Monthly Archives: April 2012


Missouri Lawmaker Proposes Amendment to Reject U.S. Laws

by Booth Gunter  on April 18, 2012

The antigovernment “Patriot” movement is big on the U.S. Constitution. Except when it’s not.

For some reason, the far-right politicians who identify with and promote the Patriot movement can’t seem to get over the fact that the Constitution gives the federal government primacy over the states – even as they wrap themselves in the American flag. It’s a contradiction that, apparently, only antigovernment extremists can understand. Others, who study such things, call it cognitive dissonance.

Thumbing your nose at the federal government has a long history in American politics, of course. George Wallace ran an entire presidential campaign on it in 1968 – five years after he made a big show of “standing in the schoolhouse door” to block the entry of black students at the University of Alabama. Perhaps he was still peeved about being pushed out of that doorway by President John F. Kennedy and the National Guard.

Even today, a lot of Southern politicians remain upset at the federal government over that little thing called the civil rights movement, though most of them try to cloak their extremism in the rhetoric of “states’ rights.”

But, come on, haven’t we settled this question – after two centuries of jurisprudence, not to mention a bloody civil war that wrecked the South and cost more than 1 million American lives?

Nope. At least Missouri state Sen. Brian Nieves doesn’t think so.

Nieves has proposed an amendment to his state’s constitution that would prohibit all branches of state government in Missouri from recognizing, enforcing or acting on “certain actions” of the federal government. It’s called “nullification” – the idea that states can simply ignore federal laws they don’t like – and it’s all the rage on the radical right, pushed by the likes of the John Birch Society and the Tenth Amendment Center.

What’s astounding is the traction the idea is getting among people who ought to know better. Nieves’ amendment, which would have to be approved by Missouri voters, is still alive in the legislature four months after it was proposed. It’s even been approved by the Senate’s General Laws Committee.

Nieves, a Tea Party favorite who has described himself as a “Patriot candidate” and who has appeared in a film produced by Patriot conspiracy-monger Gary Franchi, is nothing if not extreme. He’s previously shown his disdain for the Constitution as a leading member of State Legislators for Legal Immigration, a group of state lawmakers that is working to end the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to all people born within the United States. Apparently, the 14th amendment, enacted in the wake of the Civil War, really bugs him.

Nieves is also, apparently, something of a bully. In August 2010, after winning the Senate primary, he pulled a gun on a man who worked for his opponent’s campaign. According to news accounts, he threw the man against the wall, threatened to kill him, head-butted him, slapped him and asked if he was wearing a “wire.” Then he made the man call his [Nieves’] wife and apologize for things that happened during the campaign.

His proposed amendment goes much further that some other nullification efforts. It specifies a laundry list of specific actions that Missouri would be required to reject: any federal actions to “restrict the right to bear arms; legalize or fund abortions, or the destruction of any embryo from the zygote stage; require the sale or trade of carbon credits or impose a tax on the release of carbon emissions; involve certain health care issues; mandate the recognition of same sex marriage or civil unions; increase the punishment for a crime based on perpetrator’s thoughts or designate a crime a hate crime; interpret the establishment clause as creating a wall of separation between church and state; or restrict the right of parents or guardians to home school or enroll their children in a private or parochial school or restrict school curriculum.

The forbidden federal actions presumably include any federal court orders, even when they come from the Supreme Court.

So, in other words, it’s not really about preserving the legitimate rights of states under the Constitution. It’s simply a subterfuge to reject federal laws that aren’t conservative enough – even when they have been enacted by duly elected representatives of the people or interpreted by the very judicial body created by the Constitution to determine their constitutionality.

What Nieves really is rejecting is democracy itself – and the U.S. Constitution. Funny thing for a Patriot.


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Quick Facts

Earth Day promotes environmental awareness and calls for the protection of our planet.

Local names

Name Language
Earth Day English
Día de la Tierra Spanish

Earth Day 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day is a name used for 2 similar global observances. While some people celebrate Earth Day around the time of the March Equinox, others observe the occasion on April 22 each year.

Earth Day aims to inspire awareness of and appreciation for earth’s environment. It’s not to be confused with Earth Hour.

Earth DayPeople unite on Earth Day to appreciate and respect earth’s environment. ©

What do people do

The April 22 Earth Day is usually celebrated with outdoor performances, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to earth. Typical ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, conducting various programs for recycling and conservation, using recyclable containers for snacks and lunches. Some people are encouraged to sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction.  Television stations frequently air programs dealing with environmental issues.

Public Life

Earth Day is not a public holiday and public life, with regard to transport schedules and opening hours for schools and businesses, is not affected.


The April 22 Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.

Some people prefer to observe Earth Day around the time of the March equinox. In 1978, American anthropologist Margaret Mead added her support for the equinox Earth Day, founded by John McConnell. She stated that the selection of the March Equinox for Earth Day made planetary observance of a shared event possible.


Symbols used by people to describe Earth Day include: an image or drawing of planet earth; a tree, a flower or leaves depicting growth; or the recycling symbol. Colors used for Earth Day include natural colors such as green, brown or blue.

The “Earth Flag”, which was designed by John McConnell, has been described as a “flag for all people”. It features a two-sided dye printed image of the Earth from space on a dark blue field, made from recyclable, weather-resistant polyester. Margaret Mead believed that a flag that showed the earth as seen from space was appropriate.

Earth Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Tue Apr 22 1980 Earth Day Worldwide observance
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Fri Apr 22 2011 Earth Day Worldwide observance
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Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Mike Wallace in his CBS office in 2006. More Photos »


Published: April 8, 2012

Mike Wallace, the CBS reporter who became one of America’s best-known broadcast journalists as an interrogator of the famous and infamous on “60 Minutes,” died on Saturday. He was 93.

Last Word: Mike Wallace

On its Web site, CBS said Mr. Wallace died at a care facility in New Canaan, Conn., where he had lived in recent years. Mr. Wallace, who received a pacemaker more than 20 years ago, had a long history of cardiac care and underwent triple bypass heart surgery in January 2008.

A reporter with the presence of a performer, Mr. Wallace went head to head with chiefs of state, celebrities and con artists for more than 50 years, living for when “you forget the lights, the cameras, everything else, and you’re really talking to each other,” he said in an interview with The New York Times videotaped in July 2006 and released on his death as part of the online feature “Last Word.”

Mr. Wallace created enough such moments to become a paragon of television journalism in the heyday of network news. As he grilled his subjects, he said, he walked “a fine line between sadism and intellectual curiosity.”

His success often lay in the questions he hurled, not the answers he received.

“Perjury,” he said, in his staccato style, to President Richard M. Nixon’s right-hand man, John D. Ehrlichman, while interviewing him during the Watergate affair. “Plans to audit tax returns for political retaliation. Theft of psychiatric records. Spying by undercover agents. Conspiracy to obstruct justice. All of this by the law-and-order administration of Richard Nixon.”

