for standing up for your rights as a human being and as a customer. Kudos to you for planning on becoming a lawyer. Nothing like poetic justice to have good lawyers to keep the savage “Wal-Mart” mentality types of the world in check.

What Wal-Mart did was reprehensible and they will pay dearly for their defamation of your character and hateful slanderous lie against you.


Woman awarded $9 million after Wal-Mart sends her to jail

Photo by staff  SOURCE

TSU Grad awarded $9 million in suit against Wal-Mart

Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle

March 28, 2010, 7:35AM

A Houston woman who was wrongly arrested in 2008 at the Walmart in Meyer Park has won a $9 million jury verdict.

Nitra Gipson, 24, filed a civil lawsuit against the retailer after store employees accused her of trying to exchange counterfeit Walmart money orders for cash. She was arrested and spent two days in jail. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office declined to pursue charges after it was determined that the money orders were genuine.

That meant Gipson had been falsely accused and falsely arrested.

Company lawyers based in Utah later sent her a letter alleging that she owed Walmart money for taking merchandise. The letter threatened to pursue a shoplifting charge if she didn’t pay $200.

“The jury found that she had been defamed by being accused of forgery, counterfeiting, theft and shoplifting,” said Houston lawyer Lloyd Kelley, who represented Gipson.

A Harris County court jury on Friday determined that Wal-Mart Stores Texas should pay $8.2 million in actual damages and $820,000 in punitive damages.

John Ramirez, a Houston lawyer who represents the retailer, directed questions to Walmart media relations.

A company spokesperson did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Kelley said Walmart lawyers indicated that they would appeal. That means resolving the case may take another few years, he said.

“The main problem for Walmart has been the bad publicity,” Kelley said, adding that the retailer hasn’t offered an apology, hasn’t asked that charges against Gipson be expunged and has not revealed any company policy changes resulting from the incident.

Since then, Gipson has graduated from Texas Southern University and wants to become a lawyer, Kelley said. She sold her car to help raise tuition two years ago, which is why she had $4,100 in money orders.

“She was as innocent as can be,” her attorney said.


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Published: March 27, 2010
The prominent American poet Ai, whose work — known for its raw power, jagged edges and unflinching examination of violence and despair — stood as a damning indictment of American society, died on March 20 in Stillwater, Okla. She was 62 and lived in Stillwater.
March 28, 2010    

Oklahoma State University

Ai, a poet and professor.

The cause was pneumonia, a complication of previously undiagnosed cancer, said Carol Moder, head of the English department at Oklahoma State University, where Ai had taught since 1999.

Born Florence Anthony, the poet legally changed her name to Ai, which means love in Japanese, as a young woman. She received a National Book Award in 1999 for “Vice: New and Selected Poems,” published that year by W. W. Norton & Company.

Her other books include “Sin” (1986), “Fate” (1991), “Greed” (1993) and “Dread” (2003). A posthumous volume, “No Surrender,” is to be published by Norton in September.

Ai’s poems, which have been widely anthologized, are nearly always dramatic monologues, a form closely associated with the 19th-century English poet Robert Browning. To this form, she brought a flinty, distinctly 20th-century American sensibility.

“Imagine a Browning monologue rewritten in the terse manner of Sam Shepard,” the poet David Wojahn wrote in The New York Times Book Review in 1986, “and you have a good idea of what an Ai poem sounds like.”

Though Ai’s work was determinedly not autobiographical, its concern with disenfranchised people was informed, she often said, by her own fractional heritage. Many poems could be read as biting dissertations “On Being 1/2 Japanese, 1/8 Choctaw, 1/4 Black, and 1/16 Irish,” as the title of a 1978 essay she wrote in Ms. magazine put it. (The proportions are telling, too, for not quite adding up to a complete person.)

The narrators of Ai’s poems are male and female, young and old, famous and unsung. Many are profoundly unlikable, some genuinely evil. They do terrible things. In the worlds they inhabit, families are shattered, lovers abandoned, children abused.

In her early work, characters tend to be people on the margins of society, poor, anonymous, festering in small towns. Their relationships are defined by sexual yearning, but also by neglect, betrayal and violence. Her poem “Salomé” opens:

I scissor the stem of the red carnation

and set it in a bowl of water.

It floats the way your head would,

if I cut it off.

But what if I tore you apart

for those afternoons

when I was fifteen

and so like a bird of paradise

slaughtered for its feathers.

Even my name suggested wings,

wicker cages, flight.

Come, sit on my lap, you said.

I felt as if I had flown there;

I was weightless.

You were forty and married.

That she was my mother never mattered.

She was a door that opened onto me.

