Monday, June 27, 2016

Democracy Now!

"Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

I found the Ben Franklin quote in Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!," which covers a gamut of vital movements over the past quarter-century, from climate justice and the LGBTQ revolution to Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.  Goodman wrote: "Independent media is the oxygen of a democracy."  Her phrase "Going to where the silence is" emphasizes that the radio program "Democracy Now!" doesn't shy away from issues that the mainstream media ignores, such as punishment of whistleblowers or the lethal use of drone attacks against our enemies.  In a chapter entitled "The Sword and the Shield" Goodman wrote that people all over the world saw Americans in two ways, as a government that provides weapons to reactionary regimes but as one with concerned citizens who at times can be shield against atrocities.  She described a near-death experience covering a 1991 massacre of peaceful demonstrators in East Timor by Indonesian troops wielding US M16s.  She noted that in 1975 President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger approved a decision by Indonesia dictator Suharto to invade East Timor.  That action resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths that went virtually unreported in American newspapers.  Goodman wrote:
    Compare that to Pol Pot's Cambodia, where the genocide from 1975 to 1979 was proportionally similar.  Hundreds of articled exposing Pol Pot's atrocities appeared in the US media. The difference?  Cambodia was an official enemy of the United States; Indonesia was a close ally.
Goodman was on hand in the capital of Dili when in 2002 East Timor became an independent nation as a result of a UN supervised referendum, as was former president Bill Clinton (above, with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, left) .
A most poignant story in "Democracy Now!" was of Troy Davis (above), executed by the state of Georgia in 2011, 22 years after he was arrested and convicted for the murder of a Savannah policeman even though the only evidence against him was the word of witnesses pressured by police, most of whom later recanted their testimony.  Worldwide appeals for clemency to Governor Nathan Deal had no effect, and the final plea for a stay was referred to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who hailed, Goodman wrote, "from Pin Point, Georgia, a community founded by free slaves that is near Savannah, where Davis had lived."  Thomas denied the appeal.  Goodman noted;
    As I stood on the grounds of the prison, just after Troy Davis was executed, the Georgia department of Corrections threatened to pull the plug on our broadcast.  The show was over.
    I was reminded of what Mahatma Gandhi reportedly answered when asked what he thought of Western civilization: "I think it would be a good idea."
Tabby Thiel, Ashley Moreno, Kennedy Laviolette; Post-Trib photo by Jim Karczewski
Massive Gay Pride parades took place in Chicago, New York City, San Fransisco, and Seattle with moments of silence and tributes to the Pulse dance club victims in Orlando.  Like last year local newspapers interviewed participants waiting to catch the South Shore into the city.  Anne Balay (below, left), ensconced in Greencastle on a writers' retreat, posted: "I am writing, writing, writing, and having adventures.  I'm not sure Bub my barber had ever seen a lesbian before."  Cathi White begged to disagree, rep[lying, "Greencastle is full of gays and lesbians, at least at Depauw."
Bill Dolan of NWI Times reported that George Van Til has been moved to a halfway house.  At age 68 the former Lake County surveyor is ailing, but if someone, perhaps a defense attorney such as Roy Dominguez, hired I'm as a consultant, it might facilitate his ability to be released.  Nobody knows the ins and outs of local government better than my friend.
Gretchen Pierce gave birth to a kid who's a dead ringer for papa Jerry, a former member of IUN's History department who is sorely missed and now teaching in the Penn State system.

Over the weekend our condo was a beehive of activity, as Toni, Angie, Beth, and Becca were putting together favors for Alissa's upcoming bridal shower.  Alissa dropped in Sunday afternoon after spending Saturday in Chicago.
Spencer Cortwright spotted a red-wing blackbird nest just a few feet from the edge of IUN's parking lot.  He reported:  "The blackbirds are using a plant called ironweed for their nest, as it is a very sturdy plant and not likely to get blown over in a storm.  It is in no sense of the word a weed, and in fact is one of our most beautiful native wildflowers that blooms in July/August!"

Poet William Buckley wrote, "Dear Jim, Okay!  It's a deal" as you put it.  I'll keep writing, and you will keep publishing.  Thanks for putting my work in Steel Shavings.  I'm honored."   Buckley wrote about Region legend Diana of the Dunes: "Alice M. Gray, a recluse who lived in the Sauk forests of Northwestern Indiana, c.1915-1925."