Mr. Ehrlichman paused and said, “Is there a question in there somewhere?”

No, Mr. Wallace later conceded. But it was riveting television.

Both the style and the substance of his work drew criticism. CBS paid Nixon’s chief of staff H. R. Haldeman $100,000 for exclusive (if inconclusive) interviews with Mr. Wallace in 1975. Critics called it checkbook journalism, and Mr. Wallace conceded later that was “a bad idea.”

For a 1976 report on Medicaid fraud, the show’s producers set up a simulated health clinic in Chicago. Was the use of deceit to expose deceit justified? Hidden cameras and ambush interviews were all part of the game, Mr. Wallace said, though he abandoned those techniques in later years, when they became clichés and no longer good television.

Some subjects were unfazed by Mr. Wallace’s unblinking stare. When he sat down with the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian leader, in 1979, he said that President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt “calls you, Imam — forgive me, his words, not mine — a lunatic.” The translator blanched, but the Ayatollah responded, calmly calling Sadat a heretic.

“Forgive me” was a favorite Wallace phrase, the caress before the garrote. “As soon as you hear that,” he told The Times, “you realize the nasty question’s about to come.”

Mr. Wallace invented his hard-boiled persona on a program called “Night Beat.” Television was black and white, and so was the discourse, when the show went on in 1956, weeknights at 11, on the New York affiliate of the short-lived DuMont television network.

“We had lighting that was warts-and-all close-ups,” he remembered. The camera closed in tighter and tighter on the guests. The smoke from Mr. Wallace’s cigarette swirled between him and his quarry. Sweat beaded on his subject’s brows.

“I was asking tough questions,” he said. “And I had found my bliss.” He had become Mike Wallace.

“All of a sudden,” he said, “I was no longer anonymous.” He was “the fiery prosecutor, the righteous and wrathful D.A. determined to rid Gotham City of its undesirables,” in the words of Michael J. Arlen, The New Yorker’s television critic.

“Night Beat” moved to ABC in 1957 as a half-hour, coast-to-coast, prime-time program, renamed “The Mike Wallace Interview.” ABC, then the perennial loser among the major networks, promoted him as “the Terrible Torquemada of the TV Inquisition.”

Mr. Wallace’s career path meandered after ABC canceled “The Mike Wallace Interview” in 1958. He had done entertainment shows and quiz shows and cigarette commercials. He had acted onstage. But he resolved to become a real journalist after a harrowing journey to recover the body of his firstborn son, Peter, who died at 19 in a mountain-climbing accident in Greece in 1962.

“He was going to be a writer,” Mr. Wallace said in the interview with The Times. “And so I said, ‘I’m going to do something that would make Peter proud.’ ”

Forging a Career Path

He set his sights on CBS News and joined the network as a special correspondent. He was soon anchoring “The CBS Morning News With Mike Wallace” and reporting from Vietnam. Then he caught the eye of Richard Nixon.

Running for president, Nixon offered Mr. Wallace a job as his press secretary shortly before the 1968 primaries began. “I thought very, very seriously about it,” Mr. Wallace told The Times. “I regarded him with great respect. He was savvy, smart, hard working.”

But Mr. Wallace turned Nixon down, saying that putting a happy face on bad news was not his cup of tea.

Only months later “60 Minutes” made its debut, at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 1968.

It was something new on the air: a “newsmagazine,” usually three substantial pieces of about 15 minutes each — a near-eternity on television. Mr. Wallace and Harry Reasoner were the first co-hosts, one fierce, one folksy.

The show was the brainchild of Don Hewitt, a producer who was “in bad odor at CBS News at the time,” Mr. Wallace said in the interview.

“He was unpredictable, difficult to work with, genius notions, a genuine adventurer, if you will, in television news at that time,“ Mr. Wallace said of Mr. Hewitt, who died in 2009.

The show, which moved to Sunday nights at 7 in 1975, was slow to catch on. Creative conflict marked its climb to the top of the heap in the 1970s. Mr. Wallace fought his fellow correspondents for stories and airtime.

“There would be blood on the floor,” Mr. Wallace said in the interview. He said he developed the “not necessarily undeserved reputation” of being prickly — he used a stronger word — and “of stealing stories from my colleagues,” who came to include Morley Safer, Ed Bradley, Dan Rather and Diane Sawyer in the 1970s and early 1980s. “This was just competition,” he said. “Get the story. Get it first.”

Mr. Wallace and his teams of producers — who researched, reported and wrote the stories — took on American Nazis and nuclear power plants along with his patented brand of exposés.

The time was ripe for investigative television journalism. Watergate and its many seamy sideshows had made muckraking a respectable trade. By the late 1970s, “60 Minutes” was the top-rated show on Sundays. Five different years it was the No. 1 show on television, a run matched only by “All in the Family” and “The Cosby Show.” In 1977, it began a 23-year run in the top 10. No show of any kind has matched that. Mr. Wallace was rich and famous and a powerful figure in television news when his life took a stressful turn in 1982.

That year he anchored a “CBS Reports” documentary called “The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception.” It led to a $120 million libel suit filed by Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the commander of American troops in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968. At issue was the show’s assertion that General Westmoreland had deliberately falsified the “order of battle,” the estimate of the strength of the enemy.

The question turned on a decision that American military commanders made in 1967. The uniformed military said the enemy was no more than 300,000 strong, but intelligence analysts said the number could be half a million or more. If the analysts were correct, then there was no “light at the end of the tunnel,” the optimistic phrase General Westmoreland had used.

Documents declassified after the cold war showed that the general’s top aide had cited reasons of politics and public relations for insisting on the lower figure. The military was “stonewalling, obviously under orders” from General Westmoreland, a senior Central Intelligence Agency analyst cabled his headquarters; the “predetermined total” was “fixed on public-relations grounds.” The C.I.A. officially accepted the military’s invented figure of 299,000 enemy forces or fewer.

The documentary asserted that rather than a politically expedient lie, the struggle revealed a vast conspiracy to suppress the truth. The key theorist for that case, Sam Adams, a former C.I.A. analyst, was not only interviewed for the documentary but also received a consultant’s fee of $25,000. The show had arrived at something close to the truth, but it had used questionable means to that end.

After more than two years General Westmoreland abandoned his suit, CBS lost some of its reputation, and Mr. Wallace had a nervous breakdown.

He said at the time that he feared “the lawyers for the other side would employ the same techniques against me that I had employed on television.” Already on antidepressants, which gave him tremors, he had a waking nightmare sitting through the trial.

“I could see myself up there on the stand, six feet away from the jury, with my hands shaking, and dying to drink water,” he said in the interview with The Times. He imagined the jury thinking, “Well, that son of a bitch is obviously guilty as hell.”

