K is for Kate Who was Struck with an Axe, from The Gashlycrumb Tinies: Or, After the Outing, by Edward Gorey.
Monthly Archives: February 2013
The United Nations’ (UN) World Day of Social Justice promotes poverty eradication, full employment and social integration. It is on February 20 each year.
|World Day of Social Justice||English|
|Día Mundial de la Justicia Social||Spanish|
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
World Day of Social Justice 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
The United Nations’ (UN) World Day of Social Justice is annually observed on February 20 to encourage people to look at how social justice affects poverty eradication. It also focuses on the goal of achieving full employment and support for social integration.
What do people do?
Many organizations, including the UN and the International Labour Office, make statements on the importance of social justice for people. Many organizations also present plans for greater social justice by tackling poverty, social and economic exclusion and unemployment. Trade unions and campaign groups are invited to call on their members and supporters to mark the day. The Russian General Confederation of Trade Unions declared that the common slogan would be “Social Justice and Decent Life for All!”.
Schools, colleges and universities may prepare special activities for the day or plan a week of events around a theme related to poverty, social and economic exclusion or unemployment. Different media, including radio and television stations, newspapers and Internet sites, may give attention to the issues around the World Day of Social Justice.
It is hoped that particular coverage is given to the links between the illicit trade in diamonds and armed conflicts, particularly in Africa, and the importance of the International Criminal Court. This is an independent court that conducts trials of people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The World Day of Social Justice is a global observance and not a public holiday.
The World Summit for Social Development was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1995 and resulted in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action. At this summit, more than 100 political leaders pledged to make the conquest of poverty and full employment, as well as stable, safe and just societies, their overriding objectives. They also agreed on the need to put people at the center of development plans.
Nearly 10 years later, the UN’s member states reviewed the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action when they gathered at a session of the Commission for Social Development in New York in February 2005. They also agreed to commit to advance social development. On November 26, 2007, the UN General Assembly named February 20 as the annual World Day of Social Justice. The day was scheduled to be first observed in 2009.
World Day of Social Justice Observances
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday type||Where it is observed|
|Fri||Feb 20||2009||World Day of Social Justice||United Nations observance|
|Sat||Feb 20||2010||World Day of Social Justice||United Nations observance|
|Sun||Feb 20||2011||World Day of Social Justice||United Nations observance|
|Mon||Feb 20||2012||World Day of Social Justice||United Nations observance|
|Wed||Feb 20||2013||World Day of Social Justice||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Feb 20||2014||World Day of Social Justice||United Nations observance|
|Fri||Feb 20||2015||World Day of Social Justice||United Nations observance|
I am not too much into comedians (the only two comedians I have considered as keeping it real were the late Richard Pryor and the late George Carlin).
But, Mr. C.K. had some interesting things to say about race in America and how its denial still shapes the lives of both Blacks and Whites even into the 21ST Century. He talks about how many Whites complain about slavery during Black History Month (but, strangely, very few complaints are heard about Jane Crow segregation which on paper ended a mere 45 years ago).
He is spot on in how slavery is considered as something that happened centuries ago when at the end of slavery life for recently freed enslaves became a living hell on earth (during Reconstruction and the era known as segregation.)
“Every year white people add 100 years to how long ago slavery was. I’ve heard educated white people say, ‘slavery was 400 years ago.’ No it wasn’t. It was 140 years ago…that’s two 70-year-old ladies living and dying back to back. That’s how recently you could buy a guy.” Comedian Louis C.K., Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Today his little daughters are given much recognition for their humanity because they are white.
Black Americans, on the other hand, are often afforded very little acceptance of their humanity.
Oh, and the uncomfortable jittery behaviour of Jay Leno’s responses. . . . .priceless.
On February 8, 2013 Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, an Idaho executive with AGC Aerospace and Defense, on a Delta Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta, was seated next to Ms. Jessica Bennett, 33, and her 19-month old son Jonah. As the plane descended into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Jonah began to cry, when there was a change in altitude.