 Ghost-Chicagoan who moved to her shores - radical
and took up with a man in sand/ Kobe's Woman of the Dunes
at first blush/  but more like the turtle of Sauk/ unhappy Soul
who returned to earth as an Owl - with an odd Aztec
haircut and male face/  you do embody Midwestern
repressions: sex-fenced-but-expressed-with-happy perversions/

our tattered Ameriko-values in the choke weed
and longing for winds off Lake Michigan - freedom-
Oak-Park-Hemingway and Terre Haute-Dreiser wanted in the brashness
of New York  and our American Night/
                                                            If you had gone
to Big Sur you would've written your Confessions/  yet you left
and lived lone/ studied stars a huntress / sold fish to road
workers on Rt.20 and wandered against the industrial ideal/ 
Your mind now in the junk-art and sack races of a Chesterton Festival/

Friday, June 24, 2016

Takin' a Ride

"Takin' a ride
But it's no damn good."
    The Replacements, from "Shiftless When Idle," 1981
Richard Russo's "Everybody's Fool" starts out with long-suffering North Bath (NY) Police Chief Douglas Raymer driving to a cemetery to attend the funeral of Judge Barton Flatt, who once called him a moron and made a play for his wife.  As a long-haired minister gave an irrelevant eulogy for the atheist magistrate whom he had never met, Chief Raymer thought of his old English teach Miss Beryl Peoples, who admonished her students in their essays of the importance of subject, audience, and speaker, often illustrating her point with a triangle.  Russo put this thought in Raymer's admittedly dim brain: "The old lady's triangle remained as deeply mysterious to him as the Holy Trinity's Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."  Later Chief Raymer ruminated about speaking at the dedication renaming a middle school in Miss Beryl's honor:
     He'd tell folks about all the books Miss Beryl had given him as a boy.  He'd tell his audience that Miss Beryl had held a far better opinion of him than he had of himself.  Further, he'd explain how the old woman kept scribbling "Who is Douglas Raymer?" in the margins of his essays.  And how she'd remain in his margins down through the years, like a good teacher will.

At Upper Dublin my two unforgettable English teachers were Mrs. Biles and Delphine Vandling.  The former taught me how to write a term paper, using footnotes and avoiding plagarism.  Mrs. Vandling not only instilled in me a love of literature (but not Shakespeare despite her best efforts) but also the importance of increasing one's "Word Power."  Each week we'd have to use ten new words in a sentence and then be tested on our understanding of them.

Retired English professor William K. Buckley gave me an autographed copy of "81 Mygrations" (1998), which included many poems about living by Lake Michigan and near the mill town of Gary.  Critic Csaba Polony called Buckley's poems "signposts, pit stops along dizzying spatial/temporal trip across the landscape/mindscape of America - an American road-miovie in verse."  Here are some lines from "Beach North":
     Lake Michigan stays clean around the edges.
     No ghosts of Conquistadores or sharks.
     No roiling of whales.  When you sail-out beyond USX
                                            you feel depths,
                and you know
     this lake can take down freighters, swallow families.

     If you swim, you feel the cut
     of slim surfaces, odorless and primitive
     If you dive, you see pig iron, iron bars,
             and clean shipwrecks.
     If you dig, you find only the smallest of shells,
     as if Nature had made a clean sweep of grandeur
              and settled out of court.
Edmund White, 1983 by Dominique Nabokov
In "The Quest for Gay Pleasure," a New York Review of Books essay on Edmund White's "Our Young Man," Diane Johnson notes that two main characters are twin brothers, one gay, the other straight.  Johnson notes:
         This note of volition more or less flew in the face of current orthodoxy that sexual preference is genetic or   predetermined in some other inescapable way but conforms to an orthodoxy of the 1950s, that homosexual tendencies were normal for everyone in adolescence but for most people were a phase and might modify or change.  This idea is out of fashion now, with today's almost political insistence on people coming out in grade school.
I have strong feelings against designating prepubescent kids gay, straight or transsexual and assume Diane Johnson does as well.  If I had a young son who wanted to wear girls' clothes or play with dolls, I think I'd be tolerant but still strive to interest him in sports and restrict his cross-dressing to inside the home, hoping probably that he'd outgrow the practice.
Nelson Algren photographed in Miller by Art Shay
A highlight of the Nelson Algren festival in Miller was the showing of the documentary "The End Is Nothing, The Road Is All."  The title is taken from a quote by novelist Willa Cather. The documentary included plentiful quotes from Algren's work and comprehensive treatment of the novelist's friendship with Simone de Beauvoir.
I loved watching "Breaking Bad" actor Bryan Cranston portray President Lyndon Baines Johnson in HBO's "All the Way."  The focus is on passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and its effect on politics, but it touches on the war in Vietnam and the murder of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney in Mississippi during Freedom Summer.  As Nick Schager of the Daily Beast wrote, Cranston portrays LBJ as "simultaneously noble, brave, self-serving, insecure, and nasty - a collous prick prone to terrifying verbal abuse."

