Howard Zinn, 1922-2010

Zinn__1264635536_4226Mark Feeney and Bryan Marquard in the Boston Globe:

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and whose books, such as “A People's History of the United States,” inspired young and old to rethink the way textbooks present the American experience, died today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling. He was 87.

His daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn of Lexington, said he suffered a heart attack.

“He's made an amazing contribution to American intellectual and moral culture,” Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, said tonight. “He's changed the conscience of America in a highly constructive way. I really can't think of anyone I can compare him to in this respect.”

Chomsky added that Dr. Zinn's writings “simply changed perspective and understanding for a whole generation. He opened up approaches to history that were novel and highly significant. Both by his actions, and his writings for 50 years, he played a powerful role in helping and in many ways inspiring the Civil rights movement and the anti-war movement.”

For Dr. Zinn, activism was a natural extension of the revisionist brand of history he taught. “A People’s History of the United States” (1980), his best-known book, had for its heroes not the Founding Fathers — many of them slaveholders and deeply attached to the status quo, as Dr. Zinn was quick to point out — but rather the farmers of Shays' Rebellion and union organizers of the 1930s.

As he wrote in his autobiography, “You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train” (1994), “From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than 'objectivity'; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble.”

DeLillo’s glacial aesthetic


Over the last ten years, Don DeLillo has become determined to solve one of the great riddles of the ancient art of storytelling: What is the slowest speed at which a plot can move before it stops moving altogether, thereby ceasing to function as a plot? And what kind of quantum transformations might take place at that moment of absolute-zero narrative momentum? This obsession is not exactly new. DeLillo has never been celebrated for his rippin’ yarns. But his recent stretch of post-Underworld metaphysical anti-thrillers—The Body Artist, Cosmopolis, Falling Man—has reached a whole new level of inertia; they make his early talky masterpieces (White Noise, The Names) look like Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. Stasis, paradoxically, has become the animating force of his plots. Recent characters include a billionaire who gets stuck in traffic for 200 pages; a highbrow Zen contortionist who spends long stretches pretending to check her watch in slow motion; and a man who appears to be falling out of buildings but ends up hanging, frozen, in midair.

more from Sam Anderson at New York Magazine here.

bronzino days


There’s a new old art star in New York this winter: Agnolo Bronzino, the sixteenth-century Florentine painter, whose entire corpus of some sixty known drawings (a few attributions are uncertain) is on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, to rousing effect. His arrival heralds a new old movement: Mannerism, the most commonly despised period in Western art history and, I think, the one that best befits creative culture today. We are mostly Mannerists now. Art about art, and style for style’s sake, Mannerism held sway from the end of the High Renaissance, circa 1520, until the Baroque kicked in, seven decades later. Even the strongest Mannerists—Pontormo and Bronzino in Florence, Parmigianino in Rome, Tintoretto in Venice, and El Greco in Italy and Spain—squirmed under the crushing criteria that had been established by Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Titian. They did so in ways both ingeniously elegant and gamily perverse. Think of Parmigianino’s elongated body parts, then of El Greco’s elongated everything. Recall Bronzino’s “The Allegory of Venus and Cupid,” at the National Gallery in London: a confounding tour de force of over-the-top sensuality and cryptic symbolism, painted for France’s racy, bookish Francis I. (Cupid lewdly embraces his naked mother while, among other things, Father Time presides, a butterball putto rejoices, a cute-faced and snake-tailed grotesque proffers a honeycomb, and a dove departs on foot like a stricken guest from a party that is way out of hand.) As the Mannerists toiled in the twilight of the Renaissance, so do we in relation to the modern age—the word “modern” having been torn from its roots to signify things that loom behind us.

more from Peter Schjeldahl at The New Yorker here.

