Here’s what we’re reading today:

The Root, our sister site, has a piece telling the Michael Vick haters to get over the fact that, after his prison term, he has now signed the second $100 million contract of his career.

Here’s a piece from the Charlotte Observer about Romare Bearden, one of America’s iconic artists.

Romare Bearden left his Mecklenburg County home when he was just a toddler. But the memories he took with him and later brought to vivid life – in writings, music and, especially, his collages – solidified his place as an iconic American artist, an African American who transcended the categories and limitations that others would place on him. To mark the 100th anniversary of Bearden’s birth on Sept. 2, 1911, Charlotte is honoring him with a months-long celebration, featuring work that reflects his Southern heritage.

Considering the long list of exhibitions, conversations and classes across town, it’s going to be hard not to brush against Bearden. Among the events: a major retrospective at the Mint Museum Uptown, three exhibits at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture, a showing at Jerald Melberg Gallery (which has represented Bearden in Charlotte since 1983) and efforts geared to younger art lovers and, perhaps, future Beardens at ImaginOn. Because of the jazz theme of much his work, there will even be music.

Read more here.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell tells NPR that Americans ought not to worry so much about terrorism that “we start to lose the essence of who we are as an open, freedom-loving people, welcoming to the rest of the world.” Read the rest of the story here.

And because I am a big fan of trains, take a look at this article from today’s Washington Post by Katie Shaver about people who own their own rail cars.

Riding in your own rail car might be cool, but it doesn’t come cheap. Jensen estimates that he’s sunk about $450,000 into refurbishing his 1923 Pullman sleeper. Even so, Jensen, chief mechanical officer for the Morristown & Erie Railway in New Jersey, isn’t among the super rich. Like most of the 80 or so private rail car owners who operate on Amtrak tracks nationwide, he’s a lifelong train buff who depends on renting out his car for charter trips to cover the $10,000 in annual storage, insurance and maintenance costs. Jensen rides most often as a member of the crew, sometimes bringing along his wife, Ginny, and two teenage sons to help carry passengers’ luggage and serve meals.

At a time when the Obama administration and Amtrak are pushing to build a high-speed rail network that could run trains akin to Japan’s bullet trains, Jensen and his fellow rail car owners are paying big money to hearken back to the charms of passenger rail’s pre-World War II heyday.

Read the rest of the article here.