Monday, April 30, 2007

Historically Black Colleges Do The Right Thing...Divest From The Sudan Now!!!

Copyright by r2c2h2

Black Colleges Slow To Divest From Sudan Smaller Endowments Often Limit Options, School Officials Say

By Michelle S. Keller
Tribune staff reporter

April 25, 2007

Though the movement to divest from Sudan has swept U.S. colleges and universities, historically black colleges have remained on the sidelines of the issue -- until recently.

In recent months, Hampton and Howard Universities divested fully from companies that do business with the African nation, where violence has claimed more than 200,000 lives in the Darfur region.

The decision by two of the nation's most well-known black universities was widely applauded. But their late entrance into the divestment movement, which began at Harvard University in 2004, raises questions about why historically black colleges have been slow to respond to what the U.S. government has deemed genocide in Darfur.

"It unfortunately has not been on the radar screen for many," said Hampton President William R. Harvey. Hampton started the divestment process in July.

African-Americans traditionally have been a reliable lobby for humanitarian and political causes in Africa. But some alumni and university officials say most of the colleges are less likely to divest because they have smaller endowments than their white counterparts.

"Howard University can afford to do it because its endowment is among leading endowments in the country," said Ron Walters, professor of political science at the University of Maryland in College Park. Walters helped spearhead the U.S. anti-apartheid movement in the late 1970s.

But, "You can't ask Fisk University to join the divestment movement when the state of their economic situation is so bad," Walters said. "Those movements are reserved for universities that have the money, that have the valid alternatives. Most of them can afford to follow a social investment strategy."

Fisk University, in Nashville, has about 800 undergraduate students and an endowment of roughly $7.5 million, a spokesman said. By comparison, Howard, sometimes referred to as the "Black Harvard," has an endowment of just under $424 million. Harvard has nearly $29 billion, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

A graduate of Morehouse College, Corey Richardson, 28, agrees with Walters.

"You don't have that wide of an alumni base, so the endowments at many of these universities are smaller," said Richardson, a Chicago-based ad agency associate. "We don't have the luxury of being able to say, we won't invest in that mutual fund, even if it has several degrees of separation from companies in Sudan."

Though Walters says many historically black colleges can't afford to divest, Maryland's Bowie State University, with a $4 million endowment, has severed financial ties with companies that do business in Sudan.

Some believe that the divestment movement itself has been strategic in its selection of schools to target.

The Sudan Divestment Task Force "chose schools with large endowments whose divestiture in Sudan would have a greater impact. Schools like Harvard, the California university system, Yale and so on," said Emmett Bradbury, associate professor of philosophy at Chicago State University.

Bradbury believes historically and predominantly black campuses are not part of the Sudan divestment movement "because the movement has yet to come to them," he said.

Conservative climates on campus also have hampered student activism, alumni and scholars said.

Many of the schools were established by religious institutions such as the Southern Baptist or the United Methodist Church, entrenching conservative attitudes on the campuses. Most also are in the South.

"Most of these administrations report to Southern state legislatures," said Martha Biondi, associate professor of African-American studies at Northwestern University. "That produces a very conservative culture among the administrators."

During the civil rights movement, schools in the South that heavily depended on state and federal funding feared being closed if they participated in protests, said Charles Henry, a professor of African-American studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

During the war protests of the late 1960s, students on historically black campuses were more vulnerable to violence from authorities, Biondi said. "The state and local law-enforcement agencies were more likely to invade those campuses."

These conservative attitudes have persisted. Two years ago, Hampton threatened to expel seven students for handing out leaflets -- including information on HIV/AIDS, the crisis in Sudan and the war in Iraq -- in the school center. The Virginia school defended its actions, saying students had not distributed the leaflets in accordance with school code. But several people accused administrators of trying to squelch student activism.

"Usually these schools are 25 to 30 years behind other institutions" in terms of their progressive attitudes, said J. Anthony Clark, a Chicago attorney who graduated from Hampton in 1978. "They tend to be much more conservative than people think."

The Sudan divestment movement started at Harvard, where students persuaded the board of trustees to divest its holdings from PetroChina in 2005.

In 1997, the U.S. government imposed a trade and investment embargo in Sudan. As a result, companies that have been heavily targeted in divestment campaigns are primarily from China.

Soon after Harvard's decision, universities such as Stanford and Yale divested, and states such as Illinois and California have followed suit.

In Illinois, Chicago State University, which is not a historically black university but is predominantly African-American, has not passed an official resolution to divest from Sudan. The United Negro College Fund, an educational assistance fund including 40 private, historically black campuses, has not taken a position on the issue.

Students at historically black institutions say the need to make a living limits their political involvement.

"Many of these students have jobs and are trying to put themselves through school," said Henry, the Berkeley professor. "Many are also the first generation to go to college, so they are going to get a lot of parental pressure to focus on what will get them through school. Protesting is a secondary priority."

At Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college in Atlanta, junior Sheeba Ema-Nuru said students have been working to raise awareness about Darfur, but the movement has been slow to catch on. Spelman and Morehouse, also in Atlanta, have not divested.

"It's not that students don't care," said Ema-Nuru, 20. "A lot of the students have the mentality that I will help when I can, but right now, I cannot."


- - -

College endowments

Until recently, historically black campuses have not been a big part of the movement to divest from Sudan. Many of them have small endowments and do not have the flexibility to be more selective with their investments.

For fiscal year 2005

Top three
Harvard University:$28.62 billion
Yale University:$17.95 billion
Stanford University:$14.08 billion

Historically black colleges
Howard University: $423.9 million
Spelman College: $291.6 million
Hampton Univ.: $217.5 million
Morehouse College:$121.0 million
Fisk University: $7.5 million
Bowie State Univ.:$4.0 million

Source: Council for Aid to Education
Chicago Tribune

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

April Showers Brought True Knowledge Of Self On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio...