Enraged by the toddler’s crying, Hundley was alleged to have told Ms. Bennett to “shut that nigger baby up.”
Ms. Bennet asked him if he said what she thought he uttered, and Hundley leaned over into her face and repeated the racist slur and slapped little Jonah in the face:
Bennett said Hundley had become increasingly obnoxious during the flight and appeared to be drunk. At one point he complained that her son was too big to sit on her lap, she said.
“He reeked of alcohol,” Bennett told KARE-TV. “He was belligerent, and I was uncomfortable.”
Bennett said she was shocked by the racial slur she says Hundley used when Jonah started crying.
“And I said, ‘What did you say?’ Because I couldn’t believe that he would say that,” she told WCCO-TV. “He fell onto my face and his mouth was in my ear and he said it again, but even more hateful. And he’s on my face, so I pushed him away.”
Bennett and her husband are white, while Jonah, whom they adopted, is black. When Hundley slapped him in the face, he scratched the boy below his right eye and caused him to scream even louder, she said.
As a result of Hundley’s behaviour, AGC Aerospace and Defense has now fired him:
“Reports of the recent behavior of one of our business unit executives while on personal travel are offensive and disturbing. We have taken this matter very seriously and worked diligently to examine it since learning of the matter on Friday afternoon. As of Sunday, the executive is no longer employed with the company.”
“We wish to emphasize that the behavior that has been described is contradictory to our values, embarrassing and does not in any way reflect the patriotic character of the men and women of diverse backgrounds who work tirelessly in our business.”
Jonah’s mother speaks out on the horrible incident that caused injury to her child:
Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, was president of AGC’s Unitech Composites and Structures unit and has since been charged with simple assault by an Atlanta federal court and faces penalties of up to a year in jail.
Mr. Hundley has pleaded not guilty.
DONALD BYRD, JAZZ TRUMPETER
Published: February 11, 2013
- Donald Byrd, one of the leading jazz trumpeters of the 1950s and early 1960s, who became both successful and controversial in the 1970s by blending jazz, funk and rhythm and blues into a pop hybrid that defied categorization, died on Feb. 4 in Dover, Del. He was 80.
His death was confirmed by Haley Funeral Directors of Southfield, Mich. Word of Mr. Byrd’s death had circulated online for several days, but was not announced by his family.
Almost from the day he arrived in New York City in 1955 from his native Detroit, Mr. Byrd was at the center of the movement known as hard bop, a variation on bebop that put greater emphasis on jazz’s blues and gospel roots. Known for his pure tone and impeccable technique, he performed or recorded with some of the most prominent jazz musicians of that era, including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins and the drummer Art Blakey, considered one of jazz’s great talent scouts. As a bandleader, Mr. Byrd was sometimes a talent scout too — one of the first to hire a promising young pianist named Herbie Hancock, who, like Mr. Byrd, would later be called a renegade for an approach that won a wide audience but displeased many critics.
Mr. Byrd, a strong advocate of music education, spent much of the 1960s teaching. Then, in 1973, he made a surprising transition to pop stardom with the album “Black Byrd,” produced by the brothers Larry and Fonce Mizell, who had been his students at Howard University in Washington. With Mr. Byrd’s restrained licks (he played both trumpet and fluegelhorn) layered over an irresistible funk groove seasoned with wah-wah guitar and simple, repeated lyrics (“Get in the groove, just can’t lose”), “Black Byrd” reached the Billboard Top 100, where it peaked at No. 88.
Mr. Byrd was hardly the first jazz musician to try such a crossover: Miles Davis had achieved a similar musical synthesis with “Bitches Brew” three years earlier. But “Black Byrd,” unlike “Bitches Brew,” was overtly pop-oriented, and its success was extremely rare for a jazz musician. It became, and for a long time remained, the best-selling album in the history of Blue Note Records, the venerable jazz label for which Mr. Byrd had been recording since the 1950s.