Edward Said and Me

H. Aram Veeser in Politics and Culture, edited by Amitava Kumar and Michael Ryan:

Edward-said Said felt he had to transform every situation he entered. Any less would be passivity, and he was phobic about letting things happen to him: it smacked of victimage. It was customary at this epoch for radical students to liberate college classes. The professor of a liberated class was expected to stand aside and accept the verdict of History. I don’t think anyone tried this on Said, who had once used his umbrella to brush aside two friends of mine, who were kissing on the Hamilton Hall stairwell. On one occasion I recall, he addressed the Columbia chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, who were very big on liberating classrooms and even whole buildings. Students, visiting radicals, Harlem residents, and street people had pressed into Hewitt Lounge, in the student center. Imagine a group who had the political moderation of Robespierre and the sartorial verve of the Hell’s Angels, and you’ll have a pretty fair grasp of the scene. Several of my fellow “Freshman Cabalists” affirmed that Said was indeed expected to speak, and pretty soon he arrived.

What followed was a series of tiny collisions and Gestalt readjustments. He was, for instance, punctilious in his dress: a black cashmere blazer over a bespoke, wide-striped English tailored shirt. French cuffs were a rarity in our group, and he had them. As he entered Hewitt Lounge, a ripple went through the assembled company, and the person speaking—who happened to be the society heiress and declared radical action freak, Josie Biddle Duke—interrupted herself and announced that Said had arrived.

More here. [Thanks to Maud Newton.]

Wednesday Poem

To be reminded can be a motivating slap in the face
for amnesiacs during a too-long flight in a young bubble.

As You Like It Excerpt

JAQUES: All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

William Shakespeare
from As You Like It

Paying Zero for Public Services


Rupees_front In Doha last month, CommGAP learned about the work of 5th Pillar, which has a unique initiative to mobilize citizens to fight corruption. In India, petty corruption is pervasive – people often face situations where they are asked to pay bribes for public services that should be provided free. 5th Pillar distributes zero rupee notes in the hopes that ordinary Indians can use these notes as a means to protest demands for bribes by public officials. I recently spoke with Vijay Anand, 5th Pillar’s president, to learn more about this fascinating initiative.

According to Anand, the idea was first conceived by an Indian physics professor at the University of Maryland, who, in his travels around India, realized how widespread bribery was and wanted to do something about it. He came up with the idea of printing zero-denomination notes and handing them out to officials whenever he was asked for kickbacks as a way to show his resistance. Anand took this idea further: to print them en masse, widely publicize them, and give them out to the Indian people. He thought these notes would be a way to get people to show their disapproval of public service delivery dependent on bribes. The notes did just that. The first batch of 25,000 notes were met with such demand that 5th Pillar has ended up distributing one million zero-rupee notes to date since it began this initiative. Along the way, the organization has collected many stories from people using them to successfully resist engaging in bribery.

More here. (Note: Thanks to my dear friend Abha Pandya)

Scientists link flame retardants and reduced human fertility

From Science:

Flame-retardant-fertility-pregnancy-pbde_1 Women exposed to high levels of flame retardants take substantially longer to get pregnant, indicating for the first time that the widespread chemicals may affect human fertility, according to a study published Tuesday. Furniture cushions, carpet padding and other household items contain hormone-disrupting flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs. Two of the most widely used compounds have been banned in the United States since 2004, but they remain ubiquitous in the environment, inside homes and in the food supply.

Epidemiologists from the University of California at Berkeley studied 223 pregnant women in California’s Salinas Valley, an agricultural community with predominantly low-income, Mexican immigrants. More than 97% of the women had PBDEs in their blood, and those with high levels were half as likely to conceive in any given month as the women with low levels.

More here.

The State of the Union Speech: What I’d like to hear but won’t

Stephen M. Walt in Foreign Policy:

ScreenHunter_02 Jan. 27 10.27 I don't expect President Obama to devote much time to foreign policy issues during his State of the Union address tomorrow, because other topics (health care, the economy, regulating Wall Street, etc.) are causing him the most trouble these days. Plus, if he was going to talk a lot about foreign policy, what exactly could he say? That we are making great strides in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Nope. That his Cairo speech has transformed our standing in the Middle East and brought us to the brink of Middle East peace? Hardly. That we have turned the corner on climate change, nuclear arms reductions, or relations with Iran? Um … not exactly. That relations with allies like Japan have never been better? Well, no. That the Guantanamo prison has been closed on schedule, as he promised a year ago? Er. … not quite. When you look at the list, you can see why he wants to talk about a discretionary spending freeze and other exciting topics like that.

