Tuesday, December 30, 2008


"Jesus died for somebody's sins,
but not mine".

Patti Smith, poet, godmother of punk, political activist turned 62 today.

"I go to this here party,
and I just get bored..."

Happy Birthday Patti Smith

Monday, December 29, 2008


On December 29, 1890, United States troops sent to disarm the Native People at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, massacred an estimated 300 Sioux Indians.
And the beat goes on......

Saturday, December 27, 2008


This is the best news I've heard from the sports world since Mohammad Ali.

Article was printed by Tolerance.ca

Anti-racism Basketball Game to be Held in Pesaro, Italy
(Version anglaise seulement)

Pesaro (Italy) - On Sunday December 28th, 2008, the U.S. Victoria Libertas team, which is known throughout the world as the Scavolini Pesaro team, after taking its name from the long-time sponsor and president Valter Scavolini, will play Gmac Fortitudo Bologna at the Adriatic Arena. It is an important championship game for the Peasaro team, but Scavolini has already achieved its greatest triumph thanks to a courageous decision made by both the club and the players who have decided to promote an anti-racist message which Italy and the European Union are in serious need of.

Scavolini, in line with the project against racial discrimination it is promoting, and in support of the campaign for the rights of the Roma people promoted by EveryOne Group, has officially invited the Roma community of Pesaro (offering free tickets) to watch the game at the Adriatic Arena. The Roma living in Pesaro will cheer on the Scavolini champions and admire the skills of Curry, Hycks, Hurd, Myers Stanic and Zukauskas while displaying banners with the slogan “The Pesaro Roma support Scavolini against racism”.

Before the New Year, the Scavolini champions and some members of the board of directors will visit the abandoned factory in Pesaro where the Roma live, in a gesture of solidarity and fraternity.

“The initiative taken by the Scavolini team is a fine example for Italy and the rest of Europe”, say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, leaders of EveryOne, “because it emphasises one of the most current and tragic aspects of racism in the present day (both in Pesaro and in other Italian cities) and that is the intolerance shown towards people of the Roma ethnic group, the most vulnerable minority exposed to racist propaganda. It is easy to commemorate the persecution and genocides of other historical periods or other countries, but it takes courage to protest against the racial hatred that is poisoning the society and age we live in.”

EveryOne Group has informed the European Commission of Scavolini’s initiative, asking for its example to be presented to the Member States as an educational project against racism, in line with the new Europe which places human rights among its priorities.

A short film will be made and photographs taken during the game and the players’ visit to the Roma camp. This dossier will then be presented to the institutions of the European Union early in 2009. “From the president to the man in charge of contacts with the schools, Rodolfo Filippini; from the champions to the younger players, Scavolini is marking out a new path,” continue the activists, “ a path of solidarity and respect for minorities which makes sport a life model for human society itself. “When we met the Scavolini board, we noticed how genuine their desire was to contribute to the elimination of racial hatred, which is one of the most horrendous crimes of human society.

“During the ‘game against racism’ and the meeting between the men from the Scavolini team and the Roma families,” say Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau, “the younger players and students will have the opportunity to understand the value of solidarity as they shake the hands of people (even youngsters their own age) who live surrounded by racial hatred; people who fight every day the “game of survival” - where what matters is keeping families united and teaching the youngest generations to preserve the gift of hope, even in extreme hardship, exclusion and persecution”.

Friday, December 26, 2008


The following was published in the newsletter of the European Roma Information Office.

Far-right groups across Europe could be gaining support as the financial meltdown continues

23/12/2008 - The warning comes at a time of increased racist violence and attacks on gypsy communities across Europe.

A far-right group called the Hungarian Guard, which has been accused of persecuting gypsies, says it will defy attempts to ban it, as governments become increasingly concerned at the rise of the right. It is feared that extremist parties could make significant gains in European elections next June, particularly in eastern European countries.

