Melissa Harris-Perry is an African-American professor of political science at Tulane University, a political commentator on MSNBC, and now has her own Saturday and Sunday morning program on that same cable network. She also has a diverse background in African-American History so she is well ready to discuss current media in the context of historical reality.
From that perspective she has been an outspoken critic of the critically acclaimed movie, The Help. I’ve not seen the movie but I know that part of the story line involves the relationships between black maids and the white families they served during the Jim Crow Continue reading The Help, It Has Its Critics→
One of the truths we all know about life is that cops love donuts. The bond between the two is so strong it has, over the years, become the topic of countless jokes.
Know how you can tell when a cop has been on the job too long? He’s often seen on the streets exchanging donut recipes with complete strangers.
The connection between cops and donuts has a simple explanation. Bakers bake at night, cops patrol at night, and boogie men come out at night. Invite a patrol officer in for a cup of coffee, a sweet morsel, and you get a little free protection from the dangers of the night. Same thing worked for me when I worked in an all-night gasoline station while in college. Keep a fresh pot of hot coffee on and you’d get frequent local policemen and highway patrolmen stopping by to check how you’re doing in exchange for something to ward of the night’s chill. A win-win if ever!
I’ve been a student of American History for most of my life. The thing that draws me to history is the constant challenge it presents to one’s perception of reality. We all live in a comfort zone and make assumptions that everyone is experiencing what we are and that things have always been as they are. Studying history never stops pulling the rug out from under one’s feet. Just when I thought I couldn’t be shocked, bam!, I’m laying on the floor!
This isn’t going to be easy because it involves a friend of mine and regardless of how this story unfolds, a myth or two about his ancestors may get dented and bruised a little.
If you know anything about the history of the West you’ve heard of the Dalton Brothers or the Dalton Gang. There were a lot of Daltons and there seems to have been only one, Frank, who spent much on the respectable side of the law. Well, one of my coffee drinking buddies is named Dalton and takes great pride in claiming he is a direct descendant of this famous band of train and bank robbers.
FACTOID: Martha Stewart was found guilty of insider trading and sentenced to 5 months in Federal prison, 5 months in-house confinement, and 2 years probation. Inside information, not available to the public, is available to all members of the US Congress and they can use it to guide their Wall-Street investments, LEGALLY! They get a stay out of jail card and get rich. The rest of us don’t. No wonder politicians poll closer to the bottom than whale turds.
When I was teaching American Government we would annually have several inmates from Chillicothe Correctional Institute, along with prison councilors and staff, visit our classes to discuss several topics including punishment versus rehabilitation.
On one occasion an inmate told his story of being found guilty of voluntary manslaughter for having shot and killed a home intruder. According to his version, while living with his parents in their home, he had been awaken during the night by a noise coming from the living room. He grabbed a firearm and proceeded to investigate the situation. Once entering the living room he saw an intruder, felt he was in danger and fired in self-defense. His story was compelling and in the minds of both myself and most students convincing that an injustice had been committed. After all, doesn’t a man have the right to protect his castle?
A TV news item just passing through my sensory preceptors reports that a Syracuse University coach has been accused of making sexual advances towards a couple of students on his baseball team. No crap, the particular students are brothers and their position on the team was, “ball boys.”
You can’t be what Joe Paterno is to Penn State football and not be held accountable for the gross misconduct of those who are members of your staff. If you are apprised that a staff member has been sexually assaulting children and you don’t personally take immediate and meaningful action, you become complicit. Joe and all above him who knew, share in the shame and have no defense. Protecting the game is nothing compared to protecting children from pedophiles.
Now that Conrad Murray is old news I was wondering what would be the next scandal cable news would feed off. Within hours Joe Paterno and Penn State football dropped into the feed trough. Not that all involved don’t deserve a ton of scrutiny.
I recently posted a story about the murder of Durward “Bud” Perry by Robert Lee Curtis. A reader subsequently ask, “What became of Curtis?” As reported in the original article Curtis was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus and began serving his sentence on March 12, 1957.
A day or so after publishing the original story, a reader informed me of an obituary appearing in a New Philadelphia, OH newspaper about the death of a Rev. Robert Lee Perry. The details of this man’s life parallel those of Perry’s killer so I made several inquiries trying to find out what details I could.
The violent death of anyone has inherent interest but the telling of the story should have a greater purpose. The robbery and murder of a Greenfield, Ohio cab driver in 1956 is a captivating story. It is also an example of how inaccurately we think about our past. We cling to the idea that somehow our past was a better time. A time when the streets of our villages and cities were both cleaner and safer. When people were more honest and reliable. Where doors could be left unlocked, windows left open, and children could roam their neighborhoods under the watchful eye of the “village.”
In researching the story of Durward “Bud” Perry’s murder I thumbed through a decade’s worth of archival newspapers. From the late 1940s to the late 1950s the lessons were clear, the good old days weren’t all that good. The headlines of the era were filled with much the same kinds of stories appearing in today’s newspapers, petty crime, vandalism, robbery, burglary of homes and businesses, arson, assault, and homicide.