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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  December 16, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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[captioning made possible by democracy now!] from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> my name is nikki giovanni. i am a poet. and my poetry is hip-hop. >> today, legendary poet, activist nikki giovanni joins us to talk about her new book, "chasing utopia: a hybrid." >> as somebody else said much better than us, and i for an
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eye. that leaves us blind. then david cay johnston on the house budget deal. the war on public pensions. nelson mandela is laid to rest. all that and more coming up. to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nelson mandela was laid to rest as south africa laid to rest its leader. he was laid to rest in his home village at the age of 95. south african president jacob zuma said that his struggle for justice will carry forward. while the long walk to freedom has ended in the physical sense, our own journey continues. we have to continue building the type of society he worked
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tirelessly to construct. we have to take what is laid so wills and in doing continue drawing lessons from your very rich and extraordinary life. people visited his coffin in the lead up to the funeral. at least 125 people were killed when syrian government warplanes on rebel areas in the northern area of aleppo. dead included 28 children. the attack comes a month over -- before peace talks are set to take place in geneva. saturday marks the first anniversary of the massacre at .andy hook elementary school newtown residents held quiet
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remembrances after asking the news media for privacy. in his weekly address, president obama said only clinical mobilization from concerned americans can bring about good control. keep have to do more to dangerous people from getting their hands on guns so easily. we have to do more to heal troubled minds. we have to do everything we can to protect our children and help them feel loved and valued. we cannot lose sight of the fact that real change will not come from washington. it will come the way it has always come, from you, the american people. man left ae gun critical student in critical condition before taking his own life in colorado. arapahoerson entered high school with the intent of harming a teacher who disciplined him last week. >> he was armed with a shotgun.
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the individual also had a ventilator of multiple rounds of ammunition strapped across his body. he was also armed with a machete , a very large knife. the individual also carried a backpack with him as he entered the school. we now know as a result of the investigation that inside the back back were three incendiary devices. victim, 17-year-old claire davis, was shot in the head and remains in critical condition. at least 10,000 palestinians were displaced over the weekend after a rare winter storm caused massive flooding. united nations spokesperson chris guinness said the recovery effort was hindered by the long- running israeli blockade. become a disaster
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zone with water as far as the eye can see in some areas. 4000 workers working around the clock. we had distributed 5000 liters of fuel at the pumping station. unders disaster release blockade under occupation. it is problematic. has allowed an emergency shipment of fuel to enter gaza. this will restart the power plant which was forced to shut down in october. the move will give gaza residents eight hours of power at a time followed by eight hours of blackouts. former chilean president michelle bachelet has won a second round. she defeated her challenger with 62% of the vote. notictory in this round is
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one person, it is your voice is that we heard all of these months that has one, it is the voice of the citizens that have marched in the streets for years who have set ambitions and apap for our country. fromchelle bachelet served 2006 until 2010 as the first female president. she ran on a platform of reforming the constitution. her campaign pledges include a hike in corporate taxes from 20% to 25% and the eventual transition to free education. passionately will take office in march. thousands continue to rally in ukraine. ukrainian president viktor yanukovych is facing a massive campaign to resign over his rejection of a trade pact with the european union in favor of closer ties with russia.
