Railroad to Jail in Terrell (Summary)

February 28, 2001

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu'min Muhammad

A young Black man whose parents own property and who dared to take out a warrant on a prominent white man for pulling a gun on him, was convicted today, February 28, 2001, of a trumped up charge on a crime two months later involving a white county commissioner, who is friends with the man who drew the gun. Let us add that Mr. Bogans was tried with made up evidence and lost material evidence, no eyewitnesses, a majority white jury in a majority Black county, with a defense lawyer that dropped the ball. No this is not O.J., remember he won, but an unknown Black man in Terrell County Georgia.

Let this be a warning to every Black parent who has substantial equity in a piece of real estate and has young Black men. Keep them inside because they are the target of old scam: put the young ones on the chopping block and make the parents pay through their nose to defend them until they have to put their property up for a loan, and later the vultures split the profits of the evitable selling of the property to pay the lawyer bills.

It is happening in Terrell County Georgia and all over America. I have seen it happen in Greensboro, N.C. and Saginaw, Michigan, personally. Now I am witnessing it right around the corner from Muhammad Farms, where the Messenger wanted me to be right now.

Click here for the full story.

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Plane crash kills 21
Sat., March 3, 2001 6:36 p.m. ET

Amy Lewis, weather.com

In the midst of heavy rain, a plane carrying members of the National Guard
burst into flames, killing 21 people on board. 

The twin-engine C-23 Sherpa crashed near Unadilla, Ga., about 30 miles south
of Macon, said John Birdsong, a spokesman for Robins Air Force Base. 

Three Army personnel and 18 Air National Guard members were on

A spokeswoman for the Virginia Air National Guard said all 18 of the
National Guard members were from a Virginia-based military
construction and engineering crew. They were on a routine training

The plane's pilot and two other crew members were members of the
171st Aviation Battalion of the Florida Army National Guard. 

Identities of the victims were not immediately released. 

"This tragic loss on a routine training mission reminds us of the sacrifices
made each and every day by all of our men and women in uniform,"
Bush said in a statement. "The price of freedom is never free. Today's
events remind us that it is sometimes unspeakably high." 

John Allen Bryant Sr., 57, heard the crash in a field on his farm, about
two miles from his house. He rushed to the site. 

"It was just a horrible, horrible scene," Bryant said. "The plane was just
about completely gone. There was very little of its stuff left. It just about
all had burned up. It was just awful." 

Dennis Posey, a farmer who lives about a half-mile from the field,
jumped into his pickup and headed for the crash site after hearing the

"There was no way" anyone survived, Posey said. "As soon as I seen
that plane, I knew nobody could come out of that. There was a wing off
it and a part of the tail section. Matter of fact, a wing, probably 20 feet
of it, was on a piece of my farm." 

Mike Bryant, who also lives nearby, said he the plane sounded troubled
as it passed overhead. 

"I turned around and I saw it just fall to the ground. It exploded. It
wasn't on fire until it hit the ground. Then it exploded and burst into
flames," said Bryant. 

Officials have not yet determined the cause of the crash, but heavy rains
and winds, which swept the area overnight Friday and into Saturday,
are suspect. 

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Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 05:46:14 -0800
From: ijblack1@aol.com
Subject: Florida A&M President Resigns? But Why?

**Black Excel has the TOP SCHOLARSHIP
gateway for our folks on the Internet. Go To:
*A Black Excel overview...
Florida A&M President Resigns? But Why?

Black Excel Shouts: "Say It Ain't So!"

After 16 years of outstanding service to Florida A&M University
and aspiring college students nationwide, Frederick S. Humphries
has announced his resignation as President of one of our greatest
and highest ranked historically black colleges. Humphries,
in my opinion, has been a blessing to our people, to say the
least. His resignation is effective June 30, 2001.

During his presidency, Humphries has made Florida A& M one
of the premier universities in the United States, with accolades
and honors piling up. In 1977 TIME magazine, in conjunction with
the Princeton Review, named FAMU "College of the Year." The
school was cited because the university had taken giant steps over
a decade with a new look and a mission of "excellence" evolving.

Over $130 Million in capital improvements on campus were made
under the leadership of Humphries. There was improved fundraising, the
addition of academic programs and majors, and so much more.
One key point, is that FAMU is the nation's biggest single-campus
HBCU. It now has more than 12,200 students (up from 5,000 since

More good news? In 1992, 1995, and 1997, FAMU beat out Harvard
in recruiting National Achievement Scholars, considered by many to
be among our brightest Black scholars. In 2000, FAMU and
Harvard were tied. In a recent edition of the Journal of Blacks in
Higher Education, it was reported that FAMU was the #1 producer
of baccalaureate degrees for Blacks in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Humphries himself had pointed out many of the pluses--that FAMU
leads the nation in the graduation of black teachers, for example, and
ranked fifth in black engineering students. Right now, new Ph.D.
programs are projected for 2004 in the fields of Computer Science,
Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. Of major importance, too, is the fact
that Humphries has been pivotal in persuading the Florida Legislators
to reestablish (read below) a FAMU College of Law at the school. It's
scheduled for an 2003 opening, probably in Orlando. All things
it was no surprise when Humphries was named "Floridian of the Year"
in 1997.

Well, What Happened?

"What happened" some are asking? Why would President
Humphries, on the verge of taking FAMU to even higher heights,
suddenly decide to give it all up? ``I'm 65 years old,'' President
Frederick Humphries told supporters at his Feb. 2001 news conference,
``It's time for some young vigorous Rattler to come in to help lead
this institution.'' But is he stepping down voluntarily?

Bill Cotterell, a senior writer for the Tallahassee Democrat,
openly asked, "Did he jump, or was he pushed?" Sen. Al Lawson,
D-Tallahassee, a FAMU graduate, was blunt. He said, "I think the
resignation comes at a bad time, and it's obvious there must have
been a situation where the president was forced out." Indeed, many
say that FAMU was a "hotbed of opposition" to Gov. Jeb Bush's
One Florida Plan* and source of strong criticism of President George
W. Bush during the 36-day struggle for Florida's electoral votes.
Some were reportedly upset that the Rev. Jesse Jackson and vehement
Bush critics led rallies on the FAMU campus during the presidential
campaign. Payback?

The Black Excel Concern?
>From a political standpoint, Florida A&M is undoubtedly seen
as having great value. With Humphries gone, will the Governor
or Regents of the State (or legislators), be sympathetic to
FAMU's strong "development" as a top HBCU? Indeed, will the
school's mission be "watered down" with future programs or schools
being merged into the U. of Florida system in general?

Note this 1999 write-up that appears at The Black College Defense
Force website:

"Until the 1970s, FAMU had its own law school and FSU had no
law school. FSU officials endeavored to change that. They had their
legislative supporters underfund FAMU's law school literally to death,
then use the funds that had previously sustained FAMU's law school
to construct and maintain a new one on FSU's campus--stocked with
library books shipped over (and still marked "FAMU") from FAMU's
newly shuttered facility." This info is sad, but what's sadder is that
*we* should be able to support, in 2001 and beyond (from private funds),
any institution or expansion we desire. NO?

