White House defends Common: Common is still welcome at the White House to read poetry, despite criticism from the right. Press Secretary Jay Carney — while admitting that the president doesn't endorse all of his lyrics — explained that Common is "known as a socially conscious hip-hop artist" who has previously been celebrated, he added pointedly, "by a lot of mainstream organizations and fair-and-balanced organizations like Fox News, which has described that music as very positive." Common, he said, "has done a lot of good things. You can oppose some of what he's done and appreciate some of the other things he's done."
Five nonthreatening rappers Fox News should be afraid of: In response to the fuss that conservative news outlets are making over first lady Michelle Obama's decision to invite Common to the White House poetry event, theloop21 has compiled a list of rappers who should be taken "off the terror list." Each description includes a note about any media controversies with which the artist has been associated, and, in a condescending note to those think everyone in hip-hop is equally scary, a "threat level" (Kanye gets a 4 for "verbal assaults"; Common gets a -3).
African-American ministers support the DREAM Act: Sen. Richard Durbin has reintroduced the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow access to affordable postsecondary education, opportunities for military service and potentially a path to full citizenship for undocumented immigrant students. African American Ministers in Action, an alliance of African-American clergy supporting social justice, civil rights, and reproductive health and justice, issued a statement in response today, saying, As people of faith, we cannot stand by while young people are treated like criminals for nothing more than hard work and a desire to be part of the country they know and love. The DREAM Act is a common-sense solution that would remove barriers preventing honorable young people — who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own — from going to college, serving in the military and contributing to society."
Ray Nagin to release tell-all Hurricane Katrina memoir: Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's memoir, Katrina's Secrets: Storms After the Storm, will be released on June 8 on Amazon.com, according to his Twitter feed. Nagin took a lot of the blame for the city's poor immediate storm response and stalled recovery process, and a statement on his website about the book suggests that he wants to set the record straight. CBS News reports that the book appears to be "a bit of a flip-flop" by the mayor. In Spike Lee's 2010 sequel to his 2006 Katrina documentary, he said, "I'm not into writing a big tell-all thing. I don't think that serves any real purpose."
In other news: Study: 48 Women Raped Every Hour in Congo.