Sunday, February 26, 2012


New York Times journalist, Nicholas Kristof, photographed these kids in Sudan's Nuba Mountains in the cave where they shelter from bombings. He writes "They're half-starved and 16 of them live in the cave. They were just haunting."

Video of The (Forida) man who stayed behind in the Nuba Mountains

The Man Who Stayed Behind

Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof talks with Ryan Boyette, a 30-year-old Florida man who braves bombs by Sudanese military to document atrocities in the Nuba Mountains.

Read the full article

A portion of the article:

AS Sudan tries to bomb and starve the Nuba people into submission, it faces an unlikely antagonist: an American man from Florida who married a Nuban woman, gets by on local foods like locusts, and is fighting mortars with video cameras.

...President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan has presided over the killings of perhaps 300 times as many people as President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Bashir hasn’t drawn as much scrutiny as Assad, in part, because many of his killings are in remote areas with no cameras — and Boyette is trying to change that.

I met Boyette here in the Sudanese state of South Kordofan in 2008, and even then he was a remarkable figure who had ritual scarring on his back and lived in a grass-and-mud hut. He had moved to the Nuba Mountains in 2003 to work for Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian aid group, putting on hold his plans to follow his father into police work..

Read the full article

Nicholoas Kristof invites you to comment on this column on his blog, On the Ground. Please also join him on Facebook and Google+, watch his YouTube videos and follow him on Twitter.


Dodging Bombers in Sudan

Video Feb 23, 2012 ~ Beseiged in Sudans Nuba Mountains

Besieged in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains

Published Feb 22, 2012

The Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof witnesses a growing humanitarian crisis in Sudan, where starving families in the Nuba Mountains are hiding in caves to escape bombing by Sudanese warplanes.

Read the full article ~ Dodging bombers in Sudan

Portion of the article

...Like starving people everywhere, they had seemed listless, their bodies conserving every ounce of energy to stay alive. “We’ve had nothing to eat but leaves from trees,” one young mother, Samira Zaka, told me. Her malnourished son was gnawing on a piece of wood.

Then the Antonov bomber buzzed above us, and she and her children rose from their torpor. They rushed into caves, and we all cowered deep in the rocks as the plane passed overhead. The Antonov went on to drop a bomb to the south; more on that in a moment.

This is a mass atrocity that has attracted little attention: a government starving its people, massacring them, raping them, and bombing them — all in hopes of crushing a rebel movement. Sudan has barred aid workers and journalists from the area, the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, in a largely successful effort to conceal savagery that has echoes of Darfur.

Like many others, I’ve denounced President Bashar al-Assad of Syria for his murderous repression, but the more than 7,000 estimated by human rights groups to have been killed under Assad is within the margin of error of estimates of the numbers of people killed by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan.

I slipped into Sudan and the Nuba Mountains without a visa, via a rutted dirt track from South Sudan. My vehicle was covered with mud to make it less visible to bombers, which appeared overhead every couple of hours...

Read the full article ~ Dodging bombers in Sudan

Nicholoas Kristof invites you to comment on this column on his blog, On the Ground. Please also join him on Facebook and Google+, watch his YouTube videos and follow him on Twitter.


The Sudanese government is launching full-scale military assults against the Nuba people in South Kordofan. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are at risk because evacuation routes are blocked in addition to the continuous blockade of humanitarian assistance by the Government of Sudan since June 5, 2011.

Tell Secretary Clinton, “THEY CAN’T WAIT!”

