Tuesday, December 29, 2009

josiah x

Actually, I "just" realized that Marvel comics already does have a Muslim version of Captain America, namely Justice (Josiah X / Josiah Bradley / Josiah al hajj Saddiq) who is explicitly modelled on Malcolm X. He primarily appeared in a short-lived title called The Crew. (Hmmm, I may have to take a trip to the comic book store soon). His powers derive from the fact that he is the son of the original "Black" Captain America, Isaiah Bradley, a Black soldier who participated in an attempt to create a super-soldier serum, reminiscent of the Tuskeegee experiment. In contrast to Colonel Abdul al-Rahman, Josiah / Justice is actually a clergyman, so he is definitely a Muslim in a theological sense, and not merely in some socio-political sense.

Monday, December 28, 2009

from hieroglyphics to superheroes...

Just one of the more memorable speeches from the M. Night Shyamalan film Unbreakable:

I've come to believe that comics are our last link to the ancient way of passing on history. The Egyptians drew pictures on walls about battles, and events. Countries all around the world still pass on knowledge through pictorial forms. I believe that comics, just at their core now... have a truth. They are depicting what someone, somewhere felt or experienced. Then of course that core got chewed up in the commercial machine and gets jazzed up, made titillating -- cartooned for the sale rack.

- Mr. Glass / Elijah Price / (Samuel L. Jackson)

draft script for Unbreakable

Sunday, December 27, 2009

the 99 revisited / the liberators

Lately I've been thinking again about graphic novels in general and some Muslim characters in particular.

On the one hand, there is the comic book The 99 which I've blogged on before. The premise is that there are 99 mystical gemstones scattered around which endow the person who possesses it with a power or ability related to one of the traditional 99 names of Allah. The comic book has existed for a while but apparently they are in the process of upgrading from a comic book series to an animated format:

The 99 Homepage

Planet Grenada's past
the 99
female, muslim and mutant
pride of baghdad

On the other hand, in the Ultimate Marvel universe there is the character of Colonel Abdul al-Rahman (a kind "Muslim" version of Captain America) of the Liberators (who are a Third World, morally ambiguous version of the Avengers/Ultimates). Abdul al-Rahman is an Azerbaijani youth from Iran who is moved to volunteer for a super-soldier program when Captain America and the Ultimates participate in a U.S. invasion of the Middle East. There is no indication that the character is religious but is arguably "Muslim" in a political sense.

File:Abdul Al-Rahman (Earth-1610).jpg
The Liberators have a short career in the Ultimate Universe (They just appear in the Ultimates trade paperback "Grand Theft America". And while some of their members were inspired by pre-existing characters from the standard Marvel universe, Colonel Abdul Al-Rahman was not. But it would be interesting to see if his character would be developed further in the standard continuity.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

funeral blues

Funeral Blues
by W.H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

inside cuba; guerrilla blogging

In These Times: INSIDE CUBA: Guerrilla Blogging by Orlando Pardo Lazo

guantanamo is hell on earth

AFP: Guantanamo 'hell on Earth', says Somali detainee

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

immortal technique interview

Freeicecream.net: Immortal Technique Interview by Prop Anon.
This interview covers Immortal Technique's latest album, an orphanage he started for Afghan children, 9/11, the nature of religious faith, and higher education.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

black is the new white

I'm also in the middle of Paul Mooney's memoir Black is the New White. I've been following Paul Mooney's career for a while so, to be honest, I haven't found much of it shocking or new. But it is still a good read. Mooney has some interesting things to say about the racial politics behind the scenes in Hollywood.

The Griot: Paul Mooney's 'Black Is the New White' is an ode to Richard Pryor
NPR's Talk of the Nation: Black is the New White

Planet Grenada's past:
"it makes my teeth white" - paul mooney
"i like a little salt on my cracker"
"homie don't play that"
okay, maybe he was wrong on this one
word association
richards' racist rant
richards' racist rant (part 2)

[Dec 11, 2009]
I also should have added
negrodamus 1
brian gumbel (sic) is looking like malcolm x?
negrodamus 2

sufi rapper: the spiritual journey of abd al malik

In the middle of... Sufi Rapper The Spiritual Journey of Abd al Malik about a French-born African Muslim who follows a spiritual path.
Sufi Rapper

Here is an excerpt

Saturday, December 05, 2009

project censored: top 25 censored stories for 2010

I recently saw the newest Project Censored book, Censored 2010, over at Barnes and Noble today and was sorely tempted to buy it until I realized that the stories were probably also available online. "Enjoy"

Top Censored Stories of 2009/2010

See also:
project censored
censored stories

Sunday, November 29, 2009

day of black consciousness

BRASILIA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Over 12 states in Brazil celebrated on Friday the Day of Black Consciousness in honor of the country's 17th-century anti-slavery leader Zumbi dos Palmares.

In cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, people held parades against racism, discrimination, prejudice, homophobia, sexism and religious intolerance.

Many economic and financial activities around the country were suspended on the day, including the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, which is set to reopen on Monday.

The Day of Black Consciousness was first celebrated in 1978 to commemorate Zumbi dos Palmares, a black Brazilian who led a group of runaway slaves in Brazil, known as the Quilombo dos Palmares, to fight the then Portuguese colonizers in the 17th century and was killed in an ambush on Nov. 20, 1695.

The social gap between black and white citizens has been narrowed drastically since Brazil abolished slavery in 1888 due to governmental efforts.

However, black Brazilians still account for about 35 percent of the country's population living below the poverty line.

Meanwhile, problems such as black Brazilian citizens' lower wages, longer working hours, and worse employment situation in comparison with their white counterparts highlight the urgency to build a more socially and economically equal country.

According to a census conducted in 2000, the black and mulattos make up about half of the total population of 170 million in the Latin American country.

See also: BRAZIL: 'Quilombos' Keep Black Cultural Identity Alive by Fabiana Frayssinet

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

happy yawm al-arafat y'all

Wow, so Thursday is the Day of Arafat and Friday is Eid.

