5/4/16

Dear NPR: Clinton is Not Within 200 Votes


All along, Sanders supporters have been complaining that the mainstream media had annointed Clinton as the Democratic candidate for US President in 2016.  There had been calls for him to drop out, even a story in the New York Times that he was dropping out.

Sanders win last night in Indiana didn't put a stop to this trend. While NPR's Ron Elving (Senior Editor and Correspondent, Washington Desk) gave Sanders "another round," he went on to say that "Clinton is within 200 delegates of a majority" which, of course, counts her superdelegates, which are free to jump ship at any time, unlike the pledged delegates from the primaries.

Meanwhile, there seems to be some difference in the pledged count, as you can see below:

1/21/16

Guest Post by Will Kaufman: Woody Guthrie, ‘Old Man Trump’ and a Real Estate Empire’s Racist Foundations


The above illustration by Nick Lehr accompanied the following piece from The Conversation written by Woody Guthrie's biographer, Will Kaufman, Professor of American Literature and Culture, University of Central Lancashire.

The Conversation is a collaboration between editors and academics to provide  news analysis and commentary that is free to read and republish using a Creative Commons, no derivatives licence.  Kaufman (bio and contact information) is the author of Woody Guthrie, American Radical (Illinois, 2011)and Singing for Peace: Antiwar Songs in American History (with Ronald D. Cohen, Routledge, 2015).  He has received two Woody Guthrie Research Fellowship from the Broadcast Music Industry Foundation and was consultant to Johnny Depp and Douglas Brinkley for the publication of their co-edited edition of Guthrie's recently discovered novel, House of Earth (2013). He has two books coming out on Guthre in 2016: Woody Guthrie's Modern World Blues (Illinois) and Woody Guthrie: Down, Up or Anywhere (Reaktion).


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In December 1950, Woody Guthrie signed his name to the lease of a new apartment in Brooklyn. Even now, over half a century later, that uninspiring document prompts a double-take.
Below all the legal jargon is the signature of the man who had composed “This Land Is Your Land,” the most resounding appeal to an equal share for all in America. Below that is the signature of Donald Trump’s father, Fred. No pairing could appear more unlikely.

Guthrie’s two-year tenancy in one of Fred Trump’s buildings and his relationship with the real estate mogul of New York’s outer boroughs produced some of Guthrie’s most bitter writings, which I discovered on a recent trip to the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa. These writings have never before been published; they should be, for they clearly pit America’s national balladeer against the racist foundations of the Trump real estate empire.

Recalling these foundations becomes all the more relevant in the wake of the racially charged proclamations of Donald Trump, who last year announced, “My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy.”

A champion for equality

By the time he moved into his new apartment, Guthrie had traveled a long road from the casual racism of his Oklahoma youth.

He’d learned along the way that the North held no special claim to racial enlightenment. He had written songs such as “The Ferguson Brothers Killing,” which condemned the out-of-hand police killing of the unarmed Charles and Alfonso Ferguson in Freeport, Long Island, in 1946, after the two young black men had been refused service in a bus terminal cafe.

In “Buoy Bells from Trenton,” he denounced the miscarriage of justice in the case of the so-called “Trenton Six” – black men convicted of murder in 1948 by an all-white jury in a trial marred by official perjury and manufactured evidence.

And in 1949, he’d stood shoulder to shoulder with Paul Robeson, Howard Fast and Pete Seeger against the mobs of Peekskill, New York, where American racism at its ugliest had inspired 21 songs from his pen (one of which, “My Thirty Thousand,” was recorded by Billy Bragg and Wilco).

A postwar housing haven – for whites

In the postwar years, with the return of hundreds of thousands of servicemen to New York, affordable public housing had become an urgent priority.

For the most part, low-cost housing projects had been left to cash-strapped state and city authorities. But when the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) finally stepped in to issue federal loans and subsidies for urban apartment blocks, one of the first developers in line, with his eye on the main chance, was Fred Trump. He made a fortune not only through the construction of public housing projects but also through collecting the rents on them.