To be fair, the absence of tangible achievements isn't entirely Barack's fault. As I've written elsewhere, there were few low-hanging fruit when he took office, and nobody should have expected him to fix all of these difficult challenges in a single year or even in a single term. (You may even recall that back when he assumed office, he warned us that it would take time to repair all that was broken). So even if he had done everything right — and he hasn't — a lot of big-ticket items on his foreign policy agenda were going to defy easy solution.

But what would I like to hear him say on Wednesday night?

More here.

Google, copyright, and our future

Lawrence Lessig in The New Republic:

ScreenHunter_01 Jan. 27 10.21 There has been a rage of attention to the recently revised proposal for a settlement by Google of a lawsuit brought against it by the Authors Guild of America and the Association of American Publishers (AAP). In 2004, Google launched the sort of project that only Internet idealists such as the entrepreneur and archivist Brewster Kahle had imagined: to scan eighteen million books, and make those books accessible on the Internet. How accessible depended upon the type of book. If the book was in the public domain, then Google would give you full access, and even permit you to download a digital copy of the book for free. If the book was presumptively under copyright, then at a minimum Google would grant “snippet access” to the work, meaning you could see a few lines around the words you searched, and then would be given information about where you could buy or borrow the book. But if the work was still in print, then publishers could authorize Google to make available as much of the book (beyond the snippets) as the publishers wanted.

The Authors Guild and AAP claimed that this plan violated copyright law. Their argument was simple and obvious–at least in the autistic sort of way that copyright law thinks about digital technology: when Google scanned the eighteen million books to build its index, it made a “copy” of them. For works still under copyright, the plaintiffs argued, this meant that Google needed permission from the copyright owner before that scan could occur. Never mind that Google scanned the works simply to index them; and never mind that it would never–without permission–distribute whole or even usable copies of the copyrighted works (except to the original libraries as replacements for lost physical copies). According to the plaintiffs, permission was vital, legally. Without it, Google was a pirate.

More here.

Pakistan’s Universities: The New War Within

GRE Protest

[This article was first published in Dawn on January 25, 2010. It is posted here with corrections, and with Dr. Hoodbhoy's permission. Photo also provided by Dr. Hoodbhoy.]

by Pervez Hoodbhoy

Dark clouds are gathering over Pakistan’s universities, portending a conflict that is likely to be long, bitter, and uncertain in outcome. On one side are those who say that individuals to be awarded PhD degrees must have, at the very minimum, undergraduate level knowledge in the relevant discipline. On the other side are PhD aspirants, together with their supervisors, who demand unearned degrees. They hold that passing examinations and taking courses is unnecessary and an affront to their dignity.

The first volleys have already been fired. Earlier this month about one hundred students, registered for the PhD degree at Quaid-e-Azam University, angrily mobbed the executive director of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) as he entered the campus. Their demand: cancel the current requirements of passing the international Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) as well as taking and passing graduate level courses. They say that producing research papers entitles them to receive the highest degree in their chosen discipline.

To his credit, the HEC officer stood his ground. He pleaded that removing essential graduation requirements would make their degrees meaningless, that they really did need to know subject basics before doing research, etc. But these obvious and sensible arguments cut no ice with those who believe that PhD degrees are a birthright. Rhythmic cries “hum nahin mantay zulm kay zabtay” (we will not tolerate tyranny!) reverberated across the campus. This leads one to wonder: for how long can the HEC withstand such pressures? What if the floodgates give way?

