Friday, October 31, 2008
BRANDENBURG — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford have agreed on one thing this week: Their race is the second most important in the nation.
"Next to the presidential race, this is the biggest race in the country," Lunsford told more than 70 Democrats who crowded into the showroom of Ray's Ford-Mercury in Brandenburg on Wednesday morning. Unseating the sitting Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, he said, would be the "the biggest upset in the country."
By Beth Musgrave
Hundreds of students and several Democratic officials expressed outrage and embarrassment Wednesday after an effigy of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was found hanging from a tree early Wednesday on the University of Kentucky campus.
The racist act was emphatically rejected by hundreds of students and community leaders attending a quickly-called campus forum to discuss racial issues Wednesday evening.
"Our time at this university is too short to sit idly by and allow these things to continue," said Tyler Montell, president of UK's student government association. "This is not a concern of any single race. Today, every student is a victim. Every member of our student body must now become part of a greater change."
Meanwhile, UK police and the Secret Service are asking for the public's help in finding who hung the effigy — which wore an Obama mask and had a noose around its neck — in a tree near the Rose Street parking garage.
The effigy was found shortly after 7:30 a.m. and was down before 9 a.m.
UK President Lee Todd called the racially-charged display "deplorable" and said he was embarrassed for the university, which has tried to increase its black student population in recent years.
"I know this is not a reflection of this institution," Todd said of the incident.
Democrats from Gov. Steve Beshear to Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry decried the effigy on Wednesday and apologized to Obama.
"This was not political speech," Beshear said. "It was simply hate. It was profoundly wrong and deeply offensive. This incident does not reflect who we are as a flagship institution of higher learning or a Commonwealth."
Newberry released a letter late Wednesday addressed to Obama that apologized on behalf of the citizens of Lexington for the act.
"I apologize to you, your family and your supporters," Newberry wrote in the letter.
A representative from Obama's campaign could not be reached for comment.
Some said they weren't surprised by Wednesday's incident, including Urban League President and CEO P.G. Peeples.
Peeples pointed to a recent Herald-Leader/WKYT Kentucky Poll in which 12 percent of respondents said they are less likely to vote for Obama because he would be the first black president. Only five percent said Obama's skin color made them more likely to vote for him while 83 percent said Obama's race didn't affect their vote.
Overall, Obama, who is the child of a white mother and black father, trails McCain in Kentucky by 16 points, 55 percent to 39 percent, the poll found.
Peeples said recent Republican rallies for McCain and vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin have become raucous, leading some in the black community to say the rallies have become too racially charged.
"It's a terribly bad reflection on this state," Peeples said. "My first reaction was 'How pathetic.' It is an embarrassment to our state."
Kentucky Republican Party leaders could not be reached for comment. At the forum Wednesday night, Jacob Simms, president of the UK College Republicans, called the effigy "cowardly" and "disgraceful."
"I come to you not as a Republican, but as an outraged student of the University of Kentucky," Simms said.
Todd pledged to find the culprit in a written e-mail he sent to the campus just after noon.
"Such acts will not be tolerated. Those found responsible will be subject to the full force of university, state, and federal rules and regulations," Todd said.
Todd said he received an e-mail from a professor who saw the effigy while he was riding his bike to campus shortly after 7:30 a.m. The professor had called police and then sent the message to Todd, he said.
Few people saw the effigy before it was taken down by campus police after 8:30 a.m.
Mike Lynch, who works nearby at the Kentucky Geological Survey, said the effigy had an Obama mask, a sport coat and a pair of sweat pants. There was a noose around it's neck, Lynch said. The clothes were hung on a hanger.
Lynch and others at UK said they were horrified that someone had done this on UK's campus.
"There is little doubt that it was Obama," Lynch said. "I am deeply offended."
Word of the early-morning incident slowly reached students, but by 1 p.m. many had heard about it.