Post the following to the State Department’s Facebook page or tag them in a note on your own page (you will need to “like” the page first):

Dear Secretary Clinton: Like Syrians under attack by their own government, innocent civilians in Sudan need immediate protection from the Government of Sudan. Please Act for Sudan – protection and aid are needed now! Hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake. http://actforsudan.org/2012/02/22/secretary-clinton-they-cant-wait/

Tweet Secretary Clinton @StateDept

#SecClinton: Like Syrians, innocent civilians in #Sudan need immediate protection from gov attacks. Act now. @StateDept http://wp.me/p23T0j-dj

See Nicolas Kristof's facebook

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, February 24, 2012


Mildred and Richard Loving
April 1965
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred and Richard Loving
April 1965
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred Loving
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred and Richard Loving
April 1965
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred and Richard Loving
April 1965
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred and Richard Loving
April 1965
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred and Richard Loving
April 1965
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred and Richard Loving
April 1965
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred and Richard Loving
April 1965
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

In 1958, Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested in a nighttime raid in their bedroom by the sheriff of Caroline County, Va. Their crime: being married to each other. The Lovings — Mildred, who was of African-American and Native American descent, and Richard, a bricklayer with a blond buzz cut — were ordered by a judge to leave Virginia for 25 years. This month, the International Center of Photography is mounting a show of Grey Villet’s photographs of the couple in 1965. That exhibit is complemented by an HBO documentary, ‘‘The Loving Story,’’ directed by Nancy Buirski, which will be shown on HBO on Feb. 14. The film tells of the Lovings’ struggle to return home after living in exile in Washington, where Mildred, gentle in person but persistent on paper, wrote pleading letters to Robert F. Kennedy and the A.C.L.U. Two lawyers took their case to the Supreme Court, which struck down miscegenation laws in more than a dozen states. The Lovings’ belief in the simple rightness of their plea never wavered. Asked by one of his lawyers if he had a message for the Supreme Court, Richard said he did: ‘‘Tell the court I love my wife.’’

Julie Bosman

See slideshow of Richard and Mildred Loving by Grey Villet at the link ~

Another link for pictures~monroe gallery

Richard and Mildred Loving laughing and watching television in their living room, King and Queen County, Virginia. Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred Loving
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred Loving
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred and Richard Loving and children
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Richard and Mildred Loving and children
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Mildred and Richard Loving
Photo credit ~ Grey Villet

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,




On June 12, 2007, Mildred Loving issued a rare public statement, which commented on same-sex marriage, prepared for delivery on the fortieth anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision of the US Supreme Court. The statement's text of Mildred Loving is below.

Loving for All

By Mildred Loving

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,

The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcemen

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn't to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn't get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn't allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn't that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the "crime" of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared:

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn't have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, "The freedom to marry has long been recognizedas one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men," a "basic civil right."

PDF format for the above statement by Mildred Loving ~ Loving for All

Loving and Jeter

The U.S. Supreme Court decision of Loving v Virginia

WARREN, C.J., Opinion of the Court


388 U.S. 1

Loving v. Virginia


No. 395 Argued: April 10, 1967 --- Decided: June 12, 1967

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.


The Loving Story (2011), an HBO-produced documentary which was screened at many film festivals, including Silverdocs Documentary Festival, Tribecca Film Festival, and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The film includes rare interviews, photographs and film shot during the time. Variety called the film "Fascinating."

The Loving Story can be viewed throughout February at hbo.com/documentaries



It is my understanding that Mildred was Native American Indian and African American. One article I read, stated that Mildred considered herself Native American. Here is an excerpt from Biography of Mildred Loving

Her mother was part Rappahannock Indian and her father was part Cherokee. Throughout her life, Mildred referred to herself as Indian rather than black. Mildred's family had deep roots in the area around Central Point, a part of Virginia, which even at the height of the Jim Crow era, had developed a reputation as a place where race relations were fairly friendly.

The girl who was so skinny that she was nicknamed "Bean" was just 11 years old and attending an all-black school when she first met Richard Loving, a 17-year-old high school student. Quietly, the two eventually started dating and, when Mildred became pregnant at the age of 18, the two decided to get married.

Richard Loving died at age 41 in 1975, when a drunken driver struck their car in Caroline County, Virginia. Mildred Loving lost her right eye in the same accident.