In an interview with Sky News, a senior member of Hungary's right-wing Jobbik party said the financial crisis was making people look to parties they might once have called extremist. Zsolt Varkonyi said: "They realise that they have been lied to by our leaders, our politicians, our economic experts, so perhaps it is time for them to listen to us.

Jobbik also defends its official links with Hungarian Guard. "It was formed because there is no security in Hungary for people in villages; they are robbed and they are killed. "Talking about the image is just scratching the surface. What they wear, how they look, it's not really important."

Hungary has been among the countries hardest hit by the financial crisis. The government was forced to turn to the international community for an emergency bail-out. Hungary has established its first national police force to deal specifically with crimes against the Roma gypsy community. Political analyst Krisztian Szabados told Sky News: "We expect that public support for right wing extremists, which has been around 1%, will rise to at least 7%. We expect violent clashes between right-wing extremists and the gypsy population."

There have also been significant increases in violent racist attacks reported in the Czech Republic and Italy


Eartha Kitt died yesterday at the age of 83.

For me, there was an irony to her dying on Christmas Day. I played Santa Baby many times throughout the day. It's one of the few holiday songs I can deal with. That and John and Yoko's So It Is Christmas.

Ms Kitt was not only an amazing actress, dancer,and singer but also an activist for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. She was infamous for making Lady Bird Johnson cry at a dinner by responding to question about the war with a strong anti war statement.

She now joins my other divas who have recently died including Odetta, Mariam Makeba, and Yma Sumac

Sunday, December 21, 2008


On December 19, 2008 work finally began on the Berlin Memorial to the Sinti and Rroma who were victims of the Holocaust, or Porraimos in the Gypsy language. Romani Rose, a Sinti activist and President of the Central Council of Sinti and Rroma in Germany, attended the dedication ceremonies.

The memorial will be a fountain with dark water designed by an Israeli artist. A poem written by an Italian citizen is to be inscribed in the bricks used. One does wonder why a Sinti/Rromani artist was not used. Nor a Sinti/Rromani poet chosen for the bricks. Ah, but we are sticklers, eh? Believe it or not, there are brilliant Sinti/Rromani artists and poets.

On December 16, 1942, Himmler signed the Auschwitz Decree sending all Sinti/Rroma to extermination camps.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I found this ad for GYPSY FORTUNE TELLER coin bank on an auction site.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


B92 News Society :

Roma Holocaust marked today
16 December 2008 | 17:35 | Source: B92
BELGRADE -- Roma Holocaust Day is observed on Dec. 16 in memory of more than a million Roma, or Gypsies, who disappeared during the WW2 Nazi occupations.

In 1942, Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler ordered that all Romas from occupied territories should be deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. According to existing data, 25,000 Roma were deported.

The situation was similar in concentration camps in Serbia.

Even though there were Roma in almost every such camp in Europe, there is not much data on how many were killed.

Historians started to research the fate of Roma in the mid 1970s, while after the Washington Conference in 1999, previously unknown Roma concentration camps were discovered.

Member of the Roma National Council Vujadin Marinković said that Roma have a hard time achieving their basic rights, adding that one key rights is that their suffering acknowledged as is the case with other nations.

“But in any case, their suffering was great in numbers, the Roma people know this the best. But there are no statistics for that because the world that was supposed to take care of this did not have adequate data,” Marinković said.

“More than 18,000 requests have been submitted for wartime reparations and damages to Roma in Europe, through the international organization for recognizing the rights of the Roma who died in these camps,” he said.

Historian Branka Prpa said that Europe has shown interest in the Roma question only over the last couple decades.

She said that according to information obtained by the Belgrade Historical Archive in cooperation with Roma organizations, some 24,000 Roma were killed in the Banjica concentration camp alone during the Nazi occupation of Serbia.

“Romas were arrested at the same time as the Jews,” Prpa said, adding that both Roma and Jew men from the ages 16 and up were arrested and then executed in Jajinci, near Belgrade.

Roma Holocaust Day has been observed since 1995.