It was reported from Abu Qutadah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah. He said, ‘It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.’ Narrated by Muslim.

Most years there seems to be at least one or two interesting coincidences between Islamic holy days and Christian/Jewish/secular/Gregorian ones... this year it is how the Day of Arafat and Eid al-Adha synch-up with Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Interesting. Fasting and sacrifice contrasted with pigging-out and conspicuous consumption.

fort hood tragedy, islam and america

Fort Hood Tragedy, Islam, and America - updated 11/20/09 by Sheila Musaji is a decent summary of the issues from a Muslim perspective which also includes many different links to other good articles.

Friday, November 20, 2009

pray for obama

Apparently, in some Christian circles, a popular design on bumper stickers, t-shirt, mugs etc. has the words "Pray for Obama" followed by "Psalm 109:8". If you bother to look up the passage, you'd find the verse is: Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Ha. Ha. Very clever. Although if you look at the next verse, the passage becomes much more sinister: Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

I hope the FBI is watching these people.

Friday, November 13, 2009

us deports lou dobs

This makes enough sense for me to half believe it.

The Onion: U.S. Deports Lou Dobbs: CNN Host Had Been Living Illegally In Country Since 1961

WANTAGE, NJ—Acting on anonymous tips from within the Hispanic-American community, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on Wednesday deported Luis Miguel Salvador Aguila Dominguez, who for the last 48 years had been living illegally in the United States under the name Lou Dobbs.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, federal agents stormed the undocumented immigrant's home in an evening raid just hours after the 64-year-old newscaster suddenly announced that he was resigning from CNN, and immediately placed him on an Aeromexico flight departing from Newark Liberty Airport.
Enlarge Image Family

"Dobbs," around 1970, still returned regularly to Mexico to be with his family and work as a farmer.

"Mr. Dominguez did not come quietly, but in the end he came," said Sam Whitlock of the U.S. Border Patrol, who was injured during the arrest. "He pulled a knife on me, like they will, and swore a bunch in Spanish and spit on us when we finally managed to grab him by the serape and throw him against a wall. But the important thing is that he's now back where he belongs."

Evidence collected by investigators indicates that Dominguez/Dobbs, who has long claimed Texas heritage, was actually born in the Mexican state of Puebla to parents of Colombian descent, neither of whom were U.S. citizens. In the summer of his 16th year, he and 14 of his brothers and sisters paid smugglers to let them ride atop packages of cocaine in the cargo hold of a fishing boat bound for Texas under cover of night.

In addition to holding multiple jobs without ever obtaining a guest-worker permit or H-1B visa, "Dobbs" is reported to have collected welfare every month for nearly five decades. He appeared in good health when apprehended, having used Medicaid to obtain numerous health care services over the years, but immigration officials fear he still may have exposed the American population to the many infectious diseases illegal immigrants tend to carry, including both malaria and leprosy.

CNN, as per its policy initiated by Dominguez, is complying freely with the ongoing DHS investigation into the multitude of illegal activities in which its former employee was entrenched.

"No one here knew anything about Mr. Dobbs' past, and to be honest, we never asked," said a source within CNN, who asked not to be identified. "All we knew was that he was willing to take the job most American newscasters didn't want—namely, speaking out hysterically against immigration at every turn to help us gain ratings points against Fox News."

After arriving in Texas in 1961, "Dobbs" is believed to have wandered around the American southeast making a meager living as a car thief, low-level drug dealer, and migrant farm laborer. At age 18, he reportedly delivered an ounce of marijuana to attendees at an Atlanta media conference, where his harsh, booming voice and fiery temper caught the attention of none other than Ted Turner. At the tycoon's urging, the young man shaved his long, drooping mustachios, applied for federal tuition waivers, and took advantage of affirmative-action policies to gain admittance to Harvard University. In 1980, Turner gave him a job at CNN that had previously been held by an American-born reporter.

When searching the former newscaster's house in Wantage, NJ, Border Patrol agents found several boxes of horded food stamps, a fully-equipped stolen-car chop shop, a 350-deck DVD pirating warehouse, and a garment facility where up to 100 illegal workers put in 85-hour weeks producing knockoff purses, shoes, and other counterfeit clothing.

Many younger members of the Border Patrol team that participated in Wednesday's raid said it was "an honor and a privilege" to help deport Dominguez, as years of listening to tirades against illegal immigrants on Lou Dobbs Tonight had been a major factor in their choice of career.

"This is a battle for the soul of our country," Agent Jared Burns, 23, said as he helped the 17 Dominguez children board the bus that would take them to a detention facility where their legal status will eventually be determined. "Today is a proud day for any true American."

Immediately before press time, "Dobbs" arrived in Mexico City, and was surrounded by members of the international press.

"¡Esos hijos de puta sufrirán por esto!" a handcuffed Dominguez shouted at reporters from the tarmac. "Sin mi vigilancia, mis hermanos y yo nos apresuraríamos a la frontera a robar sus carros y a violar sus mujeres. ¡Arriba!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I just saw the premiere of the reimagined V the other night. I don't have a strong opinion about it yet. I wonder how it will compare to previous aliens-among-us tv series (e.g. Earth: Final Conflict, First Wave and War of the Worlds) Also, since according to the reimagined show, aliens have been on Earth for decades, I wonder how much the series will draw from David Icke (one-time soccer player, now professional conspiracy theorist who advocates the idea that shape-shifting reptilians are secretly running the world).

Friday, October 16, 2009

let's do the time warp again or "oh my god what century is this, I keep forgetting"

Interracial couple denied marriage license in Louisiana

By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer Mary Foster, Associated Press Writer – Thu Oct 15, 7:56 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS – A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said. (full story)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

where i'm from / the county of kings

The above is a clip of Nuyorican spoken word artist Lemon doing a piece called "Where I'm From" on Def Poetry Jam. These days he is performing in a one-man show called The County of Kings at the Public Theater in NY, NY.

