Sunday, November 23, 2008


Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, right, and pole vaulter, Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia hold their "Athlete of the Year Awards", Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008, in Monaco, awarded by the International Athletic Foundation.

Usain Bolt is the Winner of the Int'l Amateur Atheletics Federation World Athlete of the Year Award. He was awarded at a glittering Ceremony at the Sporting Club d'Ete in Monte Carlo, Monaco earlier today.

The women's awardee was Russian Yelena Isinbayeva.

Male Performance of the Year - Cuban Dayron Robles and Female Performance of the Year Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba and Barbora Spotakova - Czechoslovakia.

Usain was also one of six receiving Special Olympic Awards.
We had an inkling that this was a done deal for Usain when we heard that Fab Five was invited to play at the event.

Previous Jamaican winners were Merlene Ottey (1990) and Asafa Powell (2006).

Congrats to the Usain Bolt circle - parents Mr & Mrs Wellesley Bolt, Manager Norman Peart, and Coach Glen Mills.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Change makers in our midst

Observer column for Monday, 17 November 2008

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

As we made our way to Kendal in the blinding rain last Saturday, I joked to my colleague, “In this kind of weather, I may be addressing an audience of one.” We were heading for the 21st Annual Neighbourhood Watch Conference, zealously organised by Sgt Barrington Brown and their national executive. You can imagine our pleasant surprise when we saw a hall packed with volunteers, who had travelled from every corner of Jamaica on our rocky roads.

The main speaker was the no-nonsense Dr Leachim Semaj who warned us that while not trivializing our security challenges, we should take a wider perspective. He said that most crimes were gang related and concentrated in five parishes: Kingston, St Andrew, St. Catherine, St James and Clarendon. The statistics on the Jamaica Constabulary Force website ( supported this: of the 1050 murders committed from January to August 2008, a whopping 83.5 percent were committed in these gang-infested parishes. Recent abductions smack of horrific initiation practices – which is why we need all good citizens on watch.

Semaj said that the media should be careful how they give the impression that “Jamaica mash up”. He hoped more reporters would stay beyond the usual opening address at meetings to learn about such valiant efforts as Neighbourhood Watch. Then they could reassure the general public that there is much that is still good and decent about our country.

So here are some untold stories that should keep us positive on Jamaica. We spent some time last week with the Nurse, Teacher, Police Officer and Principal of the Year and were moved when we heard how these extremely busy individuals found the time to reach out to others.

Teacher of the Year Joan Davis-Williams who teaches Food & Nutrition at Ardenne related how she had maxed out her credit cards a few days before the award ceremony, because she wanted her students to have a comfortable and attractive work area for the examiner’s upcoming visit. “When I heard I was a finalist, I thought I would probably get a basket and a plaque,” she said. The morning of the ceremony, her utility bills arrived and she realised that she was now in a tight financial spot. She said she was thrilled to discover that her prize included $100,000 cash and said the lesson she was passing on to us was, “Give, give, give and don’t count the cost. It will always come back to you.”

Mrs Davis-Williams’ class scored the highest marks in the island – all 17 students passed with A’s!

Nurse of the Year Grace Smart Simms, who was the first Nurse from Bellevue to have won the Award, had a significant birthday a few months after receiving her prize money. She decided to throw a party for all the people who had supported her through life in various ways. Instead of asking for presents, she used half of her prize money, $50,000 to give gifts. Mrs Smart Simms is naturally aware of the importance of mental health, and relates how she gives such gifts as vouchers for massages, because she believes we should always find ways to lift up each other. “You may not be able to do big things, but you can do something,” she insists.

Police Officer of the Year Constable Marvin Franklin is the youngest and lowest ranking policeman to have won the award. He brought tears to our eyes as he related that the very next day when he went to his station, “For the first time everyone, even the Superintendent, called me MISTER Franklin.” He had us in stitches as he related that he had been called everything in his community “from Lasco police to mackerel police.”

In the Spanish Town area where he is assigned, Constable Franklin said there was a community that boasted a sign stating “Home of the ------ Gang.” When he said he wanted it changed, he was told that many such attempts had been in vain. “I went and reasoned with the youth in the area,” he told us. “I told them they were inviting tough security operations with such a sign and I noticed that they were listening to me. The next day I used some of my prize money and bought some paint. I gave it to them, and told them they should take the next step and paint a proper community sign.”

The sign was repainted and the close rapport that Constable Franklin established with the youngsters has now developed into one of the most active Police Youth Clubs in the island. He said when he took the children on outings, he realised that never before in their lives had they gone even as far out of their communities as Flat Bridge!

The Principal of the Year, O’Neil Ankle received a call after Barack Obama won the US Presidential Elections. It was from one of his friends urging him to go into politics, because of his passionate commitment to his country and his school. Mr Ankle is head of the Green Park Primary and Junior High School in Clarendon, where he insists that no student must be static. “Even if they are slow learners, we have special programmes to ensure that they move from one level to the next,” said this intrepid leader.

Students at his school pay a fine if they are late. “When they grumble, I tell them that they have to be prepared for the working world by developing the habit of punctuality. I explain that when they are adults, three times late and they could lose their livelihood.”

Mr Ankle said that while Jamaica had many positive role models, the youngsters gravitate to some of the dancehall artists who spew violence and obscenities. “Do we understand what we are doing to our children? This has to be stopped. That’s why we are having so many problems,” he believes.

Along with Senior Guidance Counsellor Melissa Pryce-Stephens, Mr Ankle is planning a Behaviour Change Camp at Morelands for some of the boys in his school. They regard this as an important step towards giving the children as much support as they can. There is a crying need for better parenting. “Children want structure in their lives,” says Mr Ankle. “They want their parents to be in charge.” Mr Ankle boasts a “brag board” for students and awards them with buttons that say “World Changer.”

World changers. That’s what these four goodly champions are. So are our Neighbourhood Watch volunteers, who refuse to hand over their communities to criminals. They have demonstrated that we can change our world by simple, but never ceasing, acts of care. In our hands, Jamaica can become the paradise that God designed her to be.,

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Remembering Uncle Melvin - Road Crash Victim

Today is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims. In his message, Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who is also Chairman of our National Road Safety Council, observed that EVERY THREE MINUTES, A CHILD IS KILLED IN A ROAD ACCIDENT SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD.

