Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Lesson for the Police: Be Careful What You Tweet For

Rather than heartwarming neighborhood scenes or pictures of tourists with mounted officers, many posts tagged #myNYPD showed violent interactions with civilians or other unflattering incidents.


Georgia Unveils New Slogan: “We Make Florida Look Safe”


The Borowitz Report

April 23, 2014

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ATLANTA (The Borowitz Report)—Flanked by members of his state’s legislature on Wednesday afternoon, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proudly unveiled Georgia’s new official state slogan, “We Make Florida Look Safe.”
Gov. Deal told reporters that the slogan was “more than just words,” reflecting Georgia’s determination to best its rival Florida for the nation’s most reckless gun law.
“When Florida passed Stand Your Ground, we knew we were playing catch-up,” Gov. Deal said. “Thanks to the fine men and women in the Georgia state legislature, we’re No. 1.”
Gov. Deal said he hoped that the state’s newly enacted Safe Carry Protection Act, which makes it legal to carry guns in bars, schools, churches, and some government buildings, would send the message that Georgia was taking its competition with Florida “very, very seriously.”
“In recent years, if you wanted to fire off a gun any damn place you pleased, there was a sense that Florida was the state for you,” he said. “We’re hoping to change that perception.”
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Photograph by Brant Sanderlin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Supreme Court Calls Lying by Politicians an Expression of Their Religion


The Borowitz Report

April 22, 2014

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of the United States declared on Tuesday that lying by politicians is protected by the First Amendment because it is an expression of their religion.
By a 5–4 majority, the Court struck down an Ohio law that would make it harder to lie in political ads, arguing instead that “any attempt to restrict or punish lying by politicians is an unconstitutional infringement on a religion they have practiced for decades.”
The Court’s decision won praise from politicians of both parties, with many saying that the Justices’ recognition of lying as a religion was “long overdue.”
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts argued, “For politicians, lying is a religious observance akin to attending a church or a synagogue, except that they do it seven days a week.”
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Photograph by Larry Downing/Reuters.

Mayoral First Couple Talk About Love and Hard Times

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, visited ABC’s daytime talk show “The View” on Monday and spoke of personal hard times, city initiatives and love.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Magic Ebbs From García Márquez’s Hometown
Magic Ebbs From García Márquez’s Hometown

EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Cuomo hires ad whiz who made a star out of Dante de Blasio and his afro as reelection campaign heats up


Damon Winter/The New York Times
What you need to know for Monday: resistance to banning carriage horses, more lovely weather, and a museum’s expansion draws critics.

New Mayor and a New Agenda, but Little Change Within the Ranks

While Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to stock the top levels of his administration, city records show the next rung of crucial decision-makers are mostly holdovers from his predecessor.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Marijuana Has Come A Long Way Since Last 4/20

 | by  Matt Ferner and Nick Wing

Posted: Updated:
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What a difference a year makes. From 4/20, 2013, to 4/20, 2014, marijuana has taken big steps out of the shadows of the black market and into the light of the mainstream -- from record high popular support and the first legal recreational sales, to an entire country legalizing marijuana.
Here’s a look at the last 12 months of marijuana milestones:
Colorado Sold Legal, Recreational Marijuana For The First Time
smoking marijuana 
Partygoers smoke marijuana, left, and cigarettes during a Prohibition-era themed New Year's Eve party celebrating the start of retail pot sales, at a bar in Denver.
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

