A Catholic Worker Family



A Catholic Worker Family

The objects of their adoration

were later traced to Central Station,

laying on a closet floor

with Tamany Hall’s old humidor.


There was no sacred image there,

No Dorothy Day

No sign of prayer

No feet to wash except their own

No poor to serve, no map of home.




Decades later, faintly heard:

distant Latin, sacred word,

serving drunks on bended knee:

prophets of the Bowery.


But nothing’s left of battle cries

turned by cowards  into lies.


Claire O’Brien, 2014


Note: this poem is about one family – not about the Catholic Worker Movement itself, to which I send my love.




Gabriel Garcia Marquez, R.I.P.

Originally posted on Om Malik:

The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.

Nobel Prize-winning Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away at the age of 87. A wonderful writer, who influenced many of us in other parts of the world before there was the Internet, Marquez was a true internationalist before that phrase actually had a meaning. More importantly, he was a man who clearly knew that words are work, and work is words. He might be dead, but he lives with his words. His one quote is something I often think about: “No, not rich. I am a poor man with money, which is not the same thing.”

Marquez was a great journalist and let’s pay homage to him by reading this wonderful interview with him in The Paris Review. There is more from The Paris Review, that is worth reading, but start with…

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Thank you, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Claire Marie O'Brien:

R.I.P Gabo! I love you.

Originally posted on Petchary's Blog:

I was extremely saddened by the news of the death of Gabriel García Márquez, the great Colombian writer. He passed away at home in Mexico City, aged 87, after being hospitalized for a lung infection recently. 
"One Hundred Years of Solitude" has sold over 50 million copies in 37 languages.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” has sold over 50 million copies in 37 languages.

Saddened is not a strong enough word, really. His works have always taken me into a world of intricate beauty and enchantment, infused with wisdom. Although I cannot speak Spanish, the English translations have always been enough to transport me to that world. The language alone is entrancing, but Márquez was always the greatest of storytellers. Importantly, he was my personal introduction to Latin American literature. He got me hooked. As you can see from the book reviews posted in this blog, I have remained absorbed and fascinated by the fiction coming from this continent – so close to our…

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The Cops Who Killed Ramarley Graham Walk Free (#NOJUSTICE)

Originally posted on United States Hypocrisy:

  • ColorOfChange.Org  is urging the United States Department of Justice to hold New York cop Richard Haste accountable for killing an unarmed teenager inside of his home. Haste is one of several out-of-uniform NYPD police officers who chased down an 18-year old Ramarley Graham, broke into his house and savagely murdered him in his own bathroom.
  • One of the ‘defenses’ police officers most commonly cite to “justify” their continuing murder of young unarmed Black men is that their target would not stop for them when ordered to. However, just as in the case of the NYPD killing of  Ahmed Amadou Diallo fifteen years ago, the officers wore plain clothes, carried guns and did not even identify themselves as police (not that this is even relevant since they had no reason to be chasing him in the first place!).
  • When a Black man, in a predominantly Black neighborhood, sees a bunch…

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The email that “disappeared”: found in a deceased professor’s paper

“Without reporter’s shield laws, who would be willing to speak up?”




Presented at the 124th annual convention and trade show

Of The National Newspaper Association

Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 2010, in Omaha, Neb.

By Les Anderson

Professor, Elliott School of Communication

Wichita State University, Wichita, Kan. 67260-0031 

†††  Note: This paper has been  greatly condensed, without detracting from its original meaning. My primary purpose in posting this shortened version is to emphasize the political nature of the defamatory campaign that was unleashed against me when I objected, in a civil manner, and on appropriate grounds , to the unprotected status the bill leaves reporters in rural western Kansas. It’s a “whole other country” from the eastern part of the state.

In February 2007, Doug Anstaett, executive director of the Kansas Press Association, addressed members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Kansas Legislature about a proposed reporters shield law.

Anstaett told the legislative committee that we in America can handle the truth, and that it is the job of professional news gatherers to do their best to deliver that truth to citizens.

The American people have shown time and again throughout our history that not only can we handle the truth, we demand it as an absolutely essential ingredient of our form of government, he said.

Without the protection afforded by the proposed reporters shield law, however, Anstaett said in 2007, sources will continue to be intimidated and will continue to choose to not come forward, and journalists will not learn what public officials and others want to hide.

The proposed shield law didnt gain much traction in Kansas for several more years. One of the problems Anstaett and the state’s journalists faced was providing real-life evidence to back up their request for new legislation.

In the fall of 2009, Anstaett, the press association and journalists in Kansas got the ammunition they needed. Claire OBrien, a reporter in Dodge City, had been subpoenaed to testify at an inquisition, where she would likely be ordered to give up her unpublished notes and her confidential source for a story in a local murder case.

According to an Associated Press story by John Hanna, the county attorney was trying to force OBrien to hand over notes from a jailhouse interview with a man charged with second-degree murder. He also was trying to get her to divulge the identity of a confidential source who suggested the man acted in self-defense and that one of the victims had ties to an anti-Hispanic group. OBrien refused to comply with the subpoena.

