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Who Has the Mob Mentality?

21 Sep

Here is something I didn’t know…

From 1882 to 1968, close to 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in the U.S. Congress. Only Three passed the House and those were later filibustered in the Senate and never received a vote. Seven presidents between 1890 and 1952 petitioned Congress to pass a federal law but none was ever passed.

A lynching is when a mob (usually a group of white people) kills someone, (usually a black person ) especially by hanging, for an alleged offense and done without legal authority.

I’m supposing that the mob felt that there was safety in numbers because since there was no federal law prohibiting mass murder of this type (with the mass being on the opposite side of the murder equation) so it was left up to the states to enforce or prosecute said lynchings…which they usually did not…even when photos of the perpetrators were taken and made available. (usually by the perpetrators themselves!)

I became curious about this subject while watching the new Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts (oddly enough this was never a topic of discussion in public school even though lynchings were still occurring and were “legal” in my lifetime)

Anyway, anti-lynching bills came to the fore during the years of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency and although he is well know as a social reformer President Roosevelt did not support the federal anti-lynching bills because he feared that support would cost him Southern votes during his many elections. (perhaps “feared” is the wrong word here) In any event he apparently believed that he could accomplish more for more people simply by getting re-elected and in 1939 he created the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and directed them to start prosecutions to combat lynching. How did they do?  They failed to win any convictions until 1946.

Things apparently got so bad that after WWII and during the cold war even the Soviet Union (of all unions) criticized the United States for the frequency of lynchings of black people and later in 1951 the famous actor Paul Robeson and the Civil Rights Congress argued at the United Nations that the U.S. government was guilty of genocide under Article II of the United Nations Genocide Convention because it failed to act against lynchings… The United Nations of course…took no action.

But then the FBI helped…by declaring people like Albert Einstein to be communist sympathizers for joining Mr. Robeson’s crusade.  J. Edgar Hoover (everyone’s heard of him) even went so far as to direct more attention to investigations of civil rights groups for communist connections than to Ku Klux Klan activities…like lynching.

So when exactly did the United States Congress pass legislation making lynchings a federal crime in America?

Amazingly, the answer is: Never

But On June 13, 2005, not Congress, but the U.S. Senate, formally apologized for its failure in the early 20th century, “when it was most needed”, to enact a Federal anti-lynching law… and by a voice vote no less (not a roll call)…I wonder why?

Thankfully people as a whole, or groups, have pretty much decided that lynchings are no longer in vogue and so we don’t have… any? or… as many? anymore… but can you imagine what must have been going through the minds of the protesters in Furguson Missouri while they were staring into the massed weapons of the police’s armored vehicles and automatic weapons following the shooting of Michael Brown?

Weren’t the police just daring them to go ahead and try something that night? To see what they might get? I’m sure the police had absolutely no doubt what they, the police, might get should they be “forced” to fire upon a goaded and angry mob of militant protesters…Off…does anyone doubt that?

Racism is not dead in this country. Dormant in most places, maybe, but dead? How could it be? Who has really tried to kill it or seriously eradicate it? I mean really… until it was just snuffed out…you know, like Native Americans at Wounded Knee… seriously, who?

What’s In a Name?

9 Sep

The High School in which I was a teacher for 31 years always offered a course in the study of The Holocaust. The town in which the high school was located had a long and rich history that included many Jewish residents and visitors and so this particular course touched upon a subject that was both near and dear to the hearts of those who lived and worked and taught within the town.

But of course the importance of teaching such a course was to instruct all of the students and residents of the town that such a horrible atrocity could never be forgotten and that this monstrous injustice could occur somewhere else and at some other time to any group of people and anywhere within our world where people did not remain vigilant or were willing to forget or disbelieve that humans could ever treat other humans with such cold cruelty.

And of course the corner stone of the course, if you will, was always the phrase: “Never forget”. We must never forget what happened in the Germany of WWII lest an atrocity of similar horror happen again.

And so over the years the course was taught, and as fate would have it, over the years our classes, students and public school community gradually changed complexion until one day I was listening in when a young African American student, looking a bit bored with the lecture, raised his hand and said, “Who cares about this. What about slavery?” as many of the other students of color began to mutter their agreement.

And I will never forget what the teacher’s response was…and this is going to sound like I’m making it up although I swear to you, on my honor, that I am not…

The teacher’s response was: “Son, that was a long time ago. You’re going to have to forget about that and move on with your life or you’ll end up going nowhere.”

And that is why The Washington Redskins need to change their name! And Daniel Snyder, the Washington team’s owner, should know better…especially than to say to USA Today and the world…”We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Because Never is a word you use…when you forget.

 

Do the Right Thing

8 Sep

gpicone:

Just thought this might be a good time to re post this…could there be a bad time?

Originally posted on ipledgeafallegiance:

                                                      Coaches and Rules

We all like to kid coaches and gym teachers for perhaps having what (on the outside) appears to many to be a fun, simple and stress free job but my favorite educational thinker and philosopher of all time was my youngest son’s 9th grade gym teacher. My wife and I were attending back to school night and “Coach” as he was affectionately known was giving his annual back to school night talk to the parents.

“There are only 2 things I ask from my students, he said, and if they do these two things then we’ll get along fine. #1: Do what I say. Why? Well, because I’m the teacher and I said so. And I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t want you to do it so just do it because that’s what I said. And #2: Do the right thing. And what…

View original 460 more words

No Way Out!

7 Sep

I was recently reading Time Magazine’s “Answers” Issue and one of their answers was to the question: Which is the most dangerous place to live in the USA? And the answer was: Ocean County, New Jersey!

Good grief! That’s where I live!