This article was published by the B92 News Society.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Jose Sucuzhanay died Friday night from injuries he received in an attack one week ago in New York. Jose and his twin brother, immigrants from Equador, were attacked last weekend by men who yelled anti gay and anti Latino epitaphs while hitting them with baseball bats.

Tensions are mounting in the former Yogoslavia as ethnic conflicts escalate. In Feb. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. Once again Rroma are in a perilous position.

Republican Senators have admitted that their votes against the bailout of the auto industry was an attack against organized labor. They expressed their animosity towards unions in general and felt that a vote against the UAW, seen as one of the most powerful unions in the country, is a statement against unions in general.
Well isn't that surprising.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


My friend Sani Rifati, a Rom from Kosovo is the president of Voice of Roma in California. This organization is involved in many projects which raise the consciousness of people in the United States about the reality of Roma worldwide. They also sponsor many projects in Kosovo and Macedonia to help the Roma directly.

One such project is the Threads That Connect Us project, which involves Romani women from central Kosovo and Kosovo Roma refugee women in Macedonia. The women do embroidery and crocheting, making items which are then sold at Voice of Roma events in the United States. This project is one of the best income generating opportunities for Kosovo Roma women, enabling many of them to support their families.

In Feb.2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. What this will mean for Roma is unknown, but no improvements have been seen so far. Voice of Roma has expanded their humanitarian work to provide additional support and opportunities for the Roma in Kosovo.

Voice of Roma raises its money through concerts, festivals and programs conducted in the United States. This year they are also asking directly for monetary support to allow them to continue and expand their activities.

You can visit them directly by clicking on the picture above.

Or mail a donation to:
Voice of Roma
PO 514
Sebastopol, CA 95473
If you mail a donation please tell Sani you heard about the fundraising through Lolo Diklo.


Rroma in Romania are naming their newborn babies after Barack Obama. Many have totally identified with Obama and think he could by "one of us".

Rroma, who are downtrodden throughout Europe, were enslaved there for many years. In Romania, they were slaves from the 1400's till the late 1800's. They continue to live lives of the oppressed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

FW: [Romano Liloro] ERIO's statement on Council of the EU conclusions on Roma

Below is a statement of the European Rights Information Office in regards the European Council's Conclusions on the Roma. You can access the Council's conclusions directly by following the link at the end of this entry.

--- On Wed, 12/10/08, Morgan Ahern <; wrote:
From: Morgan Ahern <BR>Subject: FW: [Romano Liloro] ERIO's statement on Council of the EU conclusions on Roma
To: punkaheron@yahoo.com
Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2008, 12:23 PM


From: Romano_Liloro@googlegroups.com on behalf of ERIO News
Sent: Wed 12/10/2008 12:06 PM
To: Roma_Daily_News@yahoogroups.com
Cc: Ivan Ivanov
Subject: [Romano Liloro] ERIO's statement on Council of the EU conclusions on Roma