Antonio Dixon was walking out of UK's Student Center when he heard the news from another student. The black freshman from Lexington said he hoped that it was a prank.
"It's terrible," Dixon said, shaking his head. "You've got a lot of people who do that kind of stuff just to get attention. It's just not right. I think with Halloween coming... I hope it was a prank."
John Ghaelian, Lisa Steelman, Justin Lamb and Sean Taylor were recruiting people to vote for Obama outside the main dining room at the student center on Wednesday. They heard about the effigy from a staff person earlier that morning.
"It just reinforces people's stereotypes about Kentucky," said Lamb, 19, a sophomore from Crab Orchard.
The effigy is not representative of the response they have gotten on campus, where many actively support Obama, they said.
"But there is an element here that would not vote for a black man," said Taylor, a junior from St. Louis.
The students said the university should do more to address racial problems on campus. Too often, they feel like the university brushes racial problems under the rug, they said.
The effigy at UK comes about a year after two racially charged incidents sparked student protests on campus.
First, the student paper published a cartoon that showed a black student, bare-chested and chained, being auctioned off among three fictional fraternities: Aryan Omega, Kappa Kappa Kappa and Alpha Caucasian.
Then, as the furor over that started to settle, a student elected as "Mr. Black University of Kentucky" found his residence hall door vandalized with the message: "Die," followed by a racial slur.
UK has struggled to increase diversity on its campus in recent years. This fall, a record number of black students were in its freshman class with 341 black students out of 4,044 students.
In total, the number of black students has increased over the past four years from 1,407 to 1,628 on the campus of 26,901, according to figures the university released Wednesday.
Police said they were following all leads in the case Wednesday.
Vice President for Public Safety and former Lexington Police Chief Anthany Beatty said police were trying to determine if any video cameras on campus captured images from the area.
Beatty said they had no suspects. It's difficult to say what type of charges the culprits may face until police can interview whoever did it, he said.
Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service, confirmed that the federal agency charged with protecting presidents and presidential candidates had been notified and were working with UK police to determine who was responsible.
"We take any threat against any of our protectees very seriously," Donovan said.
It's the second time an effigy has been found on a college campus recently. Last month, George Fox University in Oregon, a small Christian college, punished four students who confessed to hanging a likeness of Obama from a tree.
That effigy was found in September with a message taped to it — "Act Six reject." The message was targeted at participants of a scholarship program geared toward increasing the number of minority and low-income students and several Christian colleges, mostly in the Northwest.
In West Hollywood, Calif., authorities on Wednesday were looking into a Halloween display depicting a mannequin of GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin hanging from a noose. The display also displayed her running mate, John McCain, surrounded by fake flames.
And of course, one of them is named BUSH!
Posted on Fri, Oct. 31, 2008
Two arrested in connection with Obama effigy
By Beth Musgrave
University of Kentucky police announced the arrest of a UK student and his friend Thursday in connection with the hanging of an effigy of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama from a tree on campus Wednesday.
Interim UK police chief Joe Monroe said police received a series of tips throughout the day Wednesday that eventually led them to the two men. The men told police that the act was a stunt in response to news reports that an effigy of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was hung at a West Hollywood, Calif., home.
Joe Fischer, 22, a UK senior and a former football team walk-on, and a friend, Hunter Bush, 21, of Lexington were charged Thursday with burglary in the second degree, a felony; and theft by unlawful taking and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. The disorderly conduct charge was made for the hanging of the effigy.
According to the 2007-2008 UK football roster, Fischer is from Latonia, outside of Cincinnati.
The two were being held at the Fayette County Detention Center Thursday.
Fischer and Bush turned themselves in to university police Thursday afternoon.
Material used to make the effigy, including clothes, was stolen from a fraternity house, and it was through the fraternity that they were able to track down Fischer and Bush, Monroe said. Police declined to name the fraternity, saying the fraternity was also a victim.
Neither Fischer nor Bush was a member of the fraternity, Monroe said.