Black Excel ranks Florida A&M University in its "top 10" grouping
of HBCUs. We speak highly of the school in our college guide.
It's a university that obviously needs our top support. We note that
President Bush has issued a statement from his Capitol
office, praising Humphries as "one of the best friends education has
ever had" in Florida. Well, then why not ask Humphries to stay?

--Isaac Black,
Black Excel; The College Help Network


*the Florida One Plan replaced affirmative action in college admissions
in Florida with a plan to admit the top 20 percent of every high school
graduating class to schools.

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E-Letter To The New York Times Re: "Adjusting Drug Policy"

Your editorial "Adjusting Drug Policy" while correct to encourage efforts to
reduce the demand for drugs, manifests the largest blind spot in the "war on
drugs" - the continued neglect of the role that major financial institutions play in
the trillion-dollar drug trade. Your decision to frame the drug debate as an
"either -or" option of stemming the supply or demand for drugs, overlooks the
sector where the supply and demand for drugs meet - in drug profits that
eventually end up in US banking institutions or their related offshore banking

What makes your editorial even more ironic is the fact that yesterday's New
York Times, which features the editorial, also includes an article, "Citibank
Criticized for Slow Response to Money Laundering Scheme", that
demonstrates the role that US banks play in laundering drug money. 

And to add insult to injury your editorial refers glowingly to the movie "Traffic",
as a catalyst for a much -needed debate over US drug policy. But we guess it
should come as no surprise that the movie "Traffic" - made with the assistance
of the US government - does not deal for one second, with the role that US
banks play in the laundering of dirty drug money. 

You are correct to reason that decreasing the demand for and supply of drugs
should be a top priority. And you do well to advise that the demand side
deserves more attention in the way of increased funding for treatment and
rehabilitation programs.

But to totally ignore the fact that not one major banking institution has been
punished with the loss its charter for enabling money laundering is inexcusable.
There are over 100 instances of where banks have been proved guilty of the
practice and not a single one has been put out of business. Imagine the message
this sends to America when low-level drug dealers and small businesses are
imprisoned and shut down for doing the same.

We find it more than interesting that the New York Times and the rest of the
mainstream print media are quick to target money laundering, on their editorial
pages, when it comes to making the case that "third-world" dictators are
stealing money from their country and laundering it overseas in US bank
accounts; and yet, as a unified chorus, remain totally silent when it comes to
opposing these very same banks when they provide the same illegal service
for international and domestic drug dealers. 

If the New York Times reporters can recognize the problem of money
laundering then certainly it is not too much to expect that the nation's most
influential editorial board would put its weight behind an effort to hold financial
institutions responsible for the function that they serve in maintaining and
growing the world's drug trade. 

Anything less not only makes the war on drugs ineffective but also makes it
look like a sham. 


Cedric Muhammad 



February 28, 2001 

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Containing Foot and Mouth Disease in Britain

UK: NFU says animal movement will ensure British meat is kept on shelves
2 Mar 2001
Source: Press Release 

The announcement by the Government that there will be limited movements of livestock to abattoirs from Tuesday will help to ensure that shops are stocked with British meat, says the NFU. 

But the plan to allow movements to specifically licensed abattoirs will be strictly controlled, said NFU President Ben Gill. 

He said: "Nothing must come in the way of eradicating this disease. That is our absolute priority."

Under the plan, no movement of animals from farm to farm will be allowed and all movements to slaughterhouses will be licensed with thorough cleansing and disinfection of vehicles at the farm and the abattoir.

Mr Gill added: "We have been working with MAFF and the Chief Veterinary Officer to draw up this plan and the CVO has advised us that this can happen without compromising efforts to stamp out the disease.

"This will be of some help in alleviating the growing animal welfare problems resulting from the backlog of animals on farms as well as helping to lessen the acute financial difficulties of livestock farmers unable to market their animals. 

"The movement will also enable British meat to maintain its place in our shops, which is especially vital following the outrageous news today that Germany is still flagrantly breaching BSE rules."

He added: "It is worth stating one more time for the record that there is no implication for the human food chain of foot and mouth."

The lack of movement within farms and from holding to holding is also leading to growing welfare problems. Disease control must be the priority but the NFU has asked the CVO to explore if there is any possibility of allowing limited licensed
movements at a later stage. 

But Mr Gill said: "We would again rely on the advice of the CVO that this would not damage our efforts to contain the disease."

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this document, the NFU cannot accept liability for errors and omissions. This information should not be regarded as constituting legal advice, and should therefore not be relied upon as such. NFU©

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February 28, 2001 (202) 225-1605


While the George W. Bush White House plans its "closed to the public" rally 
at Fernbank Natural History Museum in Georgia with a "tax family," it is 
really spinning the Bush side of the tax cut story. The Bush Administration 
will go to extreme lengths to avoid telling the American people . . .

The Rest of the Story….

The rest of the tax story, on which he remains silent, is that George W. 
Bush’s tax proposal is not a priority for the American people. It is, 
however, a priority for his Cabinet, which is the richest Presidential 
Cabinet in the history of the United States. Seven of his Cabinet Members 
have assets of greater than ten million dollars. All of the Bush Cabinet, 
except one, have assets of at least one million dollars. The lone member of 
the Bush Cabinet, who is not also a member of the Millionaires Club is, Anne 
Veneman, Bush’s Secretary of Agriculture. These important policy decisions 
makers have very little in common with the average working class family 
trying to make ends meet. 

The tax cut presented in the President's budget document ignores the need to 
renew several popular expiring tax credits, like the work opportunity credit 
and the welfare-to-work credit. It does not include any estimates for the 
cost of tax cuts that he promised for health care coverage, long-term care, 
teachers, or housing. 

The President's focus on his "typical family of four" also deflects
attention from the fact that many people are not like this archetypal
family. A single mother with two children and a $22,000 annual income would 
get nothing. A retired widow with no kids and an income of $30,000 would get 
a mere $300. This is because the Bush tax package fails to benefit working 
families who need the Earned Income Tax Credit to rise above the poverty line.

A working family that needs the Earned Income Tax Credit to lift itself out 
of poverty will receive nothing from President Bush’s tax cut. Twelve million 
children from those families who need the Earned Income Tax Credit will 
receive nothing.

During his campaign for the White House, George W. Bush distanced himself 
from the radical Republicans in Congress such as Tom Delay and Dick Armey, 
who wanted to cut the Earned Income Tax Credit in order to pay for a tax cut 
for their wealthy contributors. 

Now that candidate Bush has become President Bush, not only has he brought 
Newt Gingrich back into the fold, his tax plan leaves millions of working 
class families out in the cold. 

Even the conservative Wall Street Journal headlines that "Well-to-do Gain 
Most in Bush Tax Plan."

While America’s working families might be left out in the cold with respect 
to George Bush’s tax cuts, U.S. multinational corporations are not. Even the 
right wing CATO Institute recommends that corporate welfare "go on the 
chopping block." Yet in energy policy legislation introduced Monday on 
behalf of the Bush Administration, another $21 billion in subsidies and tax 
breaks to energy companies is authorized.

The wealthiest Americans, who really benefit from George W. Bush’s tax cut, 
are staging rallies to hide behind specially-selected "tax families." These 
"tax families" are not representative of the true beneficiaries of the George 
W. Bush tax scheme. 