European Roma Information Office
ERIO's statement on Council of the EU conclusions on Roma
Roma need a stronger political response
ERIO, the European Roma Information Office, welcomes with some reservations the 2914th General Affairs European Council conclusions on the situation of the Roma minority in the European Union and in candidate and neighbouring countries, taken during its meeting on December 9th, 2008.
The EU governments' representatives justly recognise the state of deprivation experienced by Roma inside and outside of EU borders. Moreover, they aim at developing actions which take into account different sub-groups inside the Roma minority (the young, women, the elderly, etc.). Positively, the Council suggests those actions should be designed and implemented with the close involvement of Roma themselves.
However, the Council's conclusions are very deceiving when it comes to requests of practical action to the European Commission and to Member States for the inclusion of Roma.
Reading the conclusions, we can only find a weak call for taking into account "the situation of the Roma when designing and implementing policies to defend fundamental rights, combat poverty and discrimination and uphold gender equality, and ensure access to education, housing, health, employment, justice and culture, and where appropriate to identify specific actions for 2009 and 2010 to that end".
We believe that Roma need a stronger and more dedicated approach.
Furthermore, the emergency situation faced by the Roma cannot be solved only by a "better use of the Structural Funds, the Pre-Accession Instrument and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument", as the Council's document suggests.
If there is no specific policy on Roma, those funds can not be properly allocated.
Finally, the European Council only calls upon the Commission to do more paper work on the Roma which could prove useful (as in the exchange of best practices in the field of Roma inclusion) but with a very limited beneficial impact for the Roma minority.
What is really needed is a stronger European Roma strategy and ERIO will continue to advocating for this.
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) is an international advocacy organization, which promotes political and public discussion on Roma issues by providing factual and in-dept information on a range of policy issues to the European Union institutions, Roma civil organizations, governmental authorities and intergovernmental bodies.
The ERIO cooperates with a network of a large number of organizations and acts to combat racial discrimination and social exclusion through awareness raising, lobbying and policy development.
Avenue Edouard Lacomble 17
Brussels 1040
Tel:      0032(0)27333462                      
Fax:     0032(0)27333875      
For more information:




Oh the fun. Bank of America, who withdrew the financing for Republic Windows and Doors last week, has announced they are willing to extend loans to the factory only to cover its debts to workers.
This willingness, of course, only appeared after they have been blasted by Chicagoans for cutting off the plant's credit after the bank itself received $25 billion from the government.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


On 29 November 1864 in Sand Creek Colorado, a US army regiment under leadership of a Methodist pastor, acting on orders of the Colorado governor and ignoring a white surrender flag, massacred over 500 sleeping Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. This was one of the most brutal atrocities in US history. Almost all the victims, who were mostly women, children and elders, were tortured, mutilated and scalped.
No charges were ever filed against the soldiers and they were originally given a victory parade through Denver.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Since their layoff on Friday, workers have occupied the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago's North Side.

Most of the 250 workers, many off whom have worked at the factory for years if not decades, have been there all weekend.

They were given less than 3 days notice and are owed vacation and severance pay.

The workers not only blame the owners of business, but also Bank of America which recently became a lender to the factory.

They are pointedly furious at the government "bail-out" of corporate America while workers are forgotten.

To their surprise, they're becoming a 'cause-celebre' with visits from Jesse Jackson and Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


This Monday, 8 December, will be the 28th anniversary of John Lennon's death. He'd by 68 years old had he not been murdered in New York City.

I try to imagine all he would have contributed in those years.

To read the quote on Lennon's t-shirt click on it.

PS I still love Yoko Ono.

Rroma of Kosovo

Below is a good documentary on the Rroma of Kosovo forced to live in lead contaminated area.

lolodiklo sent you a video: "Trapped - 1-3 - Kosovo Roma lead poisioning"

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself help center | e-mail options | report spam

lolodiklo has shared a video with you on YouTube:

English and Romanes.

See Video in better quality on www.RomaniMundi.com

Trapped - The forgotten story of the Mitrovica Roma (Kosovo)
In post-war Kosovo, 200 km from the European Unions borders, men, women and children trapped in heavily polluted camps are slowly dying from lead poisoning. We visit the Roma camps, the site of the most shocking public health disaster in modern Europe and meat their inhabitants, their leaders as well as the World Health Organisations representative in order to understand what happened here since the 1999 war.


the World through Roma Eyes

Never be bullied into silence.

Never allow yourself to be made a victim.

Accept no ones definition of your life, but define yourself.

Harvey Fierstein

Roma film maker Katalin Barsony travels the world to give a voice to the voiceless through a vision and celebration of a people who have always been misun... more
© 2008 YouTube, LLC

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


And now we've lost Odetta. The amazing singer and civil rights activist died Tues.

In less than a month, Yma Sumac, Miriam Makeba and Odetta have all died.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I'm working on an annotated media list for this blog. I keep wanting to call it a bibliography but I don't think that applies grammatically. And we all know how important grammar is, eh?
So, if any of you who read this blog think that would be a good idea, let me know through a comment.