When Guthrie first signed his lease, it’s unlikely that he was aware of the murky background to the construction of his new home, the massive public complex that Trump had dubbed “Beach Haven.”
Trump would be investigated by a U.S. Senate committee in 1954 for profiteering off of public contracts, not least by overestimating his Beach Haven building charges to the tune of US$3.7 million.

What Guthrie discovered all too late was Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of the FHA’s guidelines for avoiding “inharmonious uses of housing” – or as Trump biographer Gwenda Blair puts it, “a code phrase for selling homes in white areas to blacks.” As Blair points out, such “restrictive covenants” were common among FHA projects – a betrayal, if ever there was one, of the New Deal vision that had given birth to the agency.

‘Old Man Trump’s’ color line

Only a year into his Beach Haven residency, Guthrie – himself a veteran – was already lamenting the bigotry that pervaded his new, lily-white neighborhood, which he’d taken to calling “Bitch Havens.”
In his notebooks, he conjured up a scenario of smashing the color line to transform the Trump complex into a diverse cornucopia, with “a face of every bright color laffing and joshing in these old darkly weeperish empty shadowed windows.” He imagined himself calling out in Whitman-esque free verse to the “negro girl yonder that walks along against this headwind / holding onto her purse and her fur coat”:

    I welcome you here to live. I welcome
    you and your man both here to Beach Haven to love in any
    ways you please and to have some kind of a decent place to
    get pregnant in and to have your kids raised up in. I'm
    yelling out my own welcome to you.


For Guthrie, Fred Trump came to personify all the viciousness of the racist codes that continued to put decent housing – both public and private – out of reach for so many of his fellow citizens:

    I suppose
    Old Man Trump knows
    Just how much
    Racial Hate
    he stirred up
    In the bloodpot of human hearts
    When he drawed
    That color line
    Here at his
    Eighteen hundred family project ....


And as if to leave no doubt over Trump’s personal culpability in perpetuating black Americans’ status as internal refugees – strangers in their own strange land – Guthrie reworked his signature Dust Bowl ballad “I Ain’t Got No Home” into a blistering broadside against his landlord:

    Beach Haven ain't my home!
    I just cain't pay this rent!
    My money's down the drain!
    And my soul is badly bent!
    Beach Haven looks like heaven
    Where no black ones come to roam!
    No, no, no! Old Man Trump!
    Old Beach Haven ain't my home!


In 1979, 12 years after Guthrie had succumbed to the death sentence of Huntington’s Disease, Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett published a two-part exposé about Fred and Donald Trump’s real estate empire.

Barrett devoted substantial attention to the cases brought against the Trumps in 1973 and 1978 by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. A major charge was that “racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents” had “created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity.” The most damning evidence had come from Trump’s own employees. As Barrett summarizes:
According to court records, four superintendents or rental agents confirmed that applications sent to the central [Trump] office for acceptance or rejection were coded by race. Three doormen were told to discourage blacks who came seeking apartments when the manager was out, either by claiming no vacancies or hiking up the rents. A super said he was instructed to send black applicants to the central office but to accept white applications on site. Another rental agent said that Fred Trump had instructed him not to rent to blacks. Further, the agent said Trump wanted “to decrease the number of black tenants” already in the development “by encouraging them to locate housing elsewhere.”
Guthrie had written that white supremacists like the Trumps were “way ahead of God” because

    God dont
    know much
    about any color lines.


Guthrie hardly meant this as a compliment. But the Trumps – father and son alike – might well have been arrogant enough to see it as one. After all, if you find yourself “way ahead of God” in any kind of a race, then what else must God be except, well, “a loser”? And we know what Donald Trump thinks about losers.

One thing is certain: Woody Guthrie had no time for “Old Man Trump.”

We can only imagine what he would think of his heir.

“Racial Hate at Beach Haven,” “Beach Haven Race Hate,” “Beach Haven Ain’t My Home” and Guthrie’s untitled notebook writings: all words by Woody Guthrie, © copyright Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc., all rights reserved, used by permission.

