Thursday, August 08, 2019

The Erickson Report, Page 2: Five Things Noted in Passing

The Erickson Report, Page 2: Five Things Noted in Passing

Next up comes Five Things Noted in Passing, devoted to mentioning at least briefly a few of the many, many pieces of news that can't be included in a half-hour show.

Number One: Emmet Till was a 14 year-old boy from Chicago visiting family in Money, Mississippi in August of 1955, where he allegedly flirted with a white woman cashier at a country store.

Four days later, the woman's husband and brother went to the home where Till was staying, kidnapped him, stripped him, beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, and threw his body, tied to a 75-pound cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the the Tallahatchie River.

Emmett Till
His body was found four days later. His murderers were tried for the crime - and were acquitted in under two hours.

Since 2007, there have been several memorial signs near the site of the murder. The signs have been repeatedly vandalized - but for some reason a recent example caused extensive outrage: Three University of Mississippi students posed by one bullet-pocked sign bearing guns and grins.

The result is a new sign, 500 pounds, steel-reinforced, bulletproof, and protected by security.

Which is apparently what it takes, today, to protect a memorial to a black child murdered and mutilated by bigots 64 years ago.


Number Two: To prove resistance can be joyful, Ronald Rael, a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San José State University, have installed three pink seesaws along the steel border fence on the outskirts of El Paso in Texas and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico.

The seesaws were slid through the fence so that the two ends were in the two different countries, making the wall, the professors said, a literal fulcrum of US-Mexico relations.


Number Three: The Polar Star is a heavy icebreaker, designed to make its way through Antarctic Sea ice, which can be over 20 feet thick. Its primary job is clearing a path for resupply of the McMurdo research station as part of Deep Freeze, a multi-service operation to support the US Antarctic Program, which is led by the National Science Foundation.

It is the US's only heavy icebreaker and it was launched in 1976 - 43 years ago. Every time it makes the trip, necessary to support the research being done at McMurdo, which can be done nowhere else in the world, things break down, pipes leak, equipment stops working. The boat spends its entire time in homeport in a struggle to be ready for the next time. The Coast Guard and Navy are supposedly cooperating on plans for new icebreakers, but for now every year there is the risk that the researchers at McMurdo could find themselves without supplies.


Number Four: The case of Parvez Manzoor Khan is before a US magistrate in Jacksonville, Florida. I won't try to go through the details of the case, which gets complex, but I wanted to mention it because of its potential impact: The Justice Department is trying to strip Khan of his citizenship, which he obtained in 2006, on the grounds that in his application he failed to disclose aspects of his immigration history.

Parvez Manzoor Khan
However, it develops that even if he had disclosed those details, it would not have prevented him from becoming a citizen. Nonetheless, the Injustice Dept. is pressing the case while admitting that if it's successful, there is no guarantee that ICE would not renew attempts to deport him to Pakistan.

The even important, the broader, thing is that if Khan loses his citizenship, the DOJ has already made it clear that it intends to pursue similar cases against other naturalized citizens.

I wonder if any of them will be from Norway.


And Number Five: A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine compared state-by-state rates of gun ownership with rates of gun homicide from 1990 through 2016.

The study found that the rate of domestic-violence-related firearm homicide was 65% higher in states with the highest rate of gun ownership than in states with lower gun ownership rates.

Which I supposed should be filed under the heading of "And this is news how?"

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