“The Birth of the New Negro”

Who was this man?  What was his time?  I didn’t know.

I didn’t know until I listed to this particular Code Switch podcast recently.  I didn’t even finish it.  But I knew I had to share it, capture it, finish it later. And then listen again.  And again.

Three voices tell the story:  the first two, regulars hosting Code Switch:  SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, and GENE DEMBY.  And then a special guest to provide the lead narrative, BILAL QURESHI.

So much to learn!


Bei Bei, Giant Pandas, Diplomacy, and Mother Earth

I heard this piece recently on the radio driving to work.  If you like animals and conservation, then this one is right up your ally:  it’s about the lengths we humans have gone in effort to save the Giant Panda from extinction.

Bei Bei is the name of a panda cub born in 2015 to two parents at the National Zoo in Washington DC.   He was recently flown to China to his new home, as per agreement between the governments of the two countries.

This story reflects one of the best aspects of good diplomacy and cooperation between two nations.  Sometimes we are rivals, many times we are partners (as in the many companies from the two countries that do business together), our history is long and complex, but working together is the only way forward, in my view.

The humble story of a panda and all the people that have worked to make his existence possible, and continue in effort to see he had his species thrive, THIS is the best of what diplomacy can do:  create and sustain hope and good work.

More on Bei Bei, here.

The podcast is worth a listen it can be found here:  one.npr.org/i/779777827:780034478

Thank You, Cokie

She passed on Tuesday at the age of 75.

Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs.

The story goes that her older, 3 year old brother couldn’t pronounce “Corinne” when she came home from the hospital, he called her Cokie, and that was that.

She had a keen, life-long deep understanding of politics, especially here in the United States.  She grew up in politics — her father, then her mother both held seats in the US House of Representatives from Louisiana — and chose the path of chronicling the many stories around public affairs rather than governance.

Not only did she choose a life in the “fourth branch”, but her voice and balanced, thorough analysis of issues — and broad public appeal therein — guided her to become one of the “Founding Mothers” of National Public Radio, and more broadly, one of the women in leadership roles in public journalism.

She was so good on NPR that commercial leader ABC hired her as well. She reported from both outlets for more than three decades.

Her voice remained steadfast and consistent in our public discourse, and even in recent years as she had begun to step back, I always felt a certain calm and certainty of what was true when I heard her speak on whatever the topic of the day was.

I was shocked when I heard the news of her passing on Tuesday morning while driving to work.  On the commute home at the end of the day, I was fortunate to hear on another public radio station, Classical KDFC, the afternoon DJ Robin Pressman pay tribute to Roberts with a dedication of the first 5:00pm Commute Song (what KDFC calls “The Island of Sanity”), Felix Mendelssohn’s “On Wings of a Song 34 #2”.

Cool to hear that peaceful, uplifting music anytime, especially as nod to one of the great voices of our time.  Thanks for your insights and wisdom and positive effect on our national conversation, Cokie.  

Would that we can honor you as Rachel Martin suggested on Up First today, when she closed with what was perhaps your simple credo for living:  “Do the work. Be fair. Be kind. And lift each other up.”   


More on Cokie Roberts found here.

More on Cokie Roberts as one of the Founding Mothers found here.



We The People…

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”