Monthly Archives: June 2010


“My hope is that a process of ‘re-storying’ of peoples who had been knocked silent by all kinds of dispossession will happen. My hope for the twenty-first century — is that this “re-storying” will continue and will eventually result in a balance of stories among the world’s peoples.”
Chinua Achebe



The danger of telling a single story.

The danger of telling only one side of a story.

The danger of telling only what you, the presenter, wants your hearing and viewing audience to see.

The danger of hiding the truth in all its glory, all its pain, all its love, all its hate, all its striving, all its beauty.

The danger of a single story.


So let it be stated.

So let it be written.

So let it be done.


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COMOROS:  (From the Arabic Jazā’ir al-Qamar (جزائر القمر): “islands of the moon.”)

Some facts I’d like to mention about Comoros:

Demonym: Comorian(s)

HDI (2007) ▲ 0.561 (medium) (135th)

Drive on the :  right

President: Ahmed Abdallah M. Sambi

Political parties:

Politics of the Union of the Comoros takes place in a framework of a federal presidential republic, whereby the President of the Comoros is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. The Constitution of the Union of the Comoros was ratified by referendum on December 23, 2001, and the islands’ constitutions and executives were elected in the following months. It had previously been considered a military dictatorship, and the transfer of power from Azali Assoumani to Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi in May 2006 was the first peaceful transfer in Comorian history.

Executive power is exercised by the government. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The preamble of the constitution guarantees an Islamic inspiration in governance, a commitment to human rights, and several specific enumerated rights, democracy, “a common destiny” for all Comorians. Each of the islands (according to Title II of the Constitution) has a great amount of autonomy in the Union, including having their own constitutions (or Fundamental Law), president, and Parliament. The presidency and Assembly of the Union are distinct from each of the Islands’ governments. The presidency of the Union rotates between the islands. Anjouan holds the current presidency rotation, and so Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi is President of the Union; Mohéli and Ngazidja follow in four year terms

Coat of Arms

File:Coat of arms of Comoros.svg



The Comoros (pronounced /ˈkɒməroʊz/; Arabic: جزر القمر‎, Juzur al-Qamar), officially the Union of the Comoros (French: Union des Comores, Arabic: الاتّحاد القمريّ‎, al-Ittiḥād al-Qamariyy) is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar. Other countries near to the Comoros are Tanzania to the northwest and the Seychelles to the northeast. The capital is Moroni on Grande Comore. At 1,862 km2 (719 sq mi) (excluding Mayotte), the Comoros is the third-smallest African nation by area. With a population estimated at 798,000 (excluding Mayotte), it is the sixth-smallest African nation by population—although it has one of the highest population densities in Africa. Its name derives from the Arabic word القمر qamar (“moon). Known as the Perfumed island, Comoros is the number one producer of Ylang-Ylang, a principle ingredient in perfumes. It is the second largest producer of vanilla. The archipelago is notable for its diverse culture and history, as a nation formed at the crossroads of many civilizations. Though in the contested island of Mayotte the sole official language is French, the “Union of the Comoros” has three official languages: Comorian (Shikomor), Arabic and French.

With fewer than a million people, the Comoros is one of the least populous countries in the world, but is also one of the most densely populated, with an average of 275 inhabitants per square kilometre (710 /sq mi). In 2001, 34% of the population was considered urban, but that is expected to grow, since rural population growth is negative, while overall population growth is still relatively high. Almost half of the population is younger than age 15. Major urban centers include Moroni, Mutsamudu, Domoni, Fomboni, and Tsémbéhou. There are between 200,000 to 350,000 Comorians living in France.

Comoros is also known as the nation where the 1938 discovery of the endangered species known as the  Coelecanth (or Gombessa) occured off its coast. The coelecanth is a “living fossil” thought to have been extinct for millions of years.


Photo: An endangered coelacanth fish

Thought to have been long extinct, scientists discovered these “living fossils” in 1938.