Ocean County is supposed to be the most dangerous place to live because of its potential for natural disasters…but really that has just about everything to do with the ocean which every once in a while enjoys washing away all of the homes and businesses that we like to build right on the ocean’s front doorstep. Then of course we build them all right back up again and wait for them to get washed away again. As you can imagine that gets pretty expensive.

So since Hurricane Sandy was pretty scary I’ve thought about packing up and running away to some place safer…but according to Time magazine, if I run south I have to go through Cape May County, the third most dangerous county in America! And if I head west I’ll have to cross into Pennsylvania and according to Time Magazine’s list of most dangerous intersections I’ll run smack dab into the most dangerous intersection in the USA in Bensalem, PA!…Not to mention the fact that I would also have to drive through Camden, NJ: America’s crime capital of 2012!

And if I head north I’ll be traveling through the 3rd most dangerous intersection in the USA in Elizabeth, NJ! And of course the NJ Turnpike winds its way through “Cancer Alley” on the way there!

I’m trapped! There is no way out! Nothing to do but fret, worry and eat all day (just ask our Governor)…Perhaps this is why New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the Union? We check in…but we can’t check out!

But honestly, New Jersey has never really seemed like it was all that dangerous to me. I’m more afraid of tornadoes and earthquakes and drought and snakes and killer bees and giant jumping Asian Carp and brain numbing cold and sinkholes and giant forest fires and fracking…we don’t have much if any of that in New Jersey.

So I think I’ll stay…not that I can leave…because…well, you know.

Too bad, and it’s such a nice day…Oh well, Guess I’m off to the beach!

For Love of the Game?

5 Sep

Here’s a heartwarming follow up story that I read this morning about this year’s addition of the Little League World Series held annually in Williamsport, PA. Apparently this year’s Little League World Series star, a 13 year old girl by the name of Mo’ne Davis, told reporters that even though she loved playing baseball her first love was basketball and her dream was to play point guard on the women’s team at the University of Connecticut and then to go on to the WNBA.

So wouldn’t you know that the coach for the University of Connecticut’s basketball team, Mr. Geno Auriemma, after hearing about that, thought it would be nice to call Mo’ne up to congratulate her on her big performance at the LLWS. 

Then, another coach in the NCAA complained to higher-ups, and as a result the NCAA decided that the phone call violated recruitment rules!

Say what?!

Once upon a time a 13 year old could play little league baseball and there were no big important adult reporters around to write down what she was saying, let alone who cared to listen…and there were no news outlets who would broadcast 13 year old teenage statements to the world anyway… and certainly big important college coaches would not even bother to listen to such things even if they existed, but…today… in a world where organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association can make billions and billions and billions of dollars off of the hard work and play of youngsters only a few years older than Ms. Davis (while the youngsters get virtually nothing in return)

Well then you can certainly understand why the NCAA had to determined that the U Conn women’s basketball coach had indeed committed a secondary rules violation when he made that congratulatory phone call.

Of course then all eyes and ears were once again focused upon the 13 year old female pitching phenom who was asked about her feelings on this controversy. Like any 13 year old, Ms Davis said that the whole thing just made her “sad”.

Proving once again that here in the United States some folks can truly love money so much that it actually does hurt.

And Yet We Still Make It So…

4 Sep

As I am sure many of you already have, I have spent quite a bit of time wondering about the goings on in Ferguson, Missouri and about how a police officer could shoot and kill an unarmed citizen in the manner in which he did.

Of course already several weeks have passed since the incident and the internet and airwaves have been filled with a myriad of reasonings as to why this tragedy occurred. Was the police officer frightened or doing his duty or protecting the public? Was he scared or in fear of his life as some have suggested? Was he a racist? Or perhaps…the young unarmed victim had it coming? Or was a thug who deserved to be shot? Or maybe he was just so big and scary that his entire frightening self was more dangerous than any police officer with a gun could ever be?

Or maybe if the young man had simply just done what he was told to do by an authority figure this just never would have happened…

But after thinking about it for quite a while it dawned on me that perhaps the reason for this fatal occurrence between these two vastly different people was a much simpler one.

The police officer shot and killed the man because…he could.

And the eventual victim of that shot behaved in the manner in which he did because…he couldn’t.

I believe that for human beings, The reasons that we have for taking a life from this world… are sometimes all too sadly… that simple…especially in a world of haves and have-nots where those two distinct poles are rapidly accelerating away from each other as they are in our societies today.

And I also believe that the solutions needn’t be any more complicated…

 

 

This Post Sponsored by N, F and L

21 Aug

As I am sure many of you are aware, It’s almost time for the kickoff of the NFL’s 2014 season! And in an effort to increase it’s over 10 billion dollars in annual revenue the NFL has just announced that it is asking potential performers at its Super Bowl championship game in February, to pay the NFL for the privilege of performing at this annual event.

Yes, you read that correctly. The NFL wants to hire performers who will then pay the NFL for the privilege of being hired! What an exciting new way to make money!

And the best part is that The National Football League is an unincorporated nonprofit association, meaning its league office is not subject to income tax because it does not make a profit…despite the over 190 million dollars it collects in dues from its 32 teams…along with the $? it hopes to be making from some wealthy performers, I presume…

In fairness to the NFL the would-be halftime performers are themselves multi-millionaires and the NFL does not usually pay the act that performs during the halftime ceremony, but it has covered travel and production expenses in the past, which can run into the millions of dollars…but still…why can’t all of these rich bastards pay some taxes?

We, the fans, pay taxes when we earn our money, save our money and spend our money…if anyone should have non-profit status it should be us!…shouldn’t it? I mean seriously,  How much “profit” did you make last year?

Anyway, in a related story the NFL has also asked that the Alphabet stop using the letters N, F and L until the proper licensing fees have been paid to said NFL.

Said the Alphabet…O Ucking Way!

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