12/19/15

Bill Withers: Another West Virginia Treasure


Photo is a screen shot  of a video of Bill Withers at his induction into the 2015 class of the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, with Stevie Wonder.

Susan Haggerty sang her a capella version of the Bill Withers classic, "Grandma's Hands" last night at the BAM Jam in Blackburg (which I got to attend thanks to an invitation from Doug Chancy, who plays with his wife Betty Hahn and with Jamie Munn Simmons and Simone Patterson in Smart Mouth.) 

Editor's note:  I first published this piece on December 19, 2015 at 4:35 pm  and last edited it on January 15, 2016 to include the painting illustrating "Grandma's Hands" and links to the Withers bio at the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame and to the West Virginia Coal Towns entry on his hometown of Slab Fork, as well as tags.


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If you don't recognize Bill Withers's name, surely, you will recognize his songs which, in addition to his 1971 hit "Grandma's Hands", include Grammy winner "Ain't No Sunshine," "Just the Two of Us," "I Wish You Well" and "Lean on Me."



Although it took until 2015 for the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame to recognize Withers, his native West Virginia recognized him, along with the likes of Hazel Dickens, in 2007, the inaugural year of its own Music Hall of Fame.    The Ernie Barnes painting which Withers commissioned to illustrate "Grandma's Hands"  in 2008, was Barnes's last major commission before he died in 2009.  It is part of the Hall's permanent collection.


Born in the Raleigh County coal town of  Slab Fork, Withers left to join the Navy before moving to California to work in an airplane factory and starting his musical career.
Withers stepped away from the industry in 1985, as he explained in this interview with Allison Glock, when

this guy at my record label who wanted me to do stuff like cover Elvis Presley songs . Get the hell out of here. I got tired of it. Most of my dreams came true and some of my nightmares, too. I had a pretty good run. And by then I had a family and some kids, so I went about trying to do a good job at that. Without even thinking about it, I just went ahead with my life.

Here is an extended bio from the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame where Withers describes growing up in West Virginia and his career.


Here's an interview with Withers about his induction from West Virginia Public Radio that year:




You can find Carl Wiser's 2004 interview, in which Withers talks about the inspiration for some of his lyrics in Song Facts. 

11/20/15

Roasted Carrot Salad with Toasted Sesame Seeds, Peanuts, Apples and Orange Juice


Photo by Lindsey S. Love

Sally asked me to have the recipe ready early for Glade Road Growing's last 2015 farm share on 11/24.  She says the share will be similar to last week with plenty of carrots and that maybe I could provide a recipe for Thanksgiving dinner, so I thought a roasted carrot salad would be nice.  Lindsey Love has such great photographs on her food blog that I thought I'd share this one, although her recipe (which only serves two) includes shallots and blood oranges and has fennel seeds rather than peanuts and parsley instead of cilantro.

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Serves six


1.  Scrub and roast 1 pound of carrots and half a pound of peeled small onions with the root end cut off   at 475 degrees F for about 20 minutes either in a preheated oven on a cookie sheet lined in parchment paper or, as I do, on a countertop convection oven.

2.  While carrots and onions are roasting, squeeze one orange for the juice into a large bowl. If you like you can also grate about a half a tablespoon of the zest off the orange peel.  Wash two apples, cut in quarters to remove core and then slice thinly with a sharp knife.  Add apples to bowl and toss with the orange juice to keep them from turning brown.   Chop  1/2 cup of fresh cilantro and reserve for topping. 

3.  Smash and peel 4 cloves of garlic and chop coarsely.  Chop about a tablespoon of fresh ginger root. 

4.  In an oiled cast iron skillet toast 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds until they turn light tan and begin to pop.  Remove them from skillet.  Add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat bottom of skillet and saute the garlic and the ginger until tender.  Let cool a bit and then toss sesame seeds and garlic and ginger with apples.