Famous Comorians:

Heads of state since independence include ‘Ali Soilih (1937–78), who came to power as a result of the 1975 coup and who died after the 1978 takeover; and Ahmad ‘Abdallah (1919–89), president briefly in 1975 and restored to power in 1978. Mercenary Bob Denard (b. France, 1929) virtually ruled the country through figurehead presidents between 1978 and 1989, when France negotiated his departure after the assassination of ‘Abdallah. Col. Assoumani Azzali (b.1959?) took power in a coup in 1999, assuming the titles of president, prime minister, and defense minister

Read more: Famous comorians – Comoros – power


Media and Culture

Comorian (Shikomori) is the most widely used language on the Comoros. It is a close relative of Swahili; like Swahili, it is a Bantu language with approximately 30% of its vocabulary derived from Arabic. It is one of the three official languages of the Comoros, next to French and Arabic. Each island has a slightly different dialect; that of Anjouan is called Shindzwani, that of Moheli Shimwali, that of Mayotte Shimaore, and that of Grande Comore Shingazidja. No official alphabet existed in 1992, but Arabic and Latin scripts were both used even though they are not native to the region.

There is a government owned national newspaper in Comoros,  Al-Watwan], published in Moroni; Kwezi is also published on Mayotte. Radio Comoros is the national radio service and Comoros National TV is the television service.


There are 15 physicians per 100,000 persons. Fertility rate was 4.7 per adult woman in 2004. Life expectancy at birth is 67 for females and 62 for males.


Almost all of the educated populace of the Comoros has attended Quranic schools at some point in their life, often before regular schooling. Here boys and girls are taught about the Quran, and memorize it. Some parents specifically choose this early schooling to offset French schools children usually attend later. Since independence and the ejection of French teachers, the education system has been plagued by poor teacher training and poor results, though recent stability may allow for substantial improvements. In 2000, 44.2 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years were attending school. There is a general lack of facilities, equipment, qualified teachers, textbooks and other resources. Salaries for teachers are often so far in arrears that many refuse to work.

National dress:

The women’s dress is a shiromeni (shiromani), which can be lively colored long dresses or skirts. The women also have a traditional form of dress that involves the use of sandalwood and coral paste as a beauty mask. A kanzu is a white or cream colored robe worn by men in East African countries. In English, the robe is called a tunic. The kanzu is an ankle or floor length garment.


National dish:

The typical Comoros meal may ontain rice and meat, seasoned with one of the many locally produced ingredients like coriander, vanilla, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Also very famous in this country are fish dishes like the one called “Langouste a la vanille”. The national dish of Comoros, Langouste a La Vanille, or Lobster in Vanilla Sauce, is a very rich dish made with lobster boiled in vanilla sauce.  The dish has its roots in France and is a melding of French culinary and Comorian local produce.  

Here is a recipe of Langouste a La Vanille, courtesy of the NYT:


Roast Lobster With Vanilla Sauce

Adapted from Alain Senderens, Lucas-Carton, Paris

50 minutes


  • 2 live lobsters, 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pounds each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 7 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound tender spinach, stemmed
  • 1 pound watercress, stemmed


Place a roasting pan large enough to hold the lobsters in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. With the tip of a sharp knife pierce lobsters between the eyes to sever the spinal cord. Crack claws using the blunt edge of a cleaver or a hammer. Place lobsters in the hot roasting pan, drizzle with oil and roast until red, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside.
Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in a small saucepan, add the shallots and saute over low heat until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine and vinegar, raise heat and cook at a moderate boil until the liquid is reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in 6 tablespoons of butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the sauce, stir to combine and strain into a clean saucepan. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and set aside.
When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the claws. Detach the tails, and discard the heads. With a pair of scissors, cut the shell on the underside of each tail in half lengthwise, remove the meat and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Loosely cover the meat with aluminum foil, and keep warm.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot, and add spinach and watercress. Stir until greens have melted down, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
To serve, reheat the sauce over low heat until warm, whisking constantly. Place a bed of greens on each plate, arrange the lobster meat on top and spoon the sauce over the lobster. Serve immediately.
2 servings
  • NOTE

    Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 650 calories, 50 grams fat, 230 milligrams cholesterol, 1,385 milligrams sodium, 40 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrate.