The first month of legal sales generated $14 million. Those millions were brought in by only 59 marijuana businesses that were able to get through the application process, and represent just a fraction of the approximately 550 outlets in the state eligible for retail licenses.
Now, as the fourth month of sales winds to a close, Denver has still not descended into the crime-filled hellscape that some members of law enforcement predicted. In fact, overall crime in Mile High City appears to be down since legal pot sales began.
And as time passes, more Coloradan voters are happy with legalization. A recent survey from Public Policy Polling showed that 57 percent of Colorado voters now approve of marijuana legalization, while 35 percent disapprove. Amendment 64, the measure that legalized recreational marijuana in the state, passed by only a 10-point margin.
The Promise Of Medical Marijuana Continued To Grow
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Matt Figi hugs and tickles his once severely-ill 7-year-old daughter Charlotte, as they wander around a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, named after the girl early in her treatment, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
"Charlotte's Web" isn't just a classic children's story. It's also the name of a coveted medical marijuana strain used to treat children with epilepsy.
Over the last year, hundreds of families uprooted themselves and moved to Colorado to take advantage of the state's expansive medical marijuana laws, and in search of Charlotte's Web -- a strain of pot high in CBD, a non-psychoactive ingredient, and low in THC, which causes users to feel "high." The strain was developed by the Colorado Springs-based Realm of Caring nonprofit.
The pot strain is named after 7-year-old Charlotte Figi, who used to have hundreds of seizures each week. Charlotte now controls 99 percent of seizures with her medical marijuana treatment, according to her mother Paige.
Also this year, the Food and Drug Administration moved forward with an orphan drug designation for a cannabis-based drug called Epidiolex to fight severe forms of childhood epilepsy. The Epidiolex maker still must demonstrate efficacy of the drug in clinical trials to win FDA approval to market the medicine, but the orphan drug designation represents a tremendous step for cannabis-based medicine.
The federal government signed off on a study using medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, another sign of shifting federal policy.
Study after study demonstrated the promise of medical marijuana since last 4/20. Purified forms of cannabis were shown to be effective at attacking some forms of aggressive cancer. Marijuana use has also been tied to better blood sugar control, and to slowing the spread of HIV. The legalization of the plant for medical purposes may lead to lower suicide rates.
The Return Of Hemp
colorado hemp
Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin harvests hemp on his farm in Springfield, Colo. Emboldened by voters in Colorado and Washington in 2012 giving the green light to both marijuana and industrial hemp production, Loflin planted 55 acres of several varieties of hemp alongside his typical alfalfa and wheat crops. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)
A flag made of hemp flying over the U.S. Capitol in July may have been a sign that hemp was going to have a banner year.
Just months later in Colorado, farmer Ryan Loflin planted 55 acres of hemp -- the first legal hemp crop planted in the U.S. in nearly 60 years.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 70 bills related to hemp have been introduced in more than half of U.S. states. That's more than triple the number of hemp bills introduced during the same period last year, and nearly double the number hemp bills introduced in all of 2013.
Added to that is the recent passage of the Farm Bill, which legalizes industrial hemp production for research purposes in states that permit it.
Support For Pot Surges
marijuana legalization
(MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
An October Gallup poll showed for the first time that a clear majority of Americans want to see marijuana legalized. Gallup noted that when the question was first asked in 1969, only 12 percent of Americans favored legalization.
Americans also want an end to the long-running war on drugs. A recent survey from Pew found that 67 percent of Americans say that government should provide treatment for people who use illegal drugs. Only 26 percent thought the government should be prosecuting drug users.
Americans regard marijuana as relatively benign. In that same Pew poll, 69 percent of Americans felt that alcohol is a bigger danger to a person's health than marijuana, and 63 percent said alcohol is a bigger danger to society than marijuana.
Of all the vices a person can indulge in, Americans told NBC News/The Wall Street Journal that marijuana may be the most benign substance -- less harmful than sugar.
More States Approved Progressive Pot Laws
smoking marijuana
(AP Photo/Noah Berger)
While the title of third state to legalize marijuana is still up for grabs, lawmakers around U.S. the have been scaling back harsh anti-weed laws. Maryland recently became the latest state to officially decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Washington, D.C., awaits congressional approval of a similar measure. New Hampshire appeared poised to pass a similar law, but it was recently rejected by state lawmakers. Other states, including Illinois, are considering legislation to decriminalize low-level possession.
Medical marijuana has also made some strides since last year's 4/20. Maryland this month became the 21st state to legalize marijuana for medical use. A new trend has appeared in conservative and Deep South states, as bills to legalize medicine derived from marijuana have found surprising support in places like Alabama, where a measure was signed into law this year.
Uruguay Makes History
uruguay marijuana
People take part in a demonstration for the legalization of marijuana in front of the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on Dec .10, 2013, as the Senate discusses a law on the legalization of marijuana's cultivation and consumption. (PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images)
At the end of 2013, Uruguay became the world's first country to legalize a national marketplace for marijuana. Citing frustrations over failed attempts to stem the drug trade, President Jose Mujica signed a law handing the government responsibility for overseeing the new industry.
The move drew some derision from the international community, including the United Nations, but also applause. Mujica was nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, in part for his work legalizing the plant.
In an effort to undercut the black market, the Uruguay government has set the starting price around $1 a gram. Legal weed in the U.S., including at legal pot shops in Colorado, can cost around $20 for the same amount. There are also limits on the amount residents can buy or grow. But with marijuana already accessible in Uruguay before legalization, many pot reformers have hailed the move as an alternative to prohibition that will ultimately give the government more avenues to help protect public health and safety.
Obama Says Pot Is No More Dangerous Than Alcohol
obama smiling
(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
The president was an admitted pot user in his youth. And while he now regards his experiences as foolish, he revealed earlier this year that he didn't believe his behavior was particularly dangerous.
"I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol," President Barack Obama told The New Yorker's David Remnick in a January interview.
The president said that would discourage people from using it, but his comments led to a much bigger question: If marijuana is as dangerous as alcohol, why does Obama's administration insist that it is rightfully considered an illegal Schedule I substance, alongside heroin and LSD? The irony of this wasn't lost on Congress. A month after the interview, a group of representatives a called on Obama to drop pot from Schedule I. The administration has resisted the request.
Eric Holder Is ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Legal Weed
eric holderU.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Some of the biggest advances in pot policy over the last year have come thanks to action -- or perhaps inaction -- by the Justice Department. Last August, it decided that it would allow legalization laws in Colorado and Washington proceed. And this month, Attorney General Eric Holder told The Huffington Post that he was cautiously optimistic about how those state laws were proceeding.
Holder has said the Justice Department would be happy to work with Congress to reschedule marijuana and has been clear that the administration won't push the issue without action from lawmakers.