Thanks For Giving W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio In Its Fourth Month Something To Talk About!!!
copyright by r2c2h2
The Theme For The Month Of April Was "It Takes A Village"

April Was The Busiest Month Of Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L.B.E. Radio On Record...Thanks To All The Loyal Listeners and Phenomenal Guests Who Blessed This Humble Internet Radio Start Up With Their Time, Patience And Insight...As Always Please Spread The Good News!!! Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Can Be Heard Every Sunday @ 4PM Central/5PM Eastern...Special Broadcasts Will Be Done From Time To Time So Stay On The Lookout...To Listen To The Show Live As Well As Previous Shows Please Click On The Following Link:

To Join In The Conversations During The Live Shows Please Call 646-652-4593 And/Or E-mail Us With Your Questions/Comments @

As Motivational Guru Willie Jolley Told Me The Best Is Yet To Come!!! Will You Join Us For The Journey??? W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Waiting For You!!!

Check Out The Following Jewels At Your Leisure:

*Sunday April 29,2007*
Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio
Featured Guests Were...

A.) Musician/Activist Timbre' Wolf

B.) Rap Sensation Foley & Songstress Sis. Whispher of Digi-Child/D'Life

C.) You!!!

Listen To What You Missed Today @ The Following Link:

*Wednesday April 25,2007*
A Special Edition Of Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio /weallbe

Our Special Guest Was World Famous Motivational Speaker Willie Jolley!!!

To Listen To The Actual Show:

*Sunday April 22,2007*
All That Jazz Part 3

Our Special Guest Was...
Celebrated Louis Armstrong Expert, Author And Duke University Professor of Music Mr. Thomas Brothers.

Louis Armstrong In His Own Words

To Listen To Actual W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Interview Please Click On The Following Link:

Check Out Mr. Brothers' Informative Interview With The Jerry Jazz Musician:

*Monday April 16,2007*
*Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Special Broadcast*
All That Jazz Part Two

On Monday April 16,2007,
Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Continued Its Special Program To Honor Jazz Music And History In April A.K.A. National Jazz Appreciation Month By Interviewing Author And Historian Bill Egan From His Homeland Of Australia...Mr. Egan Is A Big Fan And Expert On Black Culture and History...His Love Of Those Subjects Has Lead Him To Write And Publish His First Book Florence Mills: Harlem Jazz Queen Which Took Him 10 Years To Write...He Is The World's Foremost Authority On The Life And Legacy Of The Great Entertainer And Black Leader Florence Mills, Who Was An International Star Of The 1920s Of Both Stage, Dance And Song, But Who Died Tragically Very Young At The Tender Age Of 31...Duke Ellington Wrote A Popular Song "Black Beauty" In Her Honor....Hundreds Of Thousands People Came To Her Funeral, Making It One Of The Largest In New York City History....

To purchase the book and to find more about the life, legacy and accomplishments as well as the contemporaries of Mrs. Florence Mills go to Mr. Egan's Wonderful Website:

Author and Historian Bill Egan
Listen To Mr. Bill Egan Passionately Explain For 15 Minutes The Significance And Legacy Of Ms. Florence Mills As Well As The Process Of Making The Definitive Florence Mills Biography, Florence Mills:Harlem Jazz Queen On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio:

Florence and her husband comedian and dancer U.S. 'Slow Kid' Thompson
Check Out Another In Depth Interview Done With Mr. Bill Egan On The Legacy And Importance Of Florence Mills Last Summer, 21 Questions With R2C2H2:

*Sunday April 15, 2007*

On Sunday April 15, 2007
R2C2H2 Tha Artivist had the honor and privilege of interviewing fellow Wash U. Alumni who made good on Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio...Meet Scott Neuberger and Josh Kowitt the founders of College Boxes, one of the fastest growing moving and storage companies in North America...These bright and gifted young men were named two of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 by Inc. Magazine...Please join us for this W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio exclusive as they tell us the essential ingredients to their recipe for business success!!!

Please Click On The Link To Listen To One Hour Long Interview:

*Following Article Appears Courtesy Of Washington University in St. Louis Magazine*

Building on 'One Box at a Time'

Not so long ago, Scott Neuberger and Josh Kowitt were schlepping boxes and refrigerators into and out of dorm rooms as WU undergrads.

Today, the two rank among Inc. magazine's "30 under 30: America's Coolest Young Entrepreneurs." Their company, Collegeboxes, ships and stores college students' belongings, and services and rents dorm-room appliances. It's the largest such firm in the country and is sustaining accelerated growth.

"In the next three years, we're going to grab as many campuses and customers as possible," says Neuberger, who majored in finance at the Olin School of Business.

The concept is straightforward: The Watertown, Massachusetts, company offers summer storage services for students on 36 college campuses. At 50 schools, they also provide appliance rentals, and--in a small piece of the business that Neuberger says likely will overtake storage sales in the near future--they provide shipping services between home and school through an arrangement with UPS.

Kowitt, who majored in political science in Arts & Sciences, is 24 and vice president and director of business development. Neuberger, 25, is CEO. The two have studied every campus in the country, identifying 150 schools with the most market potential.

"We aim to be at 100 schools in two years," Neuberger says, adding that franchising at another 400 is a possibility.

To be the exclusive vendor for moving students' belongings, Collegeboxes pays each college a commission. Then it hires local students to run on-campus marketing programs. The firm arranges with moving companies familiar with each territory to do the on-campus work. Customers pay a per-item fee.

The company is growing fast. Neuberger and Kowitt are embracing technology to manage simultaneous moves at multiple locations—from a GPS system to track trucks in the field to text messages that alert customers to pickup times.

Better customer service is the main reason they have invested in the new technology, says Kowitt, who recalls more than once sweating in his desk chair while a frantic parent screamed at him over the phone. "Not until a mother is crying to you about her kid's belongings do you know customer service."