The top one percent with incomes ranging $900,000 a year are receiving a 
whopping 43% of the tax cut’s benefits. 

And that’s the rest of the story.

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Copyright 2001 Newsweek 

February 26, 2001


Is Our Society Making You Sick?
By Stephen Bezruchka, M.D.

Americans are obsessed with health. Just look at today's magazines, TV
shows, Web sites, self-help books--and where we put our dollars. As a country, we make up about 4 percent of the world's total population, yet we expend almost half of all the money spent on medical care. We should be pretty healthy. 

Yet I have always been amazed at how poorly the United States ranks in
health when compared with other countries. When I began medical school in 1970 we stood about 15th in what I call the Health Olympics, the ranking of countries by life expectancy or infant mortality. Twenty years later we were about 20th, and in recent years we have plunged even further to around 25th, behind almost all rich countries and a few poor ones. For the richest and most powerful country in the world's history, this is a disgrace. 

As a physician obsessed with understanding what makes groups of people
healthy, I'm dumbfounded that our low ranking doesn't raise more concern in the medical and public-health communities. Is it because experts in these fields don't want to question the role of medical care in producing health? Does our focus on diseases--including the search for risk factors, cures and specific preventive answers--stop Americans from looking at what would really keep us well? 

Research during this last decade has shown that the health of a group of
people is not affected substantially by individual behaviors such as smoking, diet and exercise, by genetics or by the use of health care. In countries where basic goods are readily available, people's life span depends on the hierarchical structure of their society; that is, the size of  the gap between rich and poor. 

How can hierarchy affect health? Consider the feelings that predominate in a
hierarchical situation: power, domination, coercion (if you are on top); resignation, resentment and submission (if you are on the bottom). Compare them with feelings in an egalitarian environment: support, friendship, cooperation and sociability. Studies with baboons in Kenya and macaque monkeys in captivity, both of which feature strong hierarchical relationships, show that high-ranking animals are healthier than those lower in the pecking order. Human population studies show additional findings. The death rate from heart attacks among middle-aged men is four times greater in Lithuania than in Sweden, which is much more egalitarian. 

We can learn something by looking at countries that do well in the Health
Olympics. In 1960 Japan stood 23d, but by 1977 it had overtaken all the others in the health race. 

Today, at No. 1, Japan has a life expectancy on average three and a half
years longer than the United States'. Twice as many Japanese men as American men smoke, yet the deaths attributable to smoking are half of ours. Why? After the second world war, the hierarchical structure of Japan was reorganized so all citizens shared more equally in the economy. Today Japanese CEOs make 15 to 20 times what entry-level workers make, not the almost 500-fold difference in this country. During their recent economic crisis, CEOs and managers in Japan took cuts in pay rather than lay off workers. That the structure of 
society is key to well-being becomes evident when we look at Japanese who
emigrate: their health declines to the level of the inhabitants of the new country. 

Did this health-hierarchy relationship always exist--is it part of human

Archeological records from burial mounds and skeletal remains indicate that
human populations were relatively healthy before the advent of agriculture. The
development of farming allowed food to be produced in quantities and stored, enabling some to live off the efforts of others--a hierarchy. With agriculture, health declined, nutrition worsened and workload increased. 

Why has the medical community, as well as the popular press, essentially
ignored these findings? I suspect that part of the explanation lies in Americans' "cradle to grave" relationship with the health-care industry, which represents one seventh of the U.S. economy. 

If equality is good medicine, then what can be done to improve Americans'

Our primary goal should be to reduce today's record gap between rich and

Prescriptions for such "structural medicine" might include a tax on
consumption rather than income, or increased support for public transportation, schools and day care, all of which would reflect a change in how the population shares in the economy. We must put our eyes on a new prize: doing better in the Health Olympics. The best prescription for health is not one we will get from doctors. 

Bezruchka teaches at the University of Washington's School of Public Health.

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GERMANY: Nation waits for first foot and mouth outbreak
28 Feb 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team 

Germany’s agricultural industry is on tenterhooks as the country’s health officials wait anxiously to see if foot-and-mouth disease had spread to the country.

Vets yesterday found sheep that showed antibodies to the ailment had apparently not contracted the disease. Two farms in the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia have been quarantined within a radius of three kilometres. Both farms had recently imported sheep from Britain.

The quarantine on the two farms is expected to remain in place until further tests are carried out today.

Officials were not optimistic Germany could remain free of the disease for long despite culling around 1,500 sheep and lambs as part of efforts to prevent the disease spreading into Germany via livestock imported from Britain. Germany is also tracing animals imported into Germany from Britain by way of third countries.

Other measures imposed by the German government include the slaughter of all sheep originating from infected British farms, a closure of livestock markets for a week beginning today, building up a foot-and-mouth vaccine stockpile and tightening controls on animal transport.

German health officials have said the country has imported 3,530 sheep from Britain since 20 January, of which 2,400 went to the Baden-Wuerttemberg region, 430 to Hessen and 700 to North Rhine-Westphalia.

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To view the entire article, go to http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60222-2001Feb27.html 

Gene-Spliced Wheat Stirs Global Fears 

Agricultural scientists have developed the first genetically engineered 
variety of wheat designed for sale to farmers, stirring intense controversy 
around the globe years before it is expected to come onto the market. 
The wheat, produced by the biotechnology giant Monsanto, has been spliced 
with a gene that protects it from Monsanto's powerful and popular herbicide 
Roundup, allowing farmers to kill weeds efficiently without harming their 
crop. Monsanto says it will be ready for farmers within two to four years, 
and the company estimates it will increase crop yields by $6 to $11 an acre. 
The company hopes the wheat will also lead to other engineered improvements 
to one of the world's oldest and most important crops, but the international 
reaction illustrates just how contentious and unpredictable genetically 
engineered crops have become.

As news of Monsanto's wheat has spread, buyers from Japan to Europe and 
Egypt have told U.S. exporters that their consumers will not accept genetically modified wheat because of general fears about possible harm 
to the environment and human health from engineered crops. Some have said 
that the wheat's very presence on American farms could threaten future 
purchases of all U.S. wheat. Half of all American wheat is exported, 
accounting for $3.7 billion in sales and almost 20 percent of all 
agricultural commodities shipped abroad in 1999. 
"We may in the future have a biotech wheat that the world does want," said 
Darrell Hanavan, chairman of a joint wheat industry committee on 
biotechnology. "But we need to proceed now under the assumption that some 
markets won't want it anytime soon. And the challenge will be to make sure 
that buyers and their customers get exactly what they want." 
In an effort to respond to these concerns, Monsanto has agreed to an 
unprecedented wheat industry request to put in place a system to strictly 
segregate the modified wheat before it is ever sold to farmers or even 
approved by regulators. The company has also agreed generally to promote wheat biotechnology  to buyers and consumers abroad. 

