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David Mills, Emmy-winning screenwriter, dead at 48
David Zurawik

David Mills (left) is shown in this Sun file photo from April 2000 with actress Khandi Alexander, and writer David Simon as they stand outside at the premier of the HBO television movie "The Corner" at the Senator Theatre.

David Mills, a University of Maryland graduate and Emmy-award-winning screenwriter for his work on "The Corner," collapsed on the set of HBO's "Treme" Tuesday and died in a New Orleans Hospital, according to series creator David Simon. He was 48 years old. The cause of death was a brain aneurysm.

Mills was working as a writer on the new HBO series from Simon and Eric Overmyer, which is set to debut April 11. He was a long-time friend of Simon's since their college days on the University of Maryland student newspaper, The Diamondback. Mills collborated with Simon on scripts for the NBC series, "Homicide: Life on the Street" and HBO's "The Corner."

The duo went from being newspaper reporters -- Simon at The Baltimore Sun and Mills at The Washington Post -- to near-instant success as two of the best screenwriters working in network crime drama. Their work on "The Corner," won an Emmy for best writing for a TV mini-series in 2000.

Mills went on to join Steven Bochco's writing staff at "NYPD Blue." He also wrote for the NBC medical drama "ER." In 2003, he created and served as executive producer for the short-lived NBC crime drama, "Kingpin," the saga of a Mexican drug operation.

While the writing was again top-notch Mills, the series failed to attract an audience right out of the box, and was cancelled after six episodes. It was Mills' bad luck to be working in network TV rather than pay cable, where the series would have surely found an audience had it been given a chance to grow.

While he lived in Los Angeles, Mills spent a lot of time in the Baltimore and Washington area because of his involvement on "The Corner," "Homicide" and "The Wire." In the 1990s, he appeared several times as a guest on what is now WYPR-FM, Baltimore's public radio station.

Sheri Parks and I interviewed Mills several times at length on our weekly "Media Matters" show that aired on what was then WJHU, and he was one of the greatest conversationalists I have ever encountered. While the conversation always started with TV screenwriting, it invariably tracked into some of his interests and passions -- George Clinton and the Funkadelics and race and politics.

Sitting in a radio studio listening to Mills talk about race, politics, media and funk music was an intellectual high to be savored. I wondered as I wrote a preview last week about the pilot for "Treme" how much Mills had to do with the music -- it was the finest use of music I have ever heard in a TV series.

Mills wrote about those topics on his blog, "Undercover Black Man." His autobiographical information at that site was vintage Mills in its economy and firm sense of professional identity.

"I used to write for newspapers," he said. "Now I write for TV shows."

In The News / White Ladies "Step Up" at Step Off
« on: February 23, 2010, 05:55:21 am »
Step Off Leaves Some in Dismay
Staff Writer
Published: Monday, February 22, 2010
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2010

After eight long hours of intense competition, the tension in the Boisfeuillet Atlantic Civic Center was so thick that Shontea Browne, an alumna of Clark Atlanta University was having trouble keeping her heart calm.

“I just know how bad these girls want this,” Browne said, referring to the Clark Atlanta University chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, one of 14 National Pan-Hellenic sororities and fraternities competing in the National Final of the $1.5 million Sprite Step Off. “They’ve worked so hard.”

It was nearly 12:30 a.m., and the crowd of more than 4,500 had since dwindled to half that number. People were restless, anxious, and eager for results.

Third place went to University of Rutgers Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Second: Clark Atlanta University Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the first place winners of $100,000 in scholarship money was the Central State University Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

The Howard University Xi Chapter members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.  said they executed their high intensity and extremely difficult show better than ever before; yet, unfortunately, it was not enough.

“I feel like we should have placed,” said Jeremy Williams, junior biology major and member of the Xi Chapter step team.

Along with Howard’s own Alpha Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., there were several electrifying acts, including the Tau chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority from the University of Indiana and the only team in the competition not part of the Divine Nine group of predominantly African-American sororities and fraternities, Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, Inc.

The Zeta Tau Alpha team, comprised of Caucasian females, clad in black trench coats, shades and boots came out and stunned the capacity crowd with awe-inspiring stepping, rhythm, precision, and intensity.

Shaunte Russel, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. from Xenia, Ohio who came to support the eventually winning male step team from Central State University, was thoroughly impressed by the Zetas.

“I thought it was pretty amazing that [the Sprite Step Off] had a white step team, and that they performed so well,” Russel said.

Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) was first introduced to the art of stepping 15 years ago by a local AKA chapter at the University of Arkansas.

“It started out as pure philanthropy,” said Kristin King, member of the ZTA step team.

Fellow ZTA team member Alexandra Kosmitis said, “We used to have local competitions every year and decided to venture out into more rigorous competition this year. We’re just amazed to be here. We were told we wouldn’t make it out the first round, and now we’re here getting a standing ovation.”

That wasn’t all they got.

Zeta Tau Alpha defeated all opposition to claim first prize.

The announcement sent shock waves through the crowd creating an uneasy combination of cautious celebration and chagrin.

Tension was high. A white sorority had just won one of the largest step shows in history and, though some were impressed, many more were upset and confused.

“Sprite didn’t do a good job explaining the show; they manipulated the crowd,” said Oyetewa Oyerinde, a sophomore sports medicine major. “I thought the Zetas were more of a showcase. I thought this was a Divine Nine event.”

Crowd participation was a major determinant in the judging, and though the crowd clearly appreciated the Indiana University AKAs, who went on to place second in the competition, they were outright boisterous after the Zeta performance.

“The ballots were extremely close, but in the end I think the crowd actually won the show for the Zetas” said an MTV representative who was working backstage.
He believed the decision was a last minute one, but there are some who believe the show’s outcome was a predetermined one.

Various participants backstage asserted that MTV and Sprite took the Cinderella story of the anomalous Zeta’s and ran with it.

Mentioning how the Zetas received a biased amount of television coverage and were treated more favorably than the other participating sororities, many felt after the Zeta’s made it to the National Final, MTV and Sprite became less concerned with treating all their participants fairly and more concerned with promoting the Zeta’s unlikely story.

“I’m upset MTV followed the Zeta’s around and capitalized on us,” said Francesca Hindmon, a senior economics major. “It seems to have been a setup from jump.”

Senior political science major Brittany Reeves was visibly upset at the results.
“Sprite used the step off to exploit black culture,”  Reeves said.
“How are you going to take something that’s ours, and give it away?” Williams added. Williams, Reeves and many others were upset, but this was not the case with everyone.

“Everyone [is] stuck in the old way of stepping - including only the Divine 9,” said Joshua Taborn, a senior political science and philosophy double major. “And because ‘the white people’ won, we’re mad at ourselves.”

Taborn said, “We gave them a standing ovation when they stepped, and booed when they won. We’re hypocrites.”

One of the organizers of the trip, former HUSA president and current Howard law student Marcus Ware, also took a more objective approach in his assessment of the situation.

“I think Zeta Tau Alpha and the Tau chapter AKAs were evenly matched, but the crowd went more so with the Zetas and crowd participation matters. So the results make sense,” Ware said.

Regardless of the controversy, there were still a lot of participants who were satisfied with the step off overall. The Central State University chapter Alphas, the fraternity winners, said they really appreciated the “bonds that were made with other orgs and within our organization.”

“It’s been a wonderful event,” said Augusto Elias, the National Marketing Director for Coca-Cola. “We have to evaluate the event as a whole, but I’m sure [the step off] will  be back.”


Story from The Howard University Hilltop Paper:

General Discussion / The joke's still on "us"
« on: February 08, 2010, 07:43:01 am »
Today, in American popular culture, the most effortless and most effective way to make a racist caricature of black people without saying a word is to draw images of fried chicken and watermelon. In other words, in American pop culture, fried chicken and watermelon equal black America. In October 2008, during the last presidential campaigns, a local Californian Republican Party women’s club produced an e-newsletter warning that if Obama got elected as president his face would appear on food stamps (a government-issued welfare package which comes in the form of stamps and given to low-income, usually black, people; it can be used in exchange for food at many grocery stores across the country), rather than on dollar bills like other presidents. It then included a picture of “Obama Bucks” — a fake $10 bill with Obama surrounded by fried chicken, watermelon, Kentucky Fried Chicken, etc.

So now, the image of a successful Black American athlete (Floyd Mayweather) is being used in conjunction with Kentucky FRIED CHICKEN! I'm not shocked that this "artwork" was created by someone from another country (Philipino, Art Garcia), people the world over have joined in on taking their racial potshots at Black Americans, I'm disappointed that some black folk, not only see NOTHING wrong with this racist imagery, but actually find it FUNNY! HaHa! How sad and pathetic. Oh well, Happy Nigger History Month. The joke is STILL on us.

General Discussion / Deconstructing ‘The Wire’
« on: February 05, 2010, 07:03:00 am »
Deconstructing ‘The Wire’

NEARLY two years after the final season of “The Wire,” the acclaimed HBO series that counts a devoted fan base among collegians, scholars are finding compelling sociology in the gray-tinged urban life it chronicled.

Courses are cropping up in catalogs across the country.

William Julius Wilson, the prominent Harvard sociologist, is the latest to announce he will teach a course on the show, next fall out of the black studies department.

For the 40th anniversary of the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when Dr. Wilson gathered scholars, activists and the show’s creator to analyze the series’ impact, he did not mince words: “It has done more to enhance our understanding of the challenges of urban life and the problems of urban inequality than any other media event or scholarly publications, including studies by social scientists.”

This semester at Duke University, Anne-Maria Makhulu, a professor of cultural anthropology, will introduce a course that explores cities — “urbanization, de-industrialization, the ‘ghetto,’ the figure of the queer thug, hip-hop, and many other aspects of urban black experience” — through “The Wire,” which was set in Baltimore. The waiting list is almost as long as the enrollment cap.

And proof that the show is cross-disciplinary: Jason Mittell, a media scholar at Middlebury College in Vermont, teaches “Urban America and Serial Television: Watching ‘The Wire’ ” as a way into American culture through the lens of television. At the University of California, Berkeley, Linda Williams’s rhetoric course “What’s So Great About ‘The Wire’?” examines its journalistic, novelistic and dramatic roots.

Premium cable is not required. While Professor Williams skips season two (for brevity), Professor Mittell shows all 60 episodes during class time, five episodes a week.

Hudlin TV / HBO's Treme
« on: February 05, 2010, 06:49:37 am »

If the ‘Treme’ teaser left you salivating for something a little more substantial, HBO has now released a few more details about the forthcoming show set in New Orleans by David Simon. The press release  suggests that viewers shouldn’t expect to see the Wire set in a new city. David Simon says, “In some fundamental ways, TREME is centered on the ordinary lives of ordinary people.  It is political only in the sense that ordinary people find themselves dealing with politics in their own lives.” People should expect some musical royalty to show up in the  first season, though, including “Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Kermit Ruffins, Donald Harrison Jr., Galactic, Trombone Shorty Andrews, Deacon John, and the Rebirth and Tremé Brass Bands.”

The one-hour drama series TREME will launch its ten-episode first season on HBO in April, it was announced today by Sue Naegle, president, HBO Entertainment.  From David Simon (“The Wire,” “Generation Kill,” “The Corner”) and Eric Overmyer (“Homicide,” “The Wire”), the show follows musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians and ordinary New Orleanians as they try to rebuild their lives, their homes and their unique culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane and levee failure that caused the near-death of an American city.
“New Orleans is a city which lives in the imagination of the whole world,” says Overmyer.  “We wanted to capture something authentic about it, as its people struggle with the after effects of the greatest calamity to befall an American city in the history of this country.”
Simon adds, “What happens in New Orleans matters.  An ascendant society rebuilds its great cities.”

TREME begins in fall 2005, three months after Hurricane Katrina and the massive engineering failure in which flood control failed throughout New Orleans, flooding 80 percent of the city and displacing hundreds of thousands of residents.  Fictional events depicted in the series will honor the actual chronology of political, economic and cultural events following the storm.

“As much as possible, we’re trying to show fealty to the post-Katrina history,” Overmyer notes.  “New Orleanians have had their lives transformed by the storm and its aftermath, and we want to be careful in our presentation of that.”
Simon adds that viewers familiar with “The Wire,” the previous HBO drama on which he, Overmyer and fellow executive producer Nina Noble labored, should not expect a similar drama set in another city.
“In some fundamental ways,” he says, “TREME is centered on the ordinary lives of ordinary people.  It is political only in the sense that ordinary people find themselves dealing with politics in their own lives.  That said, New Orleanians – those who have been able to return, especially – are passionate about their city.”

The drama unfolds with Antoine Batiste, a smooth-talking trombonist who is struggling to make ends meet, earning cash with any gig he can get, including playing in funeral processions for his former neighbors.  His ex-wife, LaDonna Batiste-Williams, owns a bar in the Central City neighborhood and splits her time between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, where her children and new husband have relocated.  Concerned over the disappearance of her younger brother David, or Daymo, unseen since the storm, LaDonna has turned to a local civil rights attorney, the overburdened and underpaid Toni Bernette, for help.  The government’s inconsistent and ineffectual response to the devastation has spurred Bernette’s husband Creighton, a university professor of English literature and an expert on local history, to become an increasingly outspoken critic of the institutional response.

Tremé resident Davis McAlary, a rebellious radio disc jockey, itinerant musician and general gadfly, is both chronicler of and participant in the city’s vibrant and varied musical culture, which simply refuses to be silent, even in the early months after the storm.  His occasional partner, popular chef Janette Desautel, hopes to regain momentum for her small, newly re-opened neighborhood restaurant.  Elsewhere in the city, displaced Mardi Gras Indian chief Albert Lambreaux returns to find his home destroyed and his tribe, the Guardians of the Flame, scattered, but Lambreaux is determined to rebuild.  His son Delmond, an exile in New York playing modern jazz and looking beyond New Orleans for his future, is less sure of his native city’s future, while violinist Annie and her boyfriend Sonny, young street musicians living hand-to-mouth, seem wholly committed to the battered city.

As the story begins, more than half the population of New Orleans is elsewhere and much of the city is wrecked, muddied and caked in mold, while other neighborhoods remain viable.  The tourists have yet to return, the money that follows them is scarce, and residents can take solace only in the fact that the city’s high levels of crime have migrated to Houston and Baton Rouge.   And for those returning, housing is hard to come by, with many people waiting on insurance checks that may never arrive.

The ensemble cast of TREME includes Wendell Pierce (“The Wire,” HBO’s documentary “When the Levees Broke”) as Antoine Batiste; Khandi Alexander (“CSI:  Miami,” HBO’s Emmy®-winning “The Corner”) as LaDonna Batiste-Williams; Clarke Peters (“Damages,” HBO’s “The Wire” and “The Corner”) as Albert Lambreaux; Rob Brown (“Stop-Loss,” “Finding Forrester”) as Delmond Lambreaux; Steve Zahn (“A Perfect Getaway,” “Sunshine Cleaning”) as Davis McAlary; Kim Dickens (HBO’s “Deadwood”) as Janette Desautel; Melissa Leo (“Homicide:  Life on the Street”; Oscar® nominee for “Frozen River”) as Toni Bernette; John Goodman (“The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) as Creighton Bernette; Michiel Huisman (“The Young Victoria”) as Sonny; and classical violinist Lucia Micarelli as Annie.

The series will also feature cameos by notable real-life New Orleanians, as well as the talents of many of its extraordinary musicians and other artists associated with the city’s music.  Early episodes feature appearances by Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Kermit Ruffins, Donald Harrison Jr., Galactic, Trombone Shorty Andrews, Deacon John, and the Rebirth and Tremé Brass Bands.

“The disaster impacted people on every possible level – physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” says New Orleans native Wendell Pierce.  “The only things people had to hang on to were the rich traditions we knew that survived the test of time before:  our music, food and family, family that included anyone who decided to accept the challenge to return.  We knew that America was, in the words of Martin Luther King, a ‘ten-day nation.’  We knew our plight wouldn’t stay in the spotlight of the world long.  But we are exercising our right of self-determination in the darkness with personal resolve.  We are accessing the best of the human spirit and bringing light to this difficult time.  That’s what TREME is about.  We won’t bow down.”

Longtime friends and collaborators since they both worked on the network drama “Homicide:  Life on the Street,” Simon and Overmyer have wanted to make a series about New Orleans and its culture ever since they learned of each other’s affinity for the city.  Overmyer has been a New Orleans resident for 20 years, while Simon has been a frequent visitor since the late 1980s.

“Neither one of us could figure out how to pitch it properly.  The problem is that in order to convince anyone to let us depict New Orleans, you have to first explain it,” Simon says, adding, “And until Katrina, the only way to begin to explain it was to shoot the film.”
TREME is named for the Faubourg Tremé (an historic neighborhood just to the lakeside of the more celebrated French Quarter).  Jazz itself was said to be born there, created by the slaves of Creole planters who were allowed to drum and chant on Sundays and market days in a public area that came to be known as Congo Square.  It was in New Orleans that African rhythms and the pentatonic scale of flatted “blue” notes met European instrumentation and arrangements – a cross-cultural creation that transformed music on a worldwide scale.
The 80-minute pilot episode of TREME was directed by Agnieszka Holland (“The Wire,” “Cold Case”).  Additional episodes are directed by Simon Cellan Jones (“Generation Kill”) as well as alumni of “The Wire,” including Jim McKay (HBO’s “In Treatment” and “Big Love”), Ernest Dickerson (“Burn Notice”), Anthony Hemingway (the upcoming film “Redtails”), Christine Moore (“CSI:  NY”), Brad Anderson (“Fringe,” “The Machinist”) and Dan Attias (“Big Love,” “House”).

In addition to Simon and Overmyer, TREME is written by David Mills (HBO’s “The Corner” and “The Wire”) and George Pelecanos (“The Wire” and HBO’s upcoming miniseries “The Pacific”).  Additional writers include New Orleans natives Lolis Elie (author and columnist for The New Orleans Times-Picayune) and Tom Piazza (author of the novel “City of Refuge” and “Why New Orleans Matters”).

Simon’s most recent HBO project, “Generation Kill,” debuted in July 2008.  Based on the award-winning nonfiction book of the same name by journalist Evan Wright, it recounted the early weeks of the U.S. march into Iraq from the point of view of the officers and commanders who led the way to Baghdad.  The New York Times called the miniseries “impeccable” and “searingly intense,” and USA Today praised it as “honest” and “painfully vivid.”

Finishing its five-season run in March 2008, “The Wire” examined a dystopic American city in which civic institutions and civic leadership could no longer recognize fundamental problems, much less address those problems.  Daily Variety said of the Peabody Award-winning series, “When television history is written, little else will rival ‘The Wire’… extraordinary,” while San Francisco Chronicle hailed it as “a masterpiece” and Entertainment Weekly called the show “a staggering achievement.”

TREME was created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer; executive producers, David Simon, Nina K. Noble, Eric Overmyer, Carolyn Strauss; co-executive producer, David Mills; producer, Anthony Hemingway; directors, Agnieszka Holland, Jim McKay, Ernest Dickerson, Anthony Hemingway, Christine Moore, Brad Anderson, Simon Cellan Jones, Dan Attias; writers, David Simon, Eric Overmyer, David Mills, George Pelecanos, Lolis Elie, Tom Piazza.

Article from:

Treme HBO page:

General Discussion / Slavery by Another Name
« on: February 04, 2010, 05:18:22 am »
Slavery by Another Name:
The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II
Author: Douglas A. Blackmon
Publisher: Doubleday, $29.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-385-50625-0

The Age of Neo-Slavery
In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—when a cynical new form of slavery was resurrected from the ashes of the Civil War and re-imposed on hundreds of thousands of African-Americans until the dawn of World War II.

Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations—including U.S. Steel Corp.—looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of "free" black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery.

The neoslavery system exploited legal loopholes and federal policies which discouraged prosecution of whites for continuing to hold black workers against their wills. As it poured millions of dollars into southern government treasuries, the new slavery also became a key instrument in the terrorization of African Americans seeking full participation in the U.S. political system.

Based on a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude. It also reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the modern companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the system’s final demise in the 1940s, partly due to fears of enemy propaganda about American racial abuse at the beginning of World War II.

SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME is a moving, sobering account of a little-known crime against African Americans, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Coming to PBS – Fall 2011
tpt National Productions is developing Slavery by Another Name, a multi-part PBS project based upon the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Wall Street Journal writer Douglas Blackmon.  Slavery by Another Name challenges one of our country’s most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery ended with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.  The documentary recounts how in the years following the Civil War, insidious new forms of forced labor emerged in the American South, keeping hundreds of thousands of African Americans in bondage, trapping them in a brutal system that would persist until the onset of World War II. 
Based on Blackmon’s research into original documents and personal narratives, Slavery by Another Name unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after Emancipation and then back into involuntary servitude. It also tells stories of courage and redemption, and the men and women who fought against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking.  PBS broadcast is targeted for late 2011

« on: February 01, 2010, 06:41:34 am »
Moments ago future hall of famer "Sugar" Shane Mosley informed that his mega-fight with undefeated pound for pound Picasso Floyd Mayweather Jr is a done deal for May 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mosley, who will receive a flat guarantee with incentives on the back end of the pay-per-view. informed that he has granted Mayweather an immediate rematch clause

By G. Leon

GL:  This is a fight that you made it crystal clear you want.  Now that it's here, how do you feel about it happening?

Shane Mosley:  I feel great for myself, and for the fans.  They're going to come to see a man who came to fight.  After I finish with Floyd Mayweather, then I can go ahead and get Pacquiao.  I'm looking to get everybody in position.

GL:  What was the hold up in getting the fight done?  After Berto pulled out, the Mayweather fight was announced at almost the same time.  What was the hold up that took so long for this fight to get done?  It seemed like an easy close.

SM:  I think they were trying to wait and see if Pacquiao was going to take that blood test, but he didn't want to take that blood test.  I told him I would take a blood test, as long as he takes the same one.

GL:  Pacquiao-Mayweather was already dead by the time that Berto pulled out of his fight with you.  What was the delay, was it a money issue?  Were they waiting for Berto to get his situation straight?  Why did we wait an extra week or so?

SM:  No, it wasn't a money issue at all.  With Berto, the earthquake in Haiti really messed him up.  He couldn't really function with the fight, he couldn't train or anything.  I think it was a blessing in disguise for him, because he didn't have the right mentality before the earthquake happened.  He was feeling nervous and scared, he was really in above his head with this.  I thought he wasn't ready for it, and I could see it.

GL:  Obviously, it might be viewed as a blessing in disguise with you, since not having the fight with Berto is leading to a mega-fight with you and Mayweather.  With that being said, you haven't fought in a year...

SM:  (interrupting)  The difference with me is I that I keep training, and working out, and getting myself together.  I've been training really for the Mayweather or the Pacquiao fight, I wasn't really training for Berto.  Like I said, I was looking to get through him.  I'm not worried about not fighting for a year, because I be in the gym working and training.

GL:  So, you're not dissapointed at all that you lost a January 30th date?  Do you think you should have been fighting on January 30th?

SM:  No, I would have fought on January 30th, if Berto could have, but it didn't matter to me.  I already did the work and everything.  I don't need to get in the ring and show that I can fight, I had a year off with Margarito and look what happened.  I just dusted him off.

GL:  So, you have no doubt that a 16 month layoff is not going to prevent you from performing at your best.

SM:  Absolutely not, I have no doubt that I'm going to be at my best and be sharp for the fight.  I have no doubt about that.  I've been fighting for years and years, I'll be good.

GL:  You're already a Hall of Famer...

SM:  I think that if anything Mayweather is going to be a little rusty, because he fought a smaller guy in Juan Manuel Marquez, a lighter guy.  It's kind of like fools gold, you win a fight, and you feel like you did something.  He fought a small guy, now he's going to fight somebody his size, and it's going to be a totally different story.  I'm ready to go, I've been training for it for a while, for a long time.

GL:  What's going to be the biggest difference in this fight, that leads to you getting your hand raised?

SM:  The difference maker is going to be Floyd fighting a real fighter, a fighter he can't really get away from. 

GL:  Are you trying to say that he hasn't been fighting real fighters for quite some time now?

SM:  He does fight guys that can box, just like he can.  He doesn't fight guys that can fight him and can hit him.  A gut that is just as fight as him, and that's going to be the difference, he doesn't like guys that are as fast as him

GL:  Is Mayweather going the distance?

SM:  I'm trying to knock him out, so hopefully he doesn't.  If he can weather the storm, then that's good.  I go for knockouts.

GL:  There is going to be random testing for this fight.  How do you feel about that?

SM:  I feel great, I'm happy about it.  I love it.  I'm happy about getting random testing, because I want the world to know.  They keep bringing this stuff up since 2003, they can random test me anytime they want to, and that's it.  I feel great about that, as long as he gets the same test, then we're great.  I'm cool with that.

Gl:  Is there any rematch clause?

SM:  There's supposed to be a rematch clause, if he wants the rematch.  That's cool.

GL:  An immediate rematch?

SM:  Yeah, he gets a rematch.  He's getting the champion's purse.

GL:  How has the deal been structured, is it a straight percentage across the board?  Or is it a situation where you're getting a fee and something off of the back end?

SM:  I get a certain amount of money, and I get something too off of the back end.  I keep probably about $15 million, it's pretty good.

GL:  What's your expectation for this fight on PPV?

SM:  I think it's going to do really well, everybody is going to want to see it.  It's a real fight, and after that I'm fighting Pacquiao.  Mayweather didn't want to fight him without drug testing, or whatever.  Pacquiao can do what he wants to do, and we can fight.

GL:  Do you favor Pacquiao over Clottey?

SM:  It's not for sure.  I think Pacquiao, because he's more hungry, and he's going to do the right combinations and punches to win the fight.  I would pick Pacquiao over Clottey because of that, but not because of his strength or anything like that.  He's probably going to outwork Clottey.  Clottey is going to block a lot of shots, and sit and wait, maybe.  You never know.

GL:  Where are you going to be training for the fight, Big Bear?

SM:  Of course.

GL:  Closing thoughts.

SM:  It finally has come.  In 2010, it's like I told you, it's going to be very explosive, it's going to be very nice.  I can't wait to get my teeth in it, it's cool.

By Rebecca Skloot
Crown. 369 pp. $26

Reviewed by Eric Roston
Sunday, January 31, 2010

By early 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a mother of five in Baltimore, had suffered for some time from what she described as a painful "knot on my womb." She sought treatment at Johns Hopkins, a charity hospital and the only one around that treated black patients. The diagnosis: cervical cancer. Before administering radium for the first time, the attending doctor cut two dime-size samples of tissue, one cancerous and one healthy, from Lacks's cervix. No one asked permission or even informed her. The doctor gave the tissue to George Gey, a scientist who had been trying to establish a continuously reproducing, or immortal, human cell line for use in cancer research. According to protocol, a lab assistant scribbled an abbreviation of Lacks's name, "HeLa" (hee-lah), on the sample tubes.

HeLa succeeded where all other human samples had failed. Gey gave away laboratory-grown cells to interested colleagues. Scientists grew cells in mass quantities to test the new polio vaccine. Soon a commercial enterprise was growing batches for large-scale use. Discoveries piled up. HeLa led to the understanding that normal human cells have 46 chromosomes. NASA launched HeLa into orbit to test how human cells behave in zero-gravity. The cells, in turn, helped launch virology as a field and shot medical research forward like a rocket.

Nearly 60 years later, Lacks's tissue has yielded an estimated 50 million metric tons of HeLa cells. Scientific and medical researchers add about 300 HeLa-related studies a month to the library of 60,000 studies. Lacks's surviving family members have learned what was going on -- and have become subjects of interest for researchers, too. HeLa cells are still being used today because they grow so relentlessly in culture, which is rare for cells generally and for cervical cancer cells in particular.

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" is a biography of the eponymous heroine and her offspring. There are her children, and their children, all reared in poverty and too often without health insurance. Lacks's world-changing cells, meanwhile, have been lavished with attention and money by scientists around the globe for nearly twice her lifetime. The story raises questions about bioethics and leaves a reader wondering who should benefit from scientific research and how it should be conducted. In the words of Lacks's youngest daughter, Deborah: "If our mother cells done so much for medicine, how come her family can't afford to see no doctors?"

Rebecca Skloot, an accomplished science journalist, became curious about Lacks at age 16 when a biology instructor shared her name and skin color but nothing else. Skloot's book is the result of a decade of research that took her to a Lacks family cemetery where black descendants are buried atop white slaveholder relatives, to depressed Baltimore neighborhoods, to Johns Hopkins's world-class medical research center and to Crownsville Hospital Center in Maryland, formerly the Hospital for the Negro Insane.

Skloot's vivid account begins with the life of Henrietta Lacks, who comes fully alive on the page with her "walnut eyes, straight white teeth, and full lips" -- a woman who loved dancing and, in the words of her cousin Emmett Lacks, was the "sweetest girl you ever wanna meet." Skloot goes on to reveal the complex emotional, scientific and legal issues that Lacks's life engendered. Her cells lead a life of their own, from Gey's research lab in Baltimore to the Tuskegee Institute and the for-profit venture Microbiological Associates (which became a part of the companies Invitrogen and BioWhittaker).

The Lackses learned about HeLa in the 1970s and embarked on a bewildering quest for comprehension and reconciliation. Henrietta's first cousin Cootie puts the entire remarkable HeLa history in stark relief: "Nobody round here never understood how she dead and that thing still livin. That's where the mystery's at."

"Immortal Life" reads like a novel. The prose is unadorned, crisp and transparent. Skloot frequently glides into section and chapter breaks with thought-provoking quotations from interview subjects. This technique sometimes lets well-meaning scientists demonstrate through naivete how easy it is to objectify human research subjects. Years later, Gey's lab assistant Mary Kubicek told Skloot about Lacks's autopsy: "When I saw those toenails, I nearly fainted. I thought, Oh jeez, she's a real person." An afterword takes the reader from the story into current thinking about bioethics. (President Obama created his own bioethics advisory panel before Thanksgiving.)

This book, labeled "science -- cultural studies," should be treated as a work of American history. It's a deftly crafted investigation of a social wrong committed by the medical establishment, as well as the scientific and medical miracles to which it led. Skloot's compassionate account can be the first step toward recognition, justice and healing.

Eric Roston is the author of The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilization's Greatest Threat and writes a weekly news analysis at

Sports Talk / Mosley, Mayweather sides open to bout
« on: January 20, 2010, 01:08:11 pm »
Mosley, Mayweather sides open to bout
By Dan Rafael

Floyd Mayweather is ready to negotiate a fight with welterweight champion Shane Mosley in the wake of Mosley's fight with Andre Berto being canceled, Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe told on Monday night.

Mosley was due to face Berto in a welterweight title unification match on Jan. 30 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. However, Berto, a Haitian-American who had at least eight members of his family killed in the recent earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation, withdrew from the fight earlier Monday because he was "mentally and physically exhausted" from dealing with the catastrophe and needed to be with his family.

"I know everyone is rushing to make this fight with Mosley, but I want people to know that Floyd feels awful for Berto and his family for what they and their country are going through," Ellerbe said. "That is first and foremost. But if, in fact, Shane Mosley is available, that's the fight that Floyd would love to make. It's no secret that Floyd has been trying to make a fight with Shane for the last 10 years.

"Our condolences go out to Berto and his family because that is the human side of this. Everyone is talking about us making a fight with Mosley, but Floyd wants people to know that his prayers -- all of ours -- are with Berto. But he also wants people to know that he is ready to fight Mosley. That's the fight he wants more than anything. And Floyd has instructed me and Al [Haymon, Mayweather's other adviser] to make the biggest fight possible. We will be talking with [Golden Boy CEO] Richard [Schaefer]. Floyd against Shane is the biggest fight in boxing right now that can be made."

Mayweather had been tentatively scheduled to fight Manny Pacquiao on March 13 before that bout fell apart when the sides would not compromise on the drug testing protocol for the bout. Mayweather insisted on rigorous blood testing, which he would also be subject to, but Pacquiao rejected it.

Instead, Pacquiao took a fight with former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey, and they will meet on March 13 on pay-per-view at Cowboys Stadium. There is a news conference to formally announce the bout at the stadium on Tuesday followed by another news conference on Wednesday in New York.

Schaefer, who works with Mayweather, had said that Mayweather would fight a different opponent on March 13 in a competing pay-per-view from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

However, with Mosley becoming available, attention immediately turned to Mosley-Mayweather, which, aside from Pacquiao-Mayweather or Pacquiao-Mosley, looms as the biggest fight in boxing.

According to Schaefer, he has the MGM Grand Garden Arena on hold for May 1 and May 8. Ellerbe said that time frame is fine with Mayweather for a fight with Mosley.

"Most definitely," Ellerbe said. "Shane is a great fighter and if a deal could be made, Shane would be the toughest fight out there. That fight is tougher than the other fight [Pacquiao-Mayweather]. It's a mega fight if it can be made."

If the bout is finalized, it remains to be seen if Mayweather would insist on the same rigorous drug testing he wanted Pacquiao to undergo. Pacquiao denies he has ever used performance-enhancing drugs even though Mayweather has alluded to him using and Mayweather's father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., has said outright that he believed Pacquiao used PEDs, despite having no evidence. The accusation led Pacquiao to file a defamation suit against the Mayweathers and others, including Schaefer and Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya.

Mosley, however, has admitted to using PEDs and was connected to the BALCO scandal. Although he publicly denied using PEDs for years, Mosley admitted during grand jury testimony, which was later released, that he used designer steroids "the clear" and "the cream" and injected himself with EPO, a blood oxygen enhancer, during the leadup to his 2003 rematch with Oscar De La Hoya.

Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs), a five-division champion, and Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs), a three-division champion, have seemingly been on a collision course for years dating to the late 1990s, when Mosley was lightweight champion and Mayweather was junior lightweight champion.

More recently, Mosley repeatedly called Mayweather out before he got involved negotiating the fight with Pacquiao. In fact, Mosley crashed Mayweather's post-fight interview in the ring following his September victory against Juan Manuel Marquez and publicly called him out to his face.

Schaefer said he would try to make the fight.

"That is a super fight, and now my next order of business -- to see if we can put [Mosley-Mayweather] together," he said. "That is what I am going to be doing in the coming hours. The sooner the better if we can get this potential fight done. With Shane now being available and Floyd being available, that's a fight all fight fans and sports fans would embrace. This would be a huge showdown. Shane has wanted that fight for a while. That's what I am going to try to do."

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for

General Discussion / White Slight: Black Ladies...Can you relate?
« on: April 12, 2007, 09:26:07 am »

Seems this particular strip is the reason Watch Your Head is being dropped in Detroit.
"attempts at humor based on stereotyping have drawn significant negative reader reaction."
That was the reason given.

And then there was this from a reader in Wisconsin:

Dear Wisconsin State Journal,

I am calling for an apology by Cory Thomas for his
blatantly racist and sexist cartoon published in the
Wisconsin State journal, and for the WSJ to stop carrying
his cartoon.

I find it abhorrent that the WSJ, in 2007, would carry a
cartoon that blatantly insults interracial couples. Not
only did this cartoon imply that white women are to stay
away from African Americans as life partners, caucasians
were hurtfully depicted by Cory Thomas as saggy-breasted,
whorishly dressed, and moronic in appearance.  Are we also
to believe that African American women resent interracial
couples, as if they as women require an African American
man to be a complete person?

In the time of Jim Crow laws, this issue was addressed by
offensive cartoons depicting African American men as
apelike, predatory beasts with their target being virtuous
white girls.  Those were just as offensive as Sunday's

This cartoon was blatantly racist and reeked of the hateful
drawings that mocked African Americans in the 1950's. By
publishing this cartoon, the WSJ promotes hate and
resentment between races. This kind of garbage has no place
in today's entertainment media.  How did you at the WSJ
explain this cartoon to your children?

Peace and Equality now,
Catherine Smith

Most works done by a person of color is usually going to have a viewpoint/insight that people outside that group are unfamiliar with, many, if the view is unflattering in their eyes, like to cry racism. How many times has Hudlin been called a racist on the Newsarama forums? Is this strip holding whites back and keeping them from advancing as a people? Perhaps it’s time to remind them what “racist” really means.

Or, is the lesson here: Shut Up and Don't Slight White(folk)?

Panther Politics / My Take On BP and Storm
« on: January 24, 2007, 06:41:00 am »
I posted this "rant" of mine the other day on another forum and explained to the members that I'm pissed off about alot of things. Looking at all the hate being thrown around regarding two very great characters, I had to get this off my chest:

What some people are able to see for the first time in comics is not some klutzy Black characters, not some Uncle Tom, not some person bowing to the system. They see a black manand woman who are articulate, energetic, well prepared, and….(God forbid) defiant.

One of the ironies that isn't lost on many African American readers in particular, is that Storm was a guest in the white community. She was welcome in the gated community. She was loved for being a great mutant character surrounded by “whiteness”, and it was clear that the moment she hooked up with T’Challa, her  privilege of whiteness, her privilege of being accepted in the white community, is slowly being revoked, and the longer she’s with a another (n#%%er) Black character, she may never be accepted in that community again.

To them, Storm was raceless. She was not a person who spent time with other African Americans. She was not a person who was deeply committed to African American values. In fact, she talked more about being a Mutant than an African American. And yet the African American community has accepted her.

And so his privilege of membership in the gated communities of white America is on it’s way ofbeing revoked permanently, and she now is on her way to being persona non grata. That will never change. She's lost that view of being raceless. Before she was the princess, and now she's just another niggercomicbook character.

Welcome home Sister Ororo, there's always a place for you here. 'Cuz that's how we Black folk carry it.

Sorry to offend anyone.

Black Panther / Hey Zeraze!!!!!
« on: November 09, 2006, 05:58:14 am »
Mad props for the way you hold it down and put it down over at Newsarama.
I don't know what you sound like, but when I read the intelligent responses you drop, I "hear" a combo of Malcolm and Brother J. from X Clan ;D
Those sissies don't know how to respond.
Keep Bangin' Bro.

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