Collegeboxes employs 10 full-time staff, plus 15 part-timers in the call center. Neuberger expects to add five full-time and five to 10 part-time positions this year.

As students at Washington University, the two started separate operations—Neuberger's was University Trucking, and Kowitt ran ResFridge—then merged when they realized the time and cost efficiencies of working together.

It was in the Olin School's entrepreneurship class—the Hatchery, taught by Ken Harrington—that Collegeboxes got its start. Students wrote business plans and pitched them, often successfully, to investors. (The Hatchery is now part of the University-wide Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, which Harrington directs.)

"I think the School has done a great job fostering entrepreneurship," Neuberger says. "We would not be as far along as we are if we hadn't started this in college. We just learned how to execute a business."

Adds Kowitt: "What a great arena to make mistakes. Really every issue I see now at Collegeboxes I dealt with on a smaller level at Washington U."

The decisions they make now are bigger and more costly. But for all the stress of running a successful business, they say, it's still one box at a time—something both acknowledge when things get harried.

--Sally Parker

*Friday April 13, 2007 *

Friday 13th Proved To Be A Lucky Day For
Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio

Sis. Oracle of Arize V Renaissance Was Anything But Quiet As She Kicked Off Her "Voice of Silence" Campaign....

The Official Website:

Sis. Oracle (A Longtime Memphis Community Activist, Social Engineer, Visionary And An Artivist Extraordinaire In Her Own Right) Dropped The Science And The Knowledge On How To Play An Active Role In Bettering Our Community As Well As Our Mental, Spiritual And Physical Being Hence Her Battle Cry "Social Wellness!!!"...

Please Take A Listen To This Important One Hour Dialogue By Clicking On The Following Link:

More Arize On W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:

*Easter A.K.A. Resurrection Sunday (April 8,2007)*

Our Distinguished Guests Were...

1.)Famous Legendary Civil Rights Activist And National Radio Personality Joe Madison A.K.A. The Black Eagle (A Fellow Distinguished Alumni of Washington University In St. Louis Like Tha Artivist)...

Joe Madison's Bio

Rosa Parks a.k.a. The Mother Of The Modern American Civil Rights Movement And The Black Eagle

2.) Historian J.D. Bird Creator Of
Meet John Horse, Leader Of The Most Successful North American Slave Rebellion You Never Heard Of...

3.) Legendary Black Entrepreneur (Founder of The Black United Fund Of New York) And Community Activist Kermit Eady...

Kermit Eady, BUFNY founder, now CEO of Eady Associates

When Black Self-Help Goes Wrong An Article By Kermit Eady

To Listen To The Actual Show Click On The Following Link:

*Wednesday April 4, 2007*
ALL THAT JAZZ (part one)
Featured Guest Is Jazz Enthusiast, Historian And Expert Mr. Scott Yanow

Listen To The Actual Interview:

*Sunday April 1, 2007*
Our Special Guests Were...

1.) Ms. Regina Walker, The Senior VP Of Community Impact @ The United Way Of The Greater Mid South And Recipient Of The YWCA President's Award For Community Service...
photo by Skipworth

2.) 2007 NAACP Image Award Nominee And Famed Literary Author Dwight Fryer

Click On The Following Link To Listen To Actual Interview:

Read Tha Artivist's Latest Newsletter:

Star Studded Tribute To First Lady of Song...

Stars Salute Ella Fitzgerald At Concert

April 30, 2007
The Associated Press

"You can only be an innovator once ... and I hate that," joked Patti Austin backstage at a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Austin joined host Natalie Cole, Wynonna Judd, Nancy Wilson and other singers and musicians covering tunes by Fitzgerald at the "We Love Ella: A Tribute to the First Lady of Song" on Sunday night.

The tribute, held at the University of Southern California's Galen Center, marked what would have been Fitzgerald's 90th birthday April 25. The singer died in 1996.

Backed by USC's Thornton Symphony and Jazz Orchestra, instrumentalists George Duke, James Moody and Jon Faddis covered Fitzgerald's classic 1950s recording "Lady Be Good." Newcomer Lizz Wright cooed "Lullaby of Birdland."

Saxman Dave Koz riffed with "American Idol" Ruben Studdard on "Do Nothing `Til You Hear From Me," and a capella act Take 6 bopped to an original tune inspired by Fitzgerald's stylings.

"When it comes to vocal scatting, we feel like we're her great-godsons," said Take 6 member Alvin Chea.

Stevie Wonder brought the audience to their feet with "Too Close for Comfort."

"Ella didn't care about the words because she thought like a horn," noted Quincy Jones, a longtime collaborator. "One of her biggest records, `Mack the Knife,' in Berlin, she forgot all the words."

Fitzgerald's own peerless sounds were showcased in a montage of never-before-released tunes. The songs will be featured on "Love Letters From Ella," a collection of rare recordings to be issued July 31 by Starbucks Entertainment and Concord Records.

"We Love Ella," produced by Phil Ramone and Gregg Field for Thirteen/WNET New York, airs June 6 on PBS. The companion tribute album will be released June 5 on Verve Records.


On the Net:

University of Southern California:

Thirteen/WNET New York:


Ella Fitzgerald:

New Stamp Honors Ella Fitzgerald

January 10, 2007 - 2:25am
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The lady is a stamp! The U.S. Postal Service honors the First Lady of Song _ Ella Fitzgerald _ with her own postage stamp Wednesday.

The 39-cent stamp is being released at ceremonies at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, and will be on sale across the country.

People who don't know about her will see the stamp and think: "What makes this person special? And perhaps find out about the person and about the music," said her son, Ray Brown Jr.

Fitzgerald wasn't self-important, perhaps reflecting the values she sang about in the Rodgers and Hart song "The Lady is a Tramp":

"I don't like crap games, with barons and earls. Won't go to Harlem, in ermine and pearls. Won't dish the dirt, with the rest of the girls. That's why the lady is a tramp."