Featured last year as part of The Public Theater's Under The Radar Festival, Lemon Andersen's County of Kings gives a tough, yet poignant biographical account of a good kid growing up in an unforgiving environment in this one man journey. Weaving hard-edged drama with urban poetry, the Brooklyn hip-hop artist spins his own coming-of-age memoir in this jarring and poignant solo performance. A true story of finding passion and purpose against all odds, Lemon paints a vivid portrait of his difficult and sometimes humorous experiences growing up during the most influential cultural movement of our time, the birth of hip-hop.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Lemon Andersen has been featured as a regular on HBO's "Def Poetry" presented by Russell Simmons and was also an original cast member and writer of Russell Simmons Tony Award winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. On screen Lemon has appeared opposite Denzel Washington in Spike Lee's Inside Man and The Soloist starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

(re)writing osun

These days, I'm in the middle of (Re)writing Osun by Jessica M. Alarcon. Actually the full title is: (Re)writing Osun: Osun in the Politics of Gender, Race and Sexuality - From Colonization to Creolization. The book is an interesting read. As a spiritual initiate herself and a scholar, Alarcon easily invokes Obatala and Shango in the same breath as bell hooks and Audre Lourde. And she combines an insider's familiarity with Yoruba-derived spiritual practices with modern feminist concerns about the role of women. In the back of my mind I'm also asking myself if there are ways to integrate the Yoruba cosmology with an Islamic one; for example, can the Orisa be thought of as angels or jinn? I'm enjoying the book but still digesting.

Friday, September 25, 2009

10 ways the us military has shoved christianity down muslims' throats

From Alternet:

The original article is fleshed out in much more detail but the basic "top ten" list is as follows:

10. Have top U.S. military officers, Defense Department officials and politicians say we're in a religious war.

9. Have top U.S. military officers appear in a video showing just how Christian the Pentagon is.

8. Plant crosses in Muslim lands and make sure they're big enough to be visible from really far away.

7. Paint crosses and Christian messages on military vehicles and drive them through Iraq.

6. Make sure that our Christian soldiers and chaplains see the war as a way to fulfill the 'great commission.'

5. Post on the Internet photos of U.S. soldiers with their rifles and Bibles.

4. Invite virulently anti-Muslim speakers to lecture at our military colleges and service academies.

3. Have a Christian TV network broadcast to the world that the military is helping missionaries convert Muslims.

2. Make sure Bibles and evangelizing materials sent to Muslim lands have official U.S. military emblems on them.

1. Send lots of Bibles in Arabic, Dari and Pashtu languages to convert the Muslims.

see also: new crusades?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

interview between al sharpton and felipe luciano

eid mubarak y'all

At least according to ISNA, tomorrow (Sunday) is Eid. Honestly, this Ramadan has been less spiritual than most. Too many iftars at Subway. And I've been too preoccupied with work and caught up in the dunya in other ways. But inshaAllah I'll rededicate myself more this coming month.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

top ten reasons why van jones should give up on obama and the democratic party and come home to the greens

I'm not a card-carrying Green (or a card-carrying Democrat for that matter) but I still thought the following list was interesting in the wake of Van Jones' (forced?) resignation from the Obama administration.

Green Party of the United States Website: Top Ten reasons why Van Jones should give up on Obama and the Democratic Party, come home to the Green Party

1. The Obama Administration's failure to defend Mr. Jones recalls similar retreats by the Clinton Administration, when Bill Clinton allowed Republicans and some Democrats to bully him into removing Assistant Attorney General nominee Lani Guinier and Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. The targets tend to be Black -- consistent with Republican fury over the election of Barack Obama to the White House.

2. The extremists who sought Mr. Jones' removal see their action as part of a wider plan to derail measures against global warming and block greens jobs programs: see "How Van Jones Happened and What We Need to Do Next," by Phil Kerpen, Fox Forum (Fox News), September 5. They smell blood, and the Obama Administration and Democratic leaders are cowering.

3. Van Jones is a national leader for human rights, public health, and the environment. As 2004 Green presidential nominee David Cobb said, "The Democratic Party is the graveyard of progressive ideas." These ideas -- including green jobs, the 'Green For All' agenda, and other ideas expressed by Mr. Jones -- are thriving in the Green Party.

4. Among Greens, Mr. Jones need not play down his activism on behalf of the lives and well-being of Black Americans. He will not get called "reverse racist" of "anti-white" by Greens for addressing persistent racial disparities in economics, employment, health, treatment by the justice system, the response to Katrina and post-hurricane rebuilding, etc. The Green Party shares Mr. Jones' goals of racial justice.

5. Among Greens, Mr. Jones will not get scolded for calling former President George W. Bush a 'crackhead' in the context of Mr. Bush's obsessive devotion to industries that are feeding America's addiction to fossil fuel energy.

6. Among Greens, Mr. Jones need not apologize for questioning the behavior of the Bush Administration in connection with the 9/11 attacks.

7. Mr. Jones has called for an end to coal energy, while President Obama continues to repeat the myth of 'clean coal.' Mr. Jones' analysis of the global warming threat and the need for conservation and a green economy are reflected in the Green Party's platform and principles.

8. If the epithet that Mr. Jones used to describe Republicans was offensive, imagine the words people will use later this century, when the effects of global warming have grown more severe, to describe Republican (and Democratic) officeholders from 2009 who refused to take necessary action to curb global warming's advance.

9. The media have given Glenn Beck and the 'Tea Party' crowd generous coverage. (Compare the minimal and dismissive reporting on the hundreds of thousands of Americans who protested the Iraq War in 2003.) Republicans have benefited from the current political paradigm, which places extreme Republicans like Mr. Beck at the right end and 'moderate' Democrats like President Obama at the left end of the spectrum of allowable debate. Van Jones is a target for the same reason that former US Representative (D-Ga.) and 2008 Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and others have been dismissed and ridiculed -- because they offer ideas unacceptable to media dominated by corporate interests. The emergence of the Green Party is key to overturning this paradigm, changing the political landscape, and expanding the public debate.