Mildred Loving died of pneumonia on May 2, 2008, in Milford, Virginia, at age 68.

Mildred and Richard Loving had three children: Donald, Peggy, and Sidney Loving.

Grey Villet: Richard and Mildred Loving watching drag races from the pit area, Sumerduck dragway, Sumerduck, Va., 1965.

Quotes About the Marriage of Mildred and Richard Loving


Mildred's "Loving for All" statement, 6/12/07: "I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."
Source: Freedomtomarry.org

Mildred about Richard: "He used to take care of me. He was my support, he was my rock." Source: Dionne Walker, USAToday.com, "Pioneer of intrracial marriage looks back", 6-10-2007

Richard about the Supreme Court decision: "For the first time, I could put my arm around [Mildred] and publicly call her my wife."
Source: Skeeter Sanders, Skeeter Biters Report, "True Love Knows No Color", 6-11-2007.

Richard to their attorney: “Mr. Cohen, tell the court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”
Source: Douglas Martin, "Mildred Loving, Who Battled Ban on Mixed-Race Marriage, Dies at 68", NYT.com, 6-06-2008.

Bernard Cohen, attorney: "They just were in love with one another and wanted the right to live together as husband and wife in Virginia, without any interference from officialdom."
Source: NPR.org, "Loving Decision: 40 Years of legal interracial Unions"

Chief Justice Earl Warren, June 12, 1967: "... The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival ... Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State." Source: FindLaw.com.

A Slow Train - sung by Staple Singers
A song used at the end of HBO The Loving Story (2011) can be heard by clicking this post's title.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE - U.S. Supreme Court Case trumps states' rights in Loving v. Virginia in 1967

Grey Villet, a photographer for Life magazine, traveled to Virginia in 1965 to document the story of Richard and Mildred Loving. His photos of the Lovings going about their everyday life appear in the upcoming HBO documentary about their U.S. Supreme Court case.
Grey Villet / Courtesy HBO

Mildred and Richard Loving - A place in history


HBO's The Loving Story is the true story of two people in love, but denied the freedom to be married. One was White, one was Black and Native American Indian. Their U.S. Supreme Court case unanimously overturned 16 states' laws against interracial marriage in 1967. Alabama was the last state to resist in the year 2000. If you are subscribed to HBO, you can watch the documentary online at hbo go or watch for the next time it is aired on HBO. I saw it today. It is so well worth seeing.

My personal story is told on a previous post January 12, 2008:
Legal to have skin color and hair color The Loving's case in 1967 was following my first experience of having a boyfriend in 1961, who wasn't my race and how my parents handled it so poorly. I feel a personal connection and understanding to the story in the documentary.

The Loving Story at facebook

twitter The Loving Story



Going Home - a song used in the documentary, here sung beautifully by Jane Froman

Mildred and Richard Loving of Virginia

This is HBO at its best. And this documentary about miscegenation laws in the USA, exiling the two people in love out of their home state of Virginia for 9 years is one that enters your human heart and resides thereafter. Eight years after their U.S Supreme Court Case was ruled in favor of their being married, a drunk driver ran into them and Richard Loving died as a result.

Mildred Loving lived the remaider of her life surrounded by family and friends in the house that Richard built for her.

Mildred Loving
1939 - 2008.

I was born in 1949. This story lives in me.