"They expressed extreme remorse for a prank that they say got out of hand," Monroe said of the two men. "They meant no harm or disrespect."
Fischer will also face disciplinary proceedings through the University of Kentucky, UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. said on Thursday. The punishment could be as simple as a warning or could include expulsion. Those proceedings, however, are confidential by federal law.
The life-size effigy was found early Wednesday morning hanging from a tree near the Rose Street parking garage. Those who saw the effigy, which was quickly taken down by university personnel, say it was wearing an Obama mask, a sport coat and pants. Todd and others condemned the hanging of the life-size stand-in for Obama.
The effigy of Palin that sparked the copycat incident at UK was included in a Halloween display at a Hollywood home. The homeowner, after outcries from the public, took the display down, the Los Angeles Times reported. Other effigies of Obama have appeared in other places, including Clarksville, Ind. That display — also part of a Halloween decoration—was also taken down.
But in the UK case, the motive was not clear and the hanging of the effigy could have been construed as a threat, Monroe said.
The more serious charges against the two men were largely in connection with the alleged burglary of the fraternity.
But talk radio and blogs on Thursday were atwitter with debate on whether the hanging of the effigy of Obama, who has a white mother and a black father, from a tree by a noose was racist. Some said the effigy was merely a form of political speech protected by the First Amendment, while others cited it as a reference to the historic lynching of thousands of black men in the South.
Todd said it was unfortunate that the incident happened on UK's campus but said the incident has prompted people to examine their own feelings on race.
"As outrageous and offensive an act as the effigy was, I truly believe it has mobilized our campus, the community and the state in an effort to battle racism and hate and seek the better angels of our nature," Todd said at a press conference Thursday. "Clearly, we have much work to do in educating each other about tolerance and mutual respect."
Coda: Please, all Democrats - be above the redneck fray. No more hanging effigies of Republicans!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Obama effigy found hanging from tree at UK
LEXINGTON — An effigy of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee and an African American, was found hanging from a tree on the University of Kentucky campus this morning, according to university officials.
By Nancy C. Rodriguez
UK President Lee Todd said he was alerted about the incident by a professor who was riding his bicycle to campus around 7:30 a.m.
The effigy was found on Rose Street, near the university’s Mining and Minerals building.
Officers with both the University Police Department and the Lexington Police Department are investigating the incident, and the Secret Service has been notified, Todd said.
Todd said it is not known whether a student or someone else was responsible.
“It’s a very embarrassing situation that has happened on our campus, regardless of who did it,” he said.
Todd referred to the incident as a “despicable act.”
“We certainly believe in political expression, just not in this form,” he said.
Anyone with information about the incident is being asked to call the UK police department at (859) 257-1616.
What is wrong with you people?? You, who call yourselves Christian! You, who call yourselves citizens of the United States of America! How can you possibly think this is ok?
This is NOT the American Revolution. WE are not being oppressed by some foreign government. So, do not try to rationalize this out from under the despicable racial terrorism it is meant to be!
You, fucking IDIOTS!
UPDATE: From PolWatchers
Council rejects rezoning around 300-year-old tree
By Andy Mead
An anguished Urban County Council turned down a rezoning request Tuesday for land near Harrodsburg that includes a 300-year-old bur oak tree.
Council members said they were concerned about whether the big tree could be protected as 190 townhouses were built nearby.
They also worried about putting too much traffic onto a connecting neighborhood street, the possible effects of blasting, and about a process that had put developers and neighbors on a collision course, and pitted the council against the Fayette County Planning Commission.
"I guess there's no way we can vote 'Maybe,' and that's where I am right now," Councilman Julian Beard said four hours into what would be a 4 1/2 hour zoning hearing.
In the end, Beard went along with majority, which voted 9-2 to overrule the planning commission's August approval of a zone change.
Bill Lear, an attorney for developer Kevin Crouse, said after the vote that his client had been "whip-sawed by government about as bad as anybody I've ever seen."