The Council, under the leadership of Vice Chairman/Convenor Dr Lucien Jones and Executive Director Mrs Paula Fletcher, has launched the Save 300 Lives campaign. They are appealing to Jamaicans to at least stay below the 300 number - we lost 350 lives on the road last year, and have already lost over 270 since the beginning of 2008.

At a Church Service to mark the day, held this morning at Saxthorpe Methodist, we paused to remember the loved ones we had lost and memories of my favourite uncle, Melvin Williams, came flooding back. Uncle Melvin, my mother's brother, lived all his life in the little district of Big Bridge, Westmoreland. He was a farmer and fisherman and rode his bicycle everywhere.

When we were children and "spent time" at the Williams homestead, Uncle Melvin would take us for rides, and placed himself totally at our disposal -- never tiring of picking starapples and guineps, peeling oranges and giving us piggy-back rides. His eyes twinkled and his laughter came from way down in his belly. How we all loved him!

About 20 years ago, we got the terrible news that Uncle Melvin was knocked off his bicycle by a speeding minivan. He was taken to hospital, never regained consciousness and died within a few days.

As we remember our loved ones who lost their lives on the road, we can promise ourselves that we will do everything in our power to protect the life of every road user - including our own. Fasten your seat belt, stay within speed limits, don't drink and drive. Life is precious - take care!!

The gift of the Obama family

Jamaica Observer Column - Monday, November 10, 2008

Will we ever tire of seeing the defining moment in history when Barack Obama and his beautiful family emerged onto the stage in Chicago's Grant Park, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of cheering, weeping fans? We're chuffed that we correctly called the US presidential elections, and so moved at the scenes of celebration around the world.

Who knew that there was a Japanese town called Obama where the citizens joyfully donned Hawaiian leis as they watched the US election results? They cried in France, they cheered in Sydney, they killed a fatted bull in Kenya and we can say with certainty: they partied in Jamaica.

Watching Obama in triumph, then British racing driver Lewis Hamilton's heroes' homecoming, and the incessant reruns of Tiger Woods' exploits on the Golf Channel, I harked back to that "flower power" anthem of the 60s by Blue Mink:

"What we need/ Is a great big melting pot/Big enough to take the world and all it's got /Keep it stirring for a hundred years or more/ Turn out coffee-coloured people by the score."

This was the age of Obama's idealistic mother, who fell in love with a young Kenyan student she met at the University of Hawaii (the same university where Sidney Poitier's character fell in love with a white student in the prophetic movie, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?).

They produced the handsome coffee-coloured Barack Jr and after their divorce, she married the pragmatic Indonesian Lolo Soetero; young Barack lived with them for about four years in Lolo's country. Obama's description of their neighbourhood in his book, Dreams from My Father, reminds us of Jamaica - animals in the backyard, beggars in the streets.

As I heard commentators discussing Jamaica's continued expectations from the US under its soon to be sworn-in president, I harked back to a telling passage. His stepfather tried to guide him when Obama was moved by beggars:

"How much money do you have?" he would ask.

I'd empty my pocket. "Thirty rupiah."

"How many beggars are there on the street?"

I tried to imagine the number that had come by the house in the last week. "You see?" he said, once it was clear I'd lost count. "Better to save your money and make sure you don't end up on the street yourself."

This incident happened during Obama's most impressionable years and his campaign speeches have reflected this thinking: be compassionate but don't ship American jobs abroad.

As a skinny kid, Barack was taught by Lolo to defend himself from bullies with neat boxing moves: "Men take advantage of weakness in other men. They're just like countries in that way. Better be strong. if you can't be strong, be clever and make peace with someone who's strong. But always better to be strong yourself. Always."

Even as Lolo taught him the street smarts, his mother was ensuring that he read prodigiously and woke him at daybreak to do English lessons. If we examine the Obama campaign, his quiet, nimble fighting spirit, and the brilliant minds he brought together, we see he has learnt his lessons well and has gained what President George W Bush describes as "capital" - tons of it.

But he is not resting on his laurels for a single moment. The day after his victory, Obama breakfasted with his family, worked out at the gym and met behind closed doors with his transition team. He is rousing himself and his team early o'clock to deal with the challenges faced by their extended family - the nation of over 300 million Americans.

Jamaicans had better know that our little rock of 2.5 million, with none of the challenges that bitter winter brings, will have to wait for America to solve her pressing problems. A friend who lives in Florida said on a recent visit to Jamaica that she was seeing more opportunities here than in her community there - campaign news has overshadowed the details of massive job loss, displacement and desperation among once comfortable Americans. Like any leader, Barack Obama will be sorely tested and will not always look like that cool, confident leader that strode out onto that Chicago stage last Tuesday night. 

Americans throughout the world have regained their national pride, being congratulated at every step after the Obama victory. "Long live America!" many non-Americans are cheering.

On a tour bus in Beijing in August, an elderly American tourist walked up and down the aisle, collecting tips for the driver. I said to him, what I have said many times to my American friends, Republicans and Democrats alike: you are the most generous people on the face of this earth. We need to share this generosity of spirit, and understand that the average American is now suffering from the economic downturn, and that the country needs time to recover before it can once again pour out its munificence on the world.

There is a way out of our own serious issues, one that requires no help from anyone but our very own selves: family. The gift that Michelle and Barack Obama have given us is worth far more than any millions they can dole out. They have shown us what a strong black family looks like, sounds like and can achieve. Barack Obama found time during his campaign to spend two days at the side of his gravely ill grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, to take his wife to dinner for their anniversary, to talk each night with his two daughters. They showed us how hard work, high achievement, and righteousness took them to the most prestigious address in the world.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ian Fleming’s Jamaica

Alex Quesada for The New York Times
Strawberry Hill is an 18th-century plantation turned resort.

By DAVID G. ALLAN - New York Times

(click on title - the NYT page carries a video of James Bond footage/Jamaica scenery!)

“THE first law for a secret agent is to get his geography right,” Ian Fleming wrote in “The Man With the Golden Gun.” And so it is for anyone following the trail of the man who created the world’s most famous secret agent through his adopted island of Jamaica, a journey that starts near Kingston on the tiny spit of beach called the Palisadoes that connects the city to Norman Manley International Airport.