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yen a code which is set to meet with vladimir putin later in the week. john mccain and christopher murphy voiced support for the movement in kiev. you thee here to tell american people and the united states congress stand with the people of ukraine. >> i am a republican, senator murphy is a democrat. we are here speaking for the american people in solidarity with you. the eu now says that suspended negotiations over the unreasonable demands. thousands rallied in india sunday in a protest over a new band of homosexual sex. the ban was struck down four years ago but was renewed after the indian supreme court held of a section of the penal code. protests were held in cities across india. minor -- here, the
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mainstream and the minor voice to stand up. what they are doing is against human rights in all respects. that theofficial says government should consider giving amnesty to edward snowden. rick ledgett said that amnesty could be given if snowden returned all the documents obtained. >> what were your thoughts on making a deal? personal, it is worth having a conversation. i would need assurances that the rest of the data could be secured. my bar for that security would be very high. >> is that a unanimous feeling? >> it is not unanimous. in the same segment, his
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, saysor, keith alexander he opposes amnesty for snowden. >> this is analogous to a hostage taker taking 10 people hostage, shooting 10, and then saying if you give me 40, i will let the others go. i think people have to be held accountable for their actions. what we do not want is for the next person to do the same thing with another set of data knowing they can strike the same deal. are stillicials unaware of exactly how much information he took from their system. a kansas airport technician was arrested friday after trying to carry out an alleged bomb threat. terry loewen used to security access to carry a truck that he thought was carrying explosives onto the tarmac in wichita, but
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it was billed must oscillate into made sure that the materials were inner. mr. loewen spent months developing a plan to use his access card to the airport to drive a car loaded with explosives to the terminal. it is alleged he planned to pull the trigger on the explosives himself and die as a martyr. agents arrested him at about 5:40 a.m. as he attempted to use his access card to enter the tarmac and to deliver the vehicle loaded with what he believed to be were high explosives. >> the fbi agent who posed as his accomplices supplied him with the materials he thought were bombs. lowlands and was said to be a muslim convert that was radicalized by jihadist websites. his familyote for saying he intended to cause maximum carnage and death.
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robert levinson disappeared in 2007 after arriving on the arabian island of kish to spy on the government. the cia told congress and the fbi he did not have a relationship to the agency, but to theird that he went health at the behest of caa analyst. von levinsohn was not a u.s. government employee when he went missing in your rack. as there is an ongoing investigation, i will not comment further on what he may or may not have been doing. i will not fact check every allegation in the store that you reference, a story which we believe was highly irresponsible to publish and which we urge the outlet not to publish out of concerns for mr. levinson's safety. i am also not going to say
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anything that will further harm our efforts to bring mr. levinsohn home safe which has been our goal for the six and a half years he has been missing. >> the white house can claim that he was not working for the government because he was a cia contractor. there has been no sign levinson is alive for nearly three years. are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. budget deal to avert another government shutdown comes before the senate this week. the house approved a two year budget agreement last week. the bill uses across-the-board spending cuts, replacing them with new airline fees and cuts to federal pensions. in a concession by democrats, it does not extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people, which is that duke byron next month. paul ryan and patty murray patty
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murray called the deal a win for both sides. >> this agreement is a clear improvement on the status quo. this makes sure we do not have a government shutdown scenario in january, makes sure we do not have another government shutdown scenario in october, makes sure we do not work from crisis to crisis. jobsr job -- deal puts a first. that was paul ryan and democratic senator patty murray. the deal is being hailed as a breakthrough, but not everyone supports it. member markongress spokane said --
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for more, we go to rochester, new york, where we are joined by and, an investigative reporter. atis currently a columnist al jazeera and a contributor to newsweek. talk about the deal. >> this deal is a big win for the paul ryan republicans. they will avoid the embarrassment, shame, and political damage of shutting down the government, and they will -- they obtained it from the get democrats without touching at all the major issues, the corporate loopholes are not being closed, the tax avoidance techniques of billionaires who can legally
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live tax-free if they choose to are not being shut down. the hedge fund and private equity managers will continue to be advantaged. 57,000 poor kids out of head start, which means we will narrow their economic futures and make us all worse off in the future. we are cutting $1.5 billion from medical research to save lives, why? because the very richest people in america, those who have benefited in this market, do not want to pay for those kind of services. being the war and peace report, the pentagon is getting an actual $20 billion of the deal. we already spent 42% of all the money in the world on our military. more money for the pentagon, seriously, why we are cutting off unemployment benefits and medical research, reducing tensions for federal workers?