He said no decision had been made about whether to appeal the council's decision in Fayette Circuit Court or to come back with a new development plan and zone change request.
At one point in the hearing, he challenged neighbors who say they're worried about the tree or traffic to be honest about their motives, holding up a flier that said their main concern was "property values."
Fred Wohlstein, an officer in the nearby Dogwood Trace Neighborhood Association, approached Lear shortly after the vote and said the neighbors want to continue talking to the developer.
"It's a small victory in a very long process," Wohlstein told the Herald-Leader. "But it's not really a victory; it's a temporary solution."
Several council members said that developer Crouse had done nothing wrong, but was caught by conflicting rules that appeared to require destruction of the old oak to make way for a street.
One rule called for a "collector street" that would carry traffic through the development, and another called for street of that kind to meet Harrodsburg Road at Military Pike, right where the tree stands.
After the planning commission approved the zone change but expressed concerns about specifics of the development plan, Crouse met state highway officials and sold them on moving a street away from the oak.
But council members, and neighbors, said they were concerned that traffic from the new development would end up on Agape Drive, which runs through Dogwood Trace, a neighborhood of mostly single-family homes.
Crouse had applied for a planned unit development. The zoning category calls for "innovative" solutions to deal with natural and man-made features. It is so rare this is only the second time it has been tried in 25 years.
Lear defended the proposed development as a good example of infill in a developed part of town, which protects rural areas from sprawl.
As a final vote on the zoning neared after hours of debate, Vice Mayor Jim Gray spoke of the desire to bring together the council, planners, developers and neighbors to promote infill.
"We're still not getting very far with that," he said.
Oh, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
This is the short film on which Were the World Mine is an extension.
Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate's team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic: not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow'd house:
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.
All I got to say is that I like the singing in the latter much better. The singing in the former causes me to flashback to Mia Farrow singing in The Last Unicorn.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old Texas rancher who was injured while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man.
Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President.
The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle." Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was.
The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top that's a post turtle."
The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain.
"You know she didn't get there by herself, she doesn't belong there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with."
A fawn followed this beagle home -- right through the doggie door -- in the Bittinger, MD area. The owner came home to find the visitor had made himself right at home. This hit the 6 o'clock news big time. Sure beat out the McCain/Obama political news for a change.
I don't know if I buy the story or if this is someone's pet fawn, but the pictures are awfully cute!
Aunt Martha also sent me this:
FIVE BEST THINGS TO SAY IF YOU GET CAUGHT SLEEPING AT YOUR DESK:
NUMBER 5: They told me at the Blood Bank this might happen.
NUMBER 4: This is just a 15 minute power nap like they raved about in the time-management course you sent me to.
NUMBER 3: Whew! Guess I left the top off the White-out. You probably got here just in time!
NUMBER 2: Did you ever notice sound coming out of these keyboards when you put your ear down real close?
Number 1 (Best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk): (Raising your head slowly) '…in Jesus' name, Amen
To a certain jaded sensibility, what makes Scandinavia particularly magical is what it lacks. "There is no national anti-gay rights movement," writes Zuckerman, "there are no 'Jesus fish' imprinted on advertisements in the yellow pages, there are no school boards or school administrators who publicly doubt the evidence for human evolution ... there are no religiously inspired 'abstinence only' sex education curricula ... there are no parental groups lobbying schools and city councils to remove Harry Potter books from school and public libraries ... there are no restaurants that include Bible verses on their menus and placemats, there are no 'Faith Nights' at national sporting events ..."
Read more at Salon
Also from Emily:
In one book, the hero spirals toward a violent death dealing drugs on the streets of Laurelton, Queens, witnessing, along the way, a baby ripped apart by bullets. In another, a convict plots the seduction of his prison psychotherapist.
And then there’s Angel, a Versace-clad seductress who shoots her boyfriend in the head during sex, stuffs money from his safe into her Vuitton bags and, as she fondles the cash, experiences a sexual frisson narrated in terms too graphic to reproduce here.