Most of the traffic heads into the capital, but if you steer westward, snaking around the contours of dunes on the poorly paved street toward the peninsula’s dead end, you’ll find Morgan’s Harbour Hotel in Port Royal.

Only five miles from the airport, you are already deep into Ian Fleming’s Jamaica.

Fleming, the British intelligence officer turned newspaper man turned spy novelist born 100 years ago this year, spent winters on his Caribbean getaway for almost two decades. The airport and the Palisadoes both feature in James Bond novels; the hotel is where Bond chose to lay his head in “Golden Gun.” It was on Jamaica that Fleming wrote more than a dozen novels and short stories featuring Agent 007. Of these once best-selling volumes of action pulp, “Dr. No,” “Live and Let Die,” “The Man With the Golden Gun” and the short story “Octopussy” are largely or partly set in Jamaica, and the films based on the first two were also shot there.

The island was Fleming’s retreat, artist colony and passion, and he repeatedly sent Bond, an incarnation of Walter Mitty-esque wish fulfillment, on assignment there. The legendary spy experienced the island as Fleming did — beautiful and underdeveloped with enough exoticism, history and potential for danger to justify it as a backdrop for postwar espionage adventure.

Fleming’s Jamaica is a Venn diagram of three overlapping spheres: the author’s actual Jamaica of the 1950s and early ’60s (when the island was a British colony rapidly becoming a hot spot for the rich and famous); the semi-fictional Jamaica as seen through James Bond; and Jamaica as a location for the 007 film franchise.

While the rural interior of the country has changed little in the last 50 years, the huge, buffet-to-beach inclusive resorts and a blighted downtown Kingston, once high on the jet-setters’ dance cards, would now discourage Fleming. He lived in Jamaica when you could get there by banana boat, and he described Negril on the west coast as a “five-mile crescent of unbroken, soft, white gold sand, fringed for all its dazzling length with leaning palm trees.”

In 1947 Fleming wrote a portrait of his adopted home in Horizon magazine, influential enough to fuel a postwar tourist boomlet among well-heeled Britons and Americans. “I have examined a large part of the world,” he wrote. “After looking at all these, I spent four days in Jamaica in July 1943. July is the beginning of the hot season and it rained in rods everyday at noon, yet I swore that if I survived the contest I would go back to Jamaica, buy a piece of land, build a house and live in it as much as my job would allow.” He did just that, as foreign manager for Kemsley Newspapers.

The Palisadoes at night is still as Fleming described it in “Dr. No,” a “long cactus-fringed road” with “the steady zing of the crickets, the rush of warm, scented air ... the necklace of yellow lights shimmering across the harbour.” Not so Morgan’s Harbour Hotel, now an estranged and shabbily furnished cousin of the “romantic little hotel” from “Golden Gun.”

Kingston, reached by the road used in the first car chase in “Dr. No,” sits beside bright blue waters and beaches littered with broken boats and the rusting remains of bygone industry. It feels like an early Bond film — vibrant, colorful and a bit disconcerting. What Kingston does not resemble, for the most part, is itself from the Fleming days. Justine Henzell, a Kingston native whose father, Perry, was a writer of the reggae-fueled movie “The Harder They Come,” was my guide to the city. As we wandered downtown, Ms. Henzell pointed out the urban shadows of former elegance, including an empty lot by the water where the Myrtle Bank Hotel, once one of the Caribbean’s most glamorous, had stood. The vacant space now borders a parking lot where hundreds of young people reveled to loud dancehall beats in the middle of a Sunday afternoon.

When Fleming made his first visit to the island 65 years to the month when I was there, he chose to stay in the cooler climes of the Blue Mountains. I followed his lead that evening and took the B1 road, which curls itself up into the mountains. My destination was Strawberry Hill, an 18th-century coffee plantation turned resort owned by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records. A Jamaican native, Mr. Blackwell is part of Fleming lore himself, thanks to his mother, Blanche Blackwell, who was, depending on your source, either the writer’s close friend or his mistress and muse. That connection helped Mr. Blackwell, at age 24, land a gig as a location manager for “Dr. No” (you can spot him dancing in a bar scene filmed at Morgan’s Harbour), and his resort franchise includes the Fleming home on the North Coast.

Over a breakfast of scrambled eggs and Blue Mountain coffee (the same morning fare Fleming preferred and Bond nearly always enjoyed) on the balcony of a private bungalow, guests overlook the same vista Bond did in “Live and Let Die,” where he “had his breakfast on the veranda and gazed down on the sunlit panorama of Kingston and Port Royal.”

Most of Fleming’s days in Jamaica, though, were spent on the northern coast, best reached by the A3, or Junction Road, “that runs across the thin waist of Jamaica.” Bond and his local sidekick Quarrel travel the same route in “Live and Let Die” to get to the secret island lair of the villainous genius Mr. Big.

The mountainous interior of the island, “like the central ridges of a crocodile’s armour” as Fleming put it in “Live and Let Die,” is a constant pull on the steering wheel, back and forth, through little villages, past cliffside sundries shops and on numerous detours into rutted, gravel-spattered dirt roads. It’s a relief to reach the other side and spill into the ramshackle town of Port Maria, its pristine aquiline bay punctuated by the diminutive and uninhabited Cabarita Island, which inspired Surprise Island, the fictional hideout of Mr. Big.

Fleming and his wife, Ann, were married in Port Maria’s town hall, which still stands. She didn’t share her husband’s love of Jamaica, never staying as long as he did. But his best man and local neighbor, Noël Coward, was equally smitten with the place. Coward was a year-round island resident and a tax exile who died there in 1973. The home he built, Blue Harbour, is a compound of seaside bungalows overlooking Port Maria’s bay. Guests can now stay there if they can find it. The only marker is a small, faded sign pointing down a heavily potholed road leading to a rusty white gate.

Judging by the décor and electrical wiring, Blue Harbour has pretty much been left untouched. But despite its rough edges, provincial food and generally musty condition, it has three things going for it: a stunning perch over the sea, a cliffside saltwater pool and a rich history. You can imagine a rotating cast of celebrities like Errol Flynn (who also lived on the North Coast), Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, James Mason and Laurence Olivier, all lounging poolside. The living room is hung with pictures of celebrities like Sean Connery, Alec Guinness clowning in the pool in Arabian headdress and a group shot that included the Flemings.