Initially, the Kansas Supreme Court granted a temporary stay of a subpoena for OBriens notes, according to the AP story, but the next day, the reporter received a subpoena (from the county prosecutor) to appear at the defendants trial as a witness. The Kansas Supreme Court (immediately)… refused to block the subpoena (without considering the appeal).

Anstaett commented: It (the supreme court ruling) sends an unmistakably chilling message to our reporters and to their sources that no protections exist for those who want to blow the whistle on government, uncover corruption and abuse, or report on the criminal element in our communities.

The Senate majority leader  agreed  that because of the Dodge City case, We should strike while the iron is hot.

With his help, a new proposal was enacted into law in that same 2010 session.

Kansas became the 38th state with a shield law.



2012-12-07 Press Tags 004

Not everyone connected with the Dodge City case was happy with the new shield law, especially OBrien, the reporter who brought the plight of reporters to the attention of the public and the legislature.

OBriens newspaper, the Dodge City Daily Globe, is one of nine Kansas dailies owned by GateHouse Media, which is based in Fairport, N.Y.,  and owns ( close to 400 newspapers)

In an e-mail in late January to the state press association, her companys division manager and publishers of four Kansas newspapers owned by GateHouse Media including her own OBrien said she was disappointed in the bill. This e-mail came before it was signed into law.

“(The bill) strikes me as the kind of compromise that will give the legislature an excuse to avoid passing a real shield law for another couple of decades, OBrien said in her e-mail. We won’t get another opportunity to pass a bill with real teeth in it for a long time, and with the feds packing reporters off to prison in record numbers, I still think our best hope is a proactive and vigorous appeal to public opinion.

She continued: This bill leaves ample room for forced testimony. If it serves as the basis for my protection, I predict that I’ll soon be right back in the same courtroom. I know this county attorney and this judge well enough to be certain of that. And I gave my word to my sources that their identities would be protected.

OBrien added in her e-mail: I’m not willing to go to jail for this bill. I don’t think it will protect me. However, I do remain willing and ready to go to jail in order to achieve real protection for all Kansas reporters.

I realize that the above scenario would transpire in theory only if the state meets certain criteria, but, in Ford County at least, the court has clearly demonstrated its willingness, if not eagerness, to rubber stamp every claim the state has made in that regard.” (My note, included here, not a part of the original email or of this paper: as a reporter, I had observed our county prosecutor and Judge Love in action for almost a year. It was clear to people in Ford County  that if the shield bill passed, our DA, who went hunting with this judge every other weekend, would simply hand his pal, I mean his honor, a statement claiming that he had, as required by the bill,  exhausted other resources. The judge would sign the prosecutor’s subpoena with no pretense of reading the statement. An hour later a deputy would appear at a reporter’s desk and hand him a subpoena.

I realize that I’m just one factor in this whole scenario, and that each of you will make decisions as you see fit. I realize also that I’m just a beat reporter who probably appears to be getting too big for her britches. But for what it’s worth, and again with sincere respect to all, I’m risking your displeasure only because of deeply held personal convictions.



OBrien was fired from the Dodge City paper shortly after the issue was resolved.

(She) told an Associated Press reporter that it was in retaliation for comments she made to news outlets after she was found in contempt for failing to appear at the inquisition. Her newspapers parent company, GateHouse Media, denied her allegations.

Obrien said she never testified before the legislature on the proposed shield law, although she had initially been asked to provide input.  She wasn’t mentioned at the bill-signing ceremony either, nor at the annual state press association banquet, where everyone who played a role re the bill’s success was  individually thanked. Except O’Brien.

It emerged late in the press banquet that O’Brien had not only won first place in the news division – and with the very story that had attracted the wrath of the DA in the first place – but that she had broken a state record by winning three additional awards at once.

“Fortunately, the judges were from the Nebraska Press Association,”” the unrepentant reporter  commented on the RCFP website.




. In a July 2010 interview after her firing, O’Brien said …she was outside the information flow between the court and the newspaper’s parent company.

..”I was forfeiting some basic rights,”  she said.

…She didn’t think it was unreasonable to want copies of everything associated with the case.

“I didn’t want to be leading a parade,” she said. “I wanted to be informed. I had to fight just to be told when motions were going to be presented… anyone facing a criminal charge has a right to information.”




OBrien received four Kansas Press Association awards for her stories that appeared in the Dodge City newspaper. Ironically, among the awards was a first place for the story on her jailhouse interview.

OBrien maintains the new shield law may protect the  urban Democrats of eastern Kansas in places such as the famously wealthy Johnson County,  and in Topeka and Wichita, where the state’s only two large newspapers  are respectively located.  As for the towns, large and small, that dot the high arid plains of Kansas’ vast central and western regions, the bill provides the  reporters who put in 12 to 16 hour days for an average wage of $24,000 a year about as much protection as nylon netting.

Out here, she added, prosecutors rule like kings.




  Purple text – highlighted email, incorporated by Professor Anderson into text and quoted directly by myself.