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this makes absolutely no sense, it will make us worse off. >> what about the poorest americans, how are they affected? >> there is a war going on in this country on the poor. we have all sorts of ways we are doing this. we are restricting their access to medicaid, we are cutting food stamps are medically in this country, or will be soon. there is a 90-day fix for doctors who treat people on medicaid. that, i suspect, will not be continued. why would we be cutting fees to doctors who provide health care to people? congressman grayson said, you just want them to die. >> the budget heads to the senate where it has the backing of democratic leadership. this is dick durbin urging members to vote for it when it comes to the floor this week. >> vote for this, let's move, let's govern.
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this is an opportunity. with this opportunity, we can have a stronger national defense, stronger country, and we can save taxpayer money. >> that is democratic senator dick durbin. >> stronger national defense -- what? do we not have enough nuclear submarines to kill us all? it is just bizarre that we continue to stick to these means that we are not spending enough on national defense. we are spending over $900 billion a year on national defense. add to that that most of the world consists of our allies who have a big military, and this makes no sense whatsoever. >> you also talk about the u.s. government paying through the nose for contractors. started this movement
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back around the time the new deal ended and the heir of reagan, which we are still living in, began. it would be more efficient to just get rid of those lazy, no good, overpaid federal bureaucrats and paid contractors. the year, contractors cost government $763,000 each. overall, they cost twice as much as civil servants. for pentagon contractors, three times as much. that is done by contractors turns out to be of little or no value. 's you go to usa spending website, and put in irs ctract , the total amount of money it will show is equal to 500 years of the entire irs budget. contractors are ripping the taxpayers off left and right. why do they stay there?
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the owners of those companies hire politically connected people like former congressmen, former heads of agencies, and they make on pain -- campaign contributions to make sure that they get paid while the poor has their situation worsened. theou write about how country could generate millions of jobs. >> there are a number of things we could do. i have been doing a series of columns in al jazeera about this very point. one thing we could do is stop these "free trade deals." trade has rules. the supersecret transpacific partnership plan in which members of congress who want to read any part of it have to show they have no pen or pencil or pen recording device and then are led into a room. it is 30,000,
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words. these deals have resulted in every case, in the destruction of american jobs. one way to look at this, i suppose, is the generosity of blue-collar factory workers in america who have been willing to give up their hold on the middle class so that the rural poor of asia can have a better life, is something to be admired. >> i want you to respond to this quotation. you talk about the tpp, representing 40% of the world gdp. this is penny pritzker explaining why she supports the tpp. be a high-meant to quality 20th-century trade agreement. what we know from those agreements -- take for example our agreement with singapore. when we do an agreement of this quality, everyone's economy
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grows. trade has grown 60% since we completed our free trade agreement. >> david cay johnston. trade, in theory, can make us all better off. i am not arguing against that. the deals we have made our awful. the deal we made with china has cost us 2.4 million jobs. that is every job in greater metropolitan philadelphia. 50,000 factories closed because of that deal. our trade deal with south korea, we were told it would result in more trade. one dollar in extra goods to south korea for every $25 increase of imports from south korea. the global capitalist class sees to it that these deals are written in a way that they benefit, that workers in america have their wages driven down. the transpacific partnership, a
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secret agreement they want to ram through congress with no debate, is widely believed to cement current u.s. law while allowing trading partners look similar to alter their loss. that is a prescription for disaster. by the way, penny pritzker is a queen of corporate welfare. she is commerce secretary is itself astonishing given how much of the operations she owns have benefited from the public. >> finally, who pushed this agenda forward, talking about this budget deal with so much bipartisan consensus, and who resisted? a point of not living in washington, d.c. so i can cover what politicians do more than they say. i am not really that's pretty talk about that subject, amy. >> finally, detroit.
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i cannot let you leave without talking about that because you write about it, it is so critical. the largest u.s. municipality to qualify for bankruptcy. earlier this month a federal everyruled the city meets criteria for insolvency including its inability to provide the bare minimum of services to its residents. the ruling puts tens of thousands of retired city workers pension at risk, overriding protections in the michigan state constitution. what happens to those can't -- pensions? >> we do not know exactly but in all likelihood, those who are already retired, will have their income cut. the average pension is $19,000 a year. hugo out to suburban ann arbor and it is twice that much money. a canary in the mind of what is going on in this country.