He attempted suicide. “I was so low that I wanted to exit,” Mr. Wallace said. “And I took a bunch of pills, and they were sleeping pills. And at least they would put me to sleep, and maybe I wouldn’t wake up, and that was fine.”

Later in life he discussed his depression and advocated psychiatric and psycho-pharmaceutical treatment.

The despair and anger he felt over the documentary were outdone 13 years later when, as he put it in a memoir, “the corporate management of CBS emasculated a ‘60 Minutes’ documentary I had done just as we were preparing to put it on the air.”

The cutting involved a damning interview with Jeffrey Wigand, a chemist who had been director of research at Brown & Williamson, the tobacco company. The chemist said on camera that the nation’s tobacco executives had been lying when they swore under oath before Congress that they believed nicotine was not addictive. Among many complicating factors, one of those executives was the son of Laurence A. Tisch, the chairman of CBS at the time. The full interview was eventually broadcast in 1996.

Mr. Wallace remained bitter at Mr. Tisch’s stewardship, which ended when he sold CBS in 1995, after dismissing many employees and dismantling some of its parts.

“We thought that he would be happy to be the inheritor of all of the — forgive me — glory of CBS and CBS News,” Mr. Wallace said. “And the glory was not as attractive to him as money. He began to tear apart CBS News.” (Mr. Tisch died in 2003.)

Official ‘Retirement’

Mr. Wallace officially retired from “60 Minutes” in 2006, after a 38-year run, at the age of 88. A few months later he was back on the program with an exclusive interview with the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He won his 21st Emmy for the interview.

And he kept working. Only weeks before his 2008 bypass surgery, he interviewed the baseball star Roger Clemens as accusations swirled that Mr. Clemens had used performance-enhancing drugs. It was Mr. Wallace’s last appearance on television, CBS said.

Myron Leon Wallace was born in Brookline, Mass., on May 9, 1918, one of four children of Friedan and Zina Wallik, who had come to the United States from a Russian shtetl before the turn of the 20th century. (Friedan became Frank and Wallik became Wallace in the American melting pot.) His father started as a wholesale grocer and became an insurance broker.

Myron came out of Brookline High School with a B-minus average, worked his way through the University of Michigan, graduating in 1939. (Decades later he was deeply involved in two national programs for journalists based at the university: the Livingston Awards, given to talented reporters under 35, and the Knight-Wallace fellowships, a sabbatical for midcareer reporters; its seminars are held at Wallace House, which he purchased for the programs.)

After he graduated from college, he went almost immediately into radio, starting at $20 a week at a station with the call letters WOOD-WASH in Grand Rapids, Mich. (It was jointly owned by a furniture trade association, a lumber company and a laundry.) He went on to Detroit and Chicago stations as narrator and actor on shows like “The Lone Ranger,” acquiring “Mike” as his broadcast name.

In 1943 he enlisted in the Navy, did a tour of duty in the Pacific and wound up as a lieutenant junior grade in charge of radio entertainment at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station.

Mr. Wallace married his first wife, Norma Kaphan, in 1940; they were divorced in 1948. Besides Peter, who died in the mountain-climbing accident, they had a second son, Chris Wallace, the television journalist now at Fox News.

Mr. Wallace and his second wife, Buff Cobb, an actress, were married in 1949 and took to the air together, in a talk show called “Mike and Buff,” which appeared first on radio and then television. “We overdid the controversy pattern of the program,” she said after their divorce in 1954. “You get into a habit of bickering a little, and you carry it over into your personal lives.”

Ms. Cobb died in 2010.

His marriage to his third wife, Lorraine Perigord, which lasted 28 years, ended with her departure for Fiji. His fourth wife, Mary Yates, was the widow of one of his best friends — his “Night Beat” producer, Ted Yates, who died in 1967 while on assignment for NBC News during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Besides his wife and his son, Chris, Mr. Wallace is survived by a stepdaughter, Pauline Dora; two stepsons, Eames and Angus Yates; seven grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.

Mr. Wallace and Ms. Yates were married in 1986 and lived for a time in a Park Avenue duplex in Manhattan and in a bay-front house on Martha’s Vineyard, where their social circle included the novelist William Styron and the humorist Art Buchwald.

All three men “suffered depression simultaneously,” Mr. Wallace said in an interview in 2006, “so we walked around in the rain together on Martha’s Vineyard and consoled each other,” adding, “We named ourselves the Blues Brothers.” Mr. Styron died in 2006 and Mr. Buchwald in 2007.

Mr. Wallace said that Ms. Yates had saved his life when he came close to suicide before they married, and that their marriage had saved him afterward.

He also said that he had known since he was a child that he wanted to be on the air. He felt it was his calling. He said he wanted people to ask: “Who’s this guy, Myron Wallace?”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 11, 2012

An obituary on Monday about the television journalist Mike Wallace referred incorrectly to an interview he conducted for the CBS News program “60 Minutes” with the chemist Jeffrey Wigand, who said tobacco executives had lied when they testified before Congress that they believed nicotine was not addictive. While CBS did not broadcast the interview in November 1995 as originally scheduled, it did indeed broadcast it three months later; it is not the case that “the interview was not broadcast.” The obituary also misstated the year when “60 Minutes” moved to its longtime time slot, Sunday nights at 7. It was 1975, not 1970.





Published: April 14, 2012

Andrew Love, a tenor saxophonist who as half of the Memphis Horns helped define what came to be known as the Memphis sound, infusing 83 gold and platinum records with instrumental buoyancy, died on Thursday at his home in Memphis. He was 70.

Charles Paul Harris/Michael Ochs Archives—Getty Images

Andrew Love, right, playing around 1980 with Wayne Jackson.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, said his wife, Willie.

Mr. Love was black, tall and laid back. His musical partner, the trumpeter Wayne Jackson, was white, short and intense. After meeting at Stax Records in the mid-1960s, they became a singular musical force, backing up label performers like Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and Isaac Hayes. They went on to add ballast and blast to soul performers on other labels, like Atlantic’s Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett.

The Memphis Horns helped shape classic records like Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.” They backed up Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, the Doobie Brothers, Joe Cocker, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Gabriel, U2, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, B. B. King and Robert Cray.

When Mr. Love and Mr. Jackson toured, they sometimes hired others to expand their sound. But the preponderance of their work was in the studio, where they added their artistry to recordings they had never heard before.

They worked out their arrangements spontaneously. After listening to a few bars of a recording, Mr. Love might “hear” a saxophone lick, and Mr. Jackson might “hear” a trumpet lick, Mr. Love told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis in 1996. They would devise lines on the spot and hum them to each other, then practice them briefly and record their parts twice, effectively doubling the instruments. The third time through, Mr. Jackson would add a part on trombone.