Comorian music:

The Comorian music is historically linked to both East Africa and France, and now has a strong Malagasy influence. Zanzibar’s taarab music, however, remains the most influential genre on the islands, and a Comorian version called twarab is popular. Leading twarab bands include Sambeco and Belle Lumière, as well as star singer Mohammed Hassan. Comorian instruments include the ‘ud and violin, the most frequent accompaniment for twarab, as well as gabusi (a type of lute) and ndzendze. Sega music from nearby Mauritius and Réunion islands is also popular.
Modern musicians like Abou Chihabi, who composed the Comorian national anthem and is known for his reggae-tinged pan-African variet music, and reggae/zouk/soukous fusionists like Maalesh and Salim Ali Amir, as well as Nawal, a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist.

Music of the Comoros ranges from the classic folk tradition music, to the contemporary, as seen here with the artist Barezi singing Comorian zouk.


National pasttime:

A wide variety of sports are popular in Comoros, including football (soccer), basketball, athletics (track and field), swimming, tennis, and cycling, most of which were introduced during the period of French colonialism. Comoros participates in several regional and international competitions, such as the Aces Cup (a Comoros-Mayotte basketball competition), the Indian Ocean Games, and the Francophone Games.

Famous Comorons:

This is a list of notable people from the Comoros.

  • Abou Chihabi, musician
  • Al Moustoifa Idarousse, musician
  • Wanamah, musician
  • Nawal, singer/songwriter, musician
  • Ali Mroivili, artist
  • Amad Mdahoma, journalist and editor
  • Lubaina Himid, painter and academic
  • Mohamed Ali M’Ze, painter
  • Ali Mroivilli, painter
  • Napalo, painter and sculptor
  • Said Bacar Housseine, artist
  • Oubeidi Mze Chei, government minister and banker
  • Moinaecha Cheikh Yahaya, educationalist, activist, government minister
  • Soeuf Elbadawi, journalist
  • Amad Mdahoma, journalist and editor
  • Allaoui Sad Omar, journalist and publication director
  • said Ali Kemal, Chief of the Royal Family and former Comorian minister
  • Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, president of Comoros
  • Mohamed Halifa, director general of the Central Bank of Comoros
  • Ahmed Djabir, Permanent Representative-designate to the U.N. for Comoros
  • Azali Assoumani, Former President of Comoros
  • Ayouba Combo, Former interim head of state of the Comoros
  • Sakina M’sa, Fashion designer
  • Rohff, French rapper born In the Union Of Comoros, who lives in Vitry-sur-Seine


File:Moroni Mosque Photo by Sascha Grabow.jpg
A mosque in Moroni. (SOURCE)


Fast Facts

Moroni; 53,000
1,862 square kilometers (719 square miles)
Arabic, French, Shikomoro
Sunni Muslim, Roman Catholic
Comoran franc
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $700
Literacy Percent:


Comoros Facts Flag

File:Flag of the Comoros.svg


Map: Comoros

(Enlarged map)

The Comoros are a group of volcanic islands in the Mozambique Channel between northern Madagascar and Africa. The people share African-Arab origins. In 1975 three of the so-called perfume islands voted for independence from France; the fourth, Mayotte, elected to remain a dependency. Some 18 coups, or attempted coups, since independence have created great instability. In 1997 the islands of Anjouan and Mohéli declared independence, but a new federal constitution in 2001 brought the islands back together. Most inhabitants make their living from subsistence agriculture or fishing; exports include vanilla and essences used in the manufacture of perfumes.


  • Industry: Tourism, perfume distillation
  • Agriculture: Vanilla, cloves, perfume essences, copra
  • Exports: Vanilla, ylangylang, cloves, perfume oil, copra

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition


Photo: Harbor Bay in Moroni

A Friday Mosque overlooks Harbor Bay in Moroni, the capital.

Photograph by Jean du Boisberranger/Getty Images






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Here is an update on the pregnant woman who was brutally attacked by cops who refused to believe she was pregnant. Melanie Dawn Williams, who in 2005, was pregnant at the time, was rushing to the hospital due to bleeding. She ran a red light, was stopped by a cop, but, due to the pain she was in, proceeded on to the hospital. Upon arriving in the ER, she was followed by the cops into the ER, thrown to the floor, with one of the cops putting his shoe on the back of her neck. She was then taken outside the hospital, only to have a nurse convince the cops to bring Ms. Williams back into the hospital for medical care. The cops did as instructed by the nurse, with Ms. Williams spending 10 days in the hospital.