Also on HuffPost:

16 Facts About Marijuana And The U.S. Economy
1 of 17

Rick Perry Hopes Combination of Wearing Glasses and Not Talking Will Make Him Seem Smarter


The Borowitz Report

April 17, 2014

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AUSTIN, Tex. (The Borowitz Report)—With an eye toward a Presidential run in 2016, Rick Perry, the Texas governor, is hoping that a two-pronged strategy of wearing glasses and not speaking will make him appear smarter to voters, aides to the Governor confirmed today.
“After the 2012 Republican primary, we knew that we needed to solve what we called the Governor’s smartness problem,” said Harland Dorrinson, an aide to Perry. “The fix that we came up with was glasses, but, as it turned out, that was only half the solution.”
After outfitting Perry with designer eyewear, aides sent him on the road to reintroduce himself to voters, but the response, Mr. Dorrinson said, was underwhelming: “The problem was, he was still talking.”
A round of focus groups convinced aides that only through a combination of wearing glasses and not emitting any sounds could Perry overcome voters’ initial impressions of him.
At a recent political stop in San Antonio, the newly minted Governor Perry was on display, wearing his glasses and gesticulating expressively while saying nothing for thirty minutes.
“Our focus groups show people no longer know what Rick Perry is thinking,” said Mr. Dorrinson. “That’s a huge improvement.”
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Photograph: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty

Raul Castro Describes as Immortal Work of Gabriel García Márquez


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Imagen de muestraHavana, Apr 18 (Prensa latina) Cuban President, Raúl Castro, described today as immortal the work of Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, in a message sent to the wife of the deceased Nobel Prize for Literature.
The world, and especially the peoples of Our America, have lost physically a paradigmatic intellectual and writer, affirmed the text divulged here.

Cuban Head of State extended his sincere condolencies and "honest feelings of affection" to the family of García Márquéz, who died yesterday in Mexico at the age of 87.

Gabriel García Márquez had a special relation with the Caribbean nation, especially with Fidel Castro, historical leader of the Cuban Revolution.

His dead has had a great impact here, with mourning manifestations of intellectuals and other representatives of the Cuban society.

sgl/lvd/ro/ool
Modificado el ( viernes, 18 de abril de 2014 )

Controversial proposal to issue municipal identity cards is personal to City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

Menchaca, the first Mexican-American member of the City Council, said tens of thousands of immigrant families live with the fear of deportation in New York. The Brooklyn Democrat wants to change that with legislation he’s co-sponsoring to create municipal ID cards.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, April 19, 2014, 11:39 PM