Even with gold records to hang on their walls, the two musicians remained in the background, or at least until this February, when the Memphis Horns received a lifetime achievement Grammy. The only previous group of backing musicians to receive that honor were Motown’s Funk Brothers. Neil R. Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences called the Horns “the breath of soul.”

Andrew Maurice Love was born in Memphis on Nov. 21, 1941, three days before Mr. Jackson. He got his first saxophone in the ninth grade from his mother, a church organist. His father, the minister of Mount Nebo Baptist Church, was pleased when his son played “Amazing Grace” there. He was less charmed when he began playing in nightclubs the next year.

After attending Langston University in Oklahoma for a year on a music scholarship, Mr. Love did recording for Hi Records in Memphis. After hearing that Stax, which preferred horns to backup singers, was looking for a saxophonist, he got a job there. The next day he was playing with Mr. Jackson on a Rufus Thomas record.

“His individual tone and mine blended in a certain way that was unique.” Mr. Jackson told The Commercial Appeal this year. “We realized it from the start. You can’t make that stuff happen. It was fate.”

Fate may have also intervened on Dec. 10, 1967, when the two musicians had been scheduled to tour with Otis Redding. Instead they remained behind in Memphis to overdub the horn parts to Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay.” Redding’s plane crashed that day in a Wisconsin lake, killing Redding and many others on board. Only one musician survived.

In 1969 Mr. Love and Mr. Jackson left Stax because the label wanted them to record for it exclusively. For the next 30 years, they lent their distinctive sound to countless singers. “They all got a little Memphis on them,” Mr. Jackson said.

Mr. Love’s Alzheimer’s disease had kept him from working since 2004, when the Memphis Horns recorded an instrumental album, “Perkin’ It Up.” It was released last November in honor of their 70th birthdays.

Mr. Love’s first marriage, to Jacqueline Hendricks, ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, the former Willie Davis, he is survived by his brother, Roy; his sons, Vincent and Andre; his daughters, Terri Lawrence and Angela Parker; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

“It has been a magical journey,” Mr. Jackson said in accepting the Grammy in February. (Mr. Love was too ill to attend the ceremony.) “We had a fine time.”




Tony Barnard/Los Angeles Times

Jamaa Fanaka in 1990.


Published: April 12, 2012

Jamaa Fanaka, a filmmaker who had considerable success in 1979 with “Penitentiary,” a feature-length movie he made while still in film school, but who claimed to have been blacklisted afterward for raising questions about the dearth of jobs for black directors in Hollywood, died on April 1 in Los Angeles. He was 69. The cause was complications of diabetes, his family said.

Mr. Fanaka was part of what film scholars called the L.A. Rebellion, a small group of black U.C.L.A. film school graduates who came of age in the late 1970s, near the end of the so-called blaxploitation era. The group’s defining aesthetic was to move beyond pimp stereotypes and funk soundtracks in film portrayals of blacks.

Unlike most of the others, including the avant-garde filmmakers Charles Burnett (“Killer of Sheep,” “My Brother’s Wedding”) and Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust”), Mr. Fanaka, a Billy Wilder fan, wanted to make movies that were both serious and popular.

“Penitentiary,” starring Leon Isaac Kennedy as a wrongfully imprisoned man who finds personal redemption as a prison boxer, received mixed reviews but became the most financially successful independent movie of 1979. As luck would have it he released it during the first boom in affordable VCRs and movies on videocassette. He made sequels to “Penitentiary” in 1982 and 1987.

The film was also considered an artistic breakthrough. Allyson Nadia Field, a professor of cinema studies at U.C.L.A. who last year helped organize a retrospective featuring the movies of the L.A. Rebellion, called “Penitentiary” “the transition moment between blaxploitation and independent black filmmaking.”

“People think the beginning of independent black filmmmaking was ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ “ she said, referring to Spike Lee’s 1986 watershed hit. “But really, it was Fanaka’s ‘Penitentiary.’ “

Mr. Fanaka’s became one of the few black members of the Directors Guild of America, but he found the guild to be insular — pretty much like the rest of the film industry, he told interviewers — saying it rarely acted on its promises to encourage studios to hire more women and members of minority groups.

When his attempts to change that quietly were ignored, Mr. Fanaka became dogged. He brought a series of class-action lawsuits against the guild in the early 1990s, claiming that its informal, word-of-mouth system of alerting directors about job opportunities was inherently discriminatory, and a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The suits, which were eventually thrown out on technicalities by a federal judge, sought a more transparent system of notification, and the establishment of minority training programs. (The guild declined to comment.)

“He wrote the briefs himself; he paid the court costs; it became his mission for future filmmakers, was how he saw it,” said Jacqueline Stewart, a professor of radio, television and film and African-American studies at Northwestern University, who interviewed Mr. Fanaka for the L.A. Rebellion retrospective. “It was very upsetting for him to talk about it,” she added. “He said he felt like he had been erased from history. It’s hard to prove these things, but I think it’s safe to say at the very least that his career suffered.”

Mr. Fanaka rejected some movie opportunities after “Penitentiary” because he considered them to be in the blaxploitation mold, Ms. Stewart said. He felt Hollywood was limiting him to genres he found demeaning to blacks, she said, even though he had proved that he could make a successful feature film.

Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the U.C.L.A. film and television archive, said of Mr. Fanaka: “In a way his major accomplishment was a kind of a failure — to have tried and failed to significantly change the racial politics of his profession. He was punished for it. The guild, the studios, they treated him like a crank. But he was not a crank. He was legitimately concerned about the future.”

Mr. Fanaka was born Walter Gordon on Sept. 6, 1942, in Jackson, Miss., one of five children of Robert and Beatrice Gordon. His parents moved to the Los Angeles area when he was a boy. His father was an electrician.

After serving in the Air Force, he told interviewers, he was adrift until he entered a community college film program, which led him to the U.C.L.A. film school. He was the only student there to make three commercial feature films before graduating: “Welcome Home, Brother Charles” (1975), “Emma Mae,” (1976) and “Penitentiary” (1979). He graduated summa cum laude and by then had changed his name to Jamaa Fanaka, derived from the Swahili for “together we will find success.”

His survivors include three daughters, Tracey Gordon, Twyla Louis and Katina Scott; a son, Michael Gordon; his parents, Robert and Beatrice Gordon; two brothers, Joseph and Robert Gordon; a sister, Carmen Sanford; and nine grandchildren.

At his death Mr. Fanaka was working on his eighth film, a documentary about hip-hop culture. He told the film blogger Jeff Brummett recently that he wished he had made more films, but that he was proud of what he had accomplished, both as a filmmaker and as an activist.

“I exposed the Achilles’ heel of Hollywood,” he said.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 13, 2012

An earlier version of this article misstated when Mr. Fanaka made the film “Penitentiary.”  It was made while he attended film school and released after his graduation.