5.  When the carrots and onions are finished roasting, let cool enough that you can handle them comfortably.  Split the carrots in half lengthwise if they are small.  If they are larger, you may want to cut them in half crosswise and then in quarters lengthwise.  Cut the onions in half and then slice thinly.

6.  Toss in the bowl with the apples and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Top with roasted unsalted peanuts and cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature.













11/16/15

Arugula and Winter Squash Salad with Quinoa, Feta, Walnuts and Balsamic Vinaigrette


Photo by cookbook author and photographer Erin Alderson for her version of this recipe in her blog NaturallyElla.com

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Sally tells me that 11/17/15 the farm share for Glade Road Growing will include butternut squash, carrots, arugula, salad mix, kale, garlic and a big hakurai turnip.  Since the arugula is sweet enough in the cooler weather to eat raw, I thought I'd make a main course salad.  Mine adds pomegranate seeds and uses walnuts instead of pecans and a bit of balsamic vinegar dressing, rather than honey, but this picture was just so beautiful, that when I found it, I stopped looking for something more representative.

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Serves 6


1.  Preheat your conventional over to 450 degrees, unless you are going to use a counter top convection over, as I do.   Rinse the butternut squash and cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and reserve to roast.  Put the squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast in oven for about 40 minutes, until tender.  Remove and let cool enough to handle.  Pull the peel away and then dice the squash into 1/2 inch cubes.  (Some folks peel and cube the squash first, but that's not as easy.


2. While the squash is roasting, cook 1 cup of raw quinoa by bringing it to a boil in a heavy-bottomed lidded sauce pan with two cups of cold water.  Remove from oven and drain water and rinse well to remove the saponin, which coats the grain and can make it bitter.  Add 1 3/4 cups of fresh cold water, cover  and return to a boil and simmer for five minutes.  Turn off heat and let sit for at least 20 minutes. 

3.  While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the pomegranate by slicing 1/4-inch off of the stem end  and placing the fruit cut side down on the cutting board to stabilize it. The pomegranate's blossom end, the one that looks like a crown, should be on top.  Use the paring knife to a cut a circle around the blossom end, angling in and cut it out.  Make several cuts from top to bottom around the pomegranate just through the red part of the skin.  Working over a large bowl, gently pry open the pomegranate and pry away the seeds from the peel and membranes.  Discard the peel and membranes.

4.
  Rinse the arugula in a basin of cool water.  Drain and wash a second time in clean water, then put in a colander to drain.







5.  To make the vinaigrette, combine the following in a bottle with a well-fitting lid:
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar or lime juice
Freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for fat-free version, substitute either 1 tablespoon fruit juice concentrate--apple or white grape--and 3 tablespoons water OR 4 tablespoons wine)
1 teaspoon your favorite sweetener (honey, agave, demerara sugar)
2 peeled and crushed cloves free garlic and/or 1 T finely minced onion. 


 6.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork and toss with the arugula with the pomegranate seeds and the squash, 2/3 cup of crumbled feta and 1/2 cup of walnuts  in a large bowl.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.








11/9/15

Peanut Curry with Winter Squash, Mustard Greens and Garbanzo Beans


Photo by Paige Green of a mustard green curry and tofu recipe by chef  Bryant Terry of Oakland found in his 2014 cookbook Afro-Vegan.  

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November 19, the farm share from Glade Road Growing is slated to include watermelon radish, lettuce mix, tetsukabuki squash, red mustard greens, garlic and green peppers.

Since Bryant Terry is an advocate of farm fresh food, I thought I'd modify one of his recipes this week to use the squash, mustard greens, garlic and green peppers. His mentor, Alice Walker, has said of him that “Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege.” He is a 2015 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award winner who is currrently the inaugural Chef in Residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco.  Maybe some of my lucky friends in that area were able to get a ticket for the (sold-out) November 15 reception and panel he is convening with Toni Tipton Martin, Gail Myers, Nicole Taylor, Caroline Randall Williams and moderator Psyche Williams-Forson to discuss the role that Black women have played historically and contemporarily in the production, distribution, and consumption of food.