The scene became too much for Coward, who relocated to a higher perch above Blue Harbour. His retreat from his retreat, Firefly, is now a museum and his grave site. His friends gave their homes colorful names as well. Fleming’s haven, about 10 miles west, was Goldeneye, named for a wartime operation he was involved in, and now one of the most exclusive resorts on the island. Between the two writers lived Blanche Blackwell, at Bolt.

Of his mother’s relationship with Fleming, Chris Blackwell simply told me that she was a good friend of his and was very fond of him. As a thank you gift for a stay at Goldeneye, Ms. Blackwell gave Fleming a small boat she had christened Octopussy. She may have also been an inspiration for Honeychile Rider, the Bond girl from “Dr. No,” who, like Ms. Blackwell, was the Jamaica-born child of an old island family and a passionate student of sea life.

Situated in the small town of Oracabessa, once a banana port, Goldeneye is an unassuming patch of land with stone paths and trees planted by former famous guests. Handwritten signs mark the mango planted by Pierce Brosnan, the lime tree by Harrison Ford, the royal palms by the Clintons. Set among them are three villas that, with Fleming’s original house and a restaurant overlooking the ocean, make up the current property. Where the restaurant sits, a gazebo once stood. Fleming liked to take notes in it, and it once served as a command station when Prime Minister Anthony Eden of Britain visited Goldeneye in 1956 (another boon for Jamaican public relations).

The Honeychile villa, just over a small fence from Fleming’s house, is nicely appointed with a plush bed draped in mosquito netting, a claw foot tub and an outdoor shower built into a large banyan tree. The bedroom is flanked by a second house with a patio overlooking the sea and a bookshelf housing a nearly complete set of the Bond stories (written a hundred feet away). It is hard to imagine the resort retaining that kind of casual intimacy when Goldeneye’s 100-acre residential development currently under construction is finished in the coming years.

Establishing his life in Jamaica was a necessary precursor to Fleming’s pursuit of fiction. “One of the first essentials is to create a vacuum in my life which can only be satisfactorily filled by some form of creative work,” he wrote in the Evening Standard of London. His training as a Reuters correspondent was another ingredient in this equation, allowing him to write with a don’t-look-back, free-flow technique. Six weeks later you have a novel, he wrote, and “if you sell the serial rights and film rights, you do very well.” Indeed.

Before mass-market guides like Frommer’s and Lonely Planet, travelogues were tourists’ main resources outside Europe. For the 1950s Caribbean, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s “The Traveler’s Tree” was the bible. Mr. Fermor visited Goldeneye and glowingly wrote that “it might serve as a model for new houses in the tropics ... great windows capture every breeze, to cool, even on the hottest day, the large white rooms.” His description is apt. The small house’s windows are still without glass. Past the sunken garden is the private beach to which Fleming often trod — fins, mask and spear in hand. The small rock pool Fleming built for his son, Casper, is still standing. Black crabs crawl along its walls, recalling the swarm of them that Dr. No uses to try to torture Honeychile to death. This perch out to the reef that shielded the snorkeling writer from sharks and barracuda directly inspired Fleming’s work.

Of the entire 007 cannon, the short story “Octopussy,” written in 1962, best captures his island lifestyle. The story is about Major Dexter Smythe, a Briton “irretrievably tied to Jamaica,” attracted to the “paradise of sunshine, good food, cheap drink, a glorious haven from the gloom ... of postwar England” but later bored from consorting with the “international riffraff” of the north shore. His one joy is exploring the local sea life, including the eponymous octopus to which he feeds conch.

Fleming’s gardener, Ramsey Dacosta, who still works at Goldeneye (now in guest relations) and invariably referred to Fleming as the Commander, told me that his old employer would bring conch to an octopus at the reef, and, as in the short story, “the octopus would return the shell.” Bond makes a brief appearance in “Octopussy” to arrest Smythe for a wartime theft, but Smythe takes his own life, with help from the octopus. Fleming died a much less dramatic death from a heart attack in 1964 in England, where he is buried.

Goldeneye is the mecca of any Fleming pilgrimage, but not the heart of it. In Horizon, he wrote about the other elements that made his life in Jamaica fulfilling, from the food (“delicious and limitless”) to the weather, calypso and, most importantly, the people. Fleming wrote that the locals “will surprise and charm you,” which they often did during my time there.

But even in Fleming’s lifetime, Jamaica was evolving. By the time he wrote his final Bond novel, “Golden Gun,” in 1964, the island had gained independence from Britain, and Fleming’s nostalgia for the colonial era is channeled into his spy. Waiting in the Kingston airport for a flight to Havana, the secret agent recalls his “many assignments in Jamaica and many adventures on the island ... the oldest and most romantic of former British possessions.” As he reflected on his escapades in “Dr. No” and his love affair with Honeychile Rider, “James Bond smiled to himself,” Fleming wrote, “as the dusty pictures clicked across his brain.”


Air Jamaica flies from Kennedy Airport in New York to Kingston and Montego Bay. According to a recent online search, flights for travel next month start at about $500.


Ashanti Oasis (Hope Gardens, Kingston; 876-970-2079) is an open-air vegetarian restaurant in the middle of the peaceful botanical gardens. The menu varies daily, but you can’t go wrong with a combination platter of the day’s tropically inspired dishes and a fresh juice. Lunch for two is around $1,300 Jamaican dollars, about $17 at 75.8 Jamaican dollars to the U.S. dollar.

The Seaside Terrace at Round Hill Hotel and Villas (John Pringle Drive, Montego Bay; 876-956-7050; feels as if you’ve gone back 50 years when Jamaica catered to the rich and famous. The enormous bar is lined with black-and-white photos of celebrities from that era, and you can enjoy hearty à la carte fare like escovich snapper sandwiches on coco bread ($18; American currency is widely accepted for payment) under umbrellas by the water.