Click this post's title to New York Times article about the document The Loving Story

CNN's story 2012/02/16/ Study - US interracial marriage, acceptance growing

Song at the end of the documentary The Loving Story

Slow Train

Written by Steve Cropper and William Bell

It's a slow, slow train, but it's moving on

Well I've got my ticket, so don't, pass me by
'Cause if I don't get on board, I just might, break down and cry
'Cause I've just got one life, to live, on this earth
Oh, get me there, won't you please, conductor sir

'Cause it's a slow, slow train, but it's moving on

Well everybody gets a ticket, you, you and me
But it's up to you to catch a ride, now that's how it's got to be
And if you want to ride that train to that peaceful, promised land
Oh, you've got to give your heart to Jesus, and put your ticket in his hand

'Cause it's a slow, slow train, but it's moving on
Oh it's a slow, slow train, but it's moving on

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


The final “New Rule” of Bill Maher's tonight (February 17, 2012) is how I have felt (and then some) all along. (You can watch the episode online as soon as they post it, if you subscribe to HBO.) Remember when one of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, during a London concert ten days before the 2003 invasion of Iraq said "we don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas"? The response was by many that it was awful, disrespectful, even treason.

The "disrespect" given blatantly to President Obama by politicians and others behind his back and to his face are rooted in bigotry in my opinion. He is a "socialist", a "nazi", "he hates religion and/or the USA", and on and on. I believe this “branding” of him is because "they" feel that the word they’d rather use, “nigger”, can't be used openly. The lady in an online "Town Meeting”, who he offered to help her husband with a job, followed this up with suggesting to the President that he stand and do a "jig" was over the line. Who uses the word “jig” nowadays? He responded by politely delivering the line, “No, there will be no dancing”. Entertainer Al Jolson, who liked to entertain in black face did jigs. He was an entertainer. Many want to put President Obama “in his place” - the back of the bus, strip him of his voting rights, put him in prison, send him to Kenya, etc. An entertainer, a sportsman, a second class citizen – all things black people’s can be and be kept in their proper places, but certainly not be treated like the President of the United States of America.

If Jeremiah Wright had suggested this week that women put an aspirin between their legs for birth control as Foster Friess, a major donor to the super PAC backing Rick Santorum, said, I believe the Republicans and their pundit representatives would have spun it into something that pushed Obama into being Satan or something at least like “Well, you know those Kenyans just have no couth, they are crass.” Rep. Wilson yelling "liar" to Obama when he addressed the nation and Congress and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer sticking her finger in his face would not have been acceptable behavior to a white Republican President. Republican Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell’s statement, “Making Obama a one-term President is my single most important political goal” is at minimum a political goal with no respect for the voters who put President Obama into the highest office of the nation. Fixing our people’s problems hasn’t had McConnell’s attention.

There is an element in the country who can’t cope with a black man in the White House. It turns their stomachs. It is all about race. Not about a birth certificate, being a secret muslim, etc. Are there good and bad bigots? Not in my mind. And yet they have become "acceptable" in that it has been commonplace to hear this rhetoric starting when Barack Obama decided to run for President. And we have accepted it by the fact of not having leaders shut it down, but actually riding on bigotry’s coat tails. The courage for our politicians to let it continue and swell comes from their vein of constituents who tell them they don’t want a black man as our President. (I look forward to a book from the President after he leaves office in his second term. I hope he is brutally honest. But I suppose he won’t be able to tell us of all the death threats accompanied with racists comments to him and his family, as he will have to protect his family’s safety.)

I am not happy with President Obama when it comes to some issues, but it doesn't mean that I take license to step into the land of bigots.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Free Spirit by Sandra Hammel

My Free Spirit
If you want listen to my song.
Written and performed by Sandra Hammel
Written July 7, 2010 on Roland FP-4 keyboard, Strings 4
I can't decide what title to give this. Originally, I named it My Free Spirit. Other titles, I have considered are
Sacred Space
Come Inside
Inner Sanctuary
Where I'm Free
Safe Place

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, February 3, 2012


The world operates on the desire to keep poor people poor, so that slave conditions will be tolerated. Why pay USA workers good wages, health care, into pension plans, when corporations can go to places like China, where we can claim ignorance on the working conditions?

I don't believe "we" really want poor people to have better lives. How would we get the cheap labor to make our clothes, pick our fruit and vegetables, make our technology?

The New York Times: Apple’s iPad and the Human Costs for Workers in China
A portion from the above link's article:

In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history.