City Councilman Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn outside of New York City Hall in Manhattan on April 11, 2014. (Pearl Gabel/New York Daily News) Pearl Gabel/Pearl Gabel/ New York Daily News City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, the first Mexican-American member of the City Council, said tens of thousands of immigrant families live with the fear of deportation in New York. The Brooklyn Democrat wants to change that with legislation he’s co-sponsoring to create municipal ID cards.
For City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, a controversial proposal to issue municipal identity cards is personal.
As a child in El Paso, Texas, he always feared deportation, he said, even though he was an American citizen. His single mother, who was born in El Paso and had U.S. citizenship, actually was booted from the country several times — once while she worked at a bakery which was raided by federal agents.
“Even for me, as a citizen, I didn’t feel always safe,” Menchaca, 33, told the Daily News. “I grew up in my family feeling like we were in the shadows.”
Menchaca, the first Mexican-American member of the City Council, said tens of thousands of immigrant families live with the same fear in New York. The Brooklyn Democrat wants to change that with legislation he’s co-sponsoring to create municipal ID cards.
The New York City Identity Card would be offered to city residents regardless of their legal status, making it easier for undocumented immigrants to lease apartments, open bank accounts and even pick up their kids from school. It would be especially beneficial for people without a driver’s license.
The idea was touted by Mayor de Blasio in his campaign and in his State of the City speech.
The legislation was introduced this month, and hearings will start by the middle of May, according to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan).
“It’s very much a priority for this city,” she said.
The cards would be administered by the Mayor’s Office of Operations and contain the cardholder’s photo, name, date of birth and address.
“There will be many benefits as we move forward for how this card can be used,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens), the other co-sponsor of the bill.
Municipal ID cards are already issued in Oakland and San Francisco; in Trenton and Princeton N.J.; and in New Haven, Conn.
Roughly 6,000 cards have been issued in Trenton and Princeton since 2009, said Maria Juega, executive director of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Not everyone is a fan of the idea.
State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Putnam) has called de Blasio “just plain stupid” for pushing the proposal.
“This extreme mayor is blatantly creating a fictitious identity for hundreds of thousands of individuals without putting in place the proper safety protocols,” said Ball, chairman of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee.
He added that the cards could be used by terrorists as “breeder” documents.
Menchaca responded that existing state and federal regulations would prevent undocumented immigrants from using the cards for nefarious purposes.
He said it would help people like his mother, Magdalena, who felt she couldn’t access basic services or secure a living-wage job.
Menchaca remembers when he was a young boy, and waking up before dawn to help his mother at her cleaning job. He would go with his two younger brothers at 4 a.m., before school started, to help her scrub and polish libraries and banks for below minimum wage.
“There was a fear that she didn’t have any recourse,” he said.
“These are the reasons why I’m fighting for so many immigrant workers and families that find themselves in this place, not able to access legal services or any kind of services.”
clestch@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/city-identity-card-proposal-personal-city-councilman-carlos-menchaca-article-1.1762475#ixzz2zRZXoiIB

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Documentary Producer to Lead City’s Film Office

Cynthia López, named the new commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, says she wants to build on the legacy of her predecessor.

LV Mar Modern Latin Cuisine

LV Mar

Chef Manuel Martínez (no relation)  owner of L V MAR and Viga Restaurants in Redwood City California prepared a customer order of CEVICHE MITO. On this video the viewers could learn to prepared their own Ceviche Mito. L V Mar is located on the San Francisco Peninsula ( Between San José and San Francisco) in Northern California, 27 miles of San Francisco. It is an ideal place to savor a relax diner.

chefManuelB&Wtightcrop11-5-13
Chef Mnuel Martínez learned his art in some of the most revered kitchens in the Bay Area. Working beside Michelin recommended masters, Chef Manuel embraced a world-class philosophy of gastronomy. Known for his no-nonsense approach, Chef Manuel understands that the race to creating the finest contemporary cuisine is one that has no finish line.
Always inventing, while respecting traditional palettes, Chef Manuel creates menus that are new, fresh, and yet familiar. Continuing his long list of successes that includes properties like Bucca Giovanni, One Market, The Left Bank, and (his own) La Viga, Chef would like to invite you to LV Mar…the same passions, the same expertise, taken to a new level.
LV Mar is the next evolution of Chef Manuel’s vision. A casual, up-scale experience, LV Mar is where comfortable atmosphere, and the finest in gastronomy meet. It’s all about the highest-quality ingredients, the most refined techniques, and a unpretentious environment where satisfied guests are not just clients…they’re a part of the recipe.

Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Celebrate Easter At LV Mar - Brunch 10am-2:30pm!

