Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NPR for 30 Somethings

Looks like NPR has wised up to the fact that there are plenty of us out here in our 30s who'd love to listen to them on much more regular--if only they provided us with programming a little bit different from what our grandparents are listening to.

The answer to this age old (old age?) problem has come in the form of the relatively new "
Bryant Park Project," a morning news show from NPR that will, according to their Facebook group, "change your life, speed up your commute and jack your test scores 50 points -- in whatever order you choose."

I've only listened to a couple of shows, but I think I may already be hooked--and not just because the super dope Alison Stewart (remember her from her MTV veejay days?) is one of the voices behind the show. Right now you can only hear them in Seattle, Indiana and Vermont over the airwaves, but they're available nationwide on Sirius Satellite, and always available via the web.

Check it out, superstaaaaahs...

Morning Glory

So I had this idea last night, as I was trying to drift myself off to sleep, that I should start trying to post in the morning, well before the day has jerked off into the annoyingly usual busy-ness that has come to be the norm more recently. So here I am, dressed, loafers polished, and sitting down for just a moment to jot a few things down before I jump on the train and head for work.

Last weekend was spent in New Orleans--my first trip to the city since the storms. It's true that I visited Baton Rouge in August, but being in the Big Easy itself, I found, is a different thing altogether... Not that you'd know so much disaster was around you if you didn't inquire: the business district and the French Quarter have been pulled back together in large part and live there, on the surface, seems much the same as it ever has been. But for some reason (perhaps because the work I do from 9-5 is so closely linked to what's happening down there) I couldn't stop asking questions of the people I met who live there--and once you ask, there's no going back to the fantasy that all might be well. Because once you ask, they begin to talk, and the stories they tell are not uplifting. They are sad and long and utterly depressing and they make you realize that whatever you may be being fed about the "recovery"of the region, people's lives are still being impacted by the trauma this storm wrought.

It was completely surprising to me, how affected I was by the underlying tension, sadness, and frankly, the smelliness of the town (how had I never noticed before reek of rotting garbage, sewage around every corner downtown?). I'm still struggling a little bit with my discontent, and I'm interested to see how and if my experience of the place will change when we return down there in December after we deliver our gifts to the children of Renaissance Village (more on that later).

In the meanwhile, though, I should also say that the reason I went down there--the wedding of my friends Trina and Chris--was a smash success, and a beautiful reason to be drawn to the city. So nice to see something new and fresh and good spring up in the midst of so much decay.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The XX Factor Is Legit

Can't say how I missed it (except that sometimes Slate boooores me), but apparently the lady-folk over there (including a former classmate of mine) have taken to blogging: political blogging from the female perspective, to be precise. Now, there's lots of chatter out there that this bad, because it ghettoizes women, and that it's totally banal, because all these ladies have to talk about are their domestic travails. But I for one will cheer for The XX Factor, because it's nice--and important--to have more female voices out there, talking about whatever the hell they please.

And if you happen to need more on that particular topic, check out my mom's blog post today on the HuffPo. Rock on, CJ!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Little Good News for New Orleans

And I do mean a little: the city is poised to receive $11.2 million from 10 philanthropic organizations to help rebuild affordable and mixed housing units that were lost in the storms. Bill & Melinda Gates led the way (natch), with a whopping $3 million gift, and a number of other names you might recognize (Kellogg, Rockefeller, etc) are following suit at differing levels. It's not quite half of what the fund spearheading the effort thinks it'll need to make a dent (that's about $25 million), but let's hope this will inspire other individual and institutional funders to jump on board and do the same.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ehren Watada: Still Fighting for His Freedom

Great piece in last week's issue of The Nation on the status of Lt. Ehren Watada, who is the first commissioned officer to refuse to serve in Iraq. In case you missed what's happened lately, Watada's military court trial for his failure to deploy ended in a mistrial; however, the military courts have threatened to re-try him--contravening, Watada argues, his constitutional right to be spared double-jeopardy.

Now Watada's taking his case to the US courts, asking them to deny the military court the right to subject him to yet another trial on the same charge. And thus far the US court has complied, offering a stay to block the 2nd military court trial.

Watada will go before that judge on October 19th to plead his case, and it should be interesting to see what comes of it. If he loses, Watada goes back to the military court to be tried again--and it will be a miracle if there's yet another mistrial this time around. Moreover, the likelihood of a military court finding in his favor strikes me as slim to none, not least because in order to find him innocent
the court would essentially have to declare the war in Iraq both "immoral and illegal"--the charges that form the crux of Watada's claim about his innocence (i.e., that he was, as an officer, dutybound not to take part in conduct he knew to be immoral or illegal--and by the measure of American law, he says, this war is both). If the court says he is right, then not only has it delivered a slap in the face to the Executive Branch, but it also has on its hands about 200,000+ criminal-soldiers who have deployed as directed to carry out an illegal war. And who the hell wants to deal with that?