Melanie Williams

Melanie Williams

Melanie attacked by police officer in the ER.

Ms. Williams later delivered her baby, with both mother and child surviving the ordeal.

For the cops inhumane maltreatment of Ms. Williams, the city of Jacksonville was served with a lawsuit. (The suit was recently settled for $67,500.00.)

All it would have taken for the situation to remain from escalating, was for the officer to inquire as to why Ms. Williams was speeding, follow her to the hospital, make sure she was not lying about her condition, and then, write her up for a traffic ticket, if it was so necessary for him to fine her.

Instead, the cops endangered Ms. Williams’ life and the life of her baby.

Thanks to their crass behaviour, the city had to pay out for a lawsuit settlement. Not to mention the mental anguish Ms. Williams suffered, as well as possible health complications for her baby.

Then again, cops like these give decent cops a bad name.

Not to mention losing what little brains they have when they could have just let reason, instead of police brutality, win the day.


A woman in premature labor was arrested in the hospital after running a red light.

June 7, 2010 – 7:13pm

By Paul Pinkham

On the eve of trial, a woman detained as she rushed to the hospital in premature labor has settled her unlawful arrest lawsuit against Jacksonville police for $67,500.

Melanie Dawn Williams was scheduled to go to trial this morning against the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and two officers who she said tackled her in the St. Vincent’s Medical Center emergency room in 2005. The officers had pursued her after she ran a red light in Riverside.

The eleventh hour settlement appeared to satisfy all concerned.

“It achieved the certainty of not having an uncertain result,” said City Hall attorney Jon Phillips, who represented the Sheriff’s Office. He said he couldn’t comment further. 

Fraternal Order of Police attorney Paul Daragjati called the settlement a good result for the officers, Matthew Sirmons and James Mills. 

And Williams’ attorney, Linnes Finney, said the settlement recognizes the city’s exposure in the officers’ conduct. Fortunately, he said, his client and her child haven’t experienced health problems as a result.

“We think we proved our point,” Finney said.

Williams was seven months pregnant when she rushed to the hospital on doctor’s orders after noticing vaginal bleeding. After she was handcuffed in the emergency room, she was led back outside to the hospital parking lot.

Eventually a nurse came outside, found Williams bleeding and insisted she be taken to the hospital’s labor and delivery unit, where doctors successfully staved off labor. She spent 10 days in the hospital.

The officers were disciplined. One told internal affairs investigators that Williams didn’t mention being pregnant until they cuffed her; the other said she never mentioned it.

But that didn’t matter because the officers should have recognized she was in some sort of medical distress, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled last year. The appellate court denied the officers’ immunity claims and ruled Williams’ could sue for unlawful arrest but not for excessive force.

That decision was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.

In the weeks preceding trial, U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard ruled jurors wouldn’t hear about the officers’ discipline or, at the outset, Williams’ misdemeanor arrest record for drug possession and resisting arrest. She said lawyers for the police could revisit that issue depending on the evidence at trial.

But Howard ordered that Williams’ discovery of bleeding during sex could come in at trial.

Finney denied that Howard’s rulings had anything to do with prompting a settlement., (904) 359-4107





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#1 R&B Song 1951:  “Sixty Minute Man,” the Dominoes

Born:  Lena Horne, 1917; Florence Ballard (the Supremes), 1943; William Brown (Ray, Goodman & Brown), 1946; Stanley Clarke, 1951


1953   The Orioles’ legendary “Crying in the Chapel” (#11 pop, #1 R&B) was recorded.

1956   Aladdin Records sued the Five keys for breach of contract when the quintet signed with Capitol Records. The same day, the Velours’ debut 45, “My Love Come Back” ($200) was issued.

1972   Stevie Wonder performed in Vancouver, British Columbia, as the opening act for the Rolling Stones on an eight-week North American tour.

1973  Sylvia Vanterpool Robinson’s “Pillow Talk” reached #14 in the United Kingdom. It had reached #1 on R&B for two weeks, #3 on the pop chart with  Billboard’s Hot 100. Written and produced by Ms. Robinson and Michael Burton, the song became famous for Ms. Robinson’s sultry moaning and breathing. The song was released by the Vibration label, with the B-side entitled “My Thing”. It sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in May 1973.