All these characters, and the novels they populate, are favorites of Shonda Miller, 35, a devoted library-goer who devours a book a day, enforces a daily hour of reading time for her entire family and scours street stands and the Internet for new titles. She also acts as an unofficial guide and field scout for the Queens Library as it builds its collection of a fast-growing genre, written mainly by black authors about black characters and variously known as urban fiction, street lit or gangsta lit.
Read more from the New York Times
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
So, this song popped in my head...specifically the lines "How can we dance when our earth is turning / How can we sleep while our beds our burning."
Yes, I know, taken totally out of context but still...
Education is the answer. An intelligent, or at least smart, electorate will hopefully quit kicking it's own ass!
There are forces at the foundation of our country, our Democracy that have for too long been allowed to roll willy-nilly. To my mind, the government has had quite a bit invested in NOT educating the citizens that put that government into power. It allows those in power to stay in power - not just government, but corporations and religious institutions - and provides for military fodder. What better way to distract someone than send them out to a foreign country to be shot at? What a better way to get someone to join that distraction by keeping him or her undereducated? So that person doesn't have the number of opportunities that someone with a higher level of education would have. If my whole life was Wal-Mart or fast food, yeah, I'd join the military too.
No bogeymen here
William Gregory Feltner's pedantic, coal-tainted diatribe against common-sense environmentalism is too laughable to respond to in detail. It's just another example of trying to manipulate people in what has been called the "silly season in politics."
I would, however, like to comment a bit on the coal baron's condescension regarding Lexingtonians. Whenever you read a commentary piece from one of these people, you can't help but notice how they joyfully mock us "latte-lapping liberals from Lexington," I think the tired stereotype goes.
Maybe Feltner and his ilk should step down from their ivory tower every once in a while and drop by our fair city. Then, they would see we aren't the bogeymen his corporate public relations department paints us to be.
We're actually good, decent people, not unlike the good, decent people in other parts of the state.
The state seal says, "United we stand, divided we fall." Maybe these folks should think about that the next time they want to pit Kentuckians against one another.
CINCINNATI (Reuters) - After Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama made him into the most famous plumber in America, it turns out Joe Wurzelbacher isn't a licensed plumber after all. Oh, and his real name is Sam.
There's more and more
UPDATE: Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the Toledo plumber who criticized the tax proposals of Democratic nominee Barack Obama, owes back taxes, isn't licensed or registered in Ohio and would fare only slightly better under McCain's tax agenda than under Obama's even if his income soared.
Gayle, the Crazy McCain Rally Lady
See the SNL skit here
Thursday, October 16, 2008
On behalf of our son Matthew Shepard, we want to thank the citizens of the United States, and the people of the world, who have expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to our family during these trying times. A person as caring and loving as our son Matt would be overwhelmed by what this incident has done to the hearts and souls of people around the world… We are honored and touched beyond measure…
Please understand and respect my family’s request for a private and dignified farewell to our son today. Matt’s family and friends, loved him deeply, and we need to share a quiet goodbye to him. Matt himself would have been the first to honor another family’s request if this had happened to someone else.
We should try to remember that because Matt’s last few minutes of consciousness on earth may have been hell, his family and friends want more than ever to say their farewells to him in a peaceful, dignified and loving manner.
I sometimes wonder if while Matthew was dying, if he did indeed see the city shimmering in the distance like is suggested at the end of the play Laramie. And when I wonder that I start, for some reason, singing to myself the Kate Bush song "And Dream of Sheep"...
Little light shining,
Little light, guide them to me.
My face is all lit up,
My face is all lit up.
If they find me racing white horses,
They'll not take me for a buoy.
Let me be weak,
Let me sleep
And dream of sheep.
Oh, I'll wake up
To any sound of engines,
Ev'ry gull a seeking craft.