  • “The place is clean, modern and simple with a trendy casual vibe.” in 7 reviews
    Ambience: Trendy
  • “when he opened la viga early on and he was doing some of the yucatacan fare, it was awesome.” in 18 reviews
  • “Incredible combination of flavors (duck, cherries and wine reduction).” in 20 reviews
    Alcohol: Beer & Wine Only

Friday, April 18, 2014

Salsa music great José 'Cheo' Feliciano, 78, dies in car crash

THE CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
NEW YORK, NY 10007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 17, 2014
No. 160

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR DE BLASIO
ON THE DEATH OF CHEO FELICIANO

“Puerto Rico, New York City and the world today lost a beloved artist. I’m saddened to learn that Cheo Feliciano died in a car accident this morning. A native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, Feliciano moved to New York City in 1952 and settled down in El Barrio. A vocalist for the Joe Cuba Sextet, he was the rare baritone among salsa singers, and his deep voice and quick wit as an improviser made him an icon of Latin American music. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. He will be missed, but his spirit will forever live among us through his music.”
SAN JUAN Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:28pm EDT
Puerto Rican salsa singer Jose ''Cheo'' Feliciano (R) embraces Panamanian singer Ruben Blades during Blades' initial concert of his new tour ''Todos Vuelven'' at the Puerto Rico Coliseum in San Juan, in this August 21, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Ana Martinez/Files
Puerto Rican salsa singer Jose ''Cheo'' Feliciano (R) embraces Panamanian singer Ruben Blades during Blades' initial concert of his new tour ''Todos Vuelven'' at the Puerto Rico Coliseum in San Juan, in this August 21, 2009 file photo.
Credit: Reuters/Ana Martinez/Files

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(Reuters) - Puerto Rican singer José Luis "Cheo" Feliciano, who performed with some of salsa's top stars, was killed in a car crash in San Juan early Thursday morning, police said. He was 78.Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared three days of mourning for the widely admired salsero.
Feliciano died shortly after 4 a.m, according to Axel Valencia, a San Juan police spokesman. The El Nuevo Dia newspaper said his Jaguar hit an electricity pole.
"It appears as if he lost control while taking a curve," Police Inspector Jorge Hernandez Pena said, adding that he was not wearing a seat belt.
Not to be confused with the blind José Feliciano, the famed Puerto Rican guitarist and vocalist with hits including a rendition of The Doors' "Light My Fire," Cheo Feliciano was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico on July 3, 1935.
Tributes poured in on Thursday from fellow musicians and fans.
In a Twitter message, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Feliciano "always carried with him pride of his beloved Puerto Rico. He was Caribbean and gave us rhythm and poetry to fill our life."
Feliciano dropped out of school at 17 and moved to New York in 1952 to train with top salsa orchestras, according to Billboard.com.
He started his career as a drummer and got his first shot as a singer with the Joe Cuba Sextet. He would go on to establish a solo career in the 1970s and performed with the legendary Fania All-Stars.
In 2008, he was honored with the Latin Grammy Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
In 2012, he released a collaboration with Panamanian singer Rubén Blades, "Eba Say Ajá."
Feliciano's contribution to salsa "has no expiration date," said Blades on his website. "He will always be remembered with fondness and admiration that the greats deserve."
Blades told El Nuevo Dia he started his career imitating Feliciano's style because he admired its "quality and elegance."
"He was a guide to all of us," said Enrique "Papo" Lucca, a pianist who played with Feliciano in the Fania-All Stars and was interviewed while visiting the family home on Thursday.
"He had enormous energy and was a very kind to everyone, as well as having impeccable artistic talent," he added.
(Writing by David Adams; Editing by W Simon)
City Room

In the Bronx, a Tribute to a Salsa Singer

A mural in progress in the Bronx honors Cheo Feliciano.
David Gonzalez/The New York Times
A mural in progress in the Bronx honors Cheo Feliciano.
Muralists are honoring the singer Cheo Feliciano, who died Thursday in a car accident in Puerto Rico.
City Room

In the Bronx, a Tribute to a Salsa Singer

A mural in progress in the Bronx honors Cheo Feliciano.
David Gonzalez/The New York Times
A mural in progress in the Bronx honors Cheo Feliciano.
Muralists are honoring the singer Cheo Feliciano, who died Thursday in a car accident in Puerto Rico.