I couldn't be a bigger fan of Watada's and I have every finger and toe crossed that the US courts will find that he deserves access to his constitutional rights as much as any other citizen. Because-- and call me a pessimist--I'm pretty confident that this guy stands no shot if the military tries to take another swing at him. See what standing up for your morals gets you in this country these days?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Don't I Know It

Clinton-Obama Quandary for Many Black Women

Doris Lessing, Lady of Mystery/Nobel Laureate

I liked this post on Salon's Broadsheet about the enigma that is Doris Lessing as much as anything else that was written about her last week. Anyone who can toss of a "I couldn't care less" comment in the wake of learning she's won literature's highest prize get a vote in my book--not because I don't value the prize, and not because I wouldn't about die if I won it myself, but because its just so nice to see someone refuse to be sucked into our culture of self-congratulation as completely as the rest of us.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Women? Sports? Power? No way.

God bless America! I have absolutely no excuse for going this long between posts, except to say that things here at work have been 100% mad, what with having to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month and trying to keep up with the various other management related tasks here on the j-o-b. But still, no excuses, and no more laying off the blogging--I'm done with that, I swear.

So here's the thing I've not been able to get off my mind since this weekend (which now seems eons ago): did anyone else happen to check out the 100 Most Influential People in Sports list in Business Week? I did, and I have to say I'm not sure why they even BOTHERED to use the term "people"--because 95 out of the 100 individuals listed are MEN. The top ranking woman, in fact, comes in at an astounding 67th place (the CMO of Coke), followed by Maria Sharapova at 73, Heidi Ueberroth somewhere in there, one other lady whose name I can't recall, and finishing up, at the very bottom of this list of 100, with Donna Orender, head of the WNBA.

Now, if this list is in any way accurate (and there are some pretty good reasons to think it's a pile of junk), then every sports related company in this nation is pretty much ripe for a major EEOC complaint (or ten) to be filed against them. But it's not them I'm most steamed at. That women are underrepresented in the business of sports (and business leadership in general) isn't news--but what has lit me utterly on fire is that a publication like Business Week would make ZERO effort to try to diversify this list in any way--by reaching out to unlikely candidates, or by making some kind--any kind!--of gesture that would indicate that they realize there is something seriously awry with a list that makes it seem as if women make little to no contribution to the world of sports, in business or on that proverbial field.

Total yuck, my friends. If I had a subscription, I'd cancel it for sure.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Will Stern Show Thomas the Door?

Would that Fox Sports columnist Michael Rosenberg were right: In light of yesterday's revelation that Isiah Thomas is guilty of sexually harassing former colleague Anucha Browne Sanders, Rosenberg is betting on--and calling on--NBA commish David Stern to take action against the not-yet-disgraced-enough-for-my-taste Knicks head coach. It's clear enough to everyone who's ever read anything about Madison Square Garden chief James Dolan that he will do nothing to punish Thomas for his bad behavior... which leaves us with Stern, who has the opportunity, and hopefully the will, to make it clear that the NBA will not tolerate such behavior.

If Stern can indeed step forward and make the call, and force Thomas to ride the bench for a few games (if not indefinitely), then we might be able to say there is some version of justice in the world of professional sport. But if he can't (and I for one am not sure that he can or will), then... well, let's just say I won't be supporting the NBA very much at all, in print or in person. Hopefully, though, Stern takes a page from football chief Roger Goodell's book, and sticks to a hard line on what's kosher and what's not when you work for his league.

Bush Says, Poor Children Suck


Bush Vetoes Child Health Insurance Bill

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Must Listen: Young African-Americans Speak Out on HIV

Guess what? AIDS may be a global problem, but it still happens here in the United States, too. And if you're person of color, it happens a whole lot. African Americans may represent 12 percent of the total U.S. population, but we were estimated to account for 50 percent of the HIV and AIDS cases diagnosed among adults in 2003.

Think that's bad? Well, if you're a woman of color it gets even worse: black women account for nearly 66% of HIV cases amongst women despite being only 12% of the US population of females.

Stunned? Me too. Want more information about the realities of the disease in the US, and how some pretty remarkable young African Americans are dealing with the epidemic? Check out this program on NPR featuring super-fly journalist Michel Martin. Her guests have a lot to share, and may just convince you that when it comes to HIV, it's not just folks in the third world who are continuing to suffer.