Ai’s later poems are often narrated by historical figures, as if the famous dead — be they villainous or venerated — had been given one last chance to speak. These narrators include Jimmy Hoffa, Marilyn Monroe, Lenny Bruce, Joseph R. McCarthy, Ferdinand Marcos and Elvis Presley.

Florence Anthony was born in 1947 in Albany, Tex., and reared mostly in Arizona by her mother and stepfather. For years her biological father’s identity was kept from her. She later learned, as she wrote in an autobiographical essay in the reference work Contemporary Poets, that “I am the child of a scandalous affair my mother had with a Japanese man she met at a streetcar stop.”

In 1969 Ms. Anthony received a bachelor’s degree in Oriental studies, with a concentration in Japanese, from the University of Arizona. She earned a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine, in 1971. Her first collection of poems, “Cruelty,” was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1973.

A half-sister, Roslynn O’Carroll, is her only immediate survivor.

Over the years, some reviewers criticized Ai’s poetry as sensationalist, formally repetitive and unremittingly bleak. Others, however, praised it for its steadfast candor and for its diverse array of characters. Writing in The Times Book Review in 1976, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louis Simpson described her work this way:

“What separates poets from mere versifiers is a quality of feeling based in experience. This is why the poems of Ai, for example, make the poems of most of her contemporaries seem like kid stuff.”




Published: March 24, 2010
Robert Culp, who teamed with Bill Cosby as a secret agent in the hit 1960s television series “I Spy” and starred as one of the sexually adventurous title characters in the 1969 film “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” died on Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 79.
March 25, 2010    

NBC, via Associated Press

Robert Culp, left, and Bill Cosby in “I Spy,” in the mid-1960s.

March 25, 2010    

Columbia Pictures

Mr. Culp, in love beads, in “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” (1969), with Elliott Gould, far left, Natalie Wood and Dyan Cannon.

His agent, Hillard Elkins, said that Mr. Culp apparently died of a heart attack after collapsing outside his home.

Later in his career Mr. Culp had a recurring role as Ray Romano’s father-in-law in the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but he may be best remembered for his role in NBC’s “I Spy” as part of an easygoing, wisecracking interracial team that was a first for network television and the inspiration for later black and white buddy films.

Secret agents and international intrigue in exotic locations loomed large on the big and small screens in the mid-1960s after the runaway success of the James Bond films. “I Spy,” which ran from 1965 to 1968, presented viewers with a couple of new twists on the formula.

Kelly Robinson, played by Mr. Culp, posed as a dissolute, globe-trotting tennis bum accompanied by his trainer, Alexander Scott, played by Mr. Cosby. Traveling from one tournament to another in glamorous settings, they carried out dangerous assignments in their real roles as agents for the Pentagon.

Blending comedy and drama, “I Spy” clicked with television audiences and established Mr. Culp as a suave leading man. After the series ended he took a starring role with Natalie Wood, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon in Paul Mazursky’s “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” playing a documentary filmmaker keen to test emotional and sexual limits after attending a group therapy session.

Later he played the F.B.I. agent Bill Maxwell in the television series “The Greatest American Hero,” which ran from 1981 to 1983.

Robert Martin Culp was born on Aug. 16, 1930, in Oakland, Calif., and attended high school in Berkeley. He attended the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.; Washington University in St Louis; San Francisco State College; and the drama school of the University of Washington, though he never earned a degree.

His first starring role in television came in 1957 with the CBS series “Trackdown,” a spinoff of “Zane Grey Theater.” As Hoby Gilman, a Texas Ranger, he hunted down criminals all over the state.

When “Trackdown” ended in 1959, Mr. Culp appeared in numerous television series, including “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Bonanza,” “The Rifleman” and “The Outer Limits” before teaming up with Mr. Cosby. Mr. Culp wrote the scripts for seven episodes of “I Spy,” and was nominated for an Emmy for all three years the show was in production. Each year, he lost to Mr. Cosby.

There were no hard feelings. He reunited with Mr. Cosby in 1972 on the film “Hickey & Boggs,” a fast-paced comedy about a couple of seedy private-eyes. The film was Mr. Culp’s directorial debut. He later appeared opposite Mr. Cosby in a 1987 episode of “The Cosby Show,” playing Scott Kelly, an old friend of Dr. Cliff Huxtable’s, and, once again as Kelly Robinson, in a 1999 episode of “Cosby” that included a dream sequence of “I Spy.” They had also reunited in the television movie “I Spy Returns” in 1994.