Read more »

See No Evil

Klausen_84x84 An interview with Jytte Klausen in Eurozine, originally in the Index on Censorship:

Jytte Klausen's book The Cartoons That Shook the World (published by Yale University Press) is the first scholarly examination of the notorious controversy that erupted in 2006. Klausen is a respected scholar: she won the Carnegie Scholars Award for her research on Muslims in Europe and is professor of comparative politics at Brandeis University in the US. Three years ago, she set out to unravel the genesis of the debacle and to analyse the cartoons and their impact. Last summer, several months before publication, Yale University Press unexpectedly took the decision not to publish the cartoons in her book. After reading Klausen's manuscript in the spring, the director of the press, John Donatich, was ambivalent about republishing the cartoons: on grounds of taste, offence and the possibility that it might reignite the conflict. He also noted that the cartoons were available for readers to see online. He consulted Yale University who assembled an advisory panel of diplomats, academics and US and UK counter-terrorism officials who advised that there was a strong chance of violence breaking out if the cartoons were published. Klausen was told that she could only read the dossier that Yale had compiled of the panel's opinions if she signed a gagging order. Not only were the cartoons removed from the book, but historic illustrations of Mohammed that Klausen had wanted to include to illustrate her thesis were also omitted. When the story leaked to the American press last summer, Yale was widely criticised for undermining academic freedom. Christopher Hitchens described it as “the latest and perhaps the worst episode in the steady surrender to religious extremism”. In a statement, Yale University Press defended its decision with reference to the expert panel's advice “that there existed a substantial likelihood of violence that might take the lives of innocent victims”. John Donatich took full responsibility for the final decision, but there have been concerns at the university's intervention in the press's independence. (Index on Censorship)

Index: Was there any discussion about the cartoons at the time of signing the contract for the book three years ago? Or any anticipation that there might be a difficulty about publishing them?

Jytte Klausen: I warned the press and the commissioning editor Jonathan Brent that I intended to include the cartoons. He was extremely supportive of that and wanted the page [in the book]. We had some discussions about how it was going to be done and I insisted that it had to be put in as part of a set of documentation.

My idea was not to engage the provocation of: “Do I now dare to print these bad pictures or not?” That would never be my purpose. My purpose was to get the whole page from the newspaper as it was reprinted that day. There have been many misunderstandings and often the online versions of the cartoons have incorrect translations of the captions. In the book, and it was written with this purpose, I ask the reader to put on different glasses and look at the images and analyse them from the vantage point of the different arguments that were made against and for the cartoons at the time. What would a Danish reader see? What did the cartoonist intend to show? Why would a secular Muslim say they were Islamaphobic? Why would a religious Muslim say they were blasphemous?

The “Devastating” Decision

Ronald Dworkin in the New York Review of Books:

ScreenHunter_04 Jan. 26 16.50 Against the opposition of their four colleagues, five right-wing Supreme Court justices have now guaranteed that big corporations can spend unlimited funds on political advertising in any political election. In an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas, the Court overruled established precedents and declared dozens of national and state statutes unconstitutional, including the McCain-Feingold Act which forbade corporate or union television advertising that endorses or opposes a particular candidate.

This appalling decision, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was quickly denounced by President Obama as “devastating”; he said that it “strikes at our democracy itself.” He is right: the decision will further weaken the quality and fairness of our politics.

More here. And here's Glenn Greenwald on the decision:

ScreenHunter_01 Jan. 26 16.44 I want to note one extremely bizarre aspect to the discussion yesterday. Most commenters (though not all) grounded their opposition to the Supreme Court's ruling in two rather absolute principles: (1) corporations are not “persons” and thus have no First Amendment/free speech rights and/or (2) money is not speech, and therefore restrictions on how money is spent cannot violate the First Amendment's free speech clause. What makes those arguments so bizarre is that none of the 9 Justices — including the 4 dissenting Justices — argued either of those propositions or believe them. To the contrary, all 9 Justices — including the 4 in dissent — agreed that corporations do have First Amendment rights and that restricting how money can be spent in pursuit of political advocacy does trigger First Amendment protections.

More here.