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is makingrialization us poorer. it is benefiting the global capitalist class, and we will see more of this. detroit went from having a large tax picks with factories producing things to grow the economy, to being full of vacant land all over the place, and abandoned buildings because of the federal government's trade policies and antiunion policies. we need to wake up and understand and vote for people who will change these policies, or the future is clear. you can see it in the cuts to the head start program as a good example. it is the policy of congress to spend money now in ways that will make us poorer in the future. david cay johnston, thank you for joining us. a pulitzer prize-winning journalist formally with the new york times, now writing for tax
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analyst and al jazeera. we will link to your articles on a moment with legendary poet and distinguished professor nikki giovanni. stay with us.
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman. saturday marked the anniversary of the newtown massacre. andstudents were shot wounded at another school in colorado over the weekend. the gun man died from a self- inflicted gunshot wound. president obama marked the anniversary by urging americans to push for tighter gun control. that weis anniversary will never forget, that is the example we should follow. done enough to make our communities safer. we have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. we have to do more to heal troubled minds. we have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved .nd valued and cared for as we do, we cannot lose sight of the fact that real change will not come from washington. it will come the way it has always come, from you, the
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american people. president obama marking the one-year anniversary of the sandy hook shooting. since then, congress has not passed any legislation on gun a decade-longfrom extension of a ban on plastic guns. grandparents of some of the victims talked about their grief . to talk more about gun violence, we are joined by nikki giovanni, but not just to talk about gun violence. nikki giovanni is a poet, activist, distinguished professor. she talked with students responsible for the 2007 virginia tech massacre which left 32 people dead. nikki giovanni is one of the nation's most celebrated poets. 45 years ago she published her first collection of poetry.
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she was soon dubbed the princess of black poetry. she has since the list 30 books including a memoir that was a finalist for the national book award and a children's book about rosa parks. titledest book is "chasing utopia: a hybrid." she was the first recipient of the rosa parks woman of courage award. she has also received the award awarde langston hughes for poetry. i know that you did not plan on becoming a spokesperson for gun control in this country. that was not your goal. but of course, virginia tech is famous for what happened in 2007. i came down to virginia tech and interviewed you in your office. amazing to learn about the relationship with the student who was the killer there. i know there are couple of
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rules in new york, do not touch the microphone and do not correct an introduction. i did not teach mr. cho. i did not teach him poetry and it then that teach him to shoot. he had enrolled in my class and was a disruption and i requested that he leave. maybe four weeks into the term, i said to my department head, either the student has to leave my class, or i will resign. she did not believe me, but i was incredibly serious. on tuesday and thursday and that was a tuesday afternoon. i taught a student who was a wonderful young man who now does literacy. -- i wish iteach would have been able to teach mr. cho poetry, perhaps
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something could have been avoided. i am just a poet, not a psychiatrist. how did you understand something was wrong with them that he was not reachable? >> i knew that my class could not function in it. i am not hired to tutor, i am high to respond to a class. he was a constant disruption. >> what do you think needs to be done around gun violence? >> i thought it was a pitiful statement the president made. washington certainly makes oftens but they are negative. washington makes changes. why is it when it comes to gun control, we need the american people? no, we need leadership, we need the president and senators, people who care, who need their views to be as strong as the
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nra's is about their view of everyone having a gun. guns are a bad idea. centurye just not a 21st- thing. they are not necessary, it is not the way that you do that. with the leadership, i am tired of watching the people who we see carabao down to the people that we know do not. pope enchanted to see the was back on rush limbaugh. rush limbaugh is a fat, drug addicted idiot who sends his brown made out to buy his drugs. not catholic, i am baptist, but good for the pope. you get tired for the good guys always funding the crazy guys somehow making sense. the massacre at virginia tech, how has it changed the university? >> it changed universities.