Other than its proximity to the Kingston airport, the only reason to stay at the underfurnished Morgan’s Harbour Hotel & Marina (Palisadoes Road, Port Royal; 876-967-8040;; about $140 for a standard double room) is its association with James Bond lore. The famous secret agent stayed there in the novel “The Man With the Golden Gun” and the first 007 film, “Dr. No,” used the hotel’s grounds as a shooting location.

A former coffee plantation turned luxury resort, Strawberry Hill (New Castle Road, Irish Town; 876-944-8400;; starting at $395) is high in the Blue Mountains outside Kingston. Some individual bungalows include private kitchens and four-poster beds.

Goldeneye (Oracabessa; 876-975-3354;; the one-bedroom villa starts at $660), Ian Fleming’s former home, has been transformed into one of the most exclusive resorts in Jamaica, complete with private beach and a restaurant. Staying the night in the three-bedroom villa where Fleming wrote the James Bond novels can cost up to $3,400, but the three villas are a plush and intimate consolation.

Judging by the condition of the rooms, Blue Harbour (Port Maria; 575-586-1244;; $200) has changed little since Noël Coward made his home there. The stunning views of the ocean and the cliffside saltwater pool help guests overlook the mustiness.

DAVID G. ALLAN is Travel & Styles editor for

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Man of Tomorrow by Desmond Tutu

His election has turned America's global image on its head.

By Desmond Tutu
Washington Post - Sunday, November 9, 2008; B01

CAPE TOWN I am rubbing my eyes in disbelief and wonder. It can't be true that Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan, is the next president of the United States.

But it is true, exhilaratingly true. An unbelievable turnaround. I want to jump and dance and shout, as I did after voting for the first time in my native South Africa on April 27, 1994.

We owe our glorious victory over the awfulness of apartheid in South Africa in large part to the support we received from the international community, including the United States, and we will always be deeply grateful. But for those of us who have looked to America for inspiration as we struggled for democracy and human rights, these past seven years have been lean ones.

A few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we had our first shock, hearing your president respond not with the statesmanlike demeanor we had come to expect from a U.S. head of state but like a Western gunslinger. Later, it seemed that much of American society was following his lead.

When war began, first in Afghanistan and not long after in Iraq, we read allegations of prisoner abuse at Bagram air base in Afghanistan and of rendition to countries notorious for practicing torture. We saw the horrific images from Abu Ghraib and learned of gruesome acts performed in the name of gathering information. Sometimes the torture itself was couched in the government's euphemisms -- calling waterboarding an "interrogation technique."

To the outgoing administration's record on torture we must add a string of other policies that have damaged the standing of the United States in the world: its hostility to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases; its refusal to assent to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, establishing the ICC's role in prosecuting war crimes; its restrictions on the use of U.S. funding to fight AIDS; and the arrogant unilateralism it has employed in declaring to be enemies any countries it deemed "against us" because they were not "for us."

The Bush administration has riled people everywhere. Its bully-boy attitude has sadly polarized our world.

Against all this, the election of Barack Obama has turned America's image on its head. My wife was crying with incredulity and joy as we watched a broadcast of the celebrations in Chicago. A newspaper here ran a picture of Obama from an earlier trip to one of our townships, where he was mobbed by youngsters. It was tacitly saying that we are proud he once visited us.

Today Africans walk taller than they did a week ago -- just as they did when Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994. Not only Africans, but people everywhere who have been the victims of discrimination at the hands of white Westerners, have a new pride in who they are. If a dark-skinned person can become the leader of the world's most powerful nation, what is to stop children everywhere from aiming for the stars? The fact that Obama's Kenyan grandfather was a convert to Islam may -- shamefully -- have been controversial in parts of the United States, but elsewhere in the world, Obama's multi-faith heritage is an inspiration.

And the president-elect has one additional key quality: He is not George W. Bush.

Because the Bush years have been disastrous for other parts of the world in many ways, Obama's victory dramatizes the self-correcting mechanism that epitomizes American democracy. Elsewhere, oppressors, tyrants and their lapdogs can say what they like, and they stay put, for the most part. Ordinary citizens living in undemocratic societies are not fools; they may not always agree with U.S. foreign policy, but they can see and register the difference between the United States, where people can kick an unpopular political party out, and their own countries.

In the midst of this celebration, however, a word of caution is appropriate. In the first days after 9/11, the United States had the world's sympathy, an unprecedented wave of it. President Bush squandered it. Obama could squander the goodwill that his election has generated if he does not move quickly and decisively on the international front.

On human rights, President Obama needs to signal the changes his administration will bring by speedily taking a few high-profile symbolic actions. One might be to close that abomination, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Another could be immediate replacement of guidelines on the treatment of detainees, thus putting the United States back in the mainstream of international humanitarian law. He could launch a comprehensive inquiry into who authorized torture and when. And it would be wonderful if, on behalf of the nation, he would apologize to the world, and especially the Iraqis, for an invasion that I believe has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.

On humanitarian issues, he will be hard-pressed in the ongoing global financial crisis to match the current administration's generally admirable record. President Bush has succeeded in working with Congress to devote unprecedented amounts of money to fighting malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. But if the United States is to show that it places as much value on a human life in Africa as on one in the United States, Obama actually has to improve on Bush's achievements.

Obama's election has given Americans the message that hope is viable, that change is really possible. He galvanized huge numbers of his compatriots across the board, particularly young people who had become disillusioned with politics. He drew huge numbers of volunteers and raised record amounts of money, not just in donations from the wealthy but in relatively small amounts from many so-called ordinary people. Judging by the reception he received in Berlin earlier this year, he has given the world similar hope.

The renowned African scholar Ali Mazrui has pointed out that Obama could never have gotten as far as he has without an exceptional level of trust on the part of white Americans. In this, his achievement is similar to what Nelson Mandela had achieved by the end of his presidency; Mandela's party may never have drawn a majority of white votes, but he has come to be revered by white as well as black South Africans as the founding father of our democracy.

Mazrui likens Obama to Mandela in other ways, saying that both men share a readiness to forgive and show "a remarkable capacity to transcend historical racial divides." Both, Mazrui says, are "potential icons of a post-racial age which is unfolding before our eyes."

