Bicentennial for Two Great Emancipators: Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln

darwin_lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, The Great Emancipator, has been much on our minds recently as Barack Obama moved into the White House. Exactly 200 years after Lincoln’s birth, Obama’s presidency is one fulfillment of the work Lincoln started. Lincoln shares his birthday with Charles Darwin, the other Great Emancipator of the 19th century. Though in different ways, [...]

Obama, Sandburg, Lincoln

carl_sandburg

Obama and Lincoln, okay; but “Obama, Sandburg, and Lincoln”? Lincoln scholar, poet, and folk singer Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) is seldom mentioned anymore, but that’s unfortunate. A half century ago he was, in the words of his friend Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson, “the one living man whose work and whose life epitomize the American dream.” During [...]

Will June Be Gay Wedding Month — Again?

gay_marriage

The other shoe is about to be dropped. The California Supreme Court announced on February 3 that it would hear oral arguments March 5 over the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the November 2008 election ballot constitutional amendment which removed the right of same-sex couples to legally marry in California. And then the clock will begin [...]

Ted Haggard’s Issues with His Homosexuality

Rev. Ted Haggard

After a publicity junket promoting the HBO documentary The Trials of Ted Haggard, which landed him on Oprah and Larry King Live, fallen evangelical star Haggard has risen from public obscurity to tell us he’s not gay. He’s “heterosexual with issues.” And the issues Haggard is referring to are his “sexual thoughts about men, but [...]

Republicans Now Led by a Black Man

michael-steele

Michael Steele has been selected to lead the Republican Party. He is the first African-American to chair the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the second African-American to chair either of the two major party’s National Committee after Ron Brown, who chaired the Democratic National Committee. Michael Steele was the first black to serve in a [...]

Opera/Hopera: “The Magic Flute”/”Street Cred 101”

Deadlee and Down Low

Opera. Hopera. The Los Angeles Opera Company at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion presents Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” Italian-American tenor and musical genius Placido Domingo is the General Manager. Russian, Swedish, German, Canadian, English, Austrian, Korean and American artists, who are tenors, sopranos, baritones and bass, populate the roster. A full symphony orchestra occupies the pit [...]

Why We Need Stronger Unions, and How to Get Them

union workers

Why is this recession so deep, and what can be done to reverse it? Hint: Go back about 50 years, when America’s middle class was expanding and the economy was soaring. Paychecks were big enough to allow us to buy all the goods and services we produced. It was a virtuous circle. Good pay meant [...]

An Inaugural Poem

girl_pledge

America is the greatest country in the world… Or at least that’s what they tell me. The greatest country? Now, exactly what yardstick were you using just now? Such a bold statement with such paltry evidence! Sounds like the words of someone who hasn’t been anywhere, Yet those who have lived, traveled and studied Beyond [...]

Why Millions Risk Lives to Enter the U.S.

illegalpeople

Immigration policy remains a hot button issue in the United States. Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel has described comprehensive immigration legislation as the “third rail” of American politics, and CNN provides Lou Dobbs with a daily forum for bashing undocumented immigrants. While opponents of creating a path to legalization for such immigrants recognize that [...]

George Bush and Bill Clinton — in Bed Together

bush_clinton

Of all the damaging things George Bush did, let’s not forget his “War on Sex” and his “War on Abortion.” During the last eight years, anti-abortion, anti-birth control/contraception, anti-homosexual, and anti-sex education advocates have had free reign to implement their policies with full support of government funds, agencies and personnel. Through directives, cutting-of-funds, non-enforcement, and [...]

Ladies First

ladies_first

Black women are accustomed to being referred to and treated as females and workhorses, but not ladies. We are at once the clean-up woman whose tenacity, independence and bull-headedness may render us manless, or increasingly taking care of them in an inversion of traditional gender roles, a la the latest head-nodding about-face to the sistas [...]

Walmart Against EFCA

same-direction

Walmart Against Employee Free Choice Act t’s estimated 86,000 workers got fired trying to exercise their legal right to organize a union during the Bush years and signs are Corporate America will fight to keep things that way. “We like driving the car,” Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott says, “and we’re not going to give the [...]

Response to ACLU Racial Profiling Study: Los Angeles Police Department Never Met a Reform Report It Agrees With

dwb

The nation’s most abusive, and aggrieved law enforcement agency, the Los Angeles Police Department, is still “doin’ what it do” as it presented its response this week to a racial profiling study released to its civilian Police Commission in October 2008. The study, titled, “Racial Profiling & The LAPD,” documents that deep and pervasive racial [...]

Marriage – Gay Grassroots Style

love-is-not-about-gender

I had conversations with four recently married same-sex couples during the first week of January. There were two lesbian couples, one from the Sacramento area (Davis) and the other from West Hollywood. The two gay couples were from the Bay Area and Orange County. Along with my spouse, we represented five of the over 18,000 [...]

Bigotry Still Rules

Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr.

In the summer of 2006 I attended the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard. One of the guest presenters was 95-year-old Johnnie Carr, the woman who took over the Montgomery Improvement Association in 1956 after the successful Montgomery bus boycott when Martin Luther King, Jr. went [...]

“Please Cry For Me, I’m Al Gonzales.”

fredo

Like tens of millions – and growing – of his increasingly desperate countrymen, he is out of work and cannot find a job; worse, nobody in his chosen profession will even interview him. His previously good friends don’t want to publish his story so he is reduced to keeping a journal for his sons. He [...]

Honor the People of Conscience

albertomora

As the President-elect prepares to fulfill his word to close Guantánamo and ban torture, there’s more he can do. Sure, I’d love to see members of the outgoing administration prosecuted and hope it will happen. I doubt, however, that President-elect Obama will move in that direction. But if he truly wants to be a healer, [...]

Printing Poetry

navita

by Wendy Block – Back from Best Buy one recent evening with my new all-in-one inkjet, I finally began connecting it to the computer just before midnight. When I next glanced at a clock, it was way later and I’d utterly failed. Time for another disjointed tech call.

On Obama, the Hate-Filled Pastor, and Unity

Barack Obama and Rick Warren

The progressive and GLBT communites are up in arms over President-elect Obama’s decision to have antigay, right-wing Christian evangelical preacher Rick Warren deliver his inaugural invocation. I share their dismay to be sure, but you know, whatever. Chalk Obama’s decision up to his move to try and create a landscape that appears to include everyone, [...]

Goodbye, “Uncle Larry,” Hello (Again) “Uncle Clarence:” Are Black Conservatives Still Relevant?

rush limbaugh, clarence thomas, larry elders, ward connely

The announcement that syndicated talk radio host, Larry Elder, was leaving his daily radio “squawk show” shouldn’t go without notice. Elder is a major remnant of the “colorblind” conservative movement that allowed race and race-based disparities to be subjugated through senseless rationales of relative truths, which made no sense when Elder’s show was launched in [...]

Gay is NOT the New Black

stonewall6

If you are African American and gay, and fighting alongside your white LGBTQ brothers and sisters for queer civil rights, the notion that “gay is the new black” is not only absurdly arrogant, it is also dangerously divisive. In a presumably “post-racial” era with the country’s first African American president-elect, it’s easy for some to [...]

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