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9/11 did not change new york. it changed america. i think that these things have to be looked at. that is something that really happened at virginia tech. as what happened here in lower manhattan. it is not that new york did something. it is something that happened. it changed how we look at education. it changed how universities try to protect themselves. protectionthe best from all of this, as you and i know, is education. >> that brings us to a comment from terri moretti, whose grandson, dylan hockley, was killed in the sandy hook massacre. >> to watch your child go through the loss of their child
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is devastating. my daughter and son-in-law had established reading to the boys every saturday night. when i came to visit, i always have the pleasant task of reading to them. i was reading a particular book to dylan the week before the tragedy. at christmas time and the book was still in the bedroom and i asked my daughter if i could have it. she said of course i could. since the night i have brought it home, i have read the book to dylan every night and i believe he hears me, and then i talked to him for a little while. i will read this book every night until i see my precious dylan again. >> terri moretti talking about her grandson dylan hockley. >> that is incredibly sad. we need leadership that is strong and clear and consistent. this is a real problem.
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it is not a problem that pops up every time somebody shoots somebody, although we have had shootings recently. when does it stop? >> you talk about president obama not standing up enough on the issue of gun control. you also talk about inequality. where is the leadership on that? >> where is the leadership on anything? we have the right wing which is a little nutty, the left wing without balls. right now we are not in a good position. poets and rap artists, as strong as we are in our views, are not leaders, we are artists. >> talk about chasing utopia. i said the other night to my editor, if i could find a special water to put this book in, boil the book, cool it, and
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let people drink it, it would be joy. this is a book that makes you smile. my mother died and i was incredibly sad. 2004 just before the tragedy. the thing happened at virginia tech, i reached to call my mom. . was very sad my mother died in june, my sister died in august, my and died in october. i had a lot to do. i am a responsible person, so you have to put your own morning aside to do what has to be done. i have adone and daughter alex. i said to alex, i just need to be quiet. i would go out on the deck with a glass of chardonnay and that is it. younally realized that
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cannot do that. you ought to be able to drink or cry, do what one does, but eventually i was looking at alex, and one morning i went out, -- i do not know if you are a dog person -- but he was giving me that look, again. every morning my mom drank a beer. the reason i knew my mom was dying was because she was in the hospital and had taken a fall. she was making a beer in, i thought. i had to accept that she was dying. make changes. to i cannot mourn forever. i said, one big a beer for the old girl. i do not like a beer. if i would drink a
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beer for money, it has to be the best. so we went over to the local bookstore and looked up the beer book. i said, what is the number one beer in the world, utopia. i knew you could not find it at kroger's. it is $350 a pint. the local wine store did not have it. i called another liquor shop in california. they do not have it. they only sell wine and brandy. on how i couldff get this beer and drink it for my mother. because iof fudging have it, but i am waiting. quality alexander is a great kid who does literacy in ghana. he asked me to come over. i met queen won the 10th.
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i have a weakness for old ladies and i actually -- absolutely adore her. i was sharing the story and she said, i want to drink it. i said, i'm going to keep this bottle until you come. she is coming in january. we will be drinking utopia and have a toast to my mommy. >> how do you write poetry, what is your actual ritual, do you pick up a pen and doesn't start? do you start in your home or office? >> i am not internet-y. yesterday, one of my writer friends texted me and said that i did a good job. i said, i cannot do this weird i am 70 years old. i can do this.
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i pulled it up and there is a thing that said reply. i touched it and then it said message. i said thanks, much love, mickey. she got that. i am thrilled. now i know how to text. i do not know how to generate it, but i know now. i have a computer but it is not connected to anything. . do read every day i read something, a newspaper. every day you try to learn something. i do not try to write every day. but not want to say dream, i think. for example, this will be a problem at some point. i used to live here in new york. i love manhattan. if i were rich, i would live here now.