"Some farmers do have concerns about the market for our wheat, but many 
really want it," said Monsanto spokesman Mark Buckingham. "Farmers need to 
make improvements and reduce costs, and farmers know our technology can 
provide that . . . We want to be frank and open because in the current 
atmosphere, it's very easy for misconceptions to arise." 
About 55 percent of U.S. soybeans and 25 percent of corn harvested last 
year were genetically engineered. Development of genetically modified wheat 
has lagged behind other crops because it is a more complex plant, made from 
the union of three wild grasses that have been improved by farmers over the 
millennia. Rights to wheat varieties are often publicly owned, which can 
make them less desirable to profit-making companies. 
Since last year's Starlink corn debacle -- in which an engineered corn only 
approved for animal consumption inadvertently made it into the human food supply -- already negative  attitudes in major foreign markets about genetically modified foods have  intensified. 

The result is that unlike the American corn and soybean industries, which 
quickly embraced biotech products in the mid-1990s, many in the wheat 
industry are approaching biotechnology now more as a challenge to surmount 
than an immediate opportunity to exploit. That wheat has an unusual 
emotional resonance for many people stemming from its use in bread, the 
ancient "staff of life," just adds to the challenge. 
"Monsanto's wheat can definitely be a real benefit to the producers and our 
country," said Phil Isaak, a board member of U.S. Wheat Associates, the 
national organization that promotes American wheat exports for growers. "But 
unless we get worldwide public approval of it, we have to take the position 
of resisting release for commercialization." 
Critics of biotechnology call the worldwide debate over genetically modified wheat a positive development, and are pleased it is happening well 
before the crop is actually introduced. While major U.S. scientific 
organizations have generally found that current genetically engineered crops 
pose no danger to the environment or human health, opponents argue that 
taking genes from one kind of plant or animal and inserting it into another 
could have unforeseen long-term consequences. 

"It is a very healthy thing for people to be asking now if we really need 
this wheat, if it's wise to release it and whether it will benefit people 
who need help," said Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists. 
"This has never happened before with a major product of biotechnology." 
Monsanto's wheat is being tested in greenhouses in the upper Midwest and 
bred into local varieties. Company officials say they are in no rush to 
introduce Roundup Ready wheat, and will bring it onto the market gradually 
when they do. The company has asked for Environmental Protection Agency approval to add wheat to the approved list of crops for its  Roundup herbicide, but has not yet approached two other federal agencies. 

Industry and company officials said they hoped to devise a segregation 
system for engineered wheat -- which would parallel those already in place 
for some special conventional varieties -- by year's end. 
Montana wheat farmer Frank Elling said he would be happy to use Roundup 
Ready wheat if he was certain customers would accept it. But his Pacific Rim 
buyers have made their reservations known, and Asian governments have taken 
dramatic steps in recent years to reject shipments of genetically modified 

Japanese officials, for instance, turned back a boatload of corn last year 
suspected to contain the Starlink variety, and Thai officials did the same 
with a shipment of wheat 18 months ago. In that case, officials concluded 
that the American wheat had been mixed with small amounts of engineered corn 
while being transported  from the West Coast.  Similar messages of concern have been coming in to the 17 international  offices of U.S. Wheat Associates, the American export marketing group. A  letter from Tsutoma Shigeta of the Japan Flour Millers Association said, for instance, that "Japanese consumers are highly suspicious and skeptical about safety of [genetically modified] farm products which may be hazardous to human health and environment. Under the circumstances, I strongly doubt that 
any bakery and noodle products made of [modified] wheat or even conventional 
wheat that may contain [modified] wheat will be accepted in the Japanese 

Jeff Smidts of the Dutch wheat supplier Andre & Cie wrote even more bluntly, 
"[Genetically modified] wheat for sure will be a market destructor." Because 
of such concerns, legislators in Montana and North Dakota have introduced 
bills to place a moratorium on the use of genetically engineered wheat. 
Val Giddings, vice president for food and agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, said he has heard similar concerns, but that he believes the "perception of resistance is substantially greater than the reality is likely to be. 
"Monsanto has recognized and is acting on the understanding that some folks 
want to have more input into this product," he said. "They are trying to do 
this in an open and transparent way, and that is not without risk." 

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Recovering Farrakhan is back at old stand
February 26, 2001
By E.A. Torriero

In his first public address since colon surgery last fall, Nation of
Islam leader Louis Farrakhan told his flock Sunday that although his
recovery is slow, illness has not tamed him or his message.

"When I said I had a near-death experience, (people) said, 'Here is a
kinder, gentler, sweeter Farrakhan,'" he said. "To hell he is."

Looking as energetic at the pulpit as ever and railing against white
oppression and the U.S. government, Farrakhan showed few signs of
softening in a rambling 2½-hour speech.

"It is not that I am sick, but the operation was so (major) that it
will take just a bit more time to get me all the way back," he told
several thousand followers at Christ Universal Temple on Chicago's
South Side.

Thousands more watched on closed-circuit feeds in more than 90 cities
around the world as the group marked Saviour's Day, the 26th
anniversary of the death of group founder Elijah Muhammad.

Farrakhan's daughter, Fatima, a registered nurse, told the gathering
she has cared for her father for 15 months and he is making steady

Farrakhan, 67, last made a public appearance in Washington at the
Million Family March on Oct. 16. Struggling with prostate cancer since
1999, Farrakhan underwent surgery in Washington, D.C., Nov. 3 to
repair a large ulcer in his colon.

"We anticipate one final minor operation," his daughter said, adding
that Farrakhan is cancer free. "That will restore the minister's
condition and bring him back to his old self."

For much of his message, Farrakhan urged black Americans not to be
"prey" for a U.S. government Farrakhan says is dominated by whites.

He urged Christian and Muslim clergy not to participate in President
Bush's faith-based initiatives because he sees it as pandering to
white desires to control blacks.

"Don't you think for one minute you will see me begging for crumbs,"
said Farrakhan. It is unclear if the Nation of Islam would be eligible
for such aid under the Bush plan.

Farrakhan was skeptical that the appointment of Colin Powell as
secretary of state and Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser
would advance the black cause. 

In recent months, the Nation of Islam has toned down some of its fiery
rhetoric, especially toward Jews, once called "bloodsuckers" by the

On Sunday Farrakhan said white supremacists manipulated the
presidential election so Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an orthodox Jew, would
not be "a heartbeat from the presidency" if elected vice president.

"They robbed the black and brown and elderly Jewish voters," he said,
referring to the controversy over ballot counts in Florida. "The
government of the United States is your perpetual oppressor."

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Volume 4, Number 10 February 27, 2001

The Farmer


Farm, Food and Family Weekend

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

In conjunction with the annual National Saviours’ Day Celebration held the fourth weekend in February, Muhammad Farms, the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association along with the Southwest Georgia Outreach Ministries hosted a three day agenda of programs in Southwest Georgia and Southeast Alabama.

On Friday a round table discussion was held in Dawson City Hall to discuss "Your Future and the Future of Dawson". The young people on the panel were asked to define their concept of success. They emphasized obtaining ones goals and financial security as major elements of success. When asked what they disliked most about Dawson, they emphasized a lack of recreational activities for the youth and a severe shortage of well paying jobs as the major problems.

We were also lucky to have in attendance Rev. Ezekiel Holley, Terrell County NAACP President, and Mayor Robert Albritten of Dawson. Both Rev. Holley and Mayor Albritten pointed out to the youth that what goes on in a city and the availability of jobs was affected by political decisions made at both the county and state level and not just at the city level. This simple fact was a major revelation to the youth and may be just as revealing to the older citizens.