10. The Green Party sees no reason to appease Republicans, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Democratic leaders, or others who've used their power to serve corporate elites, to the detriment of working people and America's future. Greens call Van Jones too important for America to disappear from the public forum.

Friday, September 04, 2009

math camp love... it all adds up

Latino Perspectives: It all adds up: Math-teaching couple gives back by mentoring, shaping young minds by Peter Madrid is a cute story about a couple who met at math camp and now are doing a lot of work promoting math education and making a difference in the life of Latino youth. I find the story especially sweet because I went to the same math camp where they met. It is good to hear that they are still together, with kids, and loving what they do.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

five fingers

I recently saw and was pleasantly surprised by the film Five Fingers. I honestly don't know how I missed seeing it in the theater when it came out (2006). To begin with, the cast is amazing. Laurence Fishburne plays Ahmat. Said Taghmaoui (the perennial movie terrorist who has appeared in Traitor, Sleeper Cell and Vantage Point among others) plays the silent and unnamed Dark Eyes. The Afro-Cuban actress Gina Torres plays Aicha. Colm Meany (better known to some as Chief O'Brian from Star Trek) plays a travel guide named Gavin. And the film centers on Martijn, an idealistic young Dutch pianist played by Ryan Phillippe. I don't want to give anything away but I will say that the film is an impressive psychological drama which provides a layered and complex portrayal of the relationship between Islam and the West.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"i'm both muslim and christian" (part 3)

We've mentioned (the former Rev.) Ann Holmes Redding, the Episcopal priest who announced her conversion to Islam, before but here is a clip of her speaking in her own words.

The latest update in her story is that in April she has been officially defrocked by her bishop, so she is no longer an Episcopal priest. Also, she has co-authored the recently published book: "Out of Darkness Into Light: Spiritual Guidance in the Quran with Reflections from Christian and Jewish Sources.". Her co-authors are Jamal Rahman, a "Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Church" and Kathleen Schmitt Elias, "a former nun, now a Sufi Jew".

"i'm both muslim and christian" (part two)
"i'm both muslim and christian"

Sunday, August 09, 2009

qawwali kissing flamenco

for more of this amazing fusion and synthesis, you might want to check out the Sologak blog: Sufi Chant: Qawali & Flamenco

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

music and islam: wind, strings and fear of a black planet

female, muslim and mutant

altmuslimah: Female, Muslim, and mutant: Muslim women in comic books
part 1
part 2

my friend the devil

shaykh adil kalbani: first black saudi imam of masjid al-haram

I would be really shocked if Shaykh Kalbani turned out to be the first "black" (whatever that means) Imam of Masjid Al-Haram ever. It is more believable that he is the first "black" Imam under the Saudis (since 1744) unless you go by the one drop rule. In any case, check out...

Mujahideen Ryder: The “Saudi Obama” – Shaykh Adil Kalbani, first Black Imam of Masjid al-Haram, Makkah

Thursday, July 23, 2009

what do you call a black man with a phd?

The following is an interview of Henry Louis Gates Jr. conducted by his daughter Elizabeth Gates taken from The Daily Beast under the title My Daddy, the Jailbird.

Earlier this week, my father was wrongly accused of breaking into his own home. We had just returned from China, and he had flown from New York to Boston to prepare for a few days rest on Martha’s Vineyard. As my father was settling in, a police officer named Sgt. James Crowley showed up at his home.

Sgt. Crowley said he was responding to a call from a woman who described two black men breaking into her neighbors’ home with backpacks on. He demanded to see proof of residency and my father showed him both his Harvard ID and his state ID without hesitation. Shortly afterward, a miscommunication ensued, and my father was handcuffed and taken to jail. Our family is both saddened and outraged at this, and as I watched his mug shot scroll across various news stations last night, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was experiencing.

Daddy, how did it feel to read in the police report that although you had been cooperative with Sgt. Crowley, while he was standing uninvited in your home, your behavior had been reduced to “loud and tumultuous” after asking to see to his badge? Were you surprised at the inaccuracy of the police report?

Well, the police report was an act of pure fiction. One designed to protect him, Sgt. Crowley, from unethical behavior. I was astonished at the audacity of the lies in the police report, and almost the whole thing from start to finish was just pure fabrication. So yes, I felt violated all over again.

When Touré quoted Malcolm X in his piece for The Daily Beast and wrote, “What do you call a black man with a PhD? A nigger,” did you agree with that statement? I mean, will education still be our eventual leveling point?

No, I think the actions of Sgt. Crowley aren’t the actions of everyone on the Cambridge police force or all white people in Cambridge or Boston or in the United States. I mean, there are bad white people and bad black people. There are good police officers and bad police offers. We depend on the police—I’m glad that this lady called 911. I hope right now if someone is breaking into my house she’s calling 911 and the police will come! I just don’t want to be arrested for being black at home! I think this was a bit of an extreme reaction.

So you do think this was reduced to race? You do think this was purely racially motivated—that when he came into your home uninvited and didn’t read you your Miranda rights and he didn’t follow procedure?

No, when I was arrested I was not read my Miranda rights. I clearly was arrested as a vindictive act, an act of spite. I think Sgt. Crowley was angry that I didn’t follow his initial orders—his demand—his order—to step outside my house because I was protected as long as I was in the house because he didn’t have a warrant. I think what he really wanted to do was throw me down and put handcuffs on me because he was terrified that I could be dangerous to him and that I was causing violence in my own home—though obviously he didn’t know it was my home.

If I had been white this incident never would have happened. He would have asked at the door, “Excuse me, are you okay? Because there are two black men around here try’na rob you [laughter] and I think he also violated the rules by not giving his name and badge number, and I think he would have given that to one of my white colleagues or one of my white neighbors. So race definitely played a role. Whether he’s an individual racist? I don’t know—I don’t know him. But I think he stereotyped me.