For the sake of propriety, although it was far too late for propriety, when I was sent away from Jaffna to Colombo, I travelled in the company of another girl. She, unlike me, had done nothing wrong, and when the train jostled us so that our sweaty wrists touched, she jerked her body away from mine, and I thought I deserved it. We had known each other since we were very young, and for many years had touched each other in the familiar way of friends and schoolmates and neighbours, but that did not matter now. When I had returned to Jaffna, no one in our village had asked me about what I had done while I was with the Tigers. They had assumed, and rightly, I thought then, that I was apart from them, and that I could not return to the life to which I had been born. No one spoke of where I had gone, or with whom I had travelled. This was not from any code of silence, but rather a sense of futility: there was no point in discussing what had already happened. We had reached a moment at which living took so much effort that no one could spare the breath to speak to me. I understood this and was not offended. Although I was not myself a Tiger, I had been with them, and I had left them. There was nothing for me in the village now, although it was still the place I knew and loved the best.

more from V. V. Ganeshananthan at Granta here.

on eric rohmer 1920-2010


Someone is walking somewhere from someplace else—so begins an Eric Rohmer movie. Two secretaries in an office chat about nothing in particular; mail is sorted; a boat is at sea. The pointless opening is crucial for establishing the rhythm of these movies, and what happens as they unfold is not that events get more exciting but that the pointless events grow richer in meaning. These movies capture the formless sequentiality of life, which moves us along until we find ourselves somewhere other than where we thought we were, or thought we might end up. Jean-Louis’s conversation during My Night at Maud’s feels like those real late-night sessions, mostly in college, which you can never plan in advance or later quite recall; in The Aviator’s Wife, after hours of brooding and planning and anticipating the effects of what he has to say to his girlfriend, François never dreams that one thing he says will make her defensive, another will make her jealous, and a third will make her cry, so their talk shifts back and forth and it bewilders the boy, and perhaps the older woman too. Rohmer’s understated theory of the relations between the sexes is nothing more than this: men and women drift farthest, and fastest, and most mysteriously, in their dealings with each other.

more from Damion Searls at n+1 here.

Tuesday Poem



What leaves us trembling in an empty house
is not the moon, my moon-eyed lover.
Say instead there was no moon
though for nine nights we stood

on the brow of the hill at midnight
and saw nothing that was not
contained in darkness, in the pier light,
our hands, and our lost house.

Small wonder that we tired of this
and chose instead to follow the road
to the back of the island, and broke
into the lighthouse-keeper’s house.

We found the lower windows boarded up
and the doors held fast, but one.
Inside, we followed the drag of light
through empty rooms of magenta and sky blue.

This house has been decided by the sea.
These rooms are stones washed over by waves
and spray from the lighthouse
by which we undress

to kneel under the skylight.
Our hands and lips are smeared with blackberries.
Your skin, my sloe-skinned lover,
never so sweet, your hand so quiet.

The sea is breaking and unbreaking on the pier.
You and I are making love
in the lighthouse-keeper’s house,
my moon-eyed, dark-eyed, fire-eyed lover.

What leaves us trembling in an empty room
is not the swell of darkness in our hands,
or the necklace of shale I made for you
that has grown warm between us.

by Vona Groarke
From: Shale; Gallery Press, Oldcastle, 1994

Free Nazia Quazi

From The Nation:

In most countries, a woman in her mid-20s is legally an adult. And in most countries, foreigners are free to leave when they like. In its flagrant rejection of these two principles, Saudi Arabia is unique, and that is a big problem for 24-year-old Nazia Quazi. For more than two years Nazia, an IT specialist who graduated from the University of Ottawa and holds dual Canadian-Indian citizenship, has been trying to leave Riyadh and go home to Canada. Her troubles began on November 23, 2007, when she entered Saudi Arabia with her parents on a visitor's visa. In Saudi Arabia, foreign visitors must have a sponsor, a local man who handles their paperwork. Nazia's sponsor is her father, Quazi Malik Abdul Gaffar, an Indian citizen who has worked in Saudi Arabia for many years. At some point Nazia's father clandestinely switched her visitor's visa to a more permanent visa–one that requires that he, as her sponsor, approve her exit visa. This he refuses to do. No exit visa, no departure. Worse, Nazia says he has confiscated both her Indian and Canadian passports and all her identity documents–driver's license, health card, credit cards and so on–and refuses to return them. She is trapped.