Such a post-racial age for me has the characteristics of a rainbow. We are in a different time now than when I first spoke of a rainbow nation, describing the South Africa that Mandela led for the first time in 1994. But my vision for such a place remains. It is a place where people of each race and cultural group exhibit their own unique identity, their own distinct attributes, but where the beauty of the whole gloriously exceeds the sum of its parts.

Obama is the son of a Kenyan man and a Kansan woman. He spoke movingly about his background during his long campaign. Now he's the president-elect. His triumph can help the world reach the point where we realize that we are all caught up in a delicate network of interdependence, unable to celebrate fully our own heritage and place in the world, unable to realize our full potential as human beings, unless everyone else, everywhere else, can do the same.

Desmond Tutu is the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Prof Norman Girvan - American lesson for Caricom

If America can elect a Black President, why can't Caricom nations agree to pool their sovereignty? 

By Prof. Norman Girvan

If America can elect a Black President, why can't Caricom nations agree to pool their sovereignty? It is difficult to overstate the psycho-political impact of the Obama victory. When I was growing up in the 1950s, our dream was that we would live to see the end of apartheid and of the other vestiges of white rule in Africa . That a Black man could be elected to the White House was beyond dreaming—it belonged to the realm of fantasy, like time travel and other kinds of science fiction.
Jesse Jackson's face on election night said it all. It wasn't just emotional; it was the face of a man who had been transported to another world.
Bishop T.D. Jakes
CNN interviewed Bishop T.D. Jakes about his feelings. Bishop Jakes began his response by saying that his father had grown up in a world with 'coloured' drinking fountains, bathrooms, schools and other public facilities. His grandfather had been murdered by racists and his body dumped in a river. It impossible to put into words what Bishop Jakes felt on Tuesday night.
And Barack Obama is not just 'a Black man'. By any measure and in whatever ethnicity, he is obviously an extraordinary person. In addition to his manifest intelligence, brilliant oratory and political sophistication, he is possessed of a deep sense of history and an ennobling vision. Above all, he has the ability to inspire—that rare quality that challenges people to reach above and beyond themselves.
The hearts and minds of a good percentage of humanity came together in Grant Park on Tuesday night. The images on the TV screeen of the varied manifestations of the human species gathered in joyful celebration, with those of dancing Kenyans in Obama's  ancestral village cleverly spliced in, mirrored those of the wider world that vicariously participated in the celebration. We were all present at a virtual, global 'One Love' party.
Michelle Obama
In Michelle Obama we saw the Black woman, equal partner as First Lady, breaking the mould of the traditional, domesticated, stereotype; a confident, articulate professional. She provides hope and encouragement as a role model for young women all over the world, as does Barack for young men.
"a dramatic rearrangement of the customary ethnic pecking order"
 And when Joe Biden's blonde, blue-eyed family came onstage to join the Obamas in a series of emotional embraces—the white family content, for the first time in the history of US political theatre, to play the supporting role in a dramatic rearrangement of the customary ethnic pecking order--the symbolism could hardly have been more powerful. We saw, for the first time at last, the possibility of the United States becoming part of a human family 'where the colour of a man's skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes'.
I dislike the assumptions that underlie the question, "What can the Caribbean expect from an Obama Presidency?" It is not just that the expectations are unrealistic: they are misplaced. Barack Obama may have a global following, but his political constituency is domestic.
Within the United States , he must find the means to carry out his ambitious agenda in the midst of an economic crisis that is taking the federal deficit towards the one-trillion dollar mark. Overseas, he must obey the imperatives of America 's strategic interests. To attempt to do otherwise would be to court political suicide.
The main difference from the past will not be in ends, but in means, and in style. Obama understands—or seems to understand--that diplomacy, negotiation and winning hearts and minds are more effective means of pursuing American interests than the ready exercise of brute force. And such a willingness to see and understand the point of view of 'The Other' must be welcomed. The opportunities are to be grasped.
Only the naive would expect U.S. President Obama to put the interests of other countries above those of the United States ; whether in trade, security, or in the matter of offshore tax centers. The responsibility to define and defend our interests remains with us. The opportunities lie in the possibility of more constructive engagement.
Emperor Haile Selassie
 No, Obama cannot be our saviour; tempting as it may be for some among us, cynical and despondent about our current politics; to repose their hopes in a haloed foreign figure of undoubted power and charisma and of common ancestry. It was, after all, the coronation of Haile Selassie in a distant land just two generations ago that spawned the Rastafari.
For me, the true meaning of the Obama victory is that we can dare to think the unthinkable, to dream the impossible. For the unthinkable can be within our grasp; and the impossible of today can become the reality of tomorrow.
If America can elect a Black man as President, why can't Caricom nations agree to pool their sovereignty so that we can speak with one voice in world trade and politics; and our people walk taller in the world by virtue of their Caribbean identity, as did every person of colour on the morning of November 5, 2008?  
And if an African-American named Barack Hussein Obama can mobilise millions of his compatriots of all ethnicities to the cause of creating a more just, equitable and decent society in the United States, that most individualistic and materialistic of nations; why can't this be done in our small part of Planet Earth?
Barack Obama started as one person and created a movement that changed the world. In that sense he is following in the footsteps of Garvey, Mandela, King, and the founding fathers and mothers of the West Indian labour and nationalist movements.

They all dared to dream. Another world is possible. Yes, we can.

Norman Girvan
University of the West Indies

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Singing for Freedom - NYT

As the world celebrates the decisive victory of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America, let us look at the long journey of African Americans.  Thank you Lord!

Singing for Freedom

Activists who marched, sang and helped register voters during the civil rights movement in Albany, Ga., discuss the significance of the 2008 presidential election.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Farewell to The Dragon, Honourable Byron Lee

Message from Patsy Lee:

It is with great sadness that I heard a short while ago that "THE DRAGON", BYRON LEE, passed on to heavenly life. He will be sorely missed, especially among the musical world. Please pray for the eternal rest of his soul and for strength and courage for his family.


Voting in New York

Message from my friend Michael Nugent:

Hi Jean - I wanted you to help me pull the lever this morning when I called you, but you seemed asleep for the history making. This morning at 5.20 a.m there was a line that went back two blocks and when you looked back minute by minute there came another scores of people in droves. Today, I wanted to make history by voting first, but so many people beat me to it - I think people were at the polling stations from 12 midnight!