Phoebe Jacobs, executive vice president of The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation and a longtime friend of Fitzgerald, described the singer as "a very private lady, very humble."

After Fitzgerald confided in 1961 that she had never had a birthday party, Jacobs gathered a star-studded collection of people for the special event. The party was a secret, so Fitzgerald was told to dress up because there was a television interview.

"When the lights came on she took her pocket book and hit me on the shoulder," Jacobs recalled. "She was like a little kid, she was so happy."

Fitzgerald was a baseball fan and the guests included her favorite player, Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle. They embraced and traded autographs.

Fitzgerald's appearance on a stamp comes less than a year after Mantle was featured among baseball sluggers.

Born in Newport News, Va., in 1917, Ella Jane Fitzgerald moved with her mother to Yonkers, N.Y., as a youngster and began to sing and dance from an early age. She began winning talent competitions in the early 1930s and was hired to sing with Chick Webb's band.

She later became famous as a scat singer, vocalizing nonsense syllables, and performed with most of the great musicians of the time. She recorded the song books of such composers as Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, and Johnny Mercer.

Over the years, Fitzgerald won 13 Grammy Awards and many other honors, including the National Medal of Arts, presented to her in 1987 by President Reagan.


On the Net:

U.S. Postal Service:

Charles Rangel In His Own Words...

CHARLES RANGEL is the man who brought you Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. “No, no, no!” she protested each time he urged her to run. “But in the end,” she recalled, “like so many women before me, I just couldn’t say no.”

In his irreverent memoir, “And I Haven’t Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress” (Thomas Dunne Books, $24.95), written with Leon Wynter, Mr. Rangel engagingly recalls his challenging childhood, his introduction into clubhouse politics and his defeat of the formidable Adam Clayton Powell. He also describes his induction into the Gang of Four, as Manhattan’s black Democratic power brokers came to be called in 1985, when the mayoral candidacy of Herman Badillo “helped open up an unfortunate wound of political distrust between blacks and Hispanics in New York that persists to this day.”

The reader gets to eavesdrop on conversations with power brokers like Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. The reader can also weigh Mr. Rangel’s assessment that the victory in the 1969 mayoral primary of Mario Procaccino, who memorably declared that his heart was as black as any black man’s, signaled a conservative shift that led to the election of Edward Koch and Rudolph Giuliani.

Mr. Rangel and Mr. Koch became antagonists, but it was mostly business, not personal. Their conflicts, Mr. Rangel says, were rooted in “my longstanding feeling that his values would be more comfortable in a Giuliani Republican Party” and represented “a modern form of ethnic political theater that, however regrettable, I understood.”

“I wish I could say the same for Mario Cuomo,” Mr. Rangel laments. “I still don’t get the meaning of Mario Cuomo and his remarkable, dead-end career.”

From his Harlem apartment, Mr. Rangel can see his grandfather’s brownstone on West 132nd Street and Lenox Avenue, but, in many respects, he has come a long way; this year, he was made chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Despite this achievement, his book mostly looks back, barely touching on his unfinished political agenda, which, perhaps, befits a memoir by a man who is almost 77.

He recalls the response of a former Congressional colleague, Claude Pepper, who was about the same age as Mr. Rangel is now when a broker was urging him to make some long-term investment. To which Mr. Pepper replied: “Young man, at my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.” Mr. Pepper, by the way, served in Congress until his death — at nearly 89.

Visit U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel's Official Website:

Andrew Young Advocates Redemption For Wolfowitz...

The Right Man For The World Bank

By Andrew Young
Monday, April 30, 2007

"Daddy King" -- the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. -- was always reminding us that "hate is too great a burden to bear." Even after a childhood of racist oppression and the cruel assassination of both his son Martin by white men and his wife by a deranged black man as she sat at the organ of Ebenezer Baptist Church playing the Lord's Prayer, he daily affirmed that we must never stoop to hate.

Yet I came closer to hating Paul Wolfowitz than I ever came to hating Bull Connor, the Ku Klux Klan or the killers of Martin Luther King Jr.

You see, I saw Wolfowitz as the neocon policy wonk who led us into a war in Iraq but who had never even been in a street fight himself. My personal fantasy was to catch him alone and give him a good thrashing.

It seems our European friends are now indulging my fantasy. But I've come to realize how wrong that impulse is and how right Archbishop Desmond Tutu is when he says there's "no future without forgiveness."

I've also come to believe that the impatience of Wolfowitz and others with Saddam Hussein's violence grew from a more massive destruction than the world could ignore -- Hussein's murder of more than a million Shiites, Kurds, Kuwaitis and Iranians, even without possessing atomic weapons. I was in Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion of 1990. I saw the horror and bloodshed of their occupation, and I knew Hussein had to be restrained. I may disagree with the means that were used, but not with the problem.

At the World Bank, however, an aggressive impatience with the evils of disease and poverty is exactly what is needed.

I first spent time with Paul Wolfowitz in Anacostia in 2005, when I participated in a program of the Operation Hope financial literacy initiative. In reading the program notes, I discovered that his PhD from the University of Chicago concerned the politics and economics of water resources management and that George Shultz had been his mentor at the State Department. When he was Treasury secretary, Shultz took me on my first trip to Africa as a congressional delegate to a World Bank gathering in Nairobi. Shultz also opened the diplomatic dialogue with the African National Congress at a time when much of Europe and America wrote off Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki as hopeless communist terrorists.

I therefore decided to work with Paul Wolfowitz as a brother, and I have not been disappointed. We were together in Nigeria in 2006 for a Leon H. Sullivan Summit. I saw his effectiveness and warmth at work in a setting of 12 heads of state and 2,000 delegates from 22 countries.