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from 57th street down to hear, .hey used to be a bookstore then you go down tw or more blocks, there was a bookstore. i started looking and i need to write that, i need to do geography. --ing down 5th avenue addison already had a wonderful bookstore, but coming down 5th avenue, there were five major bookstores but they are now all gone. what has taken their places is crap. against 12-year-old girls wearing bras or something, but you know how you look at the old and you can see that they are still bookstores. i want to write about that. it used to be such a joy. , 92nd andlive uptown central park west. i am a walker and i am a little
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older now. if i were in new york on 92nd street, i probably would not walk down to the village. had my son on the back and we would go down to the village, to a cheese shop. i only had one time to make the mistake of coming home through lexington. over lexington. we would have the cheese and come back home. manhattan is such a wonderful and important city. >> when we come back, i would like you to share some poetry with us. nikki speaking to giovanni, poet, professor, distinguished professor of english at virginia tech. her most recent book just published is called "chasing utopia: a hybrid." stay with us.
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♪ [music break] >> "this bitter earth" by dinah washington. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. is our guest, poet, distinguished professor of .nglish at virginia tech or i her new book is called "chasing utopia: a hybrid." hybrid? i was talking to my editor
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and we thought -- i thought it should be the hybrid. we decided to change it because there are other hybrids. >> you have a tattoo on your arm? it says thug life, for two boxer core. i know his mother. this is not just an individual thing, this is a generational thing. c was a great loss. charismatic young man. only two years younger than my son. you feel it a lot. >> share some poetry. >> the significance of poetry. poetry is as necessary to life as shaving pasta, lotion is to mornings, as your smile is to my happiness. poetry is a significant to life as used is to bread, as butter is to toast, as grades are too
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wide, as sugar is two lemons. how else would we get lemonade? touch,is to meet your your laughter, that feeling at the end of the day, that i am not alone. i like that a lot. cy?"an you read "spi >> i used to watch my mother cook. she would invariably sigh and light the cigarette. because nobody smokes anymore, beans have not tasted as good anymore. this is cardamom, it comes from southeast asia. this is not meant. the defense of this ice by the brits was so fierce, the judge gave up manhattan island. close. stick them in an orange for a christmas present or a hand to make a design. cooking with mom he was geography. these you can eat. these mushrooms will kill you.
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should we put them in your father's eggs come she would laugh and say. rosemary, tarragon, salon show up. then i'll even brought yellow and jackets. the trick to a great hand is a song. along anding lustfully. she would harmonize with me, unable to carry inability. now it is ready. cold water to the top. fennel, allspice, pepper potts to the top. low heat until boiling, about two hours. let cool 15 minutes. for the water off and then let cool on your platter. i make my hands the way that my mother made hers, with lots of talk, love, and laughter. nikki giovanni, one of her problems in "chasing utopia: a hybrid." a hybrid of prose and poetry. >> and a lot of recipes.
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>> food and joy. when do you write poetry, wendy wright peru's? --when do you write pro se? >> the lead here could never have been a problem. it is a process of why i decided i want to bring -- drink the number one beer in the world. writinghave to part paradise lost or something like that. i do not think i have the ability to do that. the way i tell stories is through that voice. this, i don't with a story, this is how we lost money. we did not lose mommy, mommy died. i wanted to celebrate. you do not forget the death of your mother. that is not going to happen. say,me point you have to
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are you embarrassing your mother by continuing to stay in this place? americans, as a nation, need to recognize and respect mourning more. the death and illness are not things that you necessarily get over. but you do say, i have cried this last tear. -- life becomes different. i need to re-create myself. >> how did you start writing? i laughed about it, but my sister was a friendly person. i am just not friendly, i did not have a lot of people around me, did not have a lot of people to talk to. i used to draw, but i was not as good as i am at writing. i like words, but i spent a lot of time alone.
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i lived with my grandparents for several years. my grandfather was 20 years older than my grandmother. he did not have much patience with the grandchildren. , i do not know many human beings nicer, but all of the grandchildren paired off. talented, so she had piano lessons, dance lessons, and that left nikki. me, we would talk to would read together. he was a latin scholar, so we would talk about the greek and latin gods. i think grandpa felt sorry for me, so i learned to function in my own space. as we wrap up, this is the weekend that nelson mandela was laid to rest in his home village. any thoughts on this world leader?