And that’s what racial profiling is all about. I was cast by him in a narrative and he didn’t know how to get out of it, and then when I demanded—which I did—his name and badge number, I think he just got really angry. And he knew that he had to give me that, and his police report lies and says he gave it to me. If he had done that I would have simply taken it down and wrote a report! I was definitely going to file a report, now—just not as big as the one I’m about to file!

So since it’s clear this happens every day to minorities everywhere who don’t have representation, who like yourself previously believed in the justice system, what can we do as a community to make sure that our world starts to place value on all people of color—not only the exception, as you have been referred to so often during this ordeal?

I think its incumbent upon me to not let it drop—not to sweep it under the carpet—but to use this as a teaching event for the Cambridge police and police in general and for black people—don’t step out of your house. Don’t step onto that porch! You’re vulnerable. And second? To teach the police about the history of racism, what racism is. Sgt. Crowley found it outrageous that I was demanding his name? I mean, excuse me? Whose house was he in? Hello?


My house. I mean, he was there investigating? He should have gotten out of there and said, “I’m sorry, sir, good luck. Loved your PBS series—check with you later!” [laughter from both of us] If he would have given me his card I would have sent him a DVD! [more laughter]

But you’ve always taught my sister Maggie and me to stay on the right side of the law. Did this challenge your perception of what side that really is? Or are we always going to have to humble ourselves to this humiliating degree?

No. I believe in the law. I think we have a great system of justice. But I do think that system of justice has been corrupted by racism and classism. I think it’s difficult for “poor people”—poor white people, brown people—to be treated fairly before the law in the same way that upper-class people are. I mean listen, Liza. I was lucky. I could have been in there all night with as few as three other prisoners. What if I had been anonymous and in some other place? It’s scary, man. That’s why we have to fight through organizations such as the NAACP defense fund, on whose board I sit—we have to fight for equal rights for all people. It’s beyond race, it’s class and race! And that’s crucial.

There’s been so much talk about Black America moving into a “Post-Black Era.” What do you think it will take to actually achieve that? I mean, is it possible?

The only people who live in a post-black world are four people who live in a little white house on Pennsylvania Avenue. [laughter] The idea that America is post-racial or post-black because a man I admire, Barack Obama, is president of the United States, is a joke. And I hope no one will even wonder about this crazy fiction again. I am proud of the American people for electing the best candidate who happened to be a black man and that’s a great historical precedent in the United States, but America is just as classist and just as racist as it was the day before the election—and we all, to quote my friend Cornel West, “are recovering racists,” and we all have to fight those tendencies. In America there is institutional racism that we all inherit and participate in, like breathing the air in this room—and we have to become sensitive to it.

If this had happened to you before Maggie and I were born, would your ideals and what you’ve taught us have changed?

No! The ideals stay the same. America has already been founded on great ideals. Listen, Liza. America is the greatest nation ever founded. The ideals are the greatest ever espoused in human history, and we just need the country to live up to them. But what I worry about are the 1 million black men in the prison system…


…How they got there. Will they ever get out. The whole prison system is designed to dehumanize you. From the time you get in they take your belt off—they strip you of your identity. They put you in with other criminals in a claustrophobic cell—I mean, you don’t have a shot. It’s like the door shuts and boom: you’re dead. They’ve given you a new identity; they’ve stripped your identity as a person and given you a new identity as a prisoner and that is horrifying. I didn’t realize it until I experienced it. I was astonished, you know? Your cell phone doesn’t work and they set it up that way. It’s cold, man.

I realize.

If I didn’t have the money? I mean, where would I get the money? They said, “We know you have the 40 dollars because we went through your wallet.”


Oh yeah

I’m sorry, Daddy.

Me too.

Elizabeth Gates is a graduate of The New School University, where she cultivated her love for fashion and writing. A former intern at Vogue Magazine, her interest in image, art and fashion has driven her desire to contribute to the vast narrative of modern culture in America and abroad.

obama on what the police would do if he were discovered "breaking" into his current residence like henry lous gates: "here i'd get shot"

And lest you think this was an isolated event, here is an old Grenada link about another Black professor who was arrested for going to his office.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

8 weeks to optimal health

I just finished reading Dr. Andrew Weil's 8 Weeks to Optimal Health and am intending to generally follow it. Basically, Dr. Weil is advocating a gradual series of changes with the aim of promoting a healthier lifestyle. It's not really about calorie counting as much as strengthening the body's healing response, reducing stress, preventing cancer and heart disease.

I also plan to supplement with ideas from The Book of Sufi Healing by Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chisti which I recently checked out from the local library. I'll also dust off my copy of Natural Healing With the Medicine of the Prophet by Imam Muhammad Al-Akili. We'll see how it all goes.

Dr. Weil's Website

Planet Grenada
islam and natural healing
islam and natural healing (part two)

Monday, July 13, 2009

maya angelou: we had him

(written by Maya Angelou on the occasion of Michael Jackson's death)

We had him

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing,
now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips
like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace.
Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.
In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time.
No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.
Only when we confess our confusion can we remember
that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.
Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love,
and survived and did more than that.
He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style.
We had him whether we know who he was or did not know,
he was ours and we were his.
We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.
And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.
We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing.
He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.
In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.
But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

the more things change..

Huffington Post: Philadelphia Private Swim Club Forces Out Black Children
NBC reports that more than 60 African-American campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club because -- according to John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club -- "there was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion ... and the atmosphere of the club."

It may surprise some Americans to learn that not only do certain private clubs still refuse to admit African-Americans, women, and gay people, but that this kind of enrollment discrimination is considered perfectly legal.