One young man from Albany pointed out how Black people went in numbers to the City Council in Albany to push for a new football stadium and got the city’s approval. However, they failed to show up at the County Commissioners meeting and the project was voted down. The people just did not know the power of the County Commissioners in what was to happen in the city.

That next day Rev. Holley continued his educational message of political activism and the relation between laws and the quality of life in his introductory remarks at the "Farm, Food and Family" workshops held at the Terrell County Government Complex in Dawson. He brought to the workshop of 30 leaders from 13 different cities his particular interest in the Predatory Lending bill introduced by State Senator Vincent Forte that had just cleared the State Banking Committee soon to be brought to a vote on the floor of the Georgia State Senate. He pointed out how one vote in the Senate last year was the determining vote in passing a "Hate Crimes Bill". A lot of grassroots organizing and lobbying the Senate members was necessary to win that slim margin. He emphasized strongly the need for, not only increased voter registration, but voter education, so that the common man can learn how to influence "Goliath" to do the right thing.

Dr. John Marshall, a medical doctor and Sumter County NAACP President, spoke on the need for people to stop being afraid. "We all are going to die. That’s just a fact. So are you going to live shaking in fear, or stand up and leave a legacy for your children that will make life better for them than the life that you had to bear in oppression?"

Sister Anne Muhammad, Board Chairperson of the Southwest Georgia Outreach Ministries, pointed out the need for our sisters to breast feed their babies and cook wholesome meals for their families. "Some people argue that their grandparents lived long lives from eating what some call today ‘slave food’. However, I bet if you chemically analyzed the foods then and now, you would find that we are not eating the "same" food as they were eating." Sister Anne also drew the connection between improper eating, particular junk food and a lot of excess sugars, to the alarmingly high rate of diabetes in the Black community. Dr. Marshall concurred and said that research has shown a strong link between obesity and diabetes. "It must be the food", he said.

Dwight Bailey and Paul Reeves, both from the Department of Energy, brought a whole new perspective on renewal energy development. Johnny Huddleston revealed his plans for fresh water shrimp production and marketing in Southwest Georgia.

Patrick Carradine, a young entrepreneur from Tifton, GA, exposed the group to the A.C.N. marketing plan and business opportunities. "I have testimonials of how much money can be made and can show you how you can pay off your farm, buy more equipment and subsidize your farming operation by working this plan on a part-time basis", he said.

Sister Anne Muhammad received applause on the meal that she prepared for the conference participants. She demonstrated how a well thought out and prepared meal can be both healthy and delicious. The meal included smoked salmon loaf, Egyptian rice, vegetable casserole, non-pork seasoned collard greens, cream of wheat bread and carrot cake.

Dr. Ridgely Muhammad explained to the audience that he had not learned how to eat properly and that was one of the reasons that he was on a three day fast. "You see what you all must understand is that I have to eat her cooking everyday. I only eat once a day, and when I get into that stuff that she been cooking I just ‘pig out’. I eat too fast, but y’all see what I’m up against, don’t you?"

Sunday we were blessed to have the live satellite broadcast of Minister Louis Farrakhan’s keynote address in the Terrell County Government Complex in Dawson, Ga. and at Wallace College in Eufaula, Alabama. We were quite delighted and surprised at the turn out of over 50 people in little Eufaula considering the lack of publicity that we were able to get in that area. It just shows that Allah (God) works in the dark while we sleep. Minister Farrakhan looked good, sounded strong, but admonished the religious community that a "tree is known by the fruit it bears, and a man by his works…I do not think that any amount of teaching will be enough to change the wicked ways of our people…We have played with God long enough…It is now time for the retribution."

Copyright (c) 2001 Ridgely A. Mu’min

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SOUTH AMERICA: BSE concerns reshape beef procurement for fastfood chains
27 Feb 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team 

Global concern over BSE is driving fastfood chains in South America to favour local beef suppliers. The pressure to use local suppliers is especially intense in the beef producing nations of the southern cone. In Chile, McDonald's and Burger Inn announced this year that they will no longer source beef from outside the county. In order to win contracts with major
fastfood chains, Chile's leading beef suppliers must certify their beef is raised and processed domestically.

McDonald's, which operates 72 restaurants in Chile, has chosen a beef supplier called Procarne. McDonald's management indicated the restaurant chain has changed suppliers to ensure customers that, even though the franchise is multinational, the beef it uses is local. Burger Inn, which is operated by Retaurantes Tecnicos, uses a beef supplier called Biffe Sor. 

A positive side effect of domestic sourcing of beef in South America is that it is driving suppliers to comply with international standards. It also forces them to take precautions at all levels of production in order to avoid exposure to

By Steve Lewis, just-food.com correspondent

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The Black/Bible Belt hears Farrakhan

February 25, 2001

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

Muhammad Farms, the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association and the Southwest Georgia Outreach Ministries sponsored and enjoyed a three day series of events leading up to the historic Saviours’ Day address by Minister Louis Farrakhan seen via satellite. On Friday night we had a youth town hall meeting entitled "Your Future and the Future of Dawson, Ga." held at city hall in Dawson. On Saturday we had a "Farm, Food and Family" conference held at the Terrell County Government Complex in Dawson. On Sunday we enjoyed the live satellite broadcast of Minister Farrakhan in both Dawson, Ga and Eufaula, Al.

The events themselves were interesting and informative on their own. Much of the information for the "Farm, Food and Family" Conference can be viewed on our website at


However, what I want to present is an analysis of the dynamics of promotional activity and response. The bulk of the promotional activity for the town hall meeting was done via flyers being passed out in Dawson, Ga. From those efforts we recruited 8 people to participate in the round table discussion.

For the conference on Saturday we used a variety of media for dissemination of information to a much wider demographic and geographic market. We printed up and distributed over 1,000 flyers in the cities of Dawson, Bronwood, Sasser, Albany, Americus, Tifton, Cordelle, Moultrie and Smithville. We mailed out over 300 letters. We put out public service announcements in two Black radio stations in Albany, the two t.v. stations in Albany. Two newspapers in Albany and one newspaper in Dawson. We posted the information on our website and sent out via email press releases and related articles to our large e-mail lists of Black newspapers, list-serves and individual subscribers to our newsletter, "The Farmer".

On Saturday we had 30 people to join our workshops from 3 different states and 13 different cities or about 2.5 people per city. Yes we would have liked to have more people but look at how many different areas were represented. Why would someone fly in from Boston, Mass. to attend or drive three hours from Atlanta, but yet we could get only 3 people from Terrell County and 3 people from nearby Albany?

We did the same type of promotions for the satellite hook up in Dawson as we did for the conference. However, only 7 people showed up for the broadcast on Sunday in Dawson. On the other hand, we only sent out 45 letters to Southeast Alabama and had no television promotions, but we had 50 people to attend the satellite hook up in Eufaula, Al.. These 50 people came from 10 different small towns hearing about the hook up mostly by word of mouth and not the direct mailing. All praise is due to Allah.

Now let’s see what the "scientists" have to say about these facts? I’ll just go and get me some bean pie and coffee and come back with the "rest of the story".