Published: April 13, 2012

Luke Askew, a character actor perhaps best remembered as the wayward stranger who brings Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper to a hippie commune in the 1969 motorcycle odyssey “Easy Rider,” died on March 29 at his home in Lake Oswego, Ore. He was 80.

Columbia Pictures, via Photofest

Luke Askew in a scene from the 1969 film “Easy Rider.”

He died following a long illness, his wife, Maggie, said.

Mr. Askew had remained active. Most recently he played Hollis Greene, the leader and prophet of a polygamist cult, in the popular HBO series “Big Love.”

Mr. Askew’s first film role was alongside Michael Caine and Faye Dunaway in “Hurry Sundown,” Otto Preminger’s 1967 racially charged drama. Later that year he played Boss Paul, a sadistic prison guard, in “Cool Hand Luke,” with Paul Newman.

“Paul used to invite me into his dressing room on the set of ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and start telling me what the business was like,” Mr. Askew said in an interview. “I was so full of myself that I didn’t pay attention.”

“Cool Hand Luke” led to the role of Sergeant Provo in John Wayne’s 1968 Vietnam War film, “The Green Berets.” He then traded fatigues for facial hair, spectacles and a paisley head scarf as the hitchhiker who escorts the motorcyclists Wyatt (Mr. Fonda) and Billy (Mr. Hopper) to a commune in “Easy Rider.”

The character fit the film’s countercultural flavor. At one point he is asked where he’s from. “A city,” he replies. Asked to elaborate, he says: “It doesn’t make any difference what city. All cities are alike. That’s why I’m out here now.”

Mr. Askew went on to play the thug Automatic Slim in the 1977 action film “Rolling Thunder” and a sheriff in the 2001 horror movie “Frailty.” He appeared on television in “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Murder, She Wrote” and other shows.

Francis Luke Askew was born on Mar. 26, 1932 in Macon, Ga. He attended the University of Georgia and acted Off Broadway.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Christopher; a daughter, Allison, from a previous marriage; and one grandson.





Published: April 11, 2012

Ahmed Ben Bella, a farmer’s son who fought for France in World War II, turned against it in the brutal struggle for Algerian independence and rose to become Algeria’s first elected president, has died at his home in Algiers, the capital. He was 93.

Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Ben Bella in 1965, the year he was deposed.

Fayez Nureldine/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ahmed Ben Bella in 2010.

The state news agency announced his death on Wednesday morning.

Tall, athletic, handsome and charismatic, Mr. Ben Bella was known for his quick mind, courage and political cunning, traits that became tools of survival in a turbulent life. He faced heavy combat in wartime France and Italy, escaped French assassination attempts as well as a prison, then survived the murderous intrigues of political rivals as he struggled to impose socialism on his sprawling, divided country in the anarchy that followed independence in 1962.

On June 19, 1965, after less than three years as prime minister and president, he was ousted in a coup led by an old ally. He spent the next 14 years in confinement and never again held power. But he remained a powerful voice for the third world amid the conflicts of the cold war and the unrest within the Arab world over Israel, Iraq and radical Islam.

“My life is a life of combat,” he told an interviewer in his last years. “It is a combat that started for me at the age of 16. I’m 90 years old now, and my motivation hasn’t changed; it’s the same fervor that drives me.”

Ahmed Ben Bella was born on Dec. 25, 1918, in Marnia, a small town in the mountains of western Algeria, to a family with Moroccan roots. His father, a Sufi Muslim, supported his five sons and two daughters by farming and small-time trade. The oldest brother died from wounds received in World War I; two other brothers died from illness, and another went to France and disappeared in the mayhem of the Nazi victory in 1940.

Mr. Ben Bella chafed at colonialism from an early age — he recalled a run-in with a racist secondary school teacher — and complained of France’s cultural influence. “We think in Arabic, but we talk in French,” he said.

His education was truncated when his father officially changed the year of Ahmed’s birth to 1916 so that he could return to work on the farm. The move had unintended consequences: Ahmed was conscripted in 1937, two years ahead of his class.

He took to soldiering as readily as he had taken to soccer back home. He was promoted to sergeant and won celebrity as a soccer star in Marseille, France, where his regiment was based. In command of an antiaircraft section during the German invasion of 1940, he kept to his post, firing away as others fled, as waves of Stuka dive bombers pounded the city’s port. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

After the city’s surrender, he declined an offer to play professional soccer and returned to Algeria, where he joined a Moroccan regiment fighting with the Free French. Through 1944 he fought his way up the Italian boot, winning battlefield citations, including one for recovering three abandoned machine guns in the face of German tanks. Gen. Charles de Gaulle personally awarded him the Médal Militaire, the highest decoration of the Free French forces, kissing him, in the French military tradition, on both cheeks.

On May 8, 1945, as France celebrated the Nazis’ capitulation, a protest march in the Algerian town of Sétif against the cruelties of colonialism, made worse by wartime shortages, exploded into five days of rape and killing. More than 100 Europeans were killed.

The retaliation was merciless. An official report put the Algerian death toll at under 1,500; anticolonialists put it in the tens of thousands.

The brutality shocked Mr. Ben Bella. He refused an officer’s commission, returned to Marnia and entered local politics. The authorities, learning that he had joined an opposition movement, sent armed assailants to his farm to assassinate him. In a shootout, Mr. Ben Bella, wielding a semiautomatic pistol, wounded one.

The attackers fled, but Mr. Ben Bella was forced into hiding. He joined the resistance movement that was to become the Front de Libération Nationale.

In 1949, Mr. Ben Bella helped rob a post office in Oran, Algeria. Tracked down, he was sentenced to a long stint in the Blida prison. In 1952, with the aid of a file hidden in a loaf of bread, he broke out and went to Cairo, where he became one of the liberation movement’s nine top leaders.

On Nov. 1, 1954, as the French celebrated All Saints’ Day, the rebels struck, beginning a war of massacre and mutilation, summary executions and rape. Terrorists exploded bombs in busy nightclubs and shot down passers-by on crowded streets. French officers who had once fought the Nazis had Algerian prisoners tortured and shot.

Mr. Ben Bella spent most of the war outside Algeria, organizing clandestine arms shipments and coordinating political strategy. His life was in the shadows, but the French knew who he was.

In 1956, he refused to accept a package delivered to his Cairo hotel by a taxi driver. The bomb exploded as the taxi drove away, killing the driver. Later that year, in Tripoli, Libya, Mr. Ben Bella was waiting at his hotel when a French gunman entered his darkened room, fired and wounded him. The assailant, fleeing, was killed by guards at the Libyan border.

That October, Mr. Ben Bella and other rebel leaders boarded a Moroccan airline’s DC-3 flight from Rabat, Morocco, to Tunis to take part in a Northern Africa summit conference. The French Army, acting without approval from Paris, radioed the pilot, who was French, with instructions to land in Algiers. There the passengers were seized by French troops.