Monday, November 3, 2008

The world awaits Obama

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Kingston, Jamaica: Jamaica Observer, 3 November 08

We are riveted by this marathon for the White House, unable to exhale until the finish line is finally crossed. We are witnesses of history, an epic that will no doubt become the subject of lengthy tomes and dramatic scripts. The digital age has immersed us in every single moment of this arresting race. As we see the most unique candidate of our time in his ascendancy, we may lionize but be careful not to idolize (even if his infomercial surpassed the ratings for the finals of American Idol).

I have maintained that the internet was God’s gift to the millennium, equipping us for a brave new world. It is an astonishing prism that absorbs all peoples and creeds, splashing out breathtaking rainbows of their audacious aspirations. It is this gift, literally fashioned out of thin air by the wizards of technology, that has bequeathed the Obama campaign with the largest windfall in the history of political fundraising – over $700 million, with donations averaging $86 each.

Technology has also preserved the messages of such modern day prophets as Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, and our own Bob Marley, making them accessible at the click of a button. Their stirring lines resonate in the Obama campaign, arousing unbelievable emotion among supporters, far beyond the shores of the USA. “My hand was made strong / By the hand of the Almighty./ We forward in this generation / Triumphantly,” sang Marley.

Obama is not the ‘dream deferred’ of Langston Hughes’ poem, but the dream realised of MLK. King shook racism at its ugly roots in his speech of August 1963 when Obama was only two years old:
‘I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’

With due respect to Republican candidate John McCain, we have to agree with the over 90% of the rest of the world that it is Barack Obama that offers this world its best hope for these turbulent times. Former US Secretary of State and a member of the Republican Party, General Colin Powell (we are proud of his Jamaican ancestry) said in an MSNBC ‘Meet the Press’ interview, "I have come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is … he has both style and substance, he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president."

For those who doubt our abilities and possibilities, the Barack Obama story reminds us that anyone can achieve anything with the right guidance, a good education, a positive attitude and a moral compass.

With the CNN ‘poll of polls’ giving him a steady seven-point lead, we are calling the US presidential elections for Barack Hussein Obama , though sad that war hero John McCain has allowed his campaign to damage his well-earned place in US history. In contrast to the considered selection of the seasoned Senator Joe Biden as a running mate by Obama’s team, McCain’s choice of the unready Governor Sarah Palin as a vice presidential running mate smacked of disdain for the electorate. Commenting on McCain’s campaign, conservative columnist George Will wrote that, “From the invasion of Iraq to the selection of Sarah Palin, carelessness has characterized recent episodes of faux conservatism.”

The dire straits of the US economy may have helped the Obama campaign, but a focused and serious McCain effort to capitalise on his excellent bi-partisan relationships and his courage to fight for unpopular causes could have put him ahead. Instead, we had the boring refrains of “hockey mom” and “Joe six-pack”.

Worst of all was the “Joe the plumber” episode, straight out of a Saturday Night Live script. Having read the entire interchange between Obama and Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the plumber, it was disingenuous to pluck the “spread the wealth” line and try to label the candidate as a socialist. The descent of the McCain campaign into gimmickry and name-calling was unworthy of this genuinely good man and an affront to the American people, facing the grim realities of foreclosures and job losses.

The charges of inexperience and under-qualification against Obama were discredited by what commentators are describing as so far, “a flawless campaign.” Contrasting the ‘Joe the plumber’ fiasco with the Obama infomercial watched by over 35 million, CNN’s David Gergen said that the two campaigns were “in different leagues.” Hundreds of tightly run Obama campaign offices were set up throughout the ‘blue’ as well as the ‘red’ states, signing up hundreds of thousands of ‘get out the vote’ volunteers. It takes not only money, but also brilliant leadership to pull off such a campaign.

From start to finish, the Obama campaign has stayed on message, calling for a higher level of politics and national unity, refusing to retaliate even as the McCain campaign resorted to fear mongering ‘robo-calls’ and incendiary rally speeches. When the crowd at his Sarasota rally began booing at a reference to the Bush-McCain alliance, Obama silenced them with, “You don’t need to boo – you need to vote.”

John Harwood of the New York Times remarked on “so many leaks in this dyke” of the McCain campaign even as others commented on “the no drama Obama staff” that came across as calm and professional. Meanwhile, McCain’s handlers were labeling Palin as a “diva” and a “whack job”.

On Thursday, there were two episodes involving ‘Joe the plumber’. First McCain invited him to join him on the podium at a rally in Defiance, Ohio, only to discover that he was not present. “Joe, where are you? I thought you were here,” he called plaintively. Pity Joe had not stayed missing as, at the next location, he finally arrived and tastelessly introduced his candidate as “the real American.” Hmmm. Tomorrow, if America elects Barack Obama, Joe may have to do a reality check on his outdated plumbing.,

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NYT: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner


Published New York Times: November 02, 2008

AND so: just how far have we come?

As a rough gauge last week, I watched a movie I hadn't seen since it came out when I was a teenager in 1967. Back then "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" was Hollywood's idea of a stirring call for racial justice. The premise: A young white woman falls madly in love with a black man while visiting the University of Hawaii and brings him home to San Francisco to get her parents' blessing. Dad, a crusading newspaper publisher, and Mom, a modern art dealer, are wealthy white liberals - Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, no less - so surely there can be no problem. Complications ensue before everyone does the right thing.

Though the film was a box-office smash and received 10 Oscar nominations, even four decades ago it was widely ridiculed as dated by liberal critics. The hero, played by the first black Hollywood superstar, Sidney Poitier, was seen as too perfect and too "white" - an impossibly handsome doctor with Johns Hopkins and Yale on his résumé and a Nobel-worthy career fighting tropical diseases in Africa for the World Health Organization. What couple would not want him as a son-in-law? "He's so calm and sure of everything," says his fiancée. "He doesn't have any tensions in him." She is confident that every single one of their biracial children will grow up to "be president of the United States and they'll all have colorful administrations."