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mandela is a great man. of the sorority andela is a part of. of all the things that nelson mandela gave up, and he gave up quite a bit to get south africa, the main thing that we ignored that he gave up his winning. we have to recognize that winnie mandela carried him all those years. there was no way that winnie could be first lady of south africa. that was one of the most difficult decisions. i did not know mr. mandela, but that had to be one of the most difficult decisions to make. the woman then stood with you, you now have to put aside.
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>> nikki giovanni, thank you for being with us. her latest book is called "chasing utopia: a hybrid." this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. on nelsontoday's show mandela, turning to the anti- wastheid activist who imprisoned at robben island with nelson mandela for 26 years. he spoke at sunday's funeral. griefay, mangled with our is enormous pride that one of lifetimeas, during his , and now in your death, united the people of south africa and the entire world on a scale never before experienced in history. fewfeeling in these last
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days, messages from people in all walks of life, have demonstrated how very connected how thel to you and story of your life is their story, and how their story is yours. you have captured this relationship beautifully on the occasion on the death of our father. "we share the joy of the living and the pain. together, we share ideas, forge common commitments. we walked side-by-side through the valley of death, nursing each other's bruises, holding each other up when our steps faltered. together, we savored the taste of freedom." >> speaking at nelson mandela's funeral on sunday.
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we are joined by david goodman, who was with nelson mandela, visited his final prison, and also went to his home village, where president mandela was finally laid to rest on sunday. david also happens to be my brother. welcome. your thoughts today on nelson mandela's passing, and where he was buried in who knew. remarkable to see these images all week. i was writing and covering mandela with the truth commission in 2006 and there is an interesting connection in the last prison i visited him in and where he was buried yesterday. he modeled the home on his last cell which was a cottage on the
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ground of what was then a maximum security prison outside of cape town. qunu was also in the heart of a former homeland called the trans-guy, which was, in the height of apartheid, been declared as an independent country by south africa, populated only by black south africans. assessingay of this blacks of citizenship in their own country. of ad all the trappings country. there was a defense force. the so-called independent homeland, which no one recognized, it actually existed until mandela became president in 1994. >> talk about that visit you made to prison, how you ended up there with us and mandela. >> i received a phone call in
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1996 in south africa, covering the truth commission. it was from president mandela's press aide, asking me if i would like to go to jail with nelson mandela. i was a little stunned by the question. it took me a second to figure out what was going on. she was inviting me to return with mandela to the last of three reasons -- he spent 27 years in prison. alas two years were in this prison. i jumped at the chance. myselfternoon, i found on the grounds of this prison looking for his cell, which turned out to be this pleasant cottage surrounded by rose bushes. resident mandela showed up, walked through the rose garden, and immediately broke into a big smile. he said some of the best years of my life were spent here.
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there were him -- about a half-dozen reporters. i said, this was in on thing for a prisoner to say. i asked him why. he said it is because this is where we met with the leadership of the anc for the very first time. mandela was released from jail in 1990. so for the last year or two, the leaders of the anc, who he had not seen, was coming to this prison to meet with him. i then asked president mandela if he ever considered escaping. it would have been very easy. his jailer was also his cook, and was actually taking him home to his apartment for home cooked meals and to drive around covertly in cape town. mandela said he never considered escaping.
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he said it would have been contrary to what we were trying to achieve. what was going on at that time was that mandela was a prisoner, but he was holding the white apartheid government hostage. as long as he was in prison, the apartheid regime were pariahs on the international stage. remarkable wrestling match that they were locked in. that day, he was then with his former prison guard and thanked them and said it is because of them, recognizing one another's common humanity, that he was able to do the political reconciliation for which he is now rightly world-famous for. >> david, thank you for joining us. we will link to your articles. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people w
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