In other films Mr. Culp played John F. Kennedy’s best friend in “PT 109” (1963), Wild Bill Hickok in “The Raiders” (1963), Jane Fonda’s fiancé in “Sunday in New York” (1963), and the president of the United States in “The Pelican Brief” (1993).

Mr. Culp was married five times. He is survived by his daughters, Samantha, who lives in China, and Rachel, of San Francisco; and his sons, Joseph, Joshua and Jason, all of Los Angeles.

Anahad O’Connor contributed reporting.




Published: March 26, 2010
Johnny Maestro, the pure-toned tenor who as the lead singer for the Crests, the Del-Satins and the Brooklyn Bridge recorded rock ’n’ roll hits like “Sixteen Candles” and “The Worst That Could Happen,” died Wednesday at his home in Cape Coral, Fla. He was 70 and had lived in Islip, N.Y., until seven years ago.
March 26, 2010    


Johnny Maestro, center, with members of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The cause was cancer, said Les Cauchi, an original member of the Brooklyn Bridge, which continues to perform before graying audiences, swaying to the tunes of their teenage years.

“The original Brooklyn Bridge had 11 members, singing and playing,” Mr. Cauchi said. “Now there are six members, without Johnny.”

The Bridge, as the group is often called, was a merger in 1968 of two bands, the Del-Satins and the Rhythm Method. It was originally billed as Johnny Maestro, the Del-Satins and the Rhythm Method. A bit too bulky.

“So we decided we’d pick a new one,” Mr. Maestro told The New York Times in 1994. “We were sitting around the office, and someone said: ‘This is going to be difficult. We have 11 people. That’s hard to sell. It’s easier to sell the Brooklyn Bridge.’ We said, ‘That’s the name!’ ”

With their strong vocal and horn arrangements, the Bridge recorded a series of hits, including “Welcome Me Love,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Your Husband, My Wife.” But lightning struck for the band with the songwriter Jimmy Webb’s “Worst That Could Happen.”

In December 1968, the Brooklyn Bridge performed the song on “The Ed Sullivan Show” (with Mr. Sullivan mispronouncing Mr. Maestro’s name as MAY-stroh, not MY-stroh). In the song, a man sings about the impending marriage of a woman he still loves, and reluctantly wishes her well.

“If he loves you more than me,” Mr. Maestro sings, “maybe it’s the best thing, maybe it’s the best thing for you, but it’s the worst that could happen to me.”

That Sullivan show appearance, Mr. Cauchi said, “launched our career.”

Mr. Maestro’s career had taken off before. In the late 1950s he was the lead singer for the Crests, fronting hits like “Sixteen Candles,” “Trouble in Paradise,” “The Angels Listened In” and “Step by Step.”

John Peter Mastrangelo was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan on May 7, 1939, one of three children of Salvatore and Grace Mastrangelo. He is survived by his wife, Grace; his brother, Ronald; two daughters, Tracy and Lisa; a son, Brad; and four grandchildren.

The Crests were a band of street kids from the Lower East Side, and quite a mix. “There were three blacks, one Puerto Rican,” Mr. Maestro said, “and I was the Eye-talian.” They performed at parties and dances and rode the subway for the drop of a few coins. One day a rider handed them a business card; that led to a record contract.

On the Coed label, they recorded “Beside You.”

“The B side was ‘Sixteen,’ ” Mr. Maestro said. “Who knew?”


Published: March 24, 2010

Harold W. McGraw Jr., who as leader of McGraw-Hill, his family’s publishing business, helped build it into a billion-dollar enterprise in the 1970s and ’80s, died on Wednesday at his home in Darien, Conn. He was 92 .

His son Harold W. McGraw III, who is now chief executive of the company, announced his father’s death, attributing it to natural causes.

Mr. McGraw’s leadership at McGraw-Hill was far from a simple matter of inheriting and minding the family store. He played a significant role in its growth and survival as an independent and diversified company in the last half of the 20th century, withstanding a bitter takeover attempt by American Express.

Though McGraw-Hill lacked the prestigious trade book department of rivals like Random House and Doubleday, it remained one of the largest publishing conglomerates in America when Mr. McGraw became chief executive in 1975, reporting gross revenue of about half a billion dollars. In his eight years in the post, McGraw-Hill’s revenue more than doubled and its earnings per share more than tripled, the company said.

Self-effacing, formal in bearing and courteous in an old-fashioned way, Mr. McGraw seemed an unlikely candidate to climb to the top of the corporate ladder. He was the eldest son of the only second-generation member of the family who had never run the company. The man he worked for in the book division, Edward E. Booher, thought little of his abilities. “It just never occurred to me that Harold would one day be my boss,” Mr. Booher told Fortune magazine.