“Then the jazz people starting eating on me,” Mr. Byrd recalled in a 1982 radio interview. “They had a feast on me for 10 years: ‘He’s sold out.’ Everything that’s bad was attributed to Donald Byrd. I weathered it, and then it became commonplace. Then they found a name for it. They started calling it ‘jazz fusion,’ ‘jazz rock.’ ”
The criticism did not stop him from making more pop records. In addition to recording as a leader, he organized some of his Howard students into a group called the Blackbyrds and produced their records. The band had a string of hit singles in the 1970s, including “Walking in Rhythm,” which reached the Top 10 on the pop charts, and “Rock Creek Park,” which evoked late-night romance in a wooded park in Washington, D.C.
“Rock Creek Park” became something of a local anthem and one of many recordings by Mr. Byrd to be sampled by rap and hip-hop artists, including Public Enemy, Nas and Ludacris. His music and the Blackbyrds’ has been sampled more than 200 times, with the 1975 album “Places and Spaces” among his most frequently repurposed recordings, according to the Web site whosampled.com.
“They use all of the music that I did in the ’50s, ’60s and the ’70s behind people like Tupac and LL Cool J,” Mr. Byrd told students in a lecture at Cornell in 1998. “I’m into all that stuff.”
Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II was born in Detroit on Dec. 9, 1932. His father, E. T. Byrd, was a Methodist minister. His music studies there at Wayne State University were interrupted by two years in the Air Force. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State, Mr. Byrd moved to New York, where he began his jazz career in earnest and received a master’s in music education from the Manhattan School of Music.
His musical pursuits were paralleled by a lifelong interest in education. He taught jazz at Howard, North Carolina Central University, Rutgers, Cornell, the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, and also studied law. In 1982 he received a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. He spent many years, at various institutions, teaching a curriculum that integrated math and music education.
In 2000 Mr. Byrd was given a Jazz Masters award by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mr. Byrd had homes in Dover, Del., and Teaneck, N.J. Information on his survivors was not available.
In his 1998 Cornell lecture Mr. Byrd said he had been inspired by musicians who changed music, notably John Coltrane.
“I met him in the 11th grade in Detroit,” he said. “I skipped school one day to see Dizzy Gillespie, and that’s where I met Coltrane. Coltrane and Jimmy Heath just joined the band, and I brought my trumpet, and he was sitting at the piano downstairs waiting to join Dizzy’s band. He had his saxophone across his lap, and he looked at me and he said, ‘You want to play?’
“So he played piano, and I soloed. I never thought that six years later we would be recording together, and that we would be doing all of this stuff. The point is that you never know what happens in life.”
Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.
JAMES DEPREIST, PIONEERING CONDUCTOR
James DePreist at the Juilliard Symphony in 2008.
By ALLAN KOZINN
Published: February 9, 2013
- Even in the motorized wheelchair he rode to the podium, or seated on the low swivel chair from which he conducted, James DePreist cut an imposing figure, one that usually got the best from the orchestras he led — whether major ensembles like the New York Philharmonic and the Oregon Symphony, or student groups at the Juilliard School, where he was director of conducting and orchestral studies for seven years.
Tall and heavyset, with a shaved head, a trim mustache and a beard that grayed in recent years, Mr. DePreist, who died on Friday at 76, was one of the few black conductors to achieve international renown. And he refused to let disability derail his career; he went on conducting after polio, contracted in 1962, left both legs paralyzed and forced him to use the wheelchair.
Two years later, he won the gold medal in the Dmitri Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition, and in 1965 he became an assistant conductor to Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic.
Though he was reluctant to be seen as a role model on the basis of his race, rather than purely for his musical accomplishments, he still understood, he said, that young black musicians regarded him as a role model, much as they had revered his aunt, the great contralto Marian Anderson, who was the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. It was a responsibility he took seriously, he said. In 1997, he appeared in “My Country,” an hourlong documentary on PBS in which he drew comparisons between racial barriers and the challenges faced by people with disabilities.