This recent case of discrimination at the Philadelphia club is merely a continuation of discriminatory admission standards. Such official bans on non-Anglo Saxon men may seem superfluous considering outrageous membership fees are usually enough deterrence to keep non-white people off the golf courses and out of the pools, but when The Creative Steps Day Camp managed to pay the $1900 for their young campers to enter The Valley Swim Club, the staff resorted to drastic measures.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

the headscarf martyr

The Guardian
Kate Connolly in Berlin and Jack Shenker in Cairo
It was while Marwa el-Sherbini was in the dock recalling how the accused had insulted her for wearing the hijab after she asked him to let her son sit on a swing last summer, that the very same man strode across the Dresden courtroom and plunged a knife into her 18 times.

Her three-year-old son Mustafa was forced to watch as his mother slumped to the courtroom floor.

Even her husband Elvi Ali Okaz could do nothing as the 28-year-old Russian stock controller who was being sued for insult and abuse took the life of his pregnant wife. As Okaz ran to save her, he too was brought down, shot by a police officer who mistook him for the attacker. He is now in intensive care in a Dresden hospital.
[complete story]

Saturday, June 27, 2009

michael jackson - they don't care about us

MJ at his most controversial (at least in terms of his music). Before the song "They Don't Care About Us" was even released, Michael Jackson was accused of antisemitism due to his use of the lyric: "Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me, don't you black or white me". Jackson argued (rather reasonably) that the intention of the song as a whole is opposed to prejudice and oppression and the disputed lyrics should be viewed in that context.

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

In an interview with The Guardian, Spike Lee puts his finger on a certain inconsistency in how the video was treated:

And you wonder if [Spike Lee] regrets any of them [various controversies he's been involved in]. His verbal disembowelling of Quentin Tarantino, for example, after taking offence at the latter's use of the word "nigger" in his 1997 caper Jackie Brown? He's already answering by the time I've got to "Quent-".

"Oh, I don't regret that at all. And to put the record straight, because a lot of people never got the whole story... I never said that Quentin Tarantino should not be allowed to use the word nigger. My contention was that his use of it was excessive. You know, Harvey Weinstein [co-founder of Miramax, Jackie Brown's financiers] called me up and said he wished I'd leave this thing alone. And I said, 'Harvey - would you ever release a film that on so many occasions used the word kike? He just cleared his throat and said, 'No.' So, it's like, 'Oh - you can't say kike but nigger is OK?' "

He lets the question hang. But he's not done yet.
"And then of course they say, 'But Tarantino's an artist, he's just expressing himself.' Well, if we're talking about artists, let's talk about..."

Everything slows with the realisation of what's coming next.
"Michael Jackson. Because, forgetting all that other shit for a minute, in the song They Don't Care About Us, Michael Jackson said 'Sue me, Jew me, Kick me, Kike me.' What happened? He was ripped apart by Spielberg and David Geffen, and the record was pulled from the stores. So, Quentin Tarantino says nigger and he's an artist, but Michael Jackson says kike and it can't be exposed to the public?"

So what's he saying? Are they both acceptable, or neither? "All I'm saying is why is it OK for Quentin Tarantino to say nigger and not for Michael Jackson to say kike?" His point, at least what I think is his point, is well taken: I really am starting to wish he'd stop saying kike. "So that's the question," he says. "Why is one OK and one not?"
I think part of an answer has to do with the fact that various communities have different notions and sensitivities when it comes to deciding what is really offensive. For example, I don't know a Jewish analogue to a spoken word piece like "Niggers are Scared of Revolution" let alone the prevalence of the n-word in contemporary hip-hop. (And as the line goes, "You can't complain if you are dancing to it.") A second (and more important) factor has to do with the relative political power of various communities and their ability to impose their sensitivities on the public. (For example, I don't think anyone has ever gotten in trouble for using "gyp" as a verb but then again Gypsies/Roma have almost zero visibility or political power in the United States.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

blue-eyed devil

I just recently finished Michael Muhammad Knight's book Blue-eyed Devil: A Road Odyssey Through Islamic America put out by Soft Skull Press. The book is definitely worth reading but I think I would have felt better about it if I had checked it out of the library instead of buying it at Border's. The work is essentially a travelogue documenting Knight's journey's across the United States on what amounts to an Islam-in-America sightseeing tour. To be honest, I was massively impressed by the breadth of the book but he left me wishing for more depth.

He visits the annual ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) convention (twice) where he claims to have stink-palmed Cat Stevens (Yusef Islam) and Siraj Wahaj. He goes to the tombs of Elijah Muhammad, W.D. Fard and Alexander Muhammad Webb (probably the first white American convert to Islam). He meets with Azreal (one of the first white Five Percenters who followed "Father Allah" Clarence 13x). He builds with other Five Percenters in Harlem/Mecca. He goes to the compound of the followers of Malachi Z. York (or whatever he is calling himself now). He attends PMU's female-led prayer. Has dinners with Farid Esack and Irshad Manji. He has tea at Peter Lamborn Wilson / Hakim Bey's house. He visits Malcolm Shabazz (Malcolm X /El Hajj Malik Shabazz's grandson) in prison. And throughout he stops at both Sunni and Shia masjids as well as meeting with various followers of Elijah Muhammad.

For me, the most valuable aspect of the book was its discussion of who Fard was and what happened to him after he went into "occultation". Some other important points are his account of Malcolm Shabazz's (sad) life and Knight's behind-the-scenes insights on the "Progressive Muslim" movement. The rest of the book is well-written and interesting in its own way but often feels like being forced to watch a slide show from someone else's summer vacation.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

an intimate look at hip-hop's jihad

‘New Muslim Cool,’ a new PBS documentary, shows how young Muslim Americans in the post-9/11 era are deepening ties between hip-hop and Islam

by Suad Abdul Khabeer

Real hip-hop heads know that Islam and hip-hop have been longtime friends, feeding off each other’s energy. Muslim ideals of self-respect and social change have inspired some of the greatest emcees, and hip-hop is giving voice to the dreams and daily struggles of a generation of Muslims. This cross-pollination between Islam and hip-hop is vividly illustrated in a new documentary, New Muslim Cool, which premieres tonight on PBS.

