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July 20, 2007

A tribute to Sekou Sundiata and Bill Moyers highlights your questions and concerns.

SEKOU SUNDIATA: What is? What is the math? What is the mathematics? What is the math? What is the mathematics? What is the math? What is the mathematics of today? What can I say? I was on my on my way to see my –I was on my way to see my – I was on my way to see my woman, but the law said I was on my way through a red light, red light, red light, red light, red light. But if you saw my woman, you could understand I was just bein' a man. It wasn't about no light; it was about my ride. And if you saw my ride, you could dig that, too, you dig? Sun roof, stereo, radio, radio, radio, sun roof, stereo, radio, sun roof, stereo, radio, black leather bucket seats sittin' low, you know? The body's cool, but the tires are worn.

Ride when the hard times come. Ride when they're done. In other words, the light was green. And I could wake up in the morning, without a warning, and my world could change. Blink your eyes. All depends on the skin. All depends on skin you're livin' in. Up to the window come the law with his hand on is gun. 'What's up? What's happenin'?' I said, 'I guess that's when I really broke the law.” He said, “A routine. Step out of the car. A routine. Assume the position. Put your hands up in the air.' You know the routine like you just don't care. 'License and registration.' Deep was the night and the light and de-de-de-de-de-de, deep deep was the night and the light from the North Star on the car door. I could see déjà vu. 'We've been through this before. Why did you stop me?'

'Somebody-body-body-body-body-body-body-body-body- body-body-body-body-body-body-body-body-body-body- body-body-body-body-body-body-body-body-

had to stop you. I watch the news. You always lose. You're unreliable. That's undeniable. That's undeniable. You're dangerous. You're dangerous. You're unreliable. You're on the news. You always lose.' I could wake up in the mornin' and without warnin' my world could change. Blink your eyes. All depends on the skin, all depends on the skin you're livin' in. All depends on the skin, all depends on the skin you're livin' in. New York City, they got laws. Can't no brothers drive outdoors. And certain cars in certain neighborhoods on particular streets layin' around certain types of people, yeah. They got laws. All depends on the skin, all depends on the skin you're livin' in. All depends on the skin, all depends on the skin you're livin' in. All depends on the skin, all depends on the skin, the skin, the skin, the skin...the skin you're livin' in, the skin you're livin' in.

BILL MOYERS: Let's turn now to what you have to say about the Journal. You've been writing and we've been reading:

BILL MOYERS: Remember the interview with Princeton scholar Melissa Harris-Lacewell who confronted the issues of race in America.

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL: You know, we assume that Constitutional interpretation handed down by all white male presumably heterosexual courts are appropriate understandings of the Constitution. Would you feel the same way if the court were made up of all gay, black women? Do you that gay black women can be representative citizens the way heterosexual white men can?

BILL MOYERS: And here are some of your comments.

READER: I am not sure that I agree with Dr. Lacewell that race still matters in America. I am not a demographer and I know primarily my frame of reference and where I live, but I think that America has grown tremendously with respect to overcoming racism. --Gerri Michalska

READER: Professor Harris-Lacewell was a breath of fresh air. I'm tired of the usual leaders that appear on talk shows...I'm realistic. Most of America is not ready for a black face as leader of the free world...There are many that are - but most are not. --Malik Edwards

READER: We need to look at the myriad forms of prejudice in our society and address the sense of entitlement that a person feels gives them the right to discriminate or harass. Until we deal with the entitlement issue, racism and its ugly cousins like homophobia, fat phobia and misogyny, will continue. --Morgaine Swann

BILL MOYERS: And then there was my essay on Ruport Murdoch.

BILL MOYERS: The problem isn't just Rupert Murdoch. His pursuit of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL is the latest in a cascading series of mergers, buy-outs, and other financial legerdemain that are making a shipwreck of journalism.

BILL MOYERS: And among the many responses, here are a few.

READER: Men like Murdoch who attempt to control the news to their own ends are the greatest danger to this nation in a very long time. --David Jacquez

READER: As a journalist for 18 years, I have followed the death spiral that the news media has been in. Journalism is too important to the future of this republic, on all levels - from inside the Beltway to the small village in Pennsylvania - to be left to the vagaries and greed of the marketplace. --Scot Douglas Celley

READER: I agree that it'll be a sad day if Rupert Murdoch takes over the Wall Street Journal, but I find it disingenuous to single out Murdoch's empire for selling "babes and breasts, gossip and celebrities." Take a look at the sorry state of affairs at CBS, NBC and ABC and other "home-grown" media. Walter Lippmann and Eric Sevareid would roll over in their graves! --Black Hills Monitor

BILL MOYERS: Fair enough. And Imam Zaid Shakir, spoke about being a Muslim in America today and the on-going conflicts in the middle east.