Mr. DePreist objected, however, to outreach programs that seemed to patronize black audiences. When he was engaged by the New York Philharmonic in 1988 to lead a performance at the Apollo Theater in Harlem with the Boys Choir of Harlem and the Modern Jazz Quartet, he made a point of saying that he would not have agreed to participate had he not already been contracted for two weeks of subscription programs with the orchestra at Lincoln Center, in Avery Fisher Hall.
“I think if I’m seen as a role model, I would like it to be for conducting the subscription weeks, and not just the concert at the Apollo,” he said at the time. “I do not believe in engaging black artists and doing black music in black areas, because I feel that it is misleading, the worst kind of tokenism, especially if it’s the only time you see black artists or hear works by black composers.”
Mr. DePreist died at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., his manager, Jason Bagdade, said. His wife, Ginette DePreist, told the newspaper The Oregonian that he had been in and out of the hospital since having a heart attack last March followed by open-heart surgery. He had also undergone a kidney transplant in 2001.
James Anderson DePreist was born on Nov. 21, 1936, in Philadelphia, completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Pennsylvania and studied composition with Vincent Persichetti at the Philadelphia Conservatory as well as conducting. It was on a State Department-sponsored Asian tour in 1962 that Mr. DePreist, in his mid-20s at the time, contracted polio while conducting an orchestra in Bangkok. While being treated he spent several months studying scores in preparation for the 1963 Dmitri Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition.
During the competition, “the other candidates looked at me in braces and on crutches and thought, ‘Well, we can write him off,’ ” Mr. DePreist recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 1987. But he recovered enough to reach the semifinals. The next year, he won.
His victory brought him to the attention of Leonard Bernstein, who took him on as an assistant at the New York Philharmonic for the 1965-66 season. Two seasons conducting a youth orchestra in Westchester County, N.Y., followed.
Mr. DePreist moved to the Netherlands in 1967 and, two years later, made a triumphant European conducting debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. It opened doors, and in 1971 the conductor Antal Dorati appointed him associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, a position Mr. DePreist held until 1974.
He soon began a guest-conducting career that took him to the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. For the 1975-76 season he returned to the National Symphony as principal guest conductor.He conducted orchestras in a host of European cities, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Prague, Rome, Stockholm and Vienna. He also led performances in Seoul, Sydney and Tel Aviv.
After he left the National Symphony, Mr. DePreist became music director of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, a position he held from 1976 to 1983. But he became best known for his work with the Oregon Symphony, which he directed from 1980.
During his nearly quarter-century tenure in Portland, he transformed the orchestra from a good regional group to an esteemed one that won a following through more than a dozen recordings on the Delos label that Mr. DePreist made at its helm; among them were Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and “Firebird” Suite and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2.
Mr. DePreist made recordings with many other orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the Malmo Symphony Orchestra in Sweden, of which he was principal conductor from 1991 to 1994, and the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, which he directed from 1994 to 1998.
After leaving the Oregon Symphony in 2003, he became its laureate music director and moved to New York to join Juilliard. His concerts with its ensembles at Carnegie Hall and elsewhere were highlights of the school’s performance season. He left the conducting and orchestral studies directorship in 2011, turning it over to Alan Gilbert, the music director of the New York Philharmonic, but retained his association as director emeritus.
From 2005 to 2008 Mr. DePreist was the permanent conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. A character in “Nodame Cantabile,” a popular Japanese cartoon series, was based on Mr. DePreist (and bore his name). The character directed a fictional orchestra in Paris. Mr. DePreist conducted the soundtrack recordings for the live-action and animé adaptations of the story in 2009.
He also published two books of poetry and received numerous honors, including the National Medal of Arts, bestowed by President George W. Bush in 2005.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Tracy and Jennifer, from his first marriage, to Betty Childress, and two grandchildren.
Mr. DePreist saw music as presenting “a mirror of our better selves,” he told the broadcaster Bruce Duffie in an interview in 1988 — “as something to which we can relate on a very personal and emotional level.”
