Monday, March 31, 2008

Langston Hughes Peformance at WSU

Wichita State University is hosting a performance of a "Ask Your Mama" Langston Hughes project this Wednesday. It sounds like it'll be worth catching.

The Langston Hughes Project "Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz" is a College of Fine Arts Connoisseur Series bonus event with the WSU Office of Multicultural Affairs as co-sponsor.

"Ask Your Mama" will open at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in Miller Concert Hall.
Langston Hughes

Its mood is set in an 800-line suite of poems written by Hughes in the 1960s that reflect the writer's vision of the global struggle for freedom during the early years of the decade.

Illustrated by voice and accompanied by music from the nationally known McCurdy/Wright Consort, it will be lit up by on-screen visual illustrations of Hughes' Harlem Renaissance world by such collaborators and contemporaries as Gordon Parks, Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden.

I don't expect to to sound as great as the commercials on KMUW which feature some stirring Charles Mingus. Sounds to me like it is from Blues and Roots, the first Mingus LP I ever bought and one of his finest. Mingus did collaborate with Hughes on The Weary Blues, so it's not totally inappropriate.

Still, Hughes is one of the great American poets, so it should be a good show.

Congrats to the Jayhawks

It was a squeaker, but I'm sure glad they pulled it out. On the final four.

Friday, March 28, 2008

New or newly discovered blogs

I've been busy with other projects-web and otherwise-- and posting has been unexcusably light. So let's start with a round-up of websites I've just recently discoverd.

Sisyphus Sharp political analysis of international events and great jazz videos. From Richmond, Virginia.

Vietnamese workers abroad Launched to support Vietnamese workers in Jordan working in a Taiwanese-owned factory. One of the new and most pernicious forms of exploitation.

The Pump Handle public health and worker safety issues.

Third Party Watch

Consider the Evidence Lane Kenworthy is a professor of Sociology and Political Science at the
University of Arizona. His blog has great stuff on the causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, mobility, employment, economic growth, and social policy in the United States and other affluent countries.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Slattery might be back in Senate Race

I've argued that there is a real chance for a Democrat to upset Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. And, I still think so. The latest Survey USA shows Roberts with a less than stellar approval rating. But I was beginning to think I was the only one who saw it that way. First, Jim Slattery decided to pass. Then, businessman Greg Orman entered the race and had a good month of fundraising--$450,00 or so, probably several times what recent Democratic sacrificial lambs have had, but he rather abruptly left the race.

Now it appears that former Congressman Jim Slattery may be re-thinking his decision not to take on Roberts. The KC Star's Prime Buzz blog reports

Slatts just called. He's looking. He's thinking. "It's not going to take long," he said of making a decision.
He'd like some clarity on the presidential race before pulling the trigger. "That's not the sole consideration, but it's certainly a factor, as you can imagine."
Former 2nd District Kansas Congressman Jim Slattery tells Prime Buzz he's reconsidering his decision not to challenge two-term incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts this year.
Slattery, a Democrat, weighed the race last year before backing away.
The only Democrat in the race now is Lee Jones, a 56-year-old railroad engineer from Overland Park who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2004.
Insiders say Jones is not positioned to give Roberts, a Republican, a major challenge.
Jonathon Singer comments on My DD
With Slattery in, this would likely be another one of those races that wouldn't be in the top-tier but would nevertheless potentially be competitive by November

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Leonard Zeskind on Minuteman in KC

I left Wichita about 6 AM Saturday to drive up to Kansas City to attend an all-day conference on immigration and racism and got back to Wichita around 9:00 PM. A very long day, but well worth it. I'll try to find time to write up some observations, but for now I want to bring to your attention an analysis of the recent national Minuteman conference held in Kansas City and the impetus for yesterday's conference.

For those who don't know Zeskind, he is a legendary observer and analyst of the racist, far right.

He recently started a website, which has his writings over the years.

Zeskind promises new articles as part of the Zeskind fortnight, with the Minuteman report being the first.

Zeskind reports that at the Minuteman public rally, attended by over 500.