His commitment and aggressiveness in promoting African development, as well as his abhorrence of needless bureaucratic "CYA" behavior, have been welcomed by those who love Africa and the developing world as well as by those willing to admit the complicity of the haves in the crisis of the have-nots.

It is my sincere hope that our European friends and allies can make the distinction between the U.S. Defense Department and the World Bank. While we still abhor the mismanagement and hubris of the Iraq invasion, we can share an aggressive impatience with poverty, disease, illiteracy and bureaucratic nitpicking and get on with our efforts to prevent the future wars and environmental crises.

France, Norway and the Netherlands have always been at the forefront of this struggle. I'm hopeful they will see the greater good of working together at the World Bank on these present evils and allow history, the World Court or the United Nations to judge Wolfowitz on his role in our previous conflicts.

We must get beyond the current crisis at the World Bank, a careful examination of which will show that Wolfowitz was operating in what he felt was the best interest of the institution and with the guidance of its ethics committee.

This crisis also should not redound to the detriment of Wolfowitz's companion, Shaha Riza, a British Muslim woman who is an admired World Bank professional and a champion of human rights in the Muslim world.

I am a Protestant Christian minister, a product of America's excessive Puritanism. I've always looked to Europe for sophistication, temperance and the tolerance the world needs to survive. It is my appeal that we offer Paul Wolfowitz the same chance to learn from the misjudgments of the past and move on together to construct a more just, prosperous and nonviolent world.

About Andrew Young

Andrew Young has served as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as mayor of Atlanta and as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He is co-chairman of Good Works International, a consulting firm offering advice in emerging markets in the Caribbean and Africa.

Losing Obama...

Linda Stelter/Birmingham News, via Associated Press
Senator Barack Obama, speaking to an A.M.E. congregation in Selma, Ala., in March, cast his presidential campaign in biblical terms.

A Candidate, His Minister And The Search For Faith


CHICAGO — Members of Trinity United Church of Christ squeezed into a downtown hotel ballroom in early March to celebrate the long service of their pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. One congregant stood out amid the flowers and finery: Senator Barack Obama, there to honor the man who led him from skeptic to self-described Christian.

Twenty years ago at Trinity, Mr. Obama, then a community organizer in poor Chicago neighborhoods, found the African-American community he had sought all his life, along with professional credibility as a community organizer and an education in how to inspire followers. He had sampled various faiths but adopted none until he met Mr. Wright, a dynamic pastor who preached Afrocentric theology, dabbled in radical politics and delivered music-and-profanity-spiked sermons.

Trinity United Church of Christ/Religion News Service
In Chicago, Mr. Obama embraced Christianity under the tutelage of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., known for sometimes inflammatory views.

Few of those at Mr. Wright’s tribute in March knew of the pressures that Mr. Obama’s presidential run was placing on the relationship between the pastor and his star congregant. Mr. Wright’s assertions of widespread white racism and his scorching remarks about American government have drawn criticism, and prompted the senator to cancel his delivery of the invocation when he formally announced his candidacy in February.

Mr. Obama, a Democratic presidential candidate who says he was only shielding his pastor from the spotlight, said he respected Mr. Wright’s work for the poor and his fight against injustice. But “we don’t agree on everything,” Mr. Obama said. “I’ve never had a thorough conversation with him about all aspects of politics.”

It is hard to imagine, though, how Mr. Obama can truly distance himself from Mr. Wright. The Christianity that Mr. Obama adopted at Trinity has infused not only his life, but also his campaign. He began his presidential announcement with the phrase “Giving all praise and honor to God,” a salutation common in the black church. He titled his second book, “The Audacity of Hope,” after one of Mr. Wright’s sermons, and often talks about biblical underdogs, the mutual interests of religious and secular America, and the centrality of faith in public life.

The day after the party for Mr. Wright, Mr. Obama stood in an A.M.E. church pulpit in Selma, Ala., and cast his candidacy in nothing short of biblical terms, implicitly comparing himself to Joshua, known for his relative inexperience, steadfast faith and completion of Moses’ mission of delivering his people to the Promised Land.

“Be strong and have courage, for I am with you wherever you go,” Mr. Obama said in paraphrasing God’s message to Joshua.

It is difficult to tell whether Mr. Obama’s religious and political beliefs are fused or simply run parallel. The junior senator from Illinois often talks of faith as a moral force essential for solving America’s vexing problems. Like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and John Edwards, his fellow Democratic candidates, he expresses both a political and a religious obligation to help the downtrodden. Like conservative Christians, he speaks of AIDS as a moral crisis. And like his pastor, Mr. Obama opposes the Iraq war.

His embrace of faith was a sharp change for a man whose family offered him something of a crash course in comparative religion but no belief to call his own. “He comes from a very secular, skeptical family,” said Jim Wallis, a Christian antipoverty activist and longtime friend of Mr. Obama. “His faith is really a personal and an adult choice. His is a conversion story.”

The grandparents who helped raise Mr. Obama were nonpracticing Baptists and Methodists. His mother was an anthropologist who collected religious texts the way others picked up tribal masks, teaching her children the inspirational power of the common narratives and heroes.

His mother’s tutelage took place mostly in Indonesia, in the household of Mr. Obama’s stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, a nominal Muslim who hung prayer beads over his bed but enjoyed bacon, which Islam forbids.

“My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim,” said Maya Soetoro-Ng, Mr. Obama’s younger half sister. But Mr. Obama attended a Catholic school and then a Muslim public school where the religious education was cursory. When he was 10, he returned to his birthplace of Hawaii to live with his grandparents and attended a preparatory school with a Christian affiliation but little religious instruction.

Evelyn Hockstein for The New York Times

Sarah Hussein Obama of Kenya, Barack Obama’s stepgrandmother, is a lifelong Muslim. “I am a strong believer of the Islamic faith,” she says.