There's been a steady resurgence of right wing survivalist groups in this country since the election of Barak Obama. David Duke's been issuing warnings about Armageddon to his followers, and hate crimes are on the rise.

The media is once again warning Americans of 'gypsy scam artists'.

And in Europe, things get more violent against immigrants and Rroma.

There have been mob attacks on Rroma villages in the Czech Republic, led by hundreds of members of the Czech nationalist group. Reports have implicated officials in the attacks.

In Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Austria, the Netherlands... attacks against Rroma are escalating.
Animosity towards Rroma and Travelers is tangible in England and Ireland.

There's an interesting situation in England. In the 1990's they passed the Caravan Sites Act which mandated that Rroma and Travelers could only stop and designated campsites. One problem was that they never designated any campsites and thus it's illegal for Rroma/Travelers to stop virtually anywhere.
So there's been a dynamic debate about where the 'Gypsies' could stop. Almost any chosen site is protested by the locals and the beat goes on. With the economic downturn and such, hostilities toward 'gypsies' are intensifying. So the British government chose this time to announce it's plan for a land grab, whereby the government can buy or confiscate people's property to set up 'Travelers' camps.
Can you imagine the uproar this has caused.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Yesterday I talked with a friend of mine who used to be a lawyer. We discussed the case of Ms. Dina Babbitt and her watercolors.

Her opinion was that Dina had received compensation for her work so it did not legally belong to her. The compensation she received was that Joseph Mengele spared the life of Ms. Babbitt and her mother in return for the watercolors of Rroma inmates of Auschwitz.

At first this argument floored me and I was speechless. Later I realized that to say Ms. Babbitt received compensation for her work in these circumstances is the same as saying that the victim of armed robbery who was not killed received compensation for their belongings. In the light of day, this argument seems ludicrous.

In today's Seattle Times, I read an article about France turning over a Matisse painting which had been looted by Nazis from a Jewish family in WWII. It was returned to the rightful owner, who had willed it be left to an Israeli charity organization. This seems relevant eh?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today is the anniversary of the murder of Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk by Dan White. White was later released after successfully pleading what came to be called, The Twinky Defense.

Yesterday, a judge in Florida threw out a long standing ban on adoptions by Gays or Lesbians. The ban was passed during the 70's heyday of Anita Bryant. Wonder if she'd use the Twinky Defense for her bigotry and hate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Oh my. In today's Seattle Times there was a picture of George W. Bush visiting the troops at Fort Campbell Kentucky. Across the page was an article about how the Bush administration has narrowed the definition of wounded in action concerning soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan. Many soldiers, including those injured by mortar fire and car collisions while under attack are denied the benefits allowed those wounded in combat.

How I wish George W. would just walk away now. Or, as demonstraters asked on election night,


On this date in 1883, Sojourner Truth died in Michigan. Truth, born into slavery, is well known for her "Ain't I a woman? speech given in 1851 at a women's convention in Akron. Ohio.

Monday, November 24, 2008


On this date in 1947, a group of writers, directors and actors, who came to be known as the Hollywood Ten, were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions of the committee investigating Communism in the film industry.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today I received a letter from Chairman Barloszewski of the Auschwitz Holocaust Museum. The board has decided, once again, to deny Ms. Babbitt the return of her watercolors of the Rroma/Sinti inmates of Auschwitz.
Ms. Babbitt is very weak and hospitalized. Needless to say, she is totally disheartened.

We are exploring avenues available to continue the struggle for the return of Ms. Babbitt's art.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I saw a very good film on PBS last night called March Point.
It was basically a documentary on Anacortes oil refineries and their effect on the Swinomish Indian Reservation and the Native Americans who live there. It was also the story of the growing awareness of three Native American teens.

By doing research, and interviewing elders, the teens learned about their history and discovered that the tribal traditions of crabbing and clamming have been jeopardized by years of corporate dumping of chemical waste.