Yet in 1968, Mr. McGraw succeeded Mr. Booher as president of McGraw-Hill Book Company, which had been founded in 1909 when Mr. McGraw’s grandfather James H. McGraw and John A. Hill, owners of separate publishing companies, merged their book departments.

By the late 1960s, the house had become the top-ranked publisher of textbooks for colleges and elementary and secondary schools. Among its best-known texts is “Economics,” by Paul A. Samuelson. In 1966, it acquired Standard & Poor’s, the financial rating service, adding it to a number of companies.

While Mr. McGraw was running the book division, McGraw-Hill drew publicity when it paid a $765,000 advance for what was portrayed as a memoir by Howard R. Hughes, the reclusive billionaire, said to have been taped by Clifford Irving, a novelist. It turned out to be a fraud and was never published.

In 1974 Mr. McGraw took over as president of the parent company, whose name had been changed to McGraw-Hill Inc. (It is now the McGraw-Hill Companies) He succeeded Shelton Fisher, who had led the company through a period of expansion, including the move of its headquarters from West 42nd Street in Manhattan, near Times Square, to a sleek steel and glass tower on the Avenue of Americas, near Rockefeller Center.

Mr. McGraw subsequently became chief executive and chairman, guiding the company through a period of growth, with revenues surpassing $1 billion in 1980 for the first time.

A pivotal moment of his tenure came in 1979, when American Express began one of the bitterest takeover attempts in Wall Street history. On a January evening, James D. Robinson III, the chairman of American Express, and Roger Morley, the president, came to Mr. McGraw’s office and presented an offer of almost $1 billion for McGraw-Hill, with an initial bid of $34 a share for its stock, then trading at $26. The offer was later raised to $40.

Mr. McGraw listened politely but was said to have been furious. A few days later, Newsweek reported, “his face streaked with perspiration, his voice trembling with emotion, the chairman of McGraw-Hill formally presented his board’s unanimous rejection.”

Mr. McGraw publicly condemned American Express. It “lacks the integrity, morality and sensitivity” to merge with McGraw-Hill, he said, adding that the offer was “illegal, unsolicited and improper.”

A corporate drama ensued, featuring secret meetings, public name-calling, simmering family rivalries and threatened lawsuits and countersuits. In one instance, American Express representatives followed a family stockholder to a dental appointment in the hope of inducing him to sell.

Mr. McGraw persuaded family stockholders to vote against the merger. The battle cost McGraw-Hill $3.4 million and American Express $2.4 million.

Mr. McGraw’s critics argued that McGraw-Hill would have been better off financially as part of American Express and wondered what a professional manager who was not part of the family would have done. Barron’s magazine suggested that the stockholders had gotten “a raw deal,” though 10 years later Robert M. Bleiberg wrote in his Barron’s column that “we owe Harold W. McGraw Jr. a forthright (and belated) retraction.”





Published: March 26, 2010

In the days of rickety open-cockpit biplanes seemingly held together by baling wire, 8-year-old Elinor Patricia Ward got her first flying lesson — at her kitchen table in Freeport, N.Y., on Long Island.

March 28, 2010    

Elinor Smith in 1942.

“My earliest memory was at dinner with Dad using a knife to show us how the controls of a plane worked,” she told The New York Daily Mirror in 1942.

Within weeks Elinor’s father, Tom Ward, took her to a makeshift airfield on a potato farm, where a pilot strapped her into the rear seat for a fast flight, for a fee. Mr. Ward was a vaudeville song-and-dance man who hated trains and, while on the road, had hired pilots to take him from town to town. (There was another Tom Ward on the vaudeville circuit, so he changed the family name to Smith.)

That first flight sealed Elinor Smith’s fate. Ten days after she turned 16, Elinor received her pilot’s license, becoming one of the youngest pioneers of aviation. Soon, she was breaking records, doing daredevil stunts and making headlines as the “The Flying Flapper of Freeport.”

On March 19, Elinor Smith Sullivan died at a nursing home in Palo Alto, Calif., her son, Patrick, said. She was 98.

“I remember so vividly my first time aloft that I can still hear the wind swing in the wires as we glided down,” she wrote in her autobiography, “Aviatrix” (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981). “By the time the pilot touched the wheels gently to earth, I knew my future in airplanes and flying was as inevitable as the freckles on my nose.”

Tom Smith took flying lessons, then bought an open-cockpit Waco 10 biplane. Elinor insisted on taking lessons. She took her first solo flight when she was 15. Within two years, she was carrying passengers on short flights from Roosevelt Field over Long Island. Then, on Oct. 21, 1928 — after being baited by boys at her high school — she took off alone, headed west, then south and swooped under the four East River bridges.