Here's an interview with Chef Terry in the Washington Post and a video about his work as Chef in Residence.


By the way, when I was looking at food photos for inspiration, I found a tempting recipe by Emma D'Alessandro for a warm kale, citrus and watermelon radish salad, which for which you could substitute the mustard greens.


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Serves 6


1.  The night or at least two hours before cook 1 pound of garbanzo beans.  In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, cover the beans with 3 cups water, and and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let stand over night or for at least one hour. Rinse a second time.  Add two cups of water and bring to a boil again and simmer on low heat until soft, about 1 hour with 2 bay leaves.

2.  I like to serve this over brown rice cooked with tumeric and olive oil, so at the same time you start the beans.  In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, combine 2  cups brown rice , 4 cups water, and and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil  and 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave for 40 minutes until water is absorbed.

3.  While the rice is absorbing the waer, roast the squash.  Unless you are using a countertop convection oven, as I do, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Cut  the tetsukabuki squash in half and scoop out seeds.  You can reserve them to roast separately.  Invert upside down on a parchment covered cook sheet.  Roast for half an-hour and then let cook long enough so that you can cut it into cubes.  I leave the skin on and it will get tender, unlike butternut squash.  If you prefer, you can remove the skin.  Set the squash aside. 

If you don't have this type of squash, the recipe will work with any roasted winter squash or even roasted sweet potatoes.

3.  While the squash is roasting, peel and chop one large onion or more to make about 1 cup.   Mince a piece of fresh ginger to make 1 tablespoon.  Smash, peel and mince a similar amount of fresh garlic cloves.  Remove the seeds from a green pepper and finely chop.


4.  Grind a cup of roasted peanuts in a heavy duty blender or food processor.  You will use 2 tablespoons for this recipe.  You can store the rest in a covered jar in the fridge.  You can substitute fresh ground peanut butter from the store.  The jars of peanut butter really are NOT a sufficient substitute, but if you need to, you could used about 4 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter with no additives (avoid the "no-stir" versions.)

4.  In a oiled cast iron skillet, add 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until they pop, 2 to 3 minutes.   Add more oil to coat, add the onion and sauté until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add  more oil and add the green pepper and sauté until soft about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic, fresh ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground tumeric, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seads, 1/2 half teaspoon of cardomon, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and cook until fragant.

5.  In a large saucepan with a tight lid, 3 cups of water, one can of diced unsalted tomatoes, 2 heaping tablespoons of the ground roasted peanuts, the vegetable/spice mixture and the cooked garbanzo beans. Stir.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6.   While the mixture is cooking, cut the mustard greens into bite-sized pieces.  After the first twenty minutes, add to the saucepan, along with the roasted squash and cook for another ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve garnished with cilantro over the cooked brown rice.

BTW, Chef Terry follows the Southern tradition and cooks the greens for the whole thirty minutes.  Mine will be brighter than pictured.







11/2/15

Pickled Daikon and Carrots


 Photo by Ariana Lindquist for Saveur Magazine

The 11/3/15 farm share from Glade Road Growing is slated to include lettuce mix, daikon radish, salad turnip, delicata squash, kale, garlic and peppers.

Daikon is a mild white winter radish, which I like as a pickled vegetable, served as a condiment with tofu or chicken, on a barbecue sandwich or added to a tossed salad.  Here's a simple recipe.

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1.  Wash carrots and daikon radishes. Pat dry, peel and cut into matchsticks.

2.   In a bowl, combine the carrots, daikon,  2 tsp. kosher salt and 1 tsp. demerara sugar.   Let sit until the vegetables have wilted slightly and liquid pools at the bottom of the bowl, about 30 minutes. Drain vegetables; rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer vegetables to a medium bowl.

3.  Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1⁄2 cup warm water and pour mixture over the vegetables. Stir to combine. Set mixture aside and let marinate for at least 1 hour, then you can refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 4 weeks.