Directed by veteran filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, New Muslim Cool chronicles three years in the life of Hamza "Jason" Perez, a Puerto Rican Muslim, family man, emcee, interfaith prison chaplain and social activist.

So why is Hamza’s story called the New Muslim Cool? Because he is part of a generation of young Muslims who are coming of age in a post-9/11 America. They are tackling questions of race, faith, freedom and even, as Hamza does, questionable intrusions by the FBI. They unapologetically choose God and country; they are doing American Islam with style.

And then, there’s the music. Citing influences such as Malcolm X and Pedro Albizu Campos, Hamza and his brother, Suliman, bring together the best of who they are. They use hip-hop in the great music traditions of the African Diaspora. The music seeks to speak to the harsh but sweet realities of everyday life; to encourage an elevation of the spirit, and to inspire a commitment to social change.

Set in Pittsburgh, Pa., the film opens with Hamza’s words (played over a hip-hop track by his group, M-Team): “I would always have two consistent dreams my whole life; one, that I was gonna experience death at the age of 21, the other that I was gonna be in jail, and then, both of them came true.”

He describes his conversion to Islam at the age of 21 as a “death of all my past, the negative.” Hamza finds Islam on the same street corners where he hustled as a drug dealer, and as a Muslim, he returns to the streets to offer a way out to the “30 below”: young, black and Latino men under age 30 who see drugs as their only path to the American Dream.

Inspired by his spiritual awakening, Hamza seeks to “move the crowd” as he himself was moved. And in many ways, his story is the quintessential hip-hop track, a journey from the rags of ignorance and desperation to the riches of knowledge and empowerment.

Eventually, Hamza does make it to jail, but it is not as an inmate as he had anticipated. Instead, he winds up as a chaplain providing spiritual guidance to prisoners of all faiths.Yet, Hamza’s story also extends beyond his religious community. His struggles echo the realities of many young Latino and black men. His mother, Gladys Perez, is a single parent who worked two jobs to keep her children in Catholic school and off the streets in a local community that lacked the economic, educational and political resources to support her.

In the face of these familiar circumstances, Hamza, then only known as Jason, chooses a likely path, drug dealing, which he later successfully rejects. Yet, Hamza’s gritty life story also has its softer side. Pushing back against two popular stereotypes—sexist Muslim men and absent “baby daddies”—Hamza is lovingly building a blended family, made up of his two children from a previous marriage and his African-American wife, Rafiah, and her daughter. In the film, he is seen cracking jokes as he rubs his abuela's feet. It is a story resonating beyond Muslim and hip-hop audiences. At numerous screenings, whether national or international, it is clear that viewers are moved deeply by Hamza’s growth as a Muslim and as a man. Because at its core, the New Muslim Cool is about the struggle to respond to adversity with your better self. It’s about finding beauty in the least expected places. Set over the treble and funk, it tells a story we can all relate to, about the complexities of what it means to be imperfectly human. New Muslim Cool premieres on PBS tonight. Check local listings.

Suad Abdul Khabeer is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University.

see also:
new muslim cool
new muslim cool (trailer #2)
boricua rappers drop anti-imperialist album
more M-team

Friday, June 12, 2009

heru in jamaica

Here is a roughly two hour discussion/interview/talk with Heru (whom we've talked about before) for a Jamaican TV show. Topics include: anti-black violence in Jamaican music, homosexuality in dancehall, the roots of Rastafari and Halie Selassie, the significance of Obama's election, and in general he gives a pretty good articulation of a (not "the") Pan-African outlook on politics, economics, and current events. He has a lot of positive things to say which are worth thinking about. At the same time, it was weird for me to hear his affected "Jamaican" accent. I imagine that he's either making a conscious choice to speak that way because of his involvement in dub and reggae or he's picking it up honestly because of how much time he is spending in the West Indies or with working with Caribbean people. He touches a little on his own religious beliefs but I would be really interested in hearing an indepth discussion of Ausar Auset (if that's the path he is on)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

mos def: no hay nada mas

From his new album "The Ecstatic", here is Mos Def rapping in Spanish (I think he sounds like Tego Calderon):

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

bart simpson's ex commits suicide?

Glosslip.com: Scientologist and Nancy Cartwright Ex, Steve Brackett Jumps To His Death — Cover Up and Conspiracy To Follow

According to Glosslip.com, Steve Brackett, the ex-boyfriend/fiancee of Nancy Cartwright, killed himself last month by jumping from a bridge. Of course, any death is a tragedy, especially a suicide. But according to Glosslip the Church of Scientology was initially promoting the cover story that Brackett died in a head-on collision.

Some have argued that the cover story was a way to show compassion to Brackett's family while others have suggested cover story was put out because Brackett was at a relatively high level in the Church and his suicide would belie Scientology's promise of spiritual advancement.

More specifically, Scientology claims that the main cause of human misery is something called the "reactive mind" and by following the practices of Scientology (and in most cases by paying for expensive materials and services) one can eliminate the reactive mind and reach the state of "clear". After reaching "clear" one can continue on to the OT (operating thetan) levels where one is supposed to be able to "control or operate thought, life, matter, energy, space and time" whether he has a body or not. These higher Operating Thetan levels are numbered OTI, OTII, OTIII, etc. up to OTVIII (currently).

For comparison, according to Scientology Jesus (as) was a "shade above" clear but not quite an operating thetan while Tom Cruise and John Travolta are at OTVII.

But going back to Brackett, he was also at one of the operating thetan levels where he should have moved beyond the reactive mind and the ultimate cause of unhappiness. (Which raises the obvious question of how someone who had progressed past clear could be driven to the point of suicide).

Monday, June 08, 2009

mevlevis in miami

I finally went to my first local Mevlevi gathering. So far I think that it will be good for me on multiple levels. One of the many interesting things about the group is that most of the participants are Latino and almost everyone is Spanish-speaking. I grew up going to a Spanish/English bilingual church and it was interesting to "be religious/spiritual" in Spanish again. It was sort of a spiritual homecoming of sorts.