“Miss Smith was informed here that the Department of Commerce might ‘ground’ her for her stunt,” The New York Times reported the next day, “but she said that she would rather take that chance than disappoint a number of persons who had expected her to carry out her plan.” She was grounded for 10 days.

Publicity soon propelled Elinor, a blue-eyed, 5-foot-3, curly blond teenager, onto the list of pioneering women in aviation, among them Bobbi Trout, Katherine Stinson, Pancho Barnes , Fay Gillis Wells, Louise McPhetridge Thaden and Amelia Earhart.

On planes provided by corporate sponsors, she began setting records. In January 1929 she set the women’s solo endurance record at 13 ½ hours. Then, three months later she reset it with a 26 ½-hour flight. In 1930, she set the women’s altitude record at 27,419 feet. Within a year, she reset the altitude record at 32,576 feet.

That flight, in a Bellanca monoplane, nearly cost her her life. As The World-Telegram reported on March 11, 1930: “The altimeters on the ship registered 30,000 and 32,000 yesterday when she was forced by motor trouble and waning gas supply to return to Roosevelt Field, where she narrowly averted an accident in making a dead-stick landing. At about 30,000 feet, as the motor sputtered, she lost consciousness. A mile lower she recovered. The plane, without her guiding hand, had glided slowly down.”

In 1934, Miss Smith became the first woman to appear on a Wheaties cereal box.

She was born on Long Island on Aug. 17, 1911, one of three children of Thomas and Agnes Ward. Her husband of 23 years, Patrick H. Sullivan II, who had been a New York State assemblyman, died in 1956. In addition to her son, she is survived by three daughters, Patricia Sullivan, Pamela Sullivan and Kathleen Worden; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Miss Smith took a long time off from flying after she married. But nine years ago, at the age of 89, she was invited to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in Sunnyvale, Calif., where she participated in a simulated landing of the space shuttle.

Always vivid in her memory was that day almost 84 years ago when she first soloed.

She was about to climb into a Farman Pusher biplane, she recalled in an interview for a 1998 PBS documentary, “Daredevils and Dreamers.” She thought it was to be just another flying lesson before she went off to school in Wantagh, a nearby town.

“I was scared silly because Russ” — her teacher — “hadn’t told me I was going to solo that day,” she said on camera. Waving her arm in imitation of her instructor’s direction, she said he suddenly jumped out of the cockpit and simply told her, “Go.”

For a moment she was stunned, then realized that he thought she was ready. “I made three landings,” she said. “Then it was time to go back to Wantagh because I had to go to school.”


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Today, History was Made!
But, It’s Only the Beginning


The Black Women’s Health Imperative applauds President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the members of the House of Representatives for standing courageously in the face of adversity to do what was right for American families – passing health care reform!


Today, history was made.


Many presidents have tried and failed to take on the nation’s most shocking and inhumane form of inequality—the injustices in access to health care. But today, Tuesday, March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama took a major step forward in making the promise of access to health care a reality for millions of families across the nation. 

What does health reform mean for Black women and their families this year?

  • Women’s preventive health services will be fully covered by their health plans, meaning that women can get Pap tests and mammograms without having to pay co-payments.


  • Women with pre-existing conditions – breast cancer patients and domestic violence survivors – will not be denied coverage.


  • Young adults can stay on their parent’s health insurance plans until age 26.


  • Seniors on Medicare Part D who fall into that gap in coverage known as the “donut hole” will be eligible for a $250 rebate to help with the cost of prescription drug prices.  


We are proud of these gains and there are more benefits to come over the next four years. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday, March 21, 2010 when the House passed the bill, “It’s personal for women.” Yet, women did not get all the health care services we need and deserve.


We believe that this is the time to give all women – not just those who can afford it – the right to make their own reproductive health decisions. Not everyone in Congress agrees.

The Senate is now preparing to consider passing the reconciliation package of “fixes.” And, President Obama has announced that he will issue an Executive Order assuring enforcement of the current Hyde Amendment abortion restrictions to the newly created health insurance exchanges. Unfortunately with this Executive Order, health reform is being made possible at the expense of low-income women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care.


We still have work to do. We have already begun strategizing with our partners on how to fight these dangerous restrictions. As we continue to work with the White House and Congress to ensure that all restrictions to women’s health care are lifted, we will keep you informed and call on you to help.


Thank you for standing with us in our steadfast commitment to fight for the change that matter for Black women and their families. 


In health and wellness,

Eleanor Hinton Hoytt

President and CEO



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