Gen. Paul Aussaresses wrote in his memoir, “The Battle for the Casbah” (2002), that the Army had originally ordered fighter planes to shoot the plane down but called them off at the last minute when it was discovered that the DC-3’s pilot and crew were French. Mr. Ben Bella’s arrest “was a mistake,” General Aussaresses recalled a senior officer as saying. “We intended to kill him.”

The incident, widely publicized, brought Mr. Ben Bella new prominence. Held in France for the next five and a half years, he was treated by the government as a valuable asset in a potential peace deal and kept in moderate comfort. Free to read, he completed his education, absorbing the idealistic socialism of the French left. In 1961, as serious peace talks began, he was in an excellent position to negotiate independence with the war-weary French.

The independence agreement was signed in Évian-les-Bains, France, in 1962, and Mr. Ben Bella returned to Algeria, where power was up for grabs. He suppressed the Communists, outmaneuvered his rivals and used his new post as prime minister to push through a constitution. In September 1963, running unopposed and supported by Col. Houari Boumedienne, chief of the Army of National Liberation, he was elected president.

“I am the sole hope of Algeria,” Mr. Ben Bella declared as he set out to forge a socialist state. Pledging that the new Algeria would “serve as a beacon” to the third world, he took to wearing a simple blue Mao jacket and issuing pronouncements like “Castro is my brother, Nasser is my teacher, Tito is my example.”

Still, he was shrewd enough to maintain ties with the West. A deal with de Gaulle’s government brought $200 million a year in aid, allowing France access to Algerian oil and the right to nuclear and missile tests in the Sahara. He accepted aid from both the United States and the Soviet Union.

But his efforts to push through agrarian and educational reforms foundered. A plan to have elected workers run the country’s farms and factories proved impractical, as did an appeal to Algeria’s women to donate their jewelry to the state.

“Ben Bella always wanted his teammates to pass the ball so that he could score,” a former schoolmate recalled. “He was the same in politics.”

As his profile grew overseas, his domestic base eroded. In May 1964, a bomb exploded in front of his official residence in Algiers. In June, violence flared between dissidents in the Kabilya region and the government. In July, Col. Mohamed Chabani led the Sahara regional army in a revolt that ended quickly with his capture and secret execution. Though Mr. Ben Bella had promised “a revolution without gallows,” other potential rivals were jailed.

On June 19, 1965, Mr. Ben Bella was deposed in a coup led by Colonel Boumedienne, his former comrade in arms. Mr. Ben Bella was thrown in an underground prison, where he was held for eight months. Taken to an isolated villa in Birtouta, outside of Algiers, he was kept under house arrest for 14 years.

Though a prisoner, Mr. Ben Bella was allowed a private life. In 1971, his aging mother arranged for him to marry Zohra Sellami, a 26-year-old Algerian journalist. The couple adopted two children. Information about his survivors was not immediately available.

Colonel Boumedienne died in 1978, and in 1980 Mr. Ben Bella was allowed to go into exile in Lausanne, Switzerland. He returned to Algeria in the 1990s and took part in efforts to end civil strife there. He was present when protests erupted in 2010 in the first weeks of what became known as the Arab Spring.

Even in old age he remained a vocal observer of international affairs, opposing America’s wars against Iraq and the rise of global capitalism. Although he was critical of radical Islamists, calling their movement misguided, he remained a fervent Muslim, telling an interviewer that the Koran had been his comfort during long years of captivity.

“I am,” he said, “Muslim first, Arab second and then Algerian.”

Peter Braestrup contributed reporting.


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Titanic and iceberg

Donald W. Olson

Bulletin at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

Titanic‘s Celestial Connections

April 13, 2012 | The ill-fated ship — and the movie of the same name — were influenced by the heavens in a number of ways. > read more

Sky & Telescope‘s New Moon Globe

April 9, 2012 | The year-long effort was time consuming and tedious, but S&T‘s staff is proud to unveil the first wholly new globe of the lunar surface in more than four decades. > read more

Dark Energy BOSSes Around the Universe

April 12, 2012 | Astronomers are honing in on the nature of dark energy, a mysterious, repulsive energy that pervades all of space. Among the questions they’re trying to answer: does dark energy exist? > read more

Far-out Black Hole Hints

April 12, 2012 | “Star cities” orbiting galaxies may reveal the mass of the gargantuan black hole hidden deep in the galaxy’s heart. The new relation could be more evidence for a large-scale black hole-galaxy link — or, it could mean one of the latest revolutions in astrophysics isn’t the full story. > read more

New ALMA Images Stoke Exoplanet Flame

April 10, 2012 | Astronomers have released the first new science results from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a still-under-construction network of 66 antennas in northern Chile. The new observations suggest the contentious Fomalhaut star system may have two small planets shepherding its gigantic ring. > read more


Comet Pan-STARRS in March 2013

Sky & Telescope diagram / source: Stellarium

Comet Pan-STARRS: Still on Track

April 12, 2012 | The inbound comet C/2011 L4, discovered last year, has been brightening steadily the past few months. It could still fizzle — or it could become a pretty bauble in post-sunset skies next March. > read more

Tour April’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

March 29, 2012 | April stands to be a great month for planet-watching. Venus and Jupiter are over in the west, Mars is high up in the southeast, and Saturn pairs with the bright star Spica low over the eastern horizon. > read more

Mars Takes Center Stage

March 5, 2012 | The Red Planet (actually yellow-orange) is the brilliant “star” climbing steadily in the east these evenings. Now’s your best chance to examine our next-out planetary neighbor. > read more

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

Looking west in twilight

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

April 13, 2012 | Venus is attaining its greatest height and brilliance in twilight, while Jupiter slinks away far below. Elsewhere in the evening sky, Mars pairs with Regulus and Saturn pairs with Spica. > read more


Earth at night, Astronomy Picture of the Day, Oct. 1, 2006

C. Mayhew & R. Simmon (NASA / GSFC), NOAA / NGDC, DMSP Digital Archive

International Dark Sky Week

April 13, 2012 | Light pollution affects more than just astronomy. Learn what you can do to save energy and baby sea turtles — and keep our skies dark. > read more

The World Celebrates Astronomy

March 28, 2012 | People are coming together this April for Global Astronomy Month 2012, a planetwide celebration of astronomy designed to bring people together through star parties, music and artistic performances, online observing events, and much more. > read more

Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Competition

March 28, 2012 | Try your hand at creating a beautiful Hubble image and you might win an Apple iPod Touch or iPad. > read more

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Could I Be Both Trayvon Martin AND George Zimmerman?