However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.

More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.

“If Apple was warned, and didn’t act, that’s reprehensible,” said Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, a group that advises the United States Labor Department. “But what’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that.”

Apple is not the only electronics company doing business within a troubling supply system. Bleak working conditions have been documented at factories manufacturing products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others.

Current and former Apple executives, moreover, say the company has made significant strides in improving factories in recent years. Apple has a supplier code of conduct that details standards on labor issues, safety protections and other topics. The company has mounted a vigorous auditing campaign, and when abuses are discovered, Apple says, corrections are demanded.

And Apple’s annual supplier responsibility reports, in many cases, are the first to report abuses. This month, for the first time, the company released a list identifying many of its suppliers.

But significant problems remain. More than half of the suppliers audited by Apple have violated at least one aspect of the code of conduct every year since 2007, according to Apple’s reports, and in some instances have violated the law. While many violations involve working conditions, rather than safety hazards, troubling patterns persist.

“Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost,” said Li Mingqi, who until April worked in management at Foxconn Technology, one of Apple’s most important manufacturing partners. Mr. Li, who is suing Foxconn over his dismissal, helped manage the Chengdu factory where the explosion occurred.

“Workers’ welfare has nothing to do with their interests,” he said.

Some former Apple executives say there is an unresolved tension within the company: executives want to improve conditions within factories, but that dedication falters when it conflicts with crucial supplier relationships or the fast delivery of new products. Tuesday, Apple reported one of the most lucrative quarters of any corporation in history, with $13.06 billion in profits on $46.3 billion in sales. Its sales would have been even higher, executives said, if overseas factories had been able to produce more.

Executives at other corporations report similar internal pressures. This system may not be pretty, they argue, but a radical overhaul would slow innovation. Customers want amazing new electronics delivered every year.

“We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on,” said one former Apple executive who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. “Why? Because the system works for us. Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”

“If half of iPhones were malfunctioning, do you think Apple would let it go on for four years?” the executive asked.


Video link from the New York Times - Made in China

Read the full article at:
The New York Times: Apple’s iPad and the Human Costs for Workers in China


nytime ~ Made in China
(Video shows working conditions in China)
Where our Union jobs go....to places like this,
Important Video ~ factory conditions in China


iSlaves Working on the iPad: Signing 'No Suicide' Pledges
Monday, 02 May 2011
Source: macedonia online

Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed.

At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working conditions.
Many more are believed to have either survived attempts or been stopped before trying at the Apple supplier's plants in Chengdu or Shenzen.

After a spate of suicides last year, managers at the factories ordered new staff to sign pledges that they would not attempt to kill themselves, according to researchers.

And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages.

An investigation of the 500,000 workers by the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) found appalling conditions in the factories.

They claimed that:

* Excessive overtime was rife, despite a legal limit of 36 hours a month. One payslip showed a worker did 98 hours of overtime in one month, the Observer reported.
* During peak periods of demand for the iPad, workers were made to take only one day off in 13.
* Badly performing workers were humiliated in front of colleagues.
* Workers are banned from talking and are made to stand up for their 12-hour shifts.

The 'anti-suicide pledge' was brought in after sociologists wrote an open letter to the media calling for an end to restrictive working practices.

But the investigation revealed many of the workers still lived in dismal conditions, with some only going home to see family once a year.

One worker told the newspaper: 'Sometimes my roommates cry when they arrive in the dormitory after a long day.'

She said they were made to work illegally long hours for a basic daily wage, as little as Ł5.20, and that workers were housed in dormitories of up to 24 people a room.

In Chengdu, working between 60 and 80 hours overtime a month was normal, with many breaching Apple's own code of conduct with the length of their shifts.

And the investigation found that employees claimed they were not allowed to speak to each other.

Apple's China Supply Chain Exposed


This is why we learned that we need workers to have unions

Labels: , , , , , ,