HuffPost's Randall Robinson retracts cannibalism claim

If there's anything funny to come out of this tragedy, it was this claim from the Huffington Post's Randall Robinson:

It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive.

Now, that post has been prepended with this:

The claim in the first sentence in my post was incorrect. I had been told this was happening, but these claims have turned out to be unsubstantiated. I therefore retract them -- but stand behind everything else I wrote without reservation.

And, today he offers "The Lessons of New Orleans":

Last Friday, I wrote "New Orleans". No-one wants the opening sentence of "New Orleans" to be untrue more deeply than I. I am grateful that it has not been substantiated, and willingly re-tract that sentence...
...I have spoken and written extensively in an attempt to awaken the conscience of the American people; to cause them to see that millions upon millions of black Americans were drowning…..right here in America - long before Katrina - and few were doing anything to save them. Drowning in substandard schools. Drowning in neighborhoods in which there are no jobs. Drowning without health care. Drowning from red-lining. Drowning, drowning, drowning in a society in which, impassioned protestations to the contrary, race has always and continues to matter...
...Nearly a century and a half after the Emancipation Proclamation, the descendents of slaves, whose cruelly coerced exertions made America a wealthy and powerful nation, are told that "slavery and Jim Crow were long ago and we must now move on".
What was it that William Faulkner reminded us about the past never being dead and buried, and that indeed it is not even past? Yet, White America recoils at the mere suggestion that the time has come for an honest appraisal of the ongoing impact of America's past on the painful racial realities that confront us today...

This follows the Sep 2 post from Max Blumenthal "The Right Plays the Race-Card, Randall Robinson Unwittingly Indulges Them", which tries to get Robinson to retract his lunatic statement but ends up verging into its own, not entirely unknown to the HuffPost, lunatic territory:

On this blog, veteran civil rights activist Randall Robinson referred to "reports" of poor New Orleans blacks "eating human corpses to survive." I haven't seen these reports. I've looked endlessly. They don't exist. Robinson must either source these "reports" or retract them immediately because they are profoundly destructive to a cause he's fought his whole life for.
By raising the specter of cannibalistic blacks, Robinson indulged the racist right's wildest fantasy...
The conservative American Spectator's executive editor George Neumayr practically plagiarized the Turner Diaries [in the penultimate para here]...
...My sense is that the "war on terror" and its bearded, olive-skinned bogeyman, has brought only a momentary respite from the right's traditional racial demagogy -- blacks and Mexicans as "looters." If American fears of radical Islamic terror begins to fade by 2008, look for the GOP to start dealing the race-card again.
The backlashers will be back. To Robinson -- someone whose work I have admired -- I say, let's not give them any ammo they don't already have.

Meanwhile, back in reality:

From the 1960s through the mid-1990s, Washington spent more than $5 trillion on anti-poverty programs that did not make a dent in the poverty rate. Record-low poverty rates were finally achieved in the late 1990s not because of extra federal funding, but as a result of welfare reforms moving low-income individuals out of the welfare system and into the workforce while also promoting family formation...

And, from this 2004 Robinson article:

...And we must realize that the same "information" machine that lied about WMD and Jessica Lynch lies about much more- including Aristide and Haiti.
However, American officials who had vehemently opposed the restoration of Haiti's elected government in 1994, now seized on the run_off controversy to further demonize Aristide, break the Haitian people's spirit, and "prove" the Haitian Revolution a failure...
They loathe Aristide because he represents the poorer, blacker masses of Haitian society, whereas America's traditional allies have always been Haiti's moneyed, white or mulatto "elite." The parallels between America's policies toward Haiti and our policies towards apartheid South Africa have never been lost on me...