I can't keep my eyes open--
Wish I had my radio.
I'd tune in to some friendly voices
Talking 'bout stupid things.
I can't be left to my imagination.
Let me be weak,
Let me sleep
And dream of sheep.
Ooh, their breath is warm
And they smell like sleep,
And they say they take me home.
Like poppies heavy with seed
They take me deeper and deeper.
Awesome line from Daschle on Olbermann: "2/3 of the American people think [McCain is] an angry candidate, and for 90 minutes, he tried to convince the other third."
CNN POLL: Who spent more time attacking during the debate?
McCain – 80%
Obama – 7%
Stan Greenberg is briefing reporters on his focus group of undecided voters in Colorado. He said the respondents felt Obama "won" and that the results were "more decisive than either of the last two." That's a reference to Greenberg's previous focus groups, which also came away preferring Obama.
The most striking result came on the favorability ratings. Although the focus group was officially undecided, it leaned towards McCain. Here were the favorability-unfavorability ratings for each candidate at the start:
McCain: 54 favorable / 34 unfavorable
Obama: 42 favorable / 42 unfavorable
Here's what the ratings looked like after the debate:
McCain: 50 favorable / 48 unfavorable
Obama: 72 favorable / 22 unfavorable
Pundits weigh in
Fifty-three (53) percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed identified Democratic nominee Barack Obama as the winner of tonight's debate. Twenty-two (22) percent said Republican rival John McCain won. Twenty-four percent saw the debate as a draw.
McCain was Cranky
I said the McCain looked like he'd taken too much Viagra.
See all this and more at AMERICAblog
Go to Towleroad too!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
First of all I love Maus! And I love Art Spiegelman's series of collections of comics for children. (Have you seen the comic written by David Sedaris and drawn by Ian Falconer, the creator of Olivia?)
Second, I really...hmm...what's the word I'm looking for? Like? No. Appreciate? Yes, appreciate. I really appreciate Breakdowns, Spiegelman's new book - a collection of short, experimental comix from the 70s - the first strip that would eventually grow into Maus was done in 1972.
Thirdly, after reading Breakdowns, I felt like I typically do after watching French New Wave film or possibly Cries and Whispers...like my brain's been scraped empty and is ready for the invasion. Not that anything painful happens in Breakdowns - yes, "Prisoner from Hell Planet" is difficult! But, there is no shoving of broken wine glasses into vaginas. And to think of it, I think I liked "Prisoner" the best!
Fourthly, maybe it was my first brush with Guinness, because my brain still feels pretty scraped today.
So if you are looking for a French New Wave, Scandinavian film, Ingmar Bergman, Scenes from the Second Floor experience (i.e. That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.), Breakdowns is for you.
But I guess I'm kind of bitter: "In the Shadow of No Towers" Spiegelman claimed that life as we knew it was over; maybe his recent work has been too experimental to drive that claim home. And maybe we've all been too busy leading the new life - the life of overly superficial, avoidance of everything deep, fantasical, new age clinging, religion overdosing, symbols, symbols, symbols - to notice.
I'm beginning to accept as law the fact that one should not read the inside-cover blurb of a book; that if you pick up a book about, say, the adventures of person as he or she grows from childhood to adulthood, the blurb will tell you the book is about that person's triumph over sex addiction, aliens, or white supremacists, while actually the "sex addiction" was one booty call somewhere in his or her freshman year, the "aliens" were her Latino lover's family (or possibly her neo-hippie lover's New-Age family), and the white supremacists didn't really exist at all. I feel like I get lied to; however, with the last book I read, the book was better than the lie, so I don't understand all the effort wasted trying to get me to read something that was good anyway.
"The House at Sugar Beech" by Helene Cooper is not just the story of Helene Cooper, privileged daughter of the founders of Liberia - "founders" in the same way that America was founded although there were whole groups of people already here. Descended from Elijah Johnson and Randolph Cooper, Helene grew up in the last bright years of Liberia, the 70s and 80s, before it was torn apart by continual civil war. According to the blurb, the main part of the story is Helene's search for her adopted sister Eunice, whom the family left in Liberia when they escaped to the U.S. It seemed harrowing, but actually only involves a few pages at the end of the book.