Years later, Mr. Obama met his father’s family, a mix of Muslim and Christian Kenyans. Sarah Hussein Obama, who is his stepgrandmother but whom Mr. Obama calls his grandmother, still rises at 5 a.m. to pray before tending to her crops and the three orphans she has taken in.

“I am a strong believer of the Islamic faith,” Ms. Obama, 85, said in a recent interview in Kenya.

From Skepticism to Belief

This polyglot background made Mr. Obama tolerant of others’ faiths yet reluctant to join one, said Mr. Wright, the pastor. In an interview in March in his office, filled with mementos from his 35 years at Trinity, Mr. Wright recalled his first encounters with Mr. Obama in the late 1980s, when the future senator was organizing Chicago neighborhoods. Though minister after minister told Mr. Obama he would be more credible if he joined a church, he was not a believer.

“I remained a reluctant skeptic, doubtful of my own motives, wary of expedient conversion, having too many quarrels with God to accept a salvation too easily won,” he wrote in his first book, “Dreams From My Father.”

Still, Mr. Obama was entranced by Mr. Wright, whose sermons fused analysis of the Bible with outrage at what he saw as the racism of everything from daily life in Chicago to American foreign policy. Mr. Obama had never met a minister who made pilgrimages to Africa, welcomed women leaders and gay members and crooned Teddy Pendergrass rhythm and blues from the pulpit. Mr. Wright was making Trinity a social force, initiating day care, drug counseling, legal aid and tutoring. He was also interested in the world beyond his own; in 1984, he traveled to Cuba to teach Christians about the value of nonviolent protest and to Libya to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, along with the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Wright said his visits implied no endorsement of their views.

Followers were also drawn simply by Mr. Wright’s appeal. Trinity has 8,500 members today, making it the largest American congregation in the United Church of Christ, a mostly white denomination known for the independence of its congregations and its willingness to experiment with traditional Protestant theology.

Mr. Wright preached black liberation theology, which interprets the Bible as the story of the struggles of black people, whom by virtue of their oppression are better able to understand Scripture than those who have suffered less. That message can sound different to white audiences, said Dwight Hopkins, a professor at University of Chicago Divinity School and a Trinity member. “Some white people hear it as racism in reverse,” Dr. Hopkins said, while blacks hear, “Yes, we are somebody, we’re also made in God’s image.”

Audacity and Hope

It was a 1988 sermon called “The Audacity to Hope” that turned Mr. Obama, in his late 20s, from spiritual outsider to enthusiastic churchgoer. Mr. Wright in the sermon jumped from 19th-century art to his own youthful brushes with crime and Islam to illustrate faith’s power to inspire underdogs. Mr. Obama was seeing the same thing in public housing projects where poor residents sustained themselves through sheer belief.

In “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Obama described his teary-eyed reaction to the minister’s words. “Inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones,” Mr. Obama wrote. “Those stories — of survival, and freedom, and hope — became our story, my story.”

Mr. Obama was baptized that year, and joining Trinity helped him “embrace the African-American community in a way that was whole and profound,” said Ms. Soetoro, his half sister.

It also helped give him spiritual bona fides and a new assurance. Services at Trinity were a weekly master class in how to move an audience. When Mr. Obama arrived at Harvard Law School later that year, where he fortified himself with recordings of Mr. Wright’s sermons, he was delivering stirring speeches as a student leader in the classic oratorical style of the black church.

But he developed a tone very different from his pastor’s. In contrast with Mr. Wright — the kind of speaker who could make a grocery list sound like a jeremiad — Mr. Obama speaks with cool intellect and on-the-one-hand reasoning. He tends to emphasize the reasonableness of all people; Mr. Wright rallies his parishioners against oppressors.

While Mr. Obama stated his opposition to the Iraq war in conventional terms, Mr. Wright issued a “War on Iraq I.Q. Test,” with questions like, “Which country do you think poses the greatest threat to global peace: Iraq or the U.S.?”

In the 16 years since Mr. Obama returned to Chicago from Harvard, Mr. Wright has presided over his wedding ceremony, baptized his two daughters and dedicated his house, while Mr. Obama has often spoken at Trinity’s panels and debates. Though the Obamas drop in on other congregations, they treat Trinity as their spiritual home, attending services frequently. The church’s Afrocentric focus makes Mr. Obama a figure of particular authenticity there, because he has the African connections so many members have searched for.

To the many members who, like the Obamas, are the first generation in their families to achieve financial success, the church warns against “middleclassness,” its term for selfish individualism, and urges them to channel their gains back into the community.

Mr. Obama has written that when he became a Christian, he “felt God’s spirit beckoning” and “submitted myself to His will and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.” While he has said he shares core Christian beliefs in God and in Jesus as his resurrected son, he sometimes mentions doubts. In his second book, he admitted uncertainty about the afterlife, and “what existed before the Big Bang.” Generally, Mr. Obama emphasizes the communal aspects of religion over the supernatural ones.

Bridging Religious Divides

He has said that he relies on Mr. Wright to ensure “that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible.” He tends to turn to his minister at moments of frustration, Mr. Wright said, such as when Mr. Obama felt a Congressional Black Caucus meeting was heavier on entertainment than substance.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama is reaching out to both liberal skeptics and committed Christians. In many speeches or discussions, he never mentions religion. When Mr. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, does speak of faith, he tends to add a footnote about keeping church and state separate.

But he also talks of building a consensus among secular liberal and conservative Christian voters. Mr. Wallis, the antipoverty advocate who calls himself a “progressive evangelical,” first met Mr. Obama 10 years ago when both participated in traveling seminars on American civic life. On bus rides, Mr. Wallis and Mr. Obama would huddle, away from company like George Stephanopoulos and Ralph Reed, to plot building a coalition of progressive and religious voters.