The similarities between the treatment of Native Americans and the situation of Rroma in Europe are unavoidable.

For example, the UN administration in Kosovo set up camps for the Rroma after the war. These camps were built on the remains of the largest lead mine in Europe. The barracks were built with lead painted boards.

Many Rroma have died as a result of lead poisoning. There have been many spontaneous abortions and miscarriages due to lead poisoning.

According to medical experts who have visited the camps, EVERY CHILD CONCEIVED THERE WILL BE BORN WITH IRREVERSIBLE BRAIN DAMAGE.

The Rroma have nowhere to go should they try to leave the camps.

The weapons of oppression remain the same.


I've been waiting all day to hear the decision of the Auschwitz Museum Board of Directors concerning the return of Dina Babbitt's watercolors of Gypsy inmates. There has still no official notifications although I have been assured that a decision was arrived out. It's been at least three days since the annual board meeting.

I have to admit that my apprehension increases as time passes.

I acknowledge and appreciate the work of the Museum, I must wonder by what authority they keep Ms. Babbitt's artwork. I understand the rationalizations but feel an exception should be made in this case.

Who owns art and artifacts anyway?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


A decision has been made in the case of Ms. Dina Babbitt. We will be notified as soon as the decision has been translated and okayed for release. We continue to keep our fingers crossed and candles lighted.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


On Nov. 17, the board of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is meeting. One of the items on the agenda is the return of Ms. Dina Babbitt's watercolors.

Rromani groups have submitted letters in behalf of Ms. Babbitt. She is now 86 yrs old and suffering with stomach cancer. We feel it is important her artwork is returned to her now. Time is running out.

As Rroma, we are especially thankful to Ms Babbitt for documenting, through her art, the experience of Rroma/Sinti in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

A supportive article appeared in the most recent edition of the AARP magazine. Interestingly, the article never mentioned the fact that the watercolors in contention are portraits of Rroma/Sinti prisoners of the Holocaust. This is a very important fact. That AARP chose to omit this is evidence of the invisibility of the suffering of the Rroma/Sinti and the importance of documentation such as Ms. Babbitt's watercolors.

We all owe her gratitude for her contribution to justice and fairness.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Below is a video from YouTube made by Sinti in Germany.

This is the tribe my mother was from. Most Sinti in Germany were murdered in the Holocaust/Porraimos, even those who were settled and citizens of Germany.

lolodiklo sent you a video: "Sintis from Germany"

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself help center | e-mail options | report spam

lolodiklo has shared a video with you on YouTube:

© 2008 YouTube, LLC

Monday, November 10, 2008


Miriam Makeba, Mamma Africa, died this morning in Italy after performing a concert in support of immigrants. The concert was also held to protest the Italian government's policies against Rroma, including fingerprinting of all Rroma in Italy. She was 76.

Miriam Makeba was banished from her country, South Africa, in the 60's because of her anti-apartheid songs. She did not return until Nelson Mandella was released from prison.
Sponsored by Harry Belafonte, she became a popular and respected singer in the United States.

I was lucky to meet her in 1972, at a school on Staten Island, New York. She was a courageous and gentle woman who encouraged us in our political struggles for the end of the VietNam War, and the rights of all people. She supported the struggles of people of color, women and gays everywhere.

Miriam Makeba was an inspiration to all who fight for human rights and dignity.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


With the election of Barack Obama America rejoiced. Every news program I watched featured people saying how now anyone could achieve anything in America. While I supported Obama, I am dumbfounded that the right for gay people to marry in California was denied. So, anyone except gays can achieve what they want.
Do you see the irony in this.
I personally am opposed to the concept of state sanctioned marriage,but I will fight for the rights of anyone to get married if that is their choice.
How dare others dictate what gay people can or can not do.
It made me feel invisible when everyone rejoiced in the "now Americans can reach the goals they aspire to" celebrations. Well everyone can't.
And let's be aware that minorities in this country still have lesser status, whether based on ethnicity, race or sexual preference.
The struggle continues.