♦ Blue text – extremely condensed

 Orange text – added by me

♦ Black text – by Professor Les Anderson, Elliot school of Communication,Wichita State University

The above paper was also published in Editor and Publisher, November 2010



A right to a future means a right to a past/Chicanos seize control of their history


                         Θ DAY OF ACTION  Θ  DAY OF ACTION  Θ  DAY OF ACTION Θ

                                                          APRIL 8, 2014 ACTION: 



The Texas State Board of Education voted 11-3 to add elective courses to include Special Topics in Social Studies to include Mexican-, African-, Asian-, and Native American Studies. Cortez’smeasure had bipartisan support.

Author and activist Tony Diaz was jubilant over the decision. “This is huge, he said. “We came here for Mexican-American Studies and we actually got more, to benefit more communities. It shows that Texas can be a leader in education.” Under the plan that passed, any school district in Texas will have access to the state-approved curriculum. The state also plans to issue a call to publishers for materials, he said, which could benefit Latino authors and writers.

The vote was surprising to many, although momentum had been growing in support of the proposal. The school board of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the largest school district in Texas, voted on Thursday to approve Mexican American Studies as an elective counting towards graduation. HISD joined other Texas school districts in approving the plan, as well as the Texas Association of School Administrators.

By Paul Reyes, NBC News


From Tu Libro:
 E-MAIL all of the Texas State Board of Education at sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us and in the body of the e-mail put: TO ALL TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS (this will insure that all 15 board members receive the e-mail) and simply tell  them that you support the implementation of Mexican American Studies in Texas schools, and that this is important for the success of all Texas children, and the State of Texas.
This is in preparation for the SBOE meeting on April 8-9 in Austin where a vote is anticipated. There will also be a march and press conference from Cesar Chavez Blvd. & Congress to the Texas State 
Capitol on Tuesday, April 8 beginning at 9am
If you want to testify at the April 8-9 Texas State Board of Education meeting in Austin, you can register at:   http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=25769804082
Gracias for your support and action all day tomorrow. Mexican American Studies is important for the educational success of our children, not only in Texas, but throughout the U.S. 

In Lak’ech Ala K’in

   Georgina Cecilia Perez

EmpowerLove. Educate.





Banned in Arizona Author Dagoberto Gilb Joins April 8 March on

Austin for Mexican American Studies (M.A.S. ).


For Immediate Release:  
Contact:      Tony Diaz 
                     (832) 630-6007


  • 622x350[1]

    Tony Diaz/ Photo credit unknown

     Texas State Board of Education Can Mark 50th Anniversary of  Civil Rights Act by Ending Institutionalized Racism vs M.A.S.


Houston, TX (April 6, 2014)- Mexican American Studies is banned in Arizona.Wednesday, April 9, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) can shatter the institutionalized racism preventing MAS from even officially existing in Texas

Dagoberto Gilb’s books THE MAGIC OF BLOOD and WOODCUTS OF WOMEN were part of the Mexican American Studies Curriculum prohibited in Arizona under HB2281.

This Tuesday, April 8, Gilb joins the state-wide coalition of MAS Texas to testify before the full board of the Texas SBOE in Austin telling them to implement Mexican American Studies for Texas high schools.



Wall mural, East L.A. circa 1970s

Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, is the leader of the group that organized the Librotraficante Caravan to smuggle the books banned in Arizona back to Arizona. “It’s easy for Texans to say what happened in Arizona could never happen here,” Diaz said. “Well it can’t because we don’t have K-12 M.A.S. On the other hand, the demographics are different here. If the Republican TX SBOE members vote along party lines and shut down Mexican American History, I promise you Texas will turn blue a deep blue quickly, and without Latinos the GOP can’t win Texas and can’t win the presidency ever again. The vote on Wednesday will reveal the true heart of the Republican party.” Diaz is scheduled to testify Tuesday as well.



Activities for MAS Texas begin Monday April 7 with a Banned Book Rave at Resistencia book rave. That will be followed the next morning by a march on the Capitol, followed by testimonies before the TX SBOE. The SBOE votes April 9 on the matter.

Book Rave Party: Chicanos are the new counter culture.

Monday, April 7, 8 pm
Resistencia Book Store
Casa de Red Salmon Arts
4926 E. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX


            The Book Rave Party will feature mind-altering prose from works by Chicano authors banned in Arizona and music by DJ’s which will include the Librotraficante Electronic Music Anthem. This showdown with Texas discrimination is our “1968″ Democratic Convention. The SBOE and GOP need to know the whole world is watching. #TWWIW

March For Mexican American Studies (MAS)

Tuesday, April 8, 9 am – 11 a.m starting at the Corner of Cesar Chavez Street and Congress, Austin, TX.

            Students, professors, activists, artists, professionals, and families will convene at Cesar Chavez Street and then march along Congress to the Austin, Texas Capitol Building, carrying copies of books by or about Mexican American writers and figures who have been over looked by history. This will culminate with a rally in front of Capitol Building, prior to testifying at the Texas Education Agency Building.

Press Conference and Rally & Public Testimony  

Tuesday, April 8, Rally 12:45. This is followed by testimony before the TX SBOE.
Texas Education Agency Building
William B. Travis (WBT) State Office Building
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin, TX  78701

April 9: The Texas State Board of Education will vote on implementing Mexican American Studies as an option for Texas high schools






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