1984   The Jackson 5 charted with “State of Shock,” which featured a duet by Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. It reached #3 pop and #4 R&B.

1989   Bobby Brown made a personal appearance at the HMV store on London’s Oxford Street and police had to close off the thoroughfare as 4,000 fans attempted (among other things) to get his autograph. During the near-riot scene, six fans were hospitalized and one was brought back to life (so to speak) by a kiss from the star.

1990  Mariah Carey’s self-titled debut album charted. It would take the ten-song collection thirty-six weeks to make it to #1.

1995   Boyz II Men, Mary J. Blige, and Montell Jordan performed at the Starwood Amphitheater in Antioch, TN.

1995   Brandy, Blackstreet, Notorious B.I.G., Naughty by Nature, and Method Man, among others, performed at the Byrne Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, NJ, at the Hot 97 Summer jam.

1997   George Clinton, Cypress Hill, and Erykah Badu began the House of Blues Smokin’ Grooves tour at the Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts in Mansfield, MA. Badu originally performed under the name M.C. Apples in a rap trio before becoming part of the duo Erykah Free.

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#1 R&B Song 1959:  “Personality,” Lloyd Price

Born:  Leonard Lee (Shirley & Lee, 1936; Little Eva (Eva Narcissus Boyd), 1943


1946   Louis Jordan and Ella Fitzgerald charted with their duet on the rousing “Stone Cold Dead in the Market (He Had It Coming),” reaching #1 R&B for five weeks and #7 pop.

1953   The Drifters recorded their first song today, “Lucille,” which would become their third R&B chart hit (#7).

1956   The Channels recorded their classic “The Closer You Are” ($250). Sharing the session (to save money) were label mates the Continentals, who then recorded their beautiful ballad “Dear Lord” ($30).

1963   James Brown’s first album, Live at the Apollo, debuted on the pop charts today, eventually rising to #2. As with his pop singles, even though he had enormous chart success, he never had a #1 pop album. Though could go on to have forty-nine albums hit the pop charts through 1988, Live would remain his all-time biggest success and would be considered a milestone in the development of live albums for years to come.

1968   Pigmeat Markham, one of the few comedians to hit the singles charts, did it today with “Hear Comes the Judge,” which reached #4 R&B and #19 pop. The title line was from a recurring gag on TV’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In show.

1985   Whitney Houston stormed onto the singles chart with “Saving All My Love For You,” an eventual #1 pop and R&B. She would go on to have eleven pop #1 singles through 2002. The song was originally done in 1982 by Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, formerly of the Fifth Dimension.

1985   The Mary Jane Girls entered the R&B charts with “Wild and Crazy Love,” reaching #10 and #42 pop. It was their follow-up to their break-through hit, “In My House,” which reached #3 R&B and #7 pop. Both were written and produced by Rick James.

1991   Dionne Warwick, Chaka Khan, En Vogue, Levert, and Dianne Reeves, among others, performed on the Celebrate the Soul of American Music  TV show.

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I often wonder how America and law enforcement (city, county, state and federal) would respond if many Black women took up arms, threatened a sitting president of the United States of America, ran around in the woods in camouflaged gear,  practicing military maneuvers, while shooting at pictures of the president and threatening to also take down the country?

More important, what would have happened to them if they committed the many acts that White militias have done, under both the Bush administrations? Wanna bet that if those Black women militias had ties to terrorists could continue to walk around unmolested or harassed?

Wanna bet that they would be allowed to partake in insurgent acts with nary an action taken against them by the government?

I highly doubt it.

Not to mention if Black women went around brandishing firearms during the administration of Reagan.

Everyone knows the extreme hate he had for Black women.

I am sure that many Black women would have been arrested and sent straight to Guantanamo, no questions asked.



Tolerance of white militias exemplifies racial double standard


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Imagine that the inauguration of President George W. Bush had sparked an explosive rise in African American militia groups. Suppose thousands of heavily armed black men began gathering at training camps in wooded areas throughout the country, devising military tactics for “taking back their country” after what they believed was an electoral coup.

Do you think Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney would have reacted to a black militaristic buildup as coolly as President Obama has to the phenomenal growth of white militias?