“We can admire it architecturally,” he added. “We can admire it in terms of its harmonic structure. But fundamentally there is a visceral reaction, and that visceral reaction is sheer magic. There’s no two ways about it.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: February 12, 2013
Because of an editing error, an obituary on Sunday about the conductor James DePreist misstated the surname of his manager, who confirmed the death. He is Jason Bagdade, not Bagdale.
SHADOW MORTON, SONGWRITER AND PRODUCER
By MARGALIT FOX
Published: February 15, 2013
The cause was cancer, said Amy Krakow, a family friend.
By all accounts possessed of a brazen, naïve genius — he played no instrument, could not read music and wrote his songs in his head — Mr. Morton was almost single-handedly responsible for the wild success of the Shangri-Las, the Queens girl group he introduced and propelled to international stardom.
The group had its first hit in 1964 with “Remember,” recorded more or less on a dare in a session frantically pulled together by Mr. Morton, who had never written a song before.
The result, with lyrics and music conceived by Mr. Morton in what he later said was about 22 minutes, was released on the Red Bird label and reached No. 5 on the Billboard singles chart.
A song of lost love, “Remember” was imbued with the lush, infectious strangeness that would prove a hallmark of Mr. Morton’s other hits. It employed a narrative, quasi-operatic plot, spoken dialogue, chanting, unconventional sound effects (in this case sea gulls) and lyrics that encapsulated all the ardor and angst of the teenage years.
The song was followed later that year by “Leader of the Pack,” written with Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. It told the story of Betty, who falls for Jimmy, a young tough on a bike:
I met him at the candy store.
He turned around and smiled at me.
You get the picture? [Spoken]: Yes, we see.
That’s when I fell for … the leader of the pack.
As the melodrama unfolds to the sound of a revving motorcycle, Jimmy, banished by Betty on her parents’ orders, peels off on his bike, only to crash. “Look out!” the Shangri-Las’ lead singer, Mary Weiss, cries over and over, but it is too late. Jimmy is dead.
Mr. Morton also wrote “Give Him a Great Big Kiss” and “I Can Never Go Home Anymore,” which became hits for the Shangri-Las in 1965. But in the years that followed, he largely abandoned his songwriting career, partly because he cared little for the music business and partly, he later said in interviews, because of the rigors of battling alcoholism.
The nickname Shadow was bestowed on him by a Brill Building colleague to describe his habitually evanescent presence.
As a producer, Mr. Morton was best known for Janis Ian’s hit single “Society’s Child,” recorded in 1965 when she was 14; several albums by the psychedelic rock group Vanilla Fudge; and “Too Much Too Soon” (1974), by the protopunk New York Dolls.
George Francis Morton was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 3, 1941. When he was about 14, his family moved to Hicksville, on Long Island, which his parents thought would provide a wholesome atmosphere.
“They had the theory, ‘My boy’s gonna get in trouble, so we’re gonna move him out of Brooklyn,’ ” Mr. Morton told the music magazine Time Barrier Express in 1979.
Scarcely into their suburban idyll, the Mortons discovered that the parents of every budding juvenile delinquent in the city had had the same idea. To young Mr. Morton’s boundless delight, he said, he found the largest gang “walking the streets of Bethpage and Hicksville that you ever want to meet.”
In high school, Mr. Morton formed a doo-wop group. But, leaving school before graduating, he found himself at loose ends.
In 1964 he paid a call on Ms. Greenwich, an acquaintance from Long Island musical circles. She had hit the big time — working for the producer-songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in the Brill Building, Manhattan’s vaunted hive of composers and lyricists.
Also in the office that day, working quietly at the piano, was Mr. Barry, Ms. Greenwich’s husband and collaborator.
“My Brooklyn alcoholic paranoia kicked in,” Mr. Morton recalled in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2001. “I saw a guy sitting with his back to me, ignoring me — and being very impolite.”