“The problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect 10 point plan,” Mr. Obama says in one of his standard campaign lines. “They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness — in the imperfections of man.”

He often makes reference to the civil rights movement, when liberals used Christian rhetoric to win change.

Mr. Obama reassures liberal audiences about the role of religion in public life, and he tells conservative Christians that he understands why abortion horrifies them and why they may prefer to curb H.I.V. through abstinence instead of condoms. AIDS has spread in part because “the relationship between men and women, between sexuality and spirituality, has broken down, and needs to be repaired,” he said to thunderous applause in December at the megachurch in California led by the Rev. Rick Warren, a best-selling author.

At the same time, Mr. Obama’s ties to Trinity have become more complicated than those simply of proud congregation and favorite son. Since Mr. Obama announced his candidacy, the church has received threatening phone calls. On blogs and cable news shows, conservative critics have called it separatist and antiwhite.

Congregants respond by saying critics are misreading the church’s tenets, that it is a warm and accepting community and is not hostile to whites. But Mr. Wright’s political statements may be more controversial than his theological ones. He has said that Zionism has an element of “white racism.” (For its part, the Anti-Defamation League says it has no evidence of any anti-Semitism by Mr. Wright.)

On the Sunday after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Mr. Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later he wrote that the attacks had proved that “people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns.”

Provocative Assertions

Such statements involve “a certain deeply embedded anti-Americanism,” said Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative group that studies religious issues and public policy. “A lot of people are going to say to Mr. Obama, are these your views?”

Mr. Obama says they are not.

“The violence of 9/11 was inexcusable and without justification,” he said in a recent interview. He was not at Trinity the day Mr. Wright delivered his remarks shortly after the attacks, Mr. Obama said, but “it sounds like he was trying to be provocative.”

“Reverend Wright is a child of the 60s, and he often expresses himself in that language of concern with institutional racism and the struggles the African-American community has gone through,” Mr. Obama said. “He analyzes public events in the context of race. I tend to look at them through the context of social justice and inequality.”

Despite the canceled invocation, Mr. Wright prayed with the Obama family just before his presidential announcement. Asked later about the incident, the Obama campaign said in a statement, “Senator Obama is proud of his pastor and his church.”

In March, Mr. Wright said in an interview that his family and some close associates were angry about the canceled address, for which they blamed Obama campaign advisers but that the situation was “not irreparable,” adding, “Several things need to happen to fix it.”

Asked if he and Mr. Wright had patched up their differences, Mr. Obama said: “Those are conversations between me and my pastor.”

Mr. Wright, who has long prided himself on criticizing the establishment, said he knew that he may not play well in Mr. Obama’s audition for the ultimate establishment job.

“If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me,” Mr. Wright said with a shrug. “I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen.”

Reuben Kyama contributed reporting from Nyangoma-Kogelo, Kenya.

See Also 'Barack Obama "Loses Faith" In Pastor':

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The Next Frontier...

Daniel Graf, a founder of Kyte, the mobile social networking service, sees cellphones as personal TV studios. “Now you can share your life over a mobile phone,” he said, “and someone is always connected, watching.”
April 30, 2007
Social Networking Leaves Confines of the Computer


SAN FRANCISCO, April 29 — While Walter Zai was in South Africa watching the wild animals recently, people around the world were watching him.

Mr. Zai, a 37-year-old Swiss engineer, used his mobile phone to send out constant updates and images from his safari for an online audience.

“You feel like you are instantly broadcasting your own life and experiences to your friends at home, and to anyone in the world who wants to join,” said Mr. Zai, who used a new online service called Kyte to create his digital diary.

The social networking phenomenon is leaving the confines of the personal computer. Powerful new mobile devices are allowing people to send round-the-clock updates about their vacations, their moods or their latest haircut.

New online services, with names like Twitter, Radar and Jaiku, hope people will use their ever-present gadget to share (or, inevitably, to overshare) the details of their lives in the same way they have become accustomed to doing on Web sites like MySpace.

Unlike the older networking sites, which are still largely used on PCs, these new phone-oriented services are bringing the burgeoning culture of exhibitionism to more exotic and more personal locations. They are also contributing to the general barrage of white noise and information overload — something that even some participants say they feel ambivalent about.

But such services have the same addictive appeal for young people as BlackBerrys do for busy professionals, said Howard Hartenbaum, a partner at the venture capital firm Draper Richards, which is an investor in Kyte.

“Kids want to be connected to their friends at all times,” Mr. Hartenbaum said. “They can’t do that when you turn off the computer.”

Central to the technology of Kyte and similar services is the marriage of mobile phones and the Web. Users download Kyte software for their phones at and can send their photos and videos — however grainy — from the phone to their online Kyte “channel.”

Viewers can tune into the programming on their own phones or on the Kyte site, or they can have the channel show up on their own Web site or social network page. In some cases the video stream can be watched live. Those who are watching the same channel can swap messages with each other and with the channel’s creator, even if he or she is silently stalking wild animals.

Daniel Graf, Kyte’s 32-year-old co-founder, sees each of the world’s hundreds of millions of camera-phone owners as a potential television broadcaster.

“To run a television network used to require expensive cameras, a satellite connection and studios,” Mr. Graf said. “But the production costs have gone down to zero. Now you can share your life over a mobile phone, and someone is always connected, watching.”

Mr. Graf said he was considering several approaches to making money from the service. They include charging companies that want to contribute promotional programming, or advertisements in or alongside the most popular channels. He said he would share that revenue with the channels’ creators. “Whatever works in traditional TV works here,” he said.

Another company proving the potency of the sharing impulse is Twitter (, which is also based in San Francisco and has lately captured the enthusiasm of bloggers and tech insiders. Twitter, spun off this month from a company called Obvious, lets people broadcast short text messages from their phones and computers to those of friends and strangers.