What a strange movie to confront in 2008. As the world knows, Barack Obama's own white mother and African father met at the University of Hawaii. In "Dreams From My Father," he even imagines the awkward dinner where his mother introduced her liberal-ish parents to her intended in 1959. But what's most startling about this archaic film is the sole element in it that proves inadvertently contemporary. Faced with a black man in the mold of the Poitier character - one who appears "so calm" and without "tensions" - white liberals can make utter fools of themselves. When Joe Biden spoke of Obama being "clean" and "articulate," he might have been recycling Spencer Tracy's lines of 41 years ago.

Biden's gaffe, though particularly naked, prefigured a larger pattern in the extraordinary election campaign that has brought an African-American to the brink of the presidency. Our political and news media establishments - fixated for months on tracking down every unreconstructed bigot in blue-collar America - have their own conspicuous racial myopia, with its own set of stereotypes and clichés. They consistently underestimated Obama's candidacy because they often saw him as a stand-in for the two-dimensional character Poitier had to shoulder in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." It's why so many got this election wrong so often.

There were countless ruminations, in print and on television, asking the same two rhetorical questions: "Is He Black Enough?" and "Is He Tough Enough?" The implied answer to both was usually, "No." The brown-skinned child of biracial parents wasn't really "black" and wouldn't appeal to black voters who were overwhelmingly loyal to the wife of America's first "black" president. And as a former constitutional law professor, Obama was undoubtedly too lofty an intellectual to be a political street fighter, too much of a wuss to land a punch in a debate, too ethereal to connect to "real" Americans. He was Adlai Stevenson, Michael Dukakis or Bill Bradley in dark face - no populist pugilist like John Edwards.

The list of mistaken prognostications that grew from these flawed premises is long. As primary season began, we were repeatedly told that Hillary Clinton's campaign was the most battle-tested and disciplined, with an invincible organization and an unbeatable donors' network. Poor Obama had to settle for the ineffectual passion of the starry-eyed, Internet-fixated college kids who failed to elect Howard Dean in 2004. When Clinton lost in Iowa, no matter; Obama could never breach the "firewalls" that would wrap up her nomination by Super Tuesday. Neither the Clinton campaign nor the many who bought its spin noticed the take-no-prisoners political insurgency that Obama had built throughout the caucus states and that serves him to this day.

Once Obama wrested the nomination from Clinton by surpassing her in organization, cash and black votes, he was still often seen as too wimpy to take on the Republicans. This prognosis was codified by Karl Rove, whose punditry for The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek has been second only to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert as a reliable source of laughs this year. Rove called Obama "lazy," and over the summer he predicted that his fund-raising had peaked in February and that he'd have a "serious problem" winning over Hispanics. Well, Obama was lazy like a fox, and is leading John McCain among Hispanics by 2 to 1. Obama has also pulled ahead among white women despite the widespread predictions that he'd never bring furious Hillary supporters into the fold.

But certainly the single most revelatory moment of the campaign - about the political establishment, not Obama - arrived in June when he reversed his position on taking public financing. This was a huge flip-flop (if no bigger than McCain's on the Bush tax cuts). But the reaction was priceless. Suddenly the political world discovered that far from being some exotic hothouse flower, Obama was a pol from Chicago. Up until then it rarely occurred to anyone that he had to be a ruthless competitor, not merely a sweet-talking orator, to reach the top of a political machine even rougher than the Clinton machine he had brought down. Whether that makes him more black or more white remains unresolved.

Early in the campaign, the black commentator Tavis Smiley took a lot of heat when he questioned all the rhetoric, much of it from white liberals, about Obama being "post-racial." Smiley pointed out that there is "no such thing in America as race transcendence." He is right of course. America can no sooner disown its racial legacy, starting with the original sin of slavery, than it can disown its flag; it's built into our DNA. Obama acknowledged as much in his landmark speech on race in Philadelphia in March.

Yet much has changed for the better since the era of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," thanks to the epic battles of the civil-rights movement that have made the Obama phenomenon possible. As Mark Harris reminds us in his recent book about late 1960s Hollywood, "Pictures at a Revolution," it was not until the year of the movie's release that the Warren Court handed down the Loving decision overturning laws that forbade interracial marriage in 16 states; in the film's final cut there's still an outdated line referring to the possibility that the young couple's nuptials could be illegal (as Obama's parents' marriage would have been in, say, Virginia). In that same year of 1967, L.B.J.'s secretary of state, Dean Rusk, offered his resignation when his daughter, a Stanford student, announced her engagement to a black Georgetown grad working at NASA. (Johnson didn't accept it.)

Obama's message and genealogy alike embody what has changed in the decades since. When he speaks of red and blue America being seamlessly woven into the United States of America, it is always shorthand for the reconciliation of black and white and brown and yellow America as well. Demographically, that's where America is heading in the new century, and that will be its destiny no matter who wins the election this year.

Still, the country isn't there yet, and should Obama be elected, America will not be cleansed of its racial history or conflicts. It will still have a virtually all-white party as one of its two most powerful political organizations. There will still be white liberals who look at Obama and can't quite figure out what to make of his complex mixture of idealism and hard-knuckled political cunning, of his twin identities of international sojourner and conventional middle-class overachiever.

After some 20 months, we're all still getting used to Obama and still, for that matter, trying to read his sometimes ambiguous takes on both economic and foreign affairs. What we have learned definitively about him so far - and what may most account for his victory, should he achieve it - is that he had both the brains and the muscle to outsmart, outmaneuver and outlast some of the smartest people in the country, starting with the Clintons. We know that he ran a brilliant campaign that remained sane and kept to its initial plan even when his Republican opponent and his own allies were panicking all around him. We know that that plan was based on the premise that Americans actually are sick of the divisive wedge issues that have defined the past couple of decades, of which race is the most divisive of all.

Obama doesn't transcend race. He isn't post-race. He is the latest chapter in the ever-unfurling American racial saga. It is an astonishing chapter. For most Americans, it seems as if Obama first came to dinner only yesterday. Should he win the White House on Tuesday, many will cheer and more than a few will cry as history moves inexorably forward.

But we are a people as practical as we are dreamy. We'll soon remember that the country is in a deep ditch, and that we turned to the black guy not only because we hoped he would lift us up but because he looked like the strongest leader to dig us out.;jsessionid=9685FD70DA937C8CCB0B0048DFA02F6B.w5?a=252345&subSection=Columnist&f=28