[Minuteman founder Chris] Simcox urged, first, an executive order to secure the borders (and build a bigger thicker fence line). Second, he wanted to put several thousand National Guard troops on the border. Both ideas were met with mild applause. When he proposed making English the official language, the crowd was a bit more enthusiastic. But the idea to abolish “birthright citizenship” for the children of “illegal aliens” made the crowd go wild.
And, this Zeskind points out is where the claim that the Minutemen and the anti-immigrant is not racist falls apart.

Any person or organization that advocates turning citizens into non-citizens, or that seeks to abridge the Fourteenth Amendment is, by any fair standard, a racist person or organization. They need not parade around in white sheets or swastika armbands; or spout racist obscenities like a barroom bigot; or make clever statements about the biological or cultural inferiority of certain peoples. They need only touch one hair on the Constitutional Amendment that guaranteed the citizenship rights of freed slaves after the Civil War, and they are ipso facto a racist.
And, there's reason to be worried.

... the Minutemen were well pleased with their performance at the Uptown Theater. Since that meeting they have been pushing hard for legislation in Kansas sponsored by Sen. Peggy Palmer (R. Augusta) entitled the “Kansas Illegal Immigration Relief Act.” A set of publicity ads they produced have been airing over the radio waves in southern Kansas, and they are gearing up for a recruitment drive at gun shows in the bi-state area.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Stephen Marglin's Heilbroner Memorial Lecture

Just came across this interesting lecture on, which looks like You Tube for intellectuals.

View Stephen Marglin on the Future of Capitalism on FORA.tvView Stephen Marglin on the Future of Capitalism on

"The Future of Capitalism: How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community with Stephen Marglin.

This was the third annual Robert Heilbroner Memorial Lecture at the New School in New York. Heilbroner wrote, "Capitalism's uniqueness in history lies in its continuously self-generated change, but it is this very dynamism that is the system's chief enemy." In recognition of what Heilbroner identified as "the deep human need to be situated with respect to the future," The New School is sponsoring a lecture series in his memory that focuses on capitalism's future. This year, we will host Stephen Marglin, Walter S. Barker Professor of Economics at Harvard University and author of The Dismal Science: How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community - New School

Saturday, March 01, 2008

KC Conference on Immigration and Racism

There's an interesting conference next Saturday in Kansas City.

Saturday March 8 9 am- 4 pm
Cristo Rey School 211 West Linwood Kansas City Missouri

Learn the truth about immigration and the rise of groups that target immigrants and people of color and practice the politics of division. Hear ideas on how to fix our broken immigration system and how to stop the hate spread by the Minutemen and FAIR.

Download a flyer
Para un
volante en espaƱol

Plenaries .
Voices of KC Immigrants
Strategizing & Framing
How to Get Involved

Bilingual Workshop Who’s Stealing Whose Job?

Workshops In Spanish

Your Workplace Rights
Your Immigration Rights

Workshops (selected)

Why Don’t They Just Get Legal?
The Political Climate That Discourages Inclusion
Retreat from Civil Rights
How To Get Involved
The Minutemen & FAIR
Youth Activism & Civil Rights
Immigration Wedge Politics
Immigration History

Cost: $15 or $5 low income Donations needed Lunch included

Spanish translation
Children welcome
Register ! Call 816-235-1470 Email:

Sponsors: All Souls Immigration Taskforce, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Cristo Rey School, Cross Border Network, Institute for Labor Studies, Interfaith Worker Justice, Latino Civil Rights Task Force, Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates, New Sanctuary Movement, Sons and Daughters of Immigrants, Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

March 6 Day of Acton in Solidarity with Iranian Workersi

On 6 March, trade unions around the world are holding an international day of action in solidarity with the workers of Iran. The day will include protests, meetings, and other actions. An on-line petition has been launched to support the campaign.

The Iranian government has been arresting workers who have stood up and tried to organize unions -- including Mansour Osanloo and Mahmoud Salehi, who both languish in jails despite continuing health problems. There is a YouTube video which tells the story of Osanloo and the bus drivers of Tehran.