Nazia's father is not only her sponsor; he is also her mahram, or guardian, the male relative who in the Saudi system controls nearly every moment of a woman's life. As detailed in a 2008 Human Rights Watch report, under this system a woman must seek her mahram's permission to go to school, travel abroad, marry, open a bank account, hold a job, rent an apartment or even have elective surgery. (In June the Saudi government told the UN Human Rights Council that the guardianship system no longer exists, but HRW and the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan confirm that it does.) In effect, it makes women children for life–there are middle-aged Saudi women who are under the legal control of their own sons. Nazia's father thus has not only been able to force his daughter, through the sponsorship system, to remain in Riyadh; as her mahram he has total control of her life while she is there–even though neither Nazia nor her father is a Saudi citizen.

More here. (Note: Thanks to my friend Professor C.M. Naim)

Corporate Backing for Research? Get Over It

John Tierney in The New York Times:

Research I find myself in the unfamiliar position of defending Al Gore and his fellow Nobel laureate, Rajendra K. Pachauri. When they won the prize in 2007, they were hailed for their selfless efforts to protect the planet from the ravages of greedy fossil fuel industries. Since then, though, their selflessness has been questioned. Journalists started by looking at the money going to companies and nonprofit groups associated with Mr. Gore, and now they have turned their attention to Dr. Pauchauri, the chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The I.P.C.C., which is supposed to be the gold standard of peer-reviewed climate science, in 2007 warned of a “very high” likelihood that global warming would cause the Himalayan glaciers to disappear by 2035. When the Indian government subsequently published a paper concluding there was no solid evidence of Himalayan glaciers shrinking because of global warming, Dr. Pachauri initially dismissed it as “voodoo science” beneath the I.P.C.C.’s standards. But then it came out that the I.P.C.C.’s projection was based not on the latest peer-reviewed evidence, but on speculative comments made a decade ago in a magazine interview by Syed Hasnain, a glaciologist who now works in an Indian research group led by Dr. Pachauri. Last week, the I.P.C.C apologized for the mistake, which was embarrassing enough for Dr. Pachauri. But he also had to contend with accusations of conflict of interest. The Telegraph of London reported that he had a “worldwide portfolio of business interests,” which included relationships with carbon-trading companies and his research group, the Energy and Resources Institute.

More here.

A Little While

Edwidge Danticat in The New Yorker:

ScreenHunter_05 Jan. 26 11.30 My cousin Maxo has died. The house that I called home during my visits to Haiti collapsed on top of him.

Maxo was born on November 4, 1948, after three days of agonizing labor. “I felt,” my Aunt Denise used to say, “as though I spent all three days pushing him out of my eyes.” She had a long scar above her right eyebrow, where she had jabbed her nails through her skin during the most painful moments. She never gave birth again.

Maxo often complained about his parents not celebrating his birthday. “Are you kidding me?” I’d say, taking his mother’s side. “Who would want to remember such an ordeal?” All jokes aside, it pained him more than it should have, even though few children in Bel Air, the impoverished and now shattered neighborhood where we grew up, ever had a birthday with balloons and cake.

When Maxo was a teen-ager, his favorite author was Jean Genet. He read and reread “Les Nègres.” These lines from the play now haunt me: “Your song was very beautiful, and your sadness does me honor. I’m going to start life in a new world. If I ever return, I’ll tell you what it’s like there. Great black country, I bid thee farewell.”

Two days after a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, on January 12, 2010, I was still telling my brothers that one night, as we were watching CNN, Maxo would pop up behind Anderson Cooper and take over his job.

More here.