Sean Thomas-Breitfeld has three questions we should all ask ourselves as the messy business of 21st century racial identity becomes a distraction in the public discussion of Trayvon Martin’s killing.

Also: Does George Zimmerman’s Ethnicity Matter?

‘The Talk’ With My White Daughter: Don’t Be Like John Derbyshire

Sally Kohn explains to her own daughter the perils of white privilege, and the pride of creating a true “beloved community.”

Also: Yes, Travyon’s Death Is an LGBT Issue. No, LGBT Politics Aren’t Limited by White Privilege

Sepia Mutiny’s Closure Is a Reminder: Blogging While Brown Ain’t Easy

The blogosphere was once a place where people of color could go to escape the racism of mainstream media. Jamilah King reports on the state of blogging while brown.

Coke, Pepsi and Kraft Have Pulled Out of ALEC—Is That Enough? Coke and Pepsi said they were only in ALEC for the work around discriminatory food and beverage taxes. It would have been nice if they cited the discriminatory impact of voter ID laws.

Deportation Video Wins White House Contest, But Disappears From Winners List The Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders office received over 200 submissions and narrowed it down to 11 videos the public could vote on. But the video with the most votes was ignored in the end.

AG Eric Holder Will Do ‘Whatever Is Necessary’ to Defend Voting Rights Act Attorney General Eric Holder gives unequivocal defense of voting rights at Sharpton’s National Action Network’s 14th annual convention.

Less Than Half of 3K Detained in ICE Sweeps Convicted of Felonies Federal immigration authorities launched massive raids that netted over 3,100 detentions. But the Obama administration isn’t only focused on deporting so-called ‘violent criminals.’

Watch Senior in Nursing Home React to Listening to Music From His Era [Video] Directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett, the film looks at the power music has to “awaken” the minds of seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia living in nursing homes that have been considered closed.

Caine’s Arcade Is the Happiest Place in East L.A. Right Now [Video] Meet 9-year-old Caine Monroy, who built an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto parts store.

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Slavery Apologist To Lecture Indiana University Students On Sex

by Mark Potok on April 11, 2012

This Friday, a far-right religious activist who co-authored a repulsive apologia for Southern slavery and argues that women were created to be “dependent and responsive” to men, will speak on sexuality and the Bible at Indiana University, Bloomington. Invited by a campus Christian group, Douglas Wilson’s impending visit to this major university has set off something of a local firestorm.

Wilson, who runs a religious empire in Moscow, Idaho, that includes a church, a college, a lower school, and a right-wing religious press, is best known for his 1996 book, Southern Slavery, As It Was, written with another far-right pastor. “Slavery as it existed in the South … was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence,” it claims. “There has never been a multiracial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world. … Slave life was to them [slaves] a life of plenty, of food, clothes and good medical care.”

But his two-part lecture this week is specifically aimed at the school’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, founded in 1947 by the late IU researcher Alfred Kinsey. The ClearNote Campus Fellowship, which invited Wilson, said in its announcement that Kinsey sought to “normalize perversion,” adding that the Idaho pastor “intends to bring biblical wisdom and sexual sanity” to IU.

Several groups, including IU’s Progressive Faculty & Staff Caucus, a town group called Bloomington United and a representative of the IU Student Association, have called for a rally to coincide with Wilson’s presentation. None have suggested cancelling his talk, saying they treasure free speech on campus but believe that Wilson’s views should be made public and fully discussed.

Those views, as captured in more than 30 Wilson books published by his own Canon Press, go beyond adulation of the Old South as a truly “orthodox” Christian society to dwell heavily on family and sexual matters. Wilson argues that women should only be allowed to date with their father’s permission; that if a woman is raped, the rapist should pay the father a bride price and then, if the father approves, marry his victim; and that gay men and lesbians are “sodomites” and “people with foul sexual habits.” The biblical punishment for homosexuality, he adds, is not necessarily death, though it could be under biblical law — exile is another possibility. (Wilson has also been accused of hypocrisy with regard to his sexual puritanism.)

IU critics of Wilson say he has completely misinterpreted Kinsey and his mission. “This famous research institute does not promote ‘deviant’ sexual behavior or sex in general,” Patrick Brantlinger, the James Rudy Professor Emeritus of English and Cultural Studies and a member of the Progressive Caucus, told Hatewatch.

Wilson, like past Know-Nothings who’ve wanted to close down the Kinsey, will undoubtedly claim just the opposite — that its goal isn’t to study real people and how they really behave… . Just how Kinsey or the institute he founded violate any tenet of Christianity is beyond me. But the Christian Right folks are ideologues who don’t know much of anything about sex or anything else.”

Although he has denied it, Wilson is essentially a Christian Reconstructionist — a man who believes that Old Testament law should be imposed on America, with all its draconian punishments for an array of behaviors. He has repeatedly worked with other major Reconstructionists and, like them, writes that cursing one’s parents is “deserving of punishment by death.” He also has pointed out that Scripture does not forbid interracial marriage, but said that “wise parents” will carefully weigh any potential union of people with “extremely diverse cultural backgrounds.”

The Rev. Jacob Mentzel, the ClearNote campus director who invited Wilson, defended Wilson and said he was coming to save people who were otherwise “sinking to Hell,” according to The (Bloomington, Ind.) Herald-Times. “This public university is supposed to promote free discourse,” he said. “And really, with all the talk of diversity and pluralism, there ought to be someone out there in the public square who is a true Christian with all the fire of orthodox Christian faith.”

But in an E-mail that was circulated widely and even posted briefly to an atheists’ Web forum, Mentzel reportedly went further, describing Wilson as a personal friend and saying a 2004 Southern Poverty Law Center article about him was “dishonest,” “sensational” and “reads like the ravings of a conspiracy theorist.” (Full disclosure: I wrote that piece, which I stand behind as 100% accurate.) He claimed that Wilson was only suggesting that slavery could have been ended without the carnage of the Civil War and said Wilson’s book was not “a denial of atrocities” under slavery.

It’s hard to see how describing chattel slavery as “a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence” and marked by unprecedented “mutual intimacy and harmony” is really a condemnation of the horrors of slavery; to most, it sounds a lot like an endorsement. Be that as it may, elsewhere in his book, Wilson suggests that slaves, by working an extra shift or two, were frequently given days off and allowed to travel to other plantations to meet with girlfriends and lovers. Needless to say, no serious historian believes any of the tripe included in Wilson’s book. In 2004, when the book stirred a major controversy in Idaho, two real historians wrote a pamphlet called Southern Slavery, As It Wasn’t, that roundly debunked Wilson’s claims.

Not only that, it turned out later that much of the book was plagiarized from a scholarly book that was itself later debunked. Wilson and his press claimed that he had simply failed to cite numerous near-identical passages in his own book.

Does Doug Wilson have something to teach the students and others at IU about human sexuality? That depends, presumably, on one’s view of sex.

