IT’S ABOUT TIME: New Jersey state lawmakers voted today to eliminate the position of poet laureate of New Jersey, after Amiri Baraka used the position to write an anti-semetic tirade suggesting Israel had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks:
The Assembly approved a bill Tuesday that passed the Senate in January. Gov. James E. McGreevey, who cut off the $10,000 annual stipend that goes to the poet laureate after Baraka refused to resign, intends to sign the bill, according to a spokesman.
Abolishing the position was the only way to remove Baraka because the governor and Legislature cannot fire the poet laureate.
Baraka was criticized after reading his 60-stanza poem “Somebody Blew Up America” at a festival last summer. It included the lines: “Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed/Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day?/Why did Sharon stay away?”
After Tuesday’s vote, Baraka said he would sue the state for violating his First Amendment rights and for slander.
“Very few of those people have even read that poem,” Baraka said. “I can’t have a differing opinion about a foreign state?”
Click here for a flashback to what Stanley Crouch and Michele Malkin had to say about Baraka.