IMAM ZAID SHAKIR: I condemn all the lunatic that are killing innocent people be they in pizza houses in Tel Aviv, be they innocent Muslims, Christians or others being slaughtered senselessly in Iraq...I condemn all of it.

BILL MOYERS: Your responses kept our blog buzzing.

READER: The Imam tried very hard to put a kind & favorable face on Islam. However, I remain troubled by a religion that has such a recent history of advocating killing by individuals. --serge

READER: I am considered a "left-wing" Christian and feel that Islam and Christianity have so much to learn from each other and yet we refuse to listen to one another. America was established in some part for those with spiritual conviction. However, colonialism and capitalism has taught us that it is easier to marginalize than to include. --Michelle Baraka

READER: It seems fairly routine among mainstream voices here in the West to hold Islam and Muslims in contempt because of the actions of their fringe radical element. I think that as Americans we have mostly learned to accept people regardless of their race, but we have a long way to go when it comes to a man's religion. --Corey

BILL MOYERS: We reported from the front line of the class war where airline executives get richer as they cut workers pay.

AMANDA OLSON, FLIGHT ATTENDANT: They can reap so much in stock options and pay and we're not even getting a cost of living increase in the n ext 5 years of our contract.

KATE DAY, FLIGHT ATTENDANT: This is not about a flight attendant contract. It's not anymore even about the money. It's about what's right in our culture.

BILL MOYERS: Among the many responses were these.

READER: Thank you for finally doing a piece on CEO greed in the airline industry. I thought the world had gone mad ... In the words of Lee Iacocca, "Where is the Rage?" --Jan Patterson

READER: Thank you for the Executive Greed story. As a copilot at Northwest working at half pay, I'm working two other full-time jobs just to keep my house. I am presumably at the top of the food chain as far as pilot jobs are concerned, but I may be forced to leave this job because of the low pay. --Tom Sylvester

READER: You assumed that CEOs being paid more while workers are paid less is a bad thing. You never offered any proof, or rational arguments. When a CEO gets $20 million in options, if the price drops below the strike price he gets nothing. You should have explained this. --AP

BILL MOYERS: And we've been getting enormous response to last week's interview with conservative scholar Bruce Fein and liberal journalist John Nichols. Both called for Congress to begin impeachment hearings for both President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

BRUCE FEIN: We're talking about assertions of power that affect the individual liberties of every American citizen. Opening your mail, your e-mails, your inner-- your phone calls. Breaking and entering your homes. Creating a pall of fear and intimidation if you say anything against the president you may find retaliation. We're claiming he's setting precedents that will lie around like loaded weapons."

JOHN NICHOLS: And that is why we ought to be discussing impeachment. Not because of George Bush and Dick Cheney but because we are establishing a presidency that does not respect the rule of law. And people, Americans, are rightly frightened by that. Their fear is the fear of the founders. It is real. It is appropriate."

BILL MOYERS: Viewers are still writing us about that one.

READER: Can someone please explain to me what law was broken, exactly? Why are impeachment proceedings in order? --chris

READER: Why no mention of HR333, Congressman Dennis Kucinich's resolution to impeach Vice President Cheney? The program implied that there was no movement in congress to impeach - yet HR333 was introduced on April 24, 2007. --Chris Ellinger

READER: I wish every US citizen had heard Fine and Nichols arguments for impeachment. Newspapers and television news should demand that hearings take place. In my city, local media report only local crime stories or feature fluff. National TV is so busy making nice and getting ratings that they ignore the important issues. --JoAnne Young

READER: This interchange was one of the most one-sided, hateful and sometimes totally incorrect programs it has been my misfortune to watch. Sincerely, --Margaret Jenkins

READER: As much as I would not want the country to go through Impeachment Hearings, it is the right thing to do. This administration has taken too many liberties on the laws of this country. Neither the president nor vice president should think they are above these laws. I hope that the American people demand that these hearings be heard. --GMG

READER: Before watching...tonight I disagreed with impeachment because I felt it would take too much energy and time away from other important matters of law. I no longer believe that impeachment is off the table. Impeachment IS the table. --Helen Shane

BILL MOYERS: Your letters mean a lot so keep in touch on the blog at I'm Bill Moyers. We'll be back next week.

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