Message from Thomas Sayers Ellis. See you September 30th


“In our society we rightly identify hate words with racial, ethnic, and gender slurs. What are we therefore to make of the usage or what more aptly might be described as misusage of words like “communism” and “fascism”? In 1938, we now understand, it would have been the height of irresponsibility not to shout from the rafters the dangers implicit in the demagoguery of Hitler and his S.S. But if we fought a war to defeat Nazi Germany and manned the barricades to hold communism at bay, isn’t it logical to assume that if a citizen were to believe that a government official is a fascist or communist, that official’s personal safety, as well as our social cohesion, could be in jeopardy?

That is why it is so important for Americans to think through the meaning of words and the meaning of history, our own as well as others’.”

From “Civility and Hate Speech”California Humanities Council
Los Angeles, California
September 17, 2009

Jacqueline Trescott’s article on the NEH can be found here in today’s Washington Post. Jim Leach was formerlly a Republican member of Congress from Iowa.

Initially Kim Roberts and I were going to have coffee at Busboys and Poets, but decided to take the plunge and order some scrambled eggs for catching up and other true confessions. Kim has been writing the literary walking tours for the Big Read – D.C. since “Zora Neale Hurston’s Washington.” Kim is also editor of Beltway: The Online Poetry Journal which turns 10 years old in 2010. Kim is working on a schedule of activities to celebrate including a special 10th anniversary edition of Beltway. Beltway has a solid reputation in poetry circles. Some of my favorite issues explore Washington DC writer history.

Kim is also completing an anthology of poems about Washington, DC. This should be a great companion to George Pelecanos’ DC Noir anthologies (short fiction – 2nd volume is the best). The title is Full Moon On K Street: Poems About Washington, DC. The 100 poems that make up the anthology were written between 1950 and the present by writers who have lived or are currently living in DC. Our friend Thomas Sayers Ellis is included as well as Holly Bass, Grace Cavalieri (who gave me a copy of her Langston Hughes interview for her radio show “The Poet and the Poem” – I’ve got to listen to that), Sarah Browning, Essex Hemphill, Naomi Ayala, E-Notes E. Ethelbert Miller, Tony Medina, and many, many more.

The anthology is being published by Plan B Press. It will be available in January.

I guess “health insurance reform” didn’t stick. Nevertheless, the Baucus Bill known as the “America’s Health Future Act of 2009” coming out of the Senate Finance Committee has been designated the pony to watch, perhaps because the Senate will probably move on their bill before the House on their version. There is no public option in the Baucus bill. Senator Max Baucus, the friendless Democratic Senator from Montana, authored the bill which received no support from Democrats or Republicans. It is being used now as a draft to retool for a final Senate bill. The complete version is over 1000 pages; but there’s a 223 page over view available here.

Open Congress has a decent site for tracking and understanding the Baucus Bill here. You can add your two cents or more. You can also follow the money trail for big Pharm, insurance, and other medical business interests on Open Congress here. Unlike the health care debate, is non-partisan. Oh, come to think of it, so was the initial Hill hate on the Baucus bill.

Health care for musicians is one of the scheduled sessions at the upcoming Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit October 4 – 6 at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

FMC has a program called HINT (Health Insurance Navigation Tool) to help uninsured musicians navigate the health insurance maze and find an affordable plan.

The Policy Summit focuses on music, technology, policy and law. Basically the new business of music distribution (and the old recorded tunes as well). Speakers at the summit include Senator Al Franken (D-MN), FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski , Mike Mills of r.e.m., and Daniel Ek, founder of the music service Spotify.

I’m working with FMC to present a special screening of COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS as part of ITVS Community Cinema (October 4 at 5 PM – Georgetown University Intercultural Center Auditorium). The film’s exeuctive producer, Kimbrew McLeod, will be there for the Q&A. COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS looks at the evolution, use, profits, and legal madness of sampling in hip hop music. “Who owns the notes and who gets paid?” The screening is FREE. Additional Community Cinema screenings of COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS are scheduled for October 25 and 28. Go here for more information.
Here’s a trailer: