Saturday, November 26, 2011
Author: U.S. House of Representatives
Permission: Public Domain
Rose to Prominence After Reporting the JFK Assassination
Photo credit: http://www.nola.com
Friday, November 25, 2011
On Wednesday, November 23, 2011, the President signed into law:
H.R. 398, which suspends, when either spouse is on active duty abroad in the U.S. Armed Forces, the required periods of time to file a petition (and appear for an interview with the Department of Homeland Security) to remove the conditional basis for permanent resident status of alien spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents;
H.R. 2447, which provides for the award of a congressional gold medal in honor of the Montford Point Marines, in recognition of their personal sacrifice and service to their country; and
S. 1412, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Woburn, Massachusetts, as the Officer John Maguire Post Office.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Private Jackie L. Diener II died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum. Private Diener was from Boyne City, Michigan.
"I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of Private Diener and I send my deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and fellow soldiers," Governor Cuomo said.
"We will honor the service of this Fort Drum soldier and we will be forever grateful for his dedication to our nation."
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Washington, DC – Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee issued the following statement on the Super Committee’s failure to reach a deal:
“Last week, I joined over one hundred of my colleagues, from both political parties and both Houses of the Congress, to call on the deficit ‘super committee’ to ‘go big.’ Not only did the Committee fail to go big, it failed to produce anything at all. Its failure now puts millions of Americans at risk.
“The American people want a balanced approach to dealing with our deficit; that means making hard choices today to avoid pain tomorrow. It is clear that Republican intransigence, based upon a pledge to an unelected lobbyist and a blind devotion to protecting tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, sabotaged a deal that could set America on a path to fiscal security.
“It is not difficult to find savings and produce a deficit-reduction plan. As we noted at our bipartisan, bicameral press conference last week, Republicans and Democrats have identified billions in wasteful spending and tax-giveaways. We provide farm subsidies to millionaires, and we even pay farmers not to grow certain crops. Congress also provides government benefits and subsidies worth hundreds of billions of dollars to the wealthiest Americans, at the expense of country’s national security, our seniors’ well-being, and our children’s educational futures. Such egregious waste must end.
“I call on my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, to work together to find a solution, and soon.”
Herb Boyd is an awarding-winning author and journalist and has published 22 books and countless articles for national magazines and newspapers. Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America: An Anthology (One World/Ballantine, 1995), co-edited with Robert Allen of the Black Scholar journal, won the American Book Award for nonfiction.
In 1999, Boyd won three first place awards from the New York Association of Black Journalists for his articles published in the Amsterdam News. Among his most popular books are Black Panthers for Beginners (Writers & Readers, 1995); Autobiography of a People: Three Centuries of African American History Told By Those Who Lived It (Doubleday, 2000); Race and Resistance: African Americans in the 21st Century (South End Press, 2002); The Harlem Reader (Crown Publishers, 2003); We Shall Overcome: A History of the Civil Rights Movement (Sourcebooks, 2004); and Pound for Pound:The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson (Amistad, 2005).
In 2006, Boyd worked with world music composer Yusef Lateef on his autobiography The Gentle Giant, which was published by Morton Books of New Jersey. In 2008, he published Baldwin's Harlem: A Biography of James Baldwin, and is working with filmmaker Keith Beauchamp on several projects.
Boyd has been inducted into both the Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent and the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame as a journalist.
Along with his writing, Boyd is national and international correspondent for Free Speech TV. A graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, Boyd teaches African and African-American History at the College of New Rochelle in the Bronx, and is an adjunct instructor at City College in the Black Studies Department.
The celebrated author and journalist granted From The G-Man an exclusive interview to discuss what he describes as his "grave disappointment in the mainstream media", racism in the news industry, Tavis Smiley, and why more and more Black journalists are failing to cover important issues relating to the Black community.
G-Man: What was your very first assignment as a reporter?
Boyd: An editor approached me, after learning of my writing ability and knowledge of my community, to write a short history of my neighborhood. I was not sure exactly what he wanted but after a conversation or two he narrowed it down to the night life, you know, the jazz clubs and that was right down my alley, so to speak. This occurred many years ago in Detroit but it got me started in my early twenties and it was a follow up to some of my early writings in high school and in the Army.
G-Man: What has been the greatest benefit of working at the Amsterdam News?
Boyd: They have been unstinting in their commitment to good journalism and coverage of the African-American community. Through their tireless and unwavering devotion, Harlem and the world have been the beneficiaries of their concern to tell it like it is, to deliver all the news the mainstream print either found unworthy or unimportant.
G-Man: What or who influenced you, in terms of journalism?
Boyd: My first influence was hundreds of nameless journalists and newspaper people who turned me on to the news. I guess I always wanted to be a reporter, or, perhaps most essentially, a writer. I started off hoping to be a great American novelist, but being a political and social activist led me, inadvertently, to journalism. I felt a need to report back to the community our struggles and that led me inexorably into the community service that continues to inspire me.
G-Man: Thus far, what do you consider to be your greatest journalistic accomplishment?
Boyd: My greatest journalistic accomplishment is still waiting to happen; though I’m quite satisfied with the reports I’ve done on police brutality and the racist attacks on Black Americans.
Boyd: One of my main concerns about the current state of journalism is that it continues to shrink in size and substance. Once upon a time we had papers all over the place, but nowadays they are disappearing faster than yesterday’s headlines. Sure, there’s a plethora of stuff on the Internet, but much of it is pointless chatter except when the social networking kicks in and sparks social activism.
G-Man: In 2003, Jayson Blair resigned from the New York Times after editors discovered he plagiarized news stories and repeatedly lied about how he obtained information and/or sources. Since that time, numerous reporters at magazines and newspapers have been fired for committing similar offenses. The reporters defended their actions by claiming they were under enormous pressure to meet deadlines, as did Blair. Having said that, do you suspect Blair was the only one at the Times doing this and that, perhaps, he was made the scapegoat?
Boyd: I’ve written a few stories on the Blair incident and others related to plagiarism and it’s never an easy circumstance. I’m always concerned about the individual’s motivation and the conditions that forced them to that option. I know there’s always been a lot of competitive pressure on journalists and academics who are prey to the same temptations, but it remains a matter of personal integrity, and one has to be endowed with a sense of honor and fortitude and not succumb to the easy path to success.
G-Man: Is there a vital issue or story regarding the Black community that you feel has been completely ignored by Black news sources? If so, why have Black journalists failed to cover it?
Boyd: There are hundreds of stories waiting to be told but the Black press, given its under-capitalized financial situation, does not have the wherewithal to do much more than it does. One of the things I’ve often bellyached about is the lack of investigative journalism in the Black press. To assign a reporter to more than one week of work with a decent wage seems to be a low priority for most Black publishers—and that’s a shame. Even so, I’ve tried to undertake this task on several occasions and it’s paid off in awards, if not pay.
G-Man: On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, NBC and PBS, in terms of adhering to journalism’s best practices and standards?
Boyd: I am gravely disappointed in the mainstream media and that’s why many years ago I made up mind to put all my energy into alternative outlets. At the beginning of my career, at the Detroit Free Press, I watched editors’ trash press releases of stories I thought were important. On one occasion, I rescued one and brought it the city editor’s attention and that began my march out of the door. From there I went to the Black press and then to alternative newspapers, radio and television stations. And I’ve never looked back or regretted that move.
G-Man: Av Westin, former executive producer for the “ABC Evening News”, wrote a book a number of years ago called Best Practices for Television Journalists. In a chapter entitled “Bias”, Westin revealed that race often played a major role in determining who would obtain high-profile anchor positions at major networks and the types of stories that would be covered. Westin angered many news industry insiders with this revelation. Can you offer an example, drawing from personal experience, which would substantiate Westin’s claim?
Boyd: The very reason there is need for Black news outlets is because of the relentless racism that impacts every niche and sinecure of our society. The media, ostensibly, is forged to buffer and bolster the other pillars of the society and in our capitalist, racist, incipiently fascist society; with only a few exceptions it plays this role unflinchingly well. Even when they do dip into things in a counter-intuitive way it’s only momentary and then it’s back to the old tired routine. We often talk about how we are impugned by the New York Post, but it is not alone and all we have to do is to remember some of the reactionary covers of the New Yorker and other magazines to know the insensitivity and disregard the publications can have for minorities.
G-Man: In two sentences or less, describe the following: Ed Bradley, Gil Noble, Max Robinson, Carol Ford, Sue Simmons, Bev Smith, Tavis Smiley and Ed Gordon.
Boyd: I know or knew all of them personally except the late Max Robinson and Carol Ford. The others are exemplars of the best journalists in the media, Black, White or otherwise. Noble stands apart for his unimpeachable integrity, and I was always thrilled each time he asked me to appear on his show, Like It Is. I worked with Gordon at the beginning of his career in Detroit, and I miss his thoroughgoing reports and analysis.
G-Man: I want to place the spotlight on Tavis Smiley for this next question. People from different backgrounds and races have expressed displeasure with Smiley for what they consider to be relentless attacks against President Obama. While citing he has the right to pose important questions regarding the plight of Black America, many feel he has crossed the boundaries of responsible journalism by questioning or speaking in a manner that appears to be “personal”. What is your assessment?
Boyd: For me, Tavis blows hot and cold. At his best—and some folks think he is not a journalist at all—he is fine interrogator; at his worst, he fails miserably. He once interviewed me and I thought he spent too much time talking about himself rather than gathering my impressions. Yes, he’s caused quite a stir here lately with his poverty tour, which was well-intended, though he and Dr. West may have bitten off much more than they can chew.
G-Man: In 2008, your book, “Baldwin’s Harlem: A Biography of James Baldwin”, was published and received rave reviews. Given that Baldwin was a native of the Harlem community, a community he dearly loved, what do you think the legendary author’s reaction would be to the “new” Harlem?
Boyd: James practically expressed his anger and derision of the “new Harlem” in one of his last essays. He confessed that he hardly recognized it; I think what he really missed was a certain camaraderie, bonhomie of the people, the failure of them to deliver that warmth and familiarity that was so much apart of his coming of age. Change is inevitable and to expect things to remain the same was naïve on his part, but it could have been an accumulation of lost things; his lack of confidence in navigating a terrain he once knew like the back of his hand.
G-Man: Complete this statement: The greatest lesson my parents taught me as a child was.....
Boyd: To find my dream and make it come true.
G-Man: Finally, what advice would you offer to young people that are currently pursuing careers in journalism?
Boyd: Make sure you’re doing something you dearly love, something you’d do even if they didn’t pay you. In short, find something that you can’t live without, a passion that you never tire of. If journalism is your desire, you will know it early on and if doesn’t stick after a year or two, you’re in the wrong profession. Writers know when the ink is in their blood and the best of us know there’s little we can do about it but surrender.
Herb Boyd photo and bio obtained via http://aalbc.com/authors/herb_
Amsterdam News logo obtained via http://www.andrewcuomo.com/
Thirty-five women had mammogram screenings for cancer, with over a dozen more women referred to AICF screenings taking place in December around the district and closer to their homes (plus a few cancellations), totaling 55 test appointments made for that day. This was the ninth mammography event the Senator coordinated for women in his district since October 2008.
“We know that early detection of breast cancer can save lives. Once again, I worked with the American-Italian Cancer Foundation to bring their Mammogram Van to my district, offering free, vital health care services for women ages 40 and older, who have had no mammograms in the last 12 months, who either have no insurance, or are insured by Medicare, Medicaid or other health insurance, which will be billed for services,” explained Addabbo.
"For women without health insurance, services will be paid for by the Screening Partnerships of the New York State Cancer Services Program (NYSCSP) or through generous contributions by the American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s donors. “However, even insured women will not be charged a co-payment and will not receive a bill,” added the senator.
American-Italian Cancer Foundation outreach staffers Gladys Ayala-Borjas and Ayesha Ghosh and Senator Addabbo at screening event.
“This is our largest turn-out in four years; I’m so pleased recent cancer awareness activities urged more women to take advantage of our screenings in the district, at no cost to them, which pays big dividends to their health and for their peace of mind. Peter DeLucia, Director of Special Events in my Howard Beach office, is planning another screening event with AICF next year, either over the winter or next spring,” Addabbo concluded.
For more information on future screenings contact Senator Addabbo's office at (718-738-1111).
Photos courtesy of the office of Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.
Monday, November 21, 2011
At the President's request, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough joined Special Envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman on a visit to Sudan and South Sudan November 20-21. This follows Mr. McDonough’s short visit to Iraq with National Security Advisor to the Vice President and Deputy Assistant to the President Tony Blinken.
In Khartoum, Mr. McDonough and Special Envoy Lyman discussed the urgent crisis in the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile in Sudan and recent cross-border attacks that threaten the peace between Sudan and South Sudan.
They reiterated the United States’ deep concern over continuing fighting in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by the fighting, which is exacerbated by the Government of Sudan’s blocking of international humanitarian assistance to the civilian population.
The meetings also addressed the state of U.S.-Sudan relations, the importance of resolving the remaining post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement issues between Sudan and South Sudan, and highlighted the importance of bringing peace and justice to Darfur.
In Juba, Mr. McDonough and Special Envoy Lyman addressed these same crises and the need to respect the sovereignty of Sudan, including by ending support for the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The meetings also discussed ways for making progress to resolve the remaining post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement issues.