The Failure of Desegregation

April 17, 2014
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In 1952, an African-American woman named Sarah Bulah filed a lawsuit challenging the segregated education system in her home state of Delaware. Bulah lived near a spacious, modern, whites-only high school, but her daughter, Shirley, was forced to attend a decrepit, single-room school. The state provided transportation only for white students, so Bulah had to drive her daughter to and from school each day, even though the bus route ran right past her home. Hundreds of other black parents in the area faced the same situation, yet Bulah’s decision to mount a legal challenge was met with scorn. Her neighbors disagreed with her, while local black teachers voiced their own disapproval. Bulah’s pastor doubted the wisdom of her actions. “I was for segregation,” he later remarked.
Bulah won her case, and, for the first time, a court ordered a whites-only public school to accept black students. After the state appealed the decision, the lawsuit, Bulah v. Gebhart, became part of a cluster of cases heard by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. Sarah Bulah, who had acted against the wishes of many in her community, was partly responsible for helping to dismantle the infrastructure of legal segregation in the United States.
But, as we approach the sixtieth anniversary of the Brown decision, next month, the landmark case seems, in hindsight, like a qualified victory. Racially homogenous schools remain a fact of American life. There may be no contemporary analogue to the violent resistance in the nineteen-seventies against school busing programs, but in recent years even voluntary-desegregation plans have been met with legal challenges. There may be no better example of the ongoing scandal of school segregation than the New York City public-school system, which a recent report by the Civil Rights Project at U.C.L.A. found to be one of the most segregated in the country. Black and Latino students in New York have become more likely to attend schools with minimal white enrollment, and a majority of them go to schools defined by concentrated poverty. Three-quarters of the city’s charter schools, which were a key component of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts at education reform, have fewer than one per cent white enrollment. At Stuyvesant, the most exclusive of the city’s specialized public high schools, where admission is determined by a competitive exam, only seven black students and twenty-one Latino students were offered places in next year’s freshman class. New York is simultaneously the most diverse city in the United States and the most glaring indicator of integration’s failures.
When I graduated from Jamaica High School, in Queens, in 1987, the school was recognized for both its high academic performance and its diverse student body, which mirrored the polyglot neighborhood that surrounded it. (In 1985, it was honored by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the nation’s “outstanding” public secondary schools.) Among my four closest African-American friends from high school—only one of whom had college-educated parents—two went on to get Ph.D.s, and the other two have M.B.A.s. By 2009, however, the graduation rate had slumped below fifty per cent, and the school was slated for closure by the city, owing to its poor academic achievement and high levels of violence. It had already long ceased having the mélange of ethnicities that I remembered. But the reversion toward segregation was not the cause of the school’s academic decline: both were symptoms of the concentration of poverty that has come to define public schools across most of New York City.
The meaning of the ongoing resegregation of our public schools becomes clearer if we look back at the campaign to integrate them—which was concerned less with race than with resources. We like to think of the men and women whose struggle led to Brown v. Board of Education as democratic idealists, but their motivations were more complex: if the efforts to upend Jim Crow reflected idealism, it was a cynical idealism. The damning images of Southern resistance to integration, and Northern riots against busing, obscure the fact that the decision to fight segregation was as fraught for African-Americans as the prospect of desegregation was for the whites who most violently opposed it. In the decades prior to Brown, the civil-rights establishment had fought a fierce and futile battle for the equal distribution of resources between black and white schools. It was only after attempting to force school districts to uphold the latter part of “separate but equal” proved to be a failure that the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund changed