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Just don’t embarrass us

February 27, 2001

By Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

In my last article, "The Black/Bible Belt hears Farrakhan", I promised to bring the rest of the story. We had a larger turn out with less effort in Eufaula, Alabama than we did in Dawson, Ga. There are several factors that may have attributed to this difference and my analysis by no means will be exhaustive. But like a fellow colleague of mine stated while I was a research scientist at North Carolina A&T. "Abdul can do more with just one number than anybody that I know."

Well this time, I not only have more than one number, but I also have a wealth of history and anecdotal information that makes the picture clearer to me. As far as I know there has never been a Nation of Islam Mosque or Study Group in Eufaula, Alabama, nor has the Nation owned any land or businesses in this portion of Southeast Alabama. On the other hand, I am the farm manager for a 1600 acre tract of land that was redeemed by Minister Farrakhan in December of 1994 that was part of a much larger 4500 acre farm owned by the Nation of Islam from 1966 to 1976. I have also been told by older Muslims in the Dawson and Albany area that at one time there were over 200 registered Muslims in this area back in the early 1970’s.

When I first arrived in Dawson in 1995, more than a few older Black people who were here during the heyday of that farm in the 60’s and 70’s told me that they were glad to have the Nation back in Terrell County but "just don’t embarrass us." Now that was and is a heavy burden to bear. That 4500 acre farm was the largest tract of land owned by a single Black farmer or corporation in Terrell county. It hired a number of people locally for harvesting and working in the small cannery. The Muslims had money, they had pride and vicariously the other Black people in the community shared in that pride.

I was a member of the Nation of Islam back in those days and in fact visited this same farm when I was a college student at N.C. A&T. In fact I had dreams of working on this same farm. The operation was impressive. I also had the opportunity to visit New York City quite often when I was a member of the Nation back in the early 1970’s. Minister Farrakhan and Captain Yusuf Shaw had developed a virtual Mecca of Black entrepreneurship and self-help economic development on the corner of 116th St. and Malcolm X Boulevard. There were Steak-n-Take restaurants in Harlem and all of the other boroughs in New York. They had it going on.

But the Nation fell. The farm in Georgia was lost. The businesses in New York were lost. The dreams of many were lost and the pride in the people of Terrell County and Albany were smashed to the ground. White people asked the question "Where is Elijah now? Did you really believe that you all could operate on that scale?" The Muslims that stayed in the Dawson and Albany area had to answer for a whole nation and felt the brunt of the death throws. Many gave up the faith while others stayed in Islam under Imam Warith Deen Muhammad. But still they were affected by the loss of that "crown in Terrell County." I invited those from the Albany Masjid to attend our planned Saviours’ Day activities, none came.

On the other hand the Imam from Union Springs under the leadership of Warith Deen Muhammad heard about the satellite hook up in Eufaula by word of mouth and called me to get more details. He brought his family and other believers. Other Muslims came from Tuskeegee and Dothan, Alabama. He along with some of the other Muslims in attendance had lived in the Albany/Dawson area and had fond memories of that farm.

I was in attendance at the first men’s only meetings called by Minister Farrakhan in 1994 at the National Guard Armory in Harlem. I was outside as the men were streaming in and the women were in the streets dancing and crying overwhelmed with the joy of the life spirit being resurrected in Harlem, the spiritual Mecca of the African Diaspora. Farrakhan had come back to Harlem and brought the "juice". Harlem rose up like a great bear coming out of hibernation and the hopes of a new Nation was regenerated.

So now the Black people in Dawson and Albany want the Nation to be successful, but they do not want to get too close or put too much faith in this new attempt to build a Nation in Southwest Georgia. Can you blame them?

"And here I sit in the bottom of this pit,

With nothing but a stick to cultivate it.

I cannot save this land without your helping hand,

Please support the Three Year Economic Plan.


The ‘spirit’ that you save,

Could pull a Nation up out of the grave,

For death is a terrible drink to swallow,

And Elijah’s works are a hard act to follow.


Many came in his name,

Sparked a little, then went out like a flame,

Leaving him, now Farrakhan to blame,

For not being able to cure the completely insane,


Peace, Doc

Copyright (c) 2001 Ridgely A. Mu’min

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Lawrence Mishel; Jared Bernstein; John Schmitt


Median hourly wages rose 7.3% between 1995-99; Disparities in wage
and income gains among the different economic classes continued to
rise throughout 1990s. Persistent low unemployment, accelerating
labor productivity, and a rising minimum wage have led to broad-
based wage gains for U.S. workers at all wage levels since 1995.

However, the typical American family is working more hours, is
taking on historically high levels of household debt that far
outpace small stock market gains, and often fails to receive
adequate health care and pension coverage from their employer,
according to The State of Working America 2000-2001, by economists
Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein and John Schmitt, provides a
comprehensive study of the changing living standards of working

The State of Working America, prepared biennially since 1988 by the
Economic Policy Institute, includes a wide variety of data on family
incomes, wages, taxes, unemployment, wealth, and poverty--data
that enable the authors to closely examine the effect of the economy
on the living standards of the American people. As well as providing
a snapshot of working Americans at the turn of the new century, this
latest edition will look behind the extraordinary job and income
growth of the late 1990s to assess the quality of these new jobs,
weigh the contribution of the high-tech sector in the so-called "new
economy," and examine the widening gap in wages and incomes.

The 454-page book presents new data on family incomes, wages,
wealth, jobs, unemployment, and poverty, as well as state-by-state,
regional and international comparisons of key indicators. For most
workers, the early part of the economic expansion that began in 1991
was disappointing: incomes declined while poverty and job insecurity
increased during what came to be called the "jobless" recovery.
However, since 1995 persistent low unemployment has shifted the
economy into a much higher gear. The tight labor market has been
accompanied by a significant turnaround from widespread wage
decline, labor productivity has accelerated (up 2.5% per year since
1995 compared to an annual rise of 1.3% from 1972-95), and the shape
of wage inequality has changed markedly. The study places the
improvements in wage and income growth over the 1995-99 period
in historical context to determine if the U.S. economy has entered a
"new economy" that will generate continued prosperity for U.S.
workers and families. The authors find that the spike in investments
in information technology associated with the so-called "new
economy" has led to higher productivity, but has not contributed
significantly to job growth, nor has the high-tech sector set the
pace for any meaningful wage gains for workers in other sectors.
Technological change was also not found to be a driving factor in
the growth of wage inequality in either the 1980s or 1990s.
The report’s key findings include:

· Income inequality continued to grow in the late 1990s, though at a
slower rate than earlier in the decade. From 1995-98, real incomes
of low-income families grew 1.9% each year, trailing the growth rate
for families in the middle (2.3%) and the top (3.2%).

Book can be ordered directly from the Economic Policy Institute
or from Cornell University Press

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Blacks' Records Available 

The Mormon Church published records yesterday from the post-Civil War Freedman's Bank for newly freed slaves, making ancestral records available for as many as 12 million black Americans.

The records have been available for years through the National Archives but not in organized form. The church spent 11 years extracting and linking the 480,000 names contained in the records of the bank, which folded in 1874. The result is a searchable database on compact disk which includes information such as family names, birth locations and names of former slave owners.