The book itself is not simply Helene's history but a history of the founding of Liberia. There is information on Elijah Johnson, the American Colonization Society, and the other freed blacks from the U.S. - well, not just information, but the story. There is Helene and her family living at Sugar Beech, Monrovia, going to church, going to school. There is Eunice, a part of the "Country People" being brought into the family. There are the girls growing up. Then there is the war - several of them - and the escape to America, and Helene trying to distance herself from her Liberian roots and becoming a big-time journalist. All the while Helene points of the disparity - her privileged life v. the lives of the majority of County People; her life v. Eunice's life; the seeming "white privilege" of Elijah Johnson and the other American colonists v. the lack of privilege of the people who were already in what becomes Liberia; even so far as the war in Iraq v. the two decade long war in Liberia.
My roommate bought me the book for my birthday: I think it was more a impulse buy while getting coffee at Starbucks, and at first I didn't want to read it, 1) because the cover didn't grab me, 2) it was a Starbucks suggested book - blah!, and 3) because Boo wanted me to read it and tell him about it. I suddenly felt like I had a reading assignment again, and those books never got read. But I read it, and finished it in a few days. It was wonderful! It was so much more than what the blurb on the jacket suggested it could be.
Another story: I had carried "The House on Sugar Beech" with me down to Starbucks, and while in line, I opened my book and started to read. Standing behind me was a very tall black man and his son who was probably 7 or 8. The man started saying something to his son about "See, he reads." And then something else was said by me about being a librarian. The father was, I guess, trying to get his son to read - yes, I know, it's like pulling teeth. But the father asked me what the book was about: I said it was about a woman who lived in Liberia. Beat pause. "Do you know about Liberia?" He said, "Yes, I imagine it's awfully cold there." "No, not Siberia in Russia, but Liberia, the country founded by freed blacks from America." "Oh, yes!" So now I have this man's email written inside my book, and I've yet to email him. And although I'm afraid of coming off as the "Great White Father," I've been making an effort to make sure all my friends, black or white, know about this book, and know about Liberia.
Here's an excerpt of "The House on Sugar Beech" from the New York Times.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I'm sure I've posted this pic a few times, but Daniel Radcliffe is so fucking beautiful.
Here is Towleroad's take on Equus and Seagull on Broadway.
This is Mike Erwin of Everwood. The shot below is of him taking a piss giving me everwood. hehehehe. Thanks, folks, I'm here all week!
See more at OMG
Monday, October 13, 2008
Maybe I'm focusing on bad news today...
October 12 was the 10 year anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard and Judy Shepard says we've made no progress - I say we've regressed some.
And then I learned today that one of my favorite porn actor Mason Wyler may have been brutally beaten and raped!
Though there appears to be quite a bit of evidence that it was nowhere to the level that it was originally reported. Either way, I hope you are okay, Mason! :(
Friday, October 10, 2008
A friend of a friend posted this on Facebook last night. It's a really good sermon, and I'm not really surprised how out of context the "inflammatory" phrase was taken. Watch it. If you're anything like me, you'll probably end up agreeing with Wright.
As for all this William Ayers stuff...bullshit, bullshit, bullshit! Like McCain has any right calling Obama on issues of judgement!
If Proposition 8 passes in a state like California, I don't really see how there'll be any hope for safe and secure GLBT rights in other states. This will energize the Religious Right, who will push on to other states with a new verve.
Please donate. If you can't donate, please contact all friends and family in California, and tell them what's up. Even if you feel you might be preaching to the choir or barking at a wall, do it. Remind the choir to go vote and to take their friends. And bark at the wall, maybe they'll vote NO just to get you to shut up.