Friday, June 05, 2009

obama speech in cairo

Huffington Post: Obama Speech In Cairo (VIDEO, Full Text)

i love hip-hop in morocco

I Love Hip-Hop in Morocco is a documentary film project about the hop-hop scene in Morocco and the attempt to organize the first Moroccan hip-hop music festival. Very Grenada-esque. It never ceases to surprise me how much hop-hop has been able to spread to other societies, adapt and innovate.

see also: planet grenada and islam and hip-hop

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

the murder of george tiller

You may have heard of how this weekend Dr. George Tiller became the most recent victim of Christian (specifically anti-abortion) terrorism in the US. It will be interesting to see how this form of terrorism will be treated by the general public and the current administration. I wonder if, had this occurred under George W. Bush's rule, the government would have declared members of militant right-wing groups in the US as "enemy combatants" and sent them to Guantanamo?

In the wake of Tiller's murder, most anti-abortion groups and many individuals have strongly condemned the murder of Tiller and have acknowledged some of the excesses of the pro-life movement, but at least a few (e.g. Fox personality Bill O'Reilly and Operation Rescue founder George Terry have given comments which ranged from the ambiguous to unapologetic.

What I found really disturbing was a bit of analysis from an LA Times piece, "Abortion doctor George Tiller is killed" as follows:

UC Davis sociology professor Carole Joffe said that the worst period of violence against abortion providers was during Clinton's tenure, and that attacks dwindled under President George W. Bush, when the movement had an ally in the White House. But now, with a president who supports abortion rights and a Democratic Congress, she said, some abortion foes may be feeling hopeless.

"When social movements feel they're not getting anywhere, they get desperate," she said, adding that the vast majority of antiabortion activists reject violence. "This is deeply tragic but unsurprising."

So does this mean that for the rest of Obama's tenure we can expect more and more of the fascist/ militant/ racist /far-right wing crazies to come out the woodwork?

Planet Grenada eric robert rudolph
LA Times: A history of violence on the antiabortion fringe
Huffington: Bill O'Reilly Crusaded Against George Tiller For Years

Sunday, May 31, 2009

a tribe called quest w/ common: the remedy

Here's an old Tribe track from the Get on the Bus soundtrack.

Planet Grenada: whatever happened to q-tip?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

scientology on islam

After hearing yesterday about how Scientology is on trial in France, it made me want to find out a little bit more about the faith/philosophy/organization.

Here are some of the confused/confusing claims of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, on Muhammad and Islam.

Hubbard : "It's an enormous stone hanging suspended in the middle of a room, this is an incident called the Emanator by the way, and this thing is by the way the source of the Mohammedan Lodestone that they have hanging down there, that, eh, when Mohammed decided to be a good small-town booster in eh Kansas, Middle-East, or something of the sort.

"By the way, the only reason he mocked that thing up, is the trade wasn't good in his hometown. That's right. You read the life of Mohammed. And he's got a black one and it sort of hung between the ceiling and the floor, I don't know, maybe they call it the Casbah or something or... Anyway, anyway, that thing is a mockup of the Emanator! The Emanator is bright, not black.

"And so, your volunteer, who insists on a sightseeing trip, goes in and this thing is standing in the middle of the room, and it's going 'wong wong wong wong wong' and he says: "Isn't that pretty?". It sure is, and then he says "Mmmgrmrm ponk" Why, I'll tell you, they cart him from there, and they take him in and they do a transposition of beingness."

see also:
nothing unreal exists
"goodbye children"

new crusades?

Some frightening pieces about the extent to which military policy under President Bush was shaped and informed by a particular reading of Biblical doctrine:

Alternet: Bush's Shocking Biblical Prophecy Emerges: God Wants to "Erase" Mid-East Enemies "Before a New Age Begins"
CommonDreams: War Room is No Place for Bible Study

see also:
onward christian soldiers
more on evangelicals at the air force academy

Sunday, May 17, 2009

love is stronger than death

A few days ago a Christian friend of mine asked me to help translate a Bible verse into Spanish for him. He wanted to have a phrase from the Song of Songs (aka Song of Solomon aka Canticles) engraved on the inside of his wedding rings.

For those who don't know, the book is essentially a love poem. Some view it as a model of romantic love between a man and a woman while others view it allegorically as being about the relationship between God and Israel or God and the Church.

In any case, in the process of looking at different English translations I ended up reading different statements about the Song of Songs from a range of perspectives. For a while now I've had the general impression that the Song of Songs' status in the Biblical canon was questionable. For example, an uncle of mine who is a pastor once said something to the effect that that it wasn't fully the word of God (obviously due to the sensual content).

On the other hand I was intrigued and surprised by a comment made by Rabbi Akiva, a first century C.E. Jewish scholar: "Heaven forbid that any man in Israel ever disputed that the Song of Songs is holy. For the whole world is not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel, for all the Writings are holy and the Song of Songs is holy of holies." In other words, the Song of Songs is not just the neglected stepchild of the Bible but an essential central text. It is reminiscent of the prominent role that love poetry has for Sufis such as Rumi and Hafeez.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

starting to twitter

I'm just starting to use twitter but I'm not sure I see the fascination. 140 characters seems too small for substantial or complex thoughts. And if messages are going to be that short, it seems better to have the immediacy of a chatroom. By the way, I'm talibanana (Hanafi, soft and sweet).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

obama: white house correspondents; dinner

Rahm Emanuel isn't used to saying "Day" after "Mother"
Dick Cheney's memoirs are tentatively titled: "How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People."

and finally:
"You know, we [Hillary Clinton and I] had been rivals during the campaign, but these days we could not be closer. In fact, the second she got back from Mexico she pulled into a hug and gave me a big kiss. (Laughter.) Told me I'd better get down there myself."