But here’s a clue: In a March 6 blog, Wilson took up the case of Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law school student who was maligned recently as a “slut,” among other things, by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. “I confess I haven’t mastered all the details of this important situation as I ought to have done,” he wrote, “but if Ms. Fluke indicated multiple guys, then the comment should stand. That’s what a slut is. But if she has a steady boyfriend, and she if faithful to him, then it really was uncalled for to call her that. She would be something more like a concubine.”



“… Slave life was to them [slaves] a life of plenty, of food, clothes and good medical care.”

Ah yes, that life of “intimacy and harmony”.

“Plenty of food”:

“Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and abolitionist, wrote in 1845: “The men and women slaves received, as their monthly allowance of food, eight pounds of pork, or its equivalent in fish, and one bushel of corn meal.”  (SOURCE)

“In The Life of Josiah Henson (1849), Henson, who was born a slave in 1789 in Charles County, Maryland, wrote: “The principal food of those upon my master’s plantation consisted of corn-meal and salt herrings; to which was added in summer a little buttermilk, and the few vegetables which each might raise for himself and his family, on the little piece of ground which was assigned to him for the purpose, called a truck-patch.” (SOURCE)

If not for the tiny patches of plot grudgingly allotted to enslaves, many enslaves would starve. But, as stated by Wilson, such a life of mutual intimacy and harmony forbade such a thing happening:

“No matter what they were furnished or could procure for themselves, the diet of the slave was barely adequate in the best of times, especially considering the large amount of calories they expended. Malnutrition and the diseases it spawns were common among slaves, and the mortality rate was staggering, especially among the young.”  (SOURCE)

What Slaves Ate –In Their Own Words

Oh, and they all had plenty of clothes:

“Slaves would be given one pair of shoes and three items of underwear a year.  Although these and other clothing would be provided by their owner, they were often ill-fitting and made of coarse material.” (SOURCE)

Oh, I almost forgot. What was that about “good medical care”?

Well let’s see what Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy have to say about that “Good medical care”:

“Through an agreement with her master, Anarcha became Dr Sims’s guinea pig. She regularly underwent surgical experiments, while positioned on Sims’s table, squatting on all fours, and fully awake without the comfort of any anesthesia. It was commonly accepted that African Americans had a higher tolerance for pain than their white counterparts. Commonly accepted but utterly wrong.

Anarcha’s fistula (from her vaginal tears) was repaired by Sims. Sims thus became the leading expert in repairing this damage that seemed to occur in a good number of births by slave women. Though Sims was sent many slave women with fistulas, we know from his biography that he experimented repeatedly on Anarcha, as well as two other slaves, Betsy and Lucy.

Anarcha was experimented upon, and drugged up later, not to ease her pain as much as to stifle her moans. It has been calculated that she had been operated on, perhaps, 34 times. She, Betsy, Lucy, and countless others helped Dr Sims hone his techniques and create his gynecological tools. Though on display in museums, many of Dr Sims’s tools have modern counterparts that are used today.

Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy left no written legacy. Slaves were forbidden to read and write, a crime punishable by death.

And though science today looks back on Sims’s work ambiguously, truly unsure as to his level of success, or whether he should be credited as the father of gynecology, we now know who the mothers of modern gynecology were: they were the nameless and faceless slave women upon whom Dr Sims experimented.

Today we have just three names: Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy. It is our hope that these names will never be forgotten.”   (SOURCE)

Yes, so much for the good and harmonious relationships that Massa and Missus had with their slaves.

As for Wilson’s yearning for the return of the Old Testament—-those days are gone. The Coming of Christ heralded in the New Testament, and that is what Christians are living under today.

Wilson’s take that women were created to be “dependent and responsive to men”, puts him in no position to speak on sexuality.

As for any person who believes that slavery was good for the enslaved Black people and that women are in effect to be slaves to men, well there is free speech, and there is opening one’s mouth and removing all doubt that they are not operating with logic and a firm grasp on reality.

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Okay, by now some of you may know that George Zimmerman has been arrested and charged with 2nd-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a young Black man who was shot in the chest at point-blank range by Zimmerman because he looked “suspicious” and was Black.

Even though Zimmerman was charged with 2nd-degree murder under Florida’s statutes, I say he will just barely get off with manslaughter.

But to be perfectly honest, he will be found not guilty. Afterall, it was only another Black citizen he shot down while using the Stand Your Ground Law as a cover for his vigilantism.

Now, Zimmerman has set up a website that in its essence is beyond galling and ludicrous as to border on mental insanity.

The website is as follows:

I am the real George Zimmerman.

On Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage. As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life. This website’s sole purpose is to ensure my supporters they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries.It has come to my attention that some persons and/or entities have been collecting funds, thinly veiled as my “Defense Fund” or “Legal Fund”. I cannot attest to the validity of these other websites as I have not received any funds collected, intended to support my family and I through this trying, tragic time.

I have created a Paypal account solely linked on this website as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment. I will also personally, maintain accountability of all funds received. I reassure you, every donation is appreciated.


George Zimmerman

Update as of 1:30pm EST on Tuesday, April 10th     I am attempting to respond to each and everyone of my supporters personally. The support has been overwhelming in volume and strength. I thank you all and ask that you permit me the time to respond to each one of you personally. Once again thank you.


George Zimmerman

Right down the line with the American flag, Mom, and apple pie, eh, George?

“Donations” to help cover his “living expenses and legal defense”?

Living expenses?

While Zimmerman continues to eat, sleep, and wear out clothes, young Trayvon Martin lies cold in the ground from a bullet fired from a 9mm Kel-Tec by Zimmerman.

Even while having the audacity to set up a PayPal account asking for donations for himself, Zimmerman shows his most callous contempt for ending young Trayvon’s life with the following:

“On Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage.”

“Life altering”?

No remorse about destroying young Trayvon. No sadness on taking Trayvon’s life, while Zimmerman continues to live.

And the final insult is when he utters the great quote from the 18th century Irish statesman Edmund Burke:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing.”

No, Zimmerman.

The only thing that would have caused evil to triumph is if many Americans and millions of other people around the globe did not speak out on your taking Trayvon Martin’s life that February 26, 2012 evening. People who are sick and tired of being sick and tired with the venom shown against Black life.

George Zimmerman’s stalking Trayvon; George Zimmerman’s declaring Trayvon “suspicious”, a “coon”, “these assholes always get away”, “something is wrong with him”—-shows him to be the actor of evil and cowardly contempt for black life.

As for donations, I have to wonder about anyone who would give donations to George Zimmerman.

He wants legal help–hire a public defender.

He wants living expenses, to still live in his home, his community?

He should have thought of that before he had tried, condemned, and executed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

George Zimmerman still has rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Trayvon Martin no longer lives to enjoy his.


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