its tactics, and attacked separation itself. (It was for this reason, incidentally, that the effort to dismantle educational apartheid in the South came to involve Linda Brown, of Topeka, Kansas—a city where there was a parity of resources between black and white schools.) The tactical shift was not universally welcomed by African-Americans: critics like Zora Neale Hurston howled at the implication that black learning could be insured only by proximity to white children. Elijah Muhammad warned, ominously, that “only a fool allows his enemies to educate his children.” But decades of fruitless lawsuits seeking equal resources for black and white students had taught the N.A.A.C.P.’s lawyers that the only way to secure a fair distribution of resources was to literally sit the black children in the same classrooms as the white ones.
The architects of Jim Crow were fixated by notions of white racial purity, but black people subjected to that dictatorship of pigment were concerned with a different question: In a hostile society, is it better to be isolated from those who view you with contempt or in close proximity to them? In retrospect, it is easy to see segregation as a moral evil unanimously despised by black people, but even its fiercest critics betrayed ambivalence about what its end would mean. In the thirties, W. E. B. Du Bois inspired rancorous debates within the N.A.A.C.P. by arguing, in his writing, that there were important economic benefits—the built-in market for black businesses, for instance—that came with segregation. James Nabrit, Jr., an attorney who handled a school-desgegration suit in Washington, D.C., that became one of the cases grouped with Brown, went on to become president of Howard University, a job that entailed the seemingly paradoxical task of preserving and furthering an all-black educational institution. Three of the other attorneys who worked on Brown, including Thurgood Marshall, had, in fact, met as students at Howard’s law school, and they began their desegregation work under the tutelage of Charles Hamilton Houston, the school’s dean. Black teachers in South Carolina, where another of the desegregation suits had been filed, worried, with some cause, that integration would end a state of affairs in which black children, though deprived of equal resources, at least benefitted from teachers who did not calibrate their expectations according to the color of their students’ skin.
The Supreme Court decision on Brown, in 1954, marked a moral high point in American history, but the practice that it dispatched to the graveyard had already begun to mutate into something less tangible and far more durable. What would, in the end, preserve the principle of “separate inequality” was not protests like the one staged by Orval Faubus, the governor of Arkansas, who deployed the National Guard to Little Rock’s Central High School, in 1957, in order to keep black students out. Instead, it was policies like the Interstate Highway Act, whose passage one year earlier helped spawn American suburbia. In the wake of Brown, private schools, whose implicit mission was to educate white children, cropped up throughout the South. The persistent legacies of redlining, housing discrimination, and wage disparity conspired to produce segregation without Jim Crow—maintaining all the familiar elements of the past in an updated operating system.
To the extent that the word “desegregation” remains in our vocabulary, it describes an antique principle, not a current priority. Today, we are more likely to talk of diversity—but diversification and desegregation are not the same undertaking. To speak of diversity, in light of this country’s history of racial recidivism, is to focus on bringing ethnic variety to largely white institutions, rather than dismantling the structures that made them so white to begin with.
And so, sixty years after Brown, it is clear that the notion of segregation as a discrete phenomenon, an evil that could be flipped, like a switch, from on to off, by judicial edict, was deeply naïve. The intervening decades have shown, in large measure, the limits of what political efforts directed at desegregation alone could achieve, and the crumbling of both elements of “separate but equal” has left us at an ambivalent juncture. To the extent that desegregation becomes, once again, a pressing concern—and even that may be too grand a hope—it will have to involve the tax code, the minimum wage, and other efforts to redress income inequality. For the tragedy of this moment is not that black students still go to overwhelmingly black schools, long after segregation was banished by law, but that they do so for so many of the same reasons as in the days before Brown.
Photograph by Thomas J O’Halloran/Universal History Archive/Getty.