Mobile phone companies in the United States have long tried to get users to send text messages, but with limited success, especially in comparison to the ubiquity of text messaging in Europe and Asia.

But for many Twitter users, text messages have become a form of self-expression and public performance. They are flinging messages that would seem to be of slight interest to anyone: notifications that they are online, or listening to music, or going shopping, or even performing activities of a historically more discreet nature.

“About to head out to the gym. Sweet!” wrote Chris Messina, a 26-year-old San Francisco resident, in a recent Twitter post visible to his group of friends on the service. And a few hours later: “Wow, totally rocking out to Led Zeppelin.”

Twitter’s fans include some high-profile technology pundits and even John Edwards, the former senator who uses it to inform followers of his whereabouts on the campaign trail.

Jack Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter, said high-speed social networking can become a moneymaker.

“I believe it can be profitable,” Mr. Dorsey said. But it is not entirely clear how, and how soon, he added. Twitter, which says it has several hundred thousand users, could ultimately consider displaying advertisements, or charging frequent users, especially those who send out promotional messages. Social networking sites like Facebook are largely supported by advertising.

Mr. Dorsey said that whatever business model the company decided to employ, it would not be effective until more people got on board.

“We have a few business models in mind right now. But they’re not interesting until we have a massive number of users,” he said. “We are entirely focused on growth right now.”

The mobile phone companies themselves are trying to get into the mobile networking game. Chief among them is Helio, a year-old mobile phone carrier aimed at young people. The company, a joint venture of Earthlink and SK Telecom of South Korea and based in Los Angeles, is making social networking a central part of its business and is betting it will be fundamental to attracting new subscribers.

Helio has an exclusive deal to offer MySpace features on its phones, which tend to be slicker and more multimedia-focused than those from more mainstream cellphone companies. At the end of 2006 (the last time Helio publicized its subscriber figures), 70 percent of its 70,000 members used MySpace, said Michael Grossi, senior vice president of strategy and business development at Helio.

Social networking “is at the core of the company strategy,” Mr. Grossi said.

To further capitalize on the trend, Helio plans to introduce a handset by the summer that has a fold-out standard keyboard for easier typing and socializing.

Tiny Pictures, a San Francisco start-up company, is taking a slightly different approach. Its service, Radar (, is similar to Kyte in that users send their camera-phone photos to the Web or to the phones of other Radar members. But users share their pictures only with friends they have invited to view them.

John Poisson, chief executive of Tiny Pictures, said the service was explicitly intended to be private because mobile social networking works best and will be most lucrative if users know the people they are sharing with. “Exhibitionism will exist as long as there is voyeurism,” he said. “But we are in the business of helping people stay in touch with the people who are close to them.”

Of course, there is such a thing as being too in touch. Mr. Zai was disconcerted by the instant feedback to his safari photos that popped up on his phone.

“Getting all kinds of communication in such a remote place is a bit confusing,” he said. “I kept responding, ‘I don’t really have the time to talk to you now. I have to make photos of these elephants.’ ”

Free Genarlow Wilson Now!!!

April 30, 2007

Georgia’s Shame

Every day that young Genarlow Wilson remains in prison for consensual sexual activity is a further indictment against the prosecutors, lawmakers and judges of the Georgia legal system. Lawyers for Mr. Wilson have applied for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge his cruel and unusual 10-year sentence. The Superior Court should grant it.

When he was 17, Mr. Wilson received oral sex from a 15-year-old girl. For that, he has served over two years of a strict minimum decade-long prison term. He was convicted of aggravated child molestation, a charge intended for adult sexual predators. If Mr. Wilson had engaged in sexual intercourse with the same girl, it would have been a misdemeanor under an exemption for contact between minors. Oral sex was left out. Legislators have since corrected the unintended trap. If Mr. Wilson engaged in the same action today, it would be a misdemeanor.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles is legally prohibited from granting clemency for this offense. And the State Senate adjourned for the year without taking up a bill that would have allowed judges to review sentences in cases like Mr. Wilson’s.

The behavior of the district attorney, David McDade, requires particular scrutiny. He charged Mr. Wilson with raping a different girl at the same party, and a jury acquitted him in 2005. Mr. McDade has distributed a graphic videotape of the events in that case to legislators as part of a lobbying effort at the State Senate against Mr. Wilson’s release. And Mr. McDade went on television last month and said, referring to Mr. Wilson and others involved, “Six young men basically gang-raped a 17-year-old.”

At best, this is irresponsible considering that Mr. Wilson was acquitted of the charge. It demonstrates poor judgment not by a minor, but by an adult who should know better.

Could This Happen To Your Child? Your Brother? Your Friend?

Genarlow Wilson sits in prison despite being a good son, a good athlete and high school student with a 3.2 GPA. He never had any criminal trouble. On the day he was to sit for the SAT, at seventeen years old, his life changed forever. He was arrested. In Douglas County he was accused of inappropriate sexual acts at a News Year’s Eve party. A jury acquitted him of the allegation of Rape but convicted him of Aggravated Child Molestation for a voluntary act of oral sex with another teenager. He was 17, and she was 15.

Along with the label “child molester” which will require him throughout his life to be on a sexual offender registry, Genarlow received a sentence of eleven years — a mandatory 10 years in prison and 1 year on probation.

On July 1st, the new Romeo and Juliet law went into effect in Georgia for any other teen that engages in consensual sexual acts. That change in the law means that no teen prosecuted for consensual oral sex could receive more than a 12 months sentence or be required to register as a sex offender.

Had this law been in effect when Genarlow Wilson was arrested, or had been done after the Marcus Dixon case, Genarlow would not now be in jail.

Genarlow and his mother are overjoyed that no one else in Georgia will have to know their pain. In the meantime, however, the legal fight goes on for Genarlow Wilson.

Genarlow has been incarcerated since February 25, 2005.


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