"These records can provide clues for an estimated 8 to 10 million African-American descendants living today who might want to research their family histories," said Elder L. Lionel Kendrick, a church official. The Freedman's Bank Records CD can be purchased over the Internet at http://www.familysearch.org.

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[Excerpts from the 1999 book "Slam-Dunking Wal-Mart"
by Al Norman. Available online on the Sprawlbusters web site at 
< http://www.sprawl-busters.com/caseagainstsprawl.html>] 

The Case Against Sprawl

"Becoming the world's largest retailer was never 
considered. And being big has never been the goal." 
--Wal-Mart, 1996 Annual Report 

America is drowning in retail glut--and we wouldn't have it any 
other way. As the Discount Store News proclaimed in 1994: 
"Welcome to the United States of Wal-Mart." Despite what they 
say, being big has always been the goal at Wal-Mart. 

Wal-Mart claims that more than 93 million Americans shop at 
Wal-Mart every week. Sales at Wal-Mart for the year ending 
February, 1999 totalled $137 billion. According to economist 
Tom Muller, the average American household spends around 
$1,100 a year at a Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart says in 1996 that the
average American spent $360 at their stores. 

* * *

Wal-Mart is the largest seller of cheap underwear in the world. 
The company boasts that in 1996, it sold 1.13 pairs of underwear 
for every man, woman and child in America.

* * *

As of February, 1999 Wal-Mart operated more than 3,562 "units" in 
seven countries. Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in America, 
having surpassed General Motors. The company had 910,000 employees 
as of the start of 1999. Last year, a new Wal-Mart discount store opened 
every three days, and another 200 stores are planned for this year. It took 
Home Depot 20 years to open 500 stores, but they plan to open another 
500 stores over the next 3 years. 

* * *

"Sprawl" is defined by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as 
"poorly planned, low-density, auto-oriented development that spreads 
out from the center of communities." It creates that doughnut effect in 
some cities where acrylic and asphalt suburban shopping malls form a ring
around the dead center, where the old downtown sits decaying. Between 
1960 and 1975, the state of Pennsylvania lost a total of 3,600,000 acres of 
farmland. That's like losing a geographic area the size of Pittsburgh every
six months.

* * *

Here is how the Bank of America, California's largest financial institution, 
described the impact of sprawl in that state: 

Urban job centers have decentralized to the suburbs. New housing tracts 
have moved even deeper into agricultural and environmentally sensitive areas.
Private auto use continues to rise. This acceleration of sprawl has surfaced 
enormous social, environmental and economic costs, which until now have been
hidden, ignored, or quietly borne by society. The burden of these costs is 
becoming very clear. Businesses suffer from higher costs, a loss in worker
productivity, and underutilized investments in older communities. 

California's business climate becomes less attractive than surrounding 
states. Suburban residents pay a heavy price in taxation and automobile 
expenses, while residents of older cities and suburbs lose access to jobs, social 
stability, and political power. Agriculture and ecosystems also suffer. We can 
no longer afford the luxury of sprawl. 

* * *

The 10 sins of retail sprawl
* It destroys the economic and environmental value of land 
* It encourages an inefficient land-use pattern that is very expensive to serve. 
* It fosters redundant competition between local governments, an economic 
war of tax incentives. 
* It forces costly infrastructure development at the edge of towns. 
* It causes disinvestment from established core commercial areas. 
* It requires the use of public tax support for revitalizing rundown core areas. 
* It degrades the visual, aesthetic character of local communities. 
* It lowers the value of other commercial and residential property, reducing 
public revenues. 
* It weakens the sense of place and community cohesiveness. 
* It masquerades as a form of economic development. 

* * *

When Iowa State University Professor Ken Stone examined the sales changes 
in Iowa small towns from 1983 to 1993, he discovered "a huge shift of sales
to larger towns and cities, with substantial amounts captured by mass 
merchandise stores." Stone estimates that the total number of businesses 
lost in small towns and rural areas was 7,326 in the decade studied. Iowans 
spent $425 million more at discount stores, but $153 million less at variety 
stores, $129 million less at grocery stores, $94 million less at hardware stores, 
$47 million less at men's and boys apparel stores, and so on. In the 11 store 
types studied, businesses lost more than $603 million in sales. In this ten year 
period, Iowa lost: 

555 Grocery stores 
298 Hardware stores 
293 Building Supply Stores 
161 Variety Stores 
158 Women's Apparel stores 
153 Shoe Stores 
116 Drug Stores 
111 Men's and Boys Apparel store 

* * *

That may have seemed like a joke in 1994, but Wal-Mart now has more 
sales than the Gross Domestic Product of Israel, Greece, Ireland and Egypt. 
A Price Waterhouse report says that by the year 2005 just 10 companies, 
including Wal-Mart, will control 50% of food store sales. 

* * *

In her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane 
Jacobs wrote: "Everyplace becomes more like every other place, all adding 
up to Noplace." 

Big box retailers are turning America into a continuous landscape of one-
story, pre-engineered, windowless metal frame buildings sitting on concrete
slab foundations. Such buildings can simply be described as "dead architecture". 

* * *

"At Wal-Mart, we make dust. Our competitors eat dust." 
--Tom Coughlin 
Executive Vice President, Operations 
Wal-Mart Stores Division 

* * *

[C]onsider the case of the small town of Nowata, Oklahoma, (pop. 3,900) 
described as hobbled by the closing of a large retail store. The store closed
down to move to a larger supercenter 30 miles away. "They were not playing
fair," said the President of the local First National Bank. "They came in and
ravaged all the small businesses. And when it came to the point where they 
were not satisfied, they left." The Mayor of Nowata who welcomed the
megastore to town, now says: "Wal-Mart has proven this: They're big and 
they're greedy. They have no compassion for the community or the individual." 

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Black voters get too little from Democratic Party

By Derrick Z. Jackson,
Boston Globe

IT WOULD BE great to see African-Americans throw a
bucket of ice water on the Democratic Party.

I am not talking about dumping the contents and dashing
to the Republicans, since that would be running from
mere abandonment into mental abuse. It would be more
like the parent who just demands a little more respect
out of a child who refuses to get up out of bed. We
still live in the same house, but it would sure be nice
if ever so occasionally, you leap when we say jump.

If there was a time that African-Americans should
reassert their value to the Democrats, it is now. We
just finished giving Al Gore 90 percent of our votes.
Contrary to some musings about a slavish black loyalty
to the party, this was a rational decision once Bush
campaigned at a racist college, refused to criticize
the Confederate flag, and chose in Dick Cheney a
running mate who once voted in the House against a
resolution to call for the release of Nelson Mandela
from jail in apartheid South Africa. No one saw Bush as
clearly as the black folks he used to govern in Texas.
African-Americans there gave Bush only 5 percent of
their votes.

But in his subsequent effort to cover his flanks on
racism, Bush still helps frame how the Democrats have
taken black folks for granted. Bush named African-
Americans Colin Powell as secretary of state and
Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser.