As Mr. Morton rose to leave, Mr. Barry turned to him. “Just what is it you do for a living?” he asked.
“I’m a songwriter — like you,” Mr. Morton replied, with full Brooklyn braggadocio.
“What kind of songs?”
“Why don’t you bring me one?” Mr. Barry said, with audible skepticism.
Mr. Morton phoned a friend who had a basement recording studio. He phoned another friend, who had a four-piece band. He phoned a third, who knew some high school girls from Queens who sang locally as the Shangri-Las.
With these elements in place, Mr. Morton, on his way to the recording session, realized he lacked one thing: a song. Pulling his car over on a stretch of Long Island road, he wrote “Remember.”
Mr. Morton’s marriage to Lois Berman ended in divorce. His survivors include three daughters, Stacey Morton, Danielle Morton and Keli Morton Gerrits; a sister, Geraldine; and three grandchildren.
In later years, Mr. Morton, who underwent treatment for alcoholism in the mid-1980s and remained sober to the end of his life, had a second career as a designer of golf clubs.
He never abandoned songwriting. At his death, Ms. Krakow said, Mr. Morton had more than 300 songs to his credit, most unrecorded.
January 4, 2013 | Long awaited, Comet PanSTARRS now looks to reach only 3rd magnitude at its best in March, when it will be low in the western evening twilight for Northern Hemisphere observers. > read more
January 31, 2013 | Mercury has a fine evening apparition in February 2013, featuring an extraordinarily close conjunction with Mars. > read more
February 1, 2013 | Evening skies feature two bright planets: Mercury, which lurks low in the west after sunset around the 16th, and Jupiter, which reigns high in the southern sky all month long. > read more
February 15, 2013 | This morning’s meteorite explosion over Russia offers the strongest motivation yet for investigation of near-Earth objects. > read more
February 11, 2013 | Two of Pluto’s moons have no proper names, but that’s about to change. Planetary astronomer Mark Showalter announces a contest where you can help name the newest discoveries. > read more
February 14, 2013 | Astronomers working with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope say they might finally have the “smoking gun” they’ve needed to convict supernova remnants as the origin of energetic particles called cosmic rays. > read more
February 12, 2013 | S&T contributing editor Govert Schilling tells the story of his recent expedition to the unique science laboratory located at the inhospitable South Pole. > read more
February 15, 2013 | Mercury continues its fine evening showing, but not for much longer. Higher in the evening sky, the waxing Moon passes Jupiter and its starry attendants. > read more
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Reputed gang members indicted in hate crimes against black family
A federal grand jury Thursday indicted Jeffrey Aguilar and Efren Marquez Jr. on five felony counts. The indictment alleges they are members of Compton Varrio 155, a gang that seeks to drive blacks out of West Compton.
Prosecutors contend the pair conspired to violate the civil rights of a family and a friend of the family by committing hate crimes.
“Hate-fueled crimes have no place in our society,” U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte said Friday. “No one should have to look over their shoulder in fear because of who they are.”
“They specifically spewed hate words during the attacks,” he said. “Compton 155 has a specific credo of ridding African Americans from this neighborhood.”
On New Year’s Eve, the two alleged gang members confronted a young African American man walking down the street and confronted him, asking if he was a gang member.
— Richard Winton
Photo: Graffiti-marred steeple of the Greater Holy Faith Baptist Church on 155th Street in Compton. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times
Many non-Black ethnic and racial groups have been taught, taught, carefully taught, to hate, disparage, and attack Black Americans.
It is, and always has been, the guaranteed ticket to acceptance in the good ‘ol USA.
These cowardly racist thugs know that black life is callously negated in America.
But, since they have been indicted on federal charges, it will not be long when they will soon feel the wrath of prison life once convicted, and waiting in the wings for them will be a Tony Montano-type who will welcome them with open arms and a “Welcome, and say ‘Hello’ to my little friend”.
Only one thing: the little friend will not be a gun or grenade launcher.