Gabriel García Márquez: An Appreciation

April 18, 2014
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At the beginning of “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” Macondo’s patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, wants to move the idyllic yet isolated community he founded to another, more accessible location. And since no one else wants to go with him, he decides that he and his wife, Úrsula, and their son should leave by themselves.
“We will not leave,” his wife tells him, reminding him that Macondo was their son’s birthplace.
“We have still not had a death,” he tells her. “A person does not belong to a place until there is someone dead under the ground.” To which his wife replies, “If I have to die for the rest of you to stay here, I will die.”
This was the first thing that came to mind when I heard that Gabriel García Márquez had died. I have always loved that scene. For anyone who’s been forced, or has chosen, to start a new life in a new place, these words seem to provide at least two possible markers by which one can begin to belong. By Úrsula’s definition it is through life. By her husband’s it is through death.
I remember thinking when my oldest daughter was born that, after nearly a quarter century of living in the United States, I finally had an unbreakable bond with the place. When my father, who had once imagined that he’d be buried in Haiti, was actually buried in Queens, New York, those ties became even stronger. After all, if pushed out, we can always take the living with us. However, unless we happen to be in a Gabriel García Márquez story, the dead can prove less mobile. Nothing seemed truer to me after my father’s death than the fact that he, and all of my other hardworking U.S.-buried immigrant relatives, had sacrificed everything so that the rest of my family could stay here.
In October, 2003, I was invited to participate in a PEN America tribute to Márquez. The title of the evening was “Gabriel García Márquez: Everyday Magic.” The great man himself wasn’t there. He was already ill, I think. Among the other speakers that evening were the writers Francisco Goldman, Salman Rushdie, Paul Auster, William Kennedy, and President Bill Clinton, on video.
That night I was reminded of not just the breadth of Márquez’s work, but also his personality. The fact that he counted both Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro among his friends astounded and outraged the woman sitting next to me.
The writers, however, focussed on his work.
Francisco Goldman mentioned a study that had found that, aside from the Bible, Márquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera” was the book you were most likely to find in the possession of Latin American sex workers. Salman Rushdie pointed out the many similarities between Márquez’s world and the one he’d grown up in.
“It was a world,” he said, “in which there were colossal differences between the very poor and the very rich, and not much in between; also a world bedeviled by dictators and corruption.”
Rushdie, like many of the other speakers that night, rejected the idea that Márquez’s fiction was “fantastic.”
And I agreed.
I am often surprised when people talk about the total implausibility of the events in Márquez’s fiction. Having been born and lived in a deeply spiritual and extraordinarily resourceful part of the Caribbean, a lot of what might seem magical to others often seems quite plausible to me.
Of course a woman can live inside her cat, as the character Eva does in Márquez’s 1948 short story “Eva Is Inside Her Cat.” Doesn’t everyone have an aunt who’s done that? And remember that neighbor who died but kept growing in his coffin as in the 1947 story “The Third Resignation”? What seems implausible to me is a lifetime of absolute normalcy, a world in which there are no invasions, occupations, or wars, no poverty or dictators, no earthquakes or cholera.
I had always felt that Márquez’s short stories often took a back seat to his longer works, and that his deadpan dark humor was not discussed often enough, so that night I read an excerpt from one of my favorite of his short stories, a story called “One of These Days.”
In the story, the town mayor, a military torturer, shows up in absolute agony at the office of Aurelio Escovar, “a dentist without a degree.” The mayor is in so much pain from an abscess in his mouth that he’s unable to shave half his beard. Yet he still announces that he will shoot the dentist if he refuses to help him. The dentist, seeing an opportunity to avenge the recent death of twenty of his neighbors, tricks the mayor into letting him pull the diseased tooth out without anesthesia. But the dentist does not quite get the revenge he seeks. When he asks the mayor whether he should send the bill to him personally or to the town, the mayor exclaims that “it’s the same damn thing.”
This story, like so many others, shows how Márquez’s famously unbridled imagination was also used to depict somewhat common, yet unbearable realities.
Still, I can’t help but keep returning to José Arcadio Buendía and his desire to leave. José Arcadio had hoped to guide his people toward the “invisible north,” only to discover that Macondo was completely surrounded by water. But he would not despair forever. There was still more work to do. And he had not yet experienced death, and the light rain of tiny yellow flowers that would fall to mark his passing. He had not yet seen that silent storm, and the cushion of petals that had to be cleared with rakes and shovels as his funeral procession went by. And neither had Gabo. Until now.
Edwidge Danticat is the author of several works of fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent book is “Claire of the Sea Light,” a novel.
Photograph by Alan Riding/The New York Times/Redux.

Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014)


Double Take

April 17, 2014

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Gabriel García Márquez, the winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, died on Thursday, at the age of eighty-seven. The New Yorker was lucky enough to publish a number of his short stories, starting with “The Sea of Lost Time,” in 1974. In 1999, Jon Lee Anderson wrote a Profile of the novelist, called “The Power of García Márquez.” The article focussed on García Márquez’s unique role in Colombia, and in Latin America more generally:
“Gabo” is what García Márquez is called by nearly everyone in the Spanish-speaking world. That or el maestro, or, in Colombia, Nuestro Nobel, our Nobel Prize winner.
But, of course, García Márquez was special to the rest of us, too: few writers are so intimately associated with a literary style or an imaginative world. You can see everything that García Márquez published in The New Yorker here; his story “The Autumn of the Patriarch” (an excerpt from the novel of the same name) is available to everyone online. In “The Challenge,” from 2003, a Personal History about his early days as a writer, García Márquez recalls seeing his first story in print: “I read it in a single breath, hiding in my room, my heart pounding.” We’ve unlocked “The Challenge” as well.
Above: Gabriel García Márquez in Cartagena, Colombia; February 20, 1991. Photograph by Ulf Andersen/Getty.