Friday, November 7, 2008


1916---Jeanette Rankin of Montana became the first woman in the US to be elected to Congress.

1917---Russia's Bolshevik Revolution began as forces led by Vladimir Lenin overthrew the provisional government.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


On this day, 1972, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting for President of the United States. She was arrested at her home the day after she voted. Her vote was purged.

She was convicted by a judge and fined $100. She said that she would never pay that fine, and she never did.

Happy Obama Day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

YMA SUMAC 1922-2008

Yma Sumac, the Peruvian born singer died Saturday night in Los Angeles CA.

Ms Sumac's spectacular multi-octave vocal range and exotic persona made her an international sensation in the 1950's.

If you are not familiar with her music, I strongly suggest you check her out. She was a unique performer with incredible skills. She released many albums in her career, and Mambo is my favorite. It gives full play to her incredible vocal range.

These photos are from the Los Angeles Times

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Studs Terkel died yesterday at the age of 96.
He really was a working class hero.

He wanted his epitaph to say
"Curiosity didn't kill this cat"

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sometime in the 1990's, 1994 I think, England passed the Caravan Sites Act, which decreed that Gypsies (Roma and Travelers) could only camp on Caravan Sites, which were to be like reservations for Native Americans. One of the many problems was that there were no sites decreed for Roma/Travelers. Ha.
Under the Caravan Sites Act, it is illegal for Roma/Travelers to camp anywhere which is not a designated site. But remember there were no sites. Which meant that anywhere Gypsies stopped was illegal.

Fourteen or so years later there are a few designated sites, but many more Travelers than sites. This has created an area of constant irritation and debate. Where are Travelers to camp.

Council after council has denied the right of Travelers to camp in empty fields "not designated as official sites". Talk about a conundrum.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


As the economy worsens in the western world, the need for scapegoats seems to escalate in tandem. The situation of the Rroma, and immigrants in general throughout Europe is horrendous.
In the next few entries I'm going to present the situation of Rroma in various countries in Europe.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Today, I heard an interview on the radio with a Danish man, one of the creators of the Living Library concept.
The idea is that people from various groups, usually those marginalized in society, agree to talk with people one on one. The goal is to learn more about a group you know through stereotypes and prejudices.
The "living books" have included Gay people and Lesbians, Atheists, Muslims, gang members, Holocaust Survivors, immigrants, Roma....

People meet at the library and can "check out" a living book for up to 30 minutes.

Many who have participated in the events report an increased understanding of others points of view. They have also reportedly been more inclined to challenge their assumptions in general about those unlike themselves.

The first Living Libraries were held in Denmark in the early 2000's. The early experiments were very successful and the idea spread throughout Europe. Living Libraries have now been held all over the world.

The Bainbridge Island (WA) library is one of the first in the US to engage in Living Library. They are holding the event tomorrow Sat. 25 Oct 2008.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The Republican Party has spent more than $150,000 on clothes, makeup and accessories for Sarah Palin since the Republican Convention. Wow.
What happened to the sweatsuits and sneakers many hockey moms wear?
Wonder what "Joe Six Pack" thinks of that.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I guess it's a sign of the times.

Waterford Crystal has announced plans to fire most of its Irish workers and move its factory overseas.

More than 280 specialist workers, including those involved in glass blowing and hand-cutting of lead crystal will be fired in the coming months.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


We're down to the wire in the effort to get Dina Babbitt's Auschwitz watercolors returned to her. She's 86 years old and ailing. The Auschwitz Museum Board is meeting in Nov. We are hoping at this time a compromise can be reached concerning Ms. Babbitt's paintings of Roma inmates of Auschwitz.

I encourage everyone to send an e-mail to the Director of the Board. Anyone interested can e-mail me directly for the address.


More information on Ms. Babbitt can be found through a Google search. There are also several entries on this blog, including one dated Sat. 26 Aug.