Since Obama took office last year, the number of white militias has shot up from about 170 to more than 500, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist groups in the United States. Armed with enough firepower to take on a police department, some of these groups are honing their sniper skills using photographs of Obama for target practice.

They cling to the delusion that the nation’s first black president is somehow a subversive working for Muslim extremists, and they aim to bring him down.

“If the people we saw running around armed to the teeth were black, I think their organizations would be destroyed in a matter of hours,” Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, told me. “If people saw on their TV screens photos of black militia members shooting at images of a white president, I don’t think they would last.”

No kidding.

This racial disparity comes to mind whenever I see militia leaders carping about government “tyranny” while enjoying the special privileges that come with being white. One such group, the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, was featured in a documentary, “The Rise of the New Right,” that aired last week on MSNBC and was narrated by Chris Matthews, the host of “Hardball.”

“Five areas that we focus on are crime, disaster, invasion, tyranny and terrorism,” said Michael Lackomar, a spokesman for the militia group. “All five of those cover threats that would interrupt our ways of life.”

He’s worried about terrorism? It’s terrifying just to see his militia lurking behind trees, dressed in camouflage and wielding who-knows-what military armament picked up at some gun and ammo show.

What’s even more astounding is that Lackomar’s group has links to the Hutaree militia, another Michigan-based group, whose members were arrested by the FBI in March and charged with plotting to kill a police officer and then slaughter scores more by setting off a bomb at the funeral.

The Hutaree’s intent, according to federal law enforcement officials, was to trigger an uprising against the federal government. Lackomar’s militia was among the groups that helped Hutaree members, unwittingly or not, hone their shooting skills in preparation for the assault.

And yet the southeastern Michigan militia continues to operate with impunity, as if it were some latter-day Army of the Potomac.

Let’s say then-Vice President Cheney found out that a black militia group had ties to a terrorist organization seeking to levy war against the United States. Say hello to Guantanamo.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in effect, that you can go to prison for trying to hold a peace talk with groups deemed to be foreign terrorist organizations. But if the group is a home-grown white terrorist organization, it’s apparently okay not just to associate with them but also to offer them military training as they plot against the country.

Maybe Obama is just being savvy by not coming down hard on the militia. As Potok said, “There’s a huge amount of anger, and what we are really lacking at this moment is a kind of spark.” In an apparent attempt to defuse the tension, Obama does such things as supporting a U.S. Supreme Court decision crippling D.C.’s gun control law and then signs a bill that allows visitors to national parks to carry guns.

Still, gun advocates keep him in their sights. They show up outside presidential town hall meetings brandishing firearms. When a young black man, identified only as Chris, showed up at one such event with a rifle strapped to his back, white protesters cited him as proof that race had nothing to do with their contempt for Obama.

But they missed the point.

Had the black rifleman showed for, say, Ronald Reagan’s “states’ rights” speech in Philadelphia, Miss., back in 1980, they might still be dredging the Pearl River for his remains.


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#1 R&B Song 1952:  “Have Mercy Baby,” the Dominoes

Born:  Blues singer “Honey Boy” Edwards, 1915


1947   Louis Jordan entered the R&B hit list with “I Know What You’re Putting Down,” reaching #3.

1947   Ella Fitzgerald and the Andy Love Quintet (a vocal group) charted with a beautiful version of “That’s My Desire,” reaching #3 R&B.

1957   An all-star show at the Apollo Theater included the Jesters, the Charts, the Heartbeats, the Velours, and the Sensations.

1965   The Temptations, Dionne Warwick, the Supremes, Martha Reevs & the Vandellas, the Ronettes, and the Four Tops performed onthe It’s What’s Happening, Baby special on CBS-TV.

1986   Sade and Hugh Masekela performed at an anti-apartheid concert at Clapham Common in London. Also appearing were Sting, Boy George, Elvis Costello, and Peter Gabriel, among others. Nearly a quarter of a million people attended.

1990   Tina Turner became the first woman and only the second rock ‘n’ roll act (Pink Floyd being the other) to perform at the Palace of Versailles in France.

1996   R. Kelly was involved in a fight at a health club in Lafayette, LA, and as if his day couldn’t get any worse, the local Cajundome’s Commission commandered his and his band’s equipment for ostensibly failing to fulfill a commitment to perform a concert.

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