Whether these black people pursue policies more
friendly to the Confederate wing of the Republican
Party or to black people in general remains to be seen.
We already know that Powell's support for affirmative
action and a woman's right to choose has absolutely no
impact on Republican policy. He will be even less
influential offshore. Rice may already be on her way to
being a figurehead for Cheney, a former defense

That said, the Republicans have still one-upped the
Democrats, who probably have never given a thought to a
black person running foreign affairs. The irony is that
it is has been easier for Bush to promote his brand of
black folks, with no fear of offending white voters,
than it has been for the Democrats, who spend as much
time weeding out black people they fear would offend
conservative white suburbanites.

President Clinton had black secretaries of commerce,
labor, agriculture, transportation, and energy, but he
also spent considerable time dumping Lani Guinier,
Joycelyn Elders, and Henry Foster. Clinton appointed
far more black people to mid-level posts than Bush, but
also punished the black poor with punitive welfare
reform and by maintaining racist drug laws that
continue to disproportionately throw black people into

It cannot be forgotten that Clinton, while playing
black ministers like a saxophone, originally elevated
himself in the minds of white suburbanites in the 1992
race by humiliating Jesse Jackson and going home to
Arkansas for the execution of a brain-damaged black

After nearly seven decades of overwhelming support for
Democratic presidential candidates, no black candidate
for even vice president is in remote sight. The party,
in its own paternalism, has groomed no Powell or Rice.
One of the most absurd examples of how black support
was so taken for granted was when Al Gore picked Joseph
Lieberman as his running mate. Lieberman, head of the
Democratic Leadership Council, heretofore known as the
Republicrats, had to spend serious time at the
Democratic convention convincing black Democrats that
he really did not mean it a few years ago when he said
it was time to rethink affirmative action.

Already, the conservative Democrats are saying Gore
lost the election because he was too populist. That is
odd since Gore, who won the popular vote, might have
won Florida with more of a populist demand to count all
the questionable votes in predominantly black

If conservative Democrats are already trying to bring
the party even more to the right, it is time for black
voters to dump the bucket on their heads. How and when
the water is dumped is subject to ongoing discussion.

What is clear is that no group in American politics
gets so little in return for their support than black
folks. It has gotten to the point where, if we are too
afraid to answer our icy bedfellows with an equally
chilly response, we can rightfully be accused of a
slavish, even stupid, loyalty to the Democrats.

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New York ranks last in child poverty

Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- New York has the highest rate of child
poverty in the industrialized world, according to a
study compiled by a Syracuse University researcher.

While Sweden leads the world with only 2.4 percent child
poverty, New York's child poverty rate stands at 26.3
percent, Timothy Smeeding, a professor of public policy,
reports in a book called "Child Well-Being, Child
Poverty and Child Policy in Modern Nations."

Overall, the United States had a child poverty rate of
20.3 percent, which ranked it last among industrialized
nations, Smeeding said.

The best rates in the United States were in the Midwest
with North Dakota and South Dakota at 12.3 percent and
Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas at 13 percent, he said.

Smeeding said the data in his study for the first time
includes benefits and taxes not captured by the
"official" Census Bureau poverty statistics, and
provides a better measure against other nations.

"Despite high rates of economic growth and improvements
in the standard of living industrialized nations ... a
significant percentage of our children are still living
in families that are so poor that normal health and
growth are at risk," Smeeding said.

Forty-five authors in North America, Australia and
Europe contributed to the study.

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AlterNet's "New Media Heroes"


February 22, 2001

The dotcom boom has gone bust. Billboards across Silicon
Valley advertise Web sites that help laid off dotcommers
find new jobs. San Francisco's South Park neighborhood,
the "multi-media gulch" that served as one epicenter of
the Internet boom, is now festooned with For Rent signs.
New York Newsday's lead story on February 19 -- "On
Shaky Ground: The Fall of the Dot Coms" -- is filled
with quotes from unemployed Silicon Alley executives who
found themselves "swept up in an exhausting race to
become first, fastest, or best..."

What happened is no great mystery. Hype had triumphed
over reason for long enough, and finally reason came
back to kick hype in the ass. Today, successful business
models for commercial Web sites -- unless they involve
three Xs in a row -- are mighty rare.

And yet, countless millions of Americans constantly use
the 'Net. They go online to e-mail each other, to trade
information, to flirt, to be entertained, to create
communities, to learn -- they just don't buy enough
stuff for most dotcoms to make a profit. In other words,
the Internet as we know it is more useful for
communicating and bringing people together than for

Often, that communication is done in the public
interest, or in the interest of making trouble for the
dominant corporate establishment. From the hyper-active
listservs used to plan the Seattle protests to five
person online support groups, public interest Web
ventures are growing in number, influence and scope.

In recognition of this growing body of civic minded 'Net
players, the news and syndication service AlterNet.org
has announced the winners of its first annual "New Media
Heroes Awards."

The 24 nominees for the award were selected by AlterNet
readers and staff. The list was then presented to the
public, and thousands cast their votes for up to five of
the 24 nominees. The final tallies gave the popular vote
award to these winners:

1. Chip Giller, Editor of Grist, the online magazine and
newsletter of environmental news, features, columns and
activism (www.gristmagazine.com)

2. Leif Utne, Editor of Utne Web Watch, the Utne
Reader's digest of alternative sites and articles from
elsewhere on the web (www.utne.com/webwatch)

3. Josh Karliner, Director of CorpWatch, the online
activism center and magazine of the Transnational
Resource and Action Center (www.corpwatch.org)

4. John Moyers, Creator and Editor of Tompaine.com, the
online magazine known for its controversial New York
Times Op. Ed. page ads (www.tompaine.com)

5. (virtual tie) Art McGee, Internet Communications
director of the Black Radical Congress, which hosts the
lively BRCNet listserv (www.blackradicalcongress.org)

5. (virtual tie) Josh Knauer, founder of EnviroLink
Network, a free web host for over 500 non-profits, and
CEO of Green Marketplace, a socially responsible e-store

"The New Media Heroes contest is not so much about
ranking the best public interest sites on the Web," says
Don Hazen, AlterNet's executive editor. "It's more an
opportunity to look around in this climate of dotcom
failure and see what works online. These Heroes reach
more people with information that makes a difference in
their lives faster than they ever could before the
technology of the Internet. The creative, effective use
of that technology -- that's what the New Media Heroes
Awards are honoring."

[See link above for full article -- Moderator]

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Ellen Schwartz writes:

Re: Stephen Jay Gould on the human genome

So, what's Gould saying? That it appears one gene can
participate in determining several different traits?
Does this mean that finally scientists might pay
attention to the observed phenomenon that most calico
cats are, well, to put it as kindly as possible,
emotionally disturbed? The coloration is caused by the
presence of a gene for red fur on one x-chromosome, and
its absence on the other -- that also explains why
calico cats are all female, since one needs two X-
chromosomes in order to have a gene associated with one
but not the other. Cat owners will testify that in most
cases, their Calicos have poor social skills, compared
even to the generally low standards of the species as a
whole. In a perhaps related phenomenon, red cats, male
or female, are among the most gregarious and fun to be
with. Even omitting the anthropomorphizing (which I
don't think I can do), there appear to be distinct
personality differences between red tabbies and calicos,
which has always suggested to my ignorant mind that the
gene for red fur influences more than hair color.

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