Every time I spot a Kevin Nevers by-line in the Chesterton Tribune I check out the article, even if the subject seems mundane.  In "Replacement of Morningside sewer system ready to start" Nevers touched on environmental issues as well as government red tape.  He wrote:
      The dilapidated aerial support columns for the Morningside subdivision's sanitary sewer main carry the main over and across approximately 300 feet of environmentally sensitive,officially designated wetland, on its way to the wastewater treatment plant on the other side of the Little Calumet River.
     For Chesterton Utility Service Board Member Andy Michel, it seems almost too good to be true, inasmuch as it's been more than 15 years since the Utility first identified the threat posed by the crumbling columns.
     Working in and around a designated wetland, however, entails a certain amount of bureaucratic hoop-jumping and over the years the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has required the Utility, among other things, to conduct surveys of flora and fauna and inventories of live trees and dead ones.  The Corps also required the Utility to submit a work-site plan under which temporary timber "matting" and silt fences would be used to protect the wetland from construction activities.
     Now, at last, all systems are go.

Derrick Rose is no longer a Bull, having been traded to the New York Knicks.  The former MVP has been a shell of his former self since injuries sidelined him the better part of three seasons.  With their fourteenth pick in the draft, the Bulls selected Denzel Valentine from Michigan State, not a bad choice if recovered from knee surgery.  Many sports jocks were hoping the Bulls would also trade their best player Jimmy Butler, and go into a rebuilding mode instead of what the front office has termed "re-tooling."

A majority of British voters have have advocated leaving the European Union, causing stocks markets to take a hit all over the world.  Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his intention to resign. In Congress, led by civil rights pioneer John Lewis, Democratic lawmakers held a 24-hour sit-in to protest the Republicans' refusal to hold a vote on measures to keep assault rifles out of the hands of terrorists.  Even those on the no-fly list or under surveillance by the FBI can legally purchase deadly weapons.
Here is former House historian Ray Smock's take on the sit-in:
As someone who appreciates and respects the traditions, rules and procedures of the House, part of me was opposed to such a blatant display on the floor of the House because such an event is a violation of the decorum of the chamber, something I believe is essential to the deliberative process. Just because the Republican majority chooses to Do Nothing does not give license to the Democratic minority to stage demonstrations on the floor. The Capitol grounds are the place for demonstrations. 
But the partisan part of me thinks Congress has not done its duty to the American people on a host of issues including regulation of weapons of war in the hands of civilians, and I was delighted to see this "reasonable" and limited action that called attention to the failure of the legislative branch to address even the most minimal gun regulation. It is, after all, an election year that is shaping up in a bizarre manner, given the rise of Trumpism. So a protest that is in violation of the rules of the House does not seem so far out of line with the general dysfunction of the chamber.
The part of me that is a congressional historian sees this as a useful signpost and a colorful narrative of the ongoing stress that comes from an obstructionist Congress that does as little as possible to help govern the nation. It is also a sign of the times from the standpoint of social media and its collective effect on campaigning and governing. This demonstration could not occur without social media once the House adjourned and the TV cameras were turned off. Lincoln said nothing can occur without public sentiment. Social media creates public sentiment, both positively and negatively. The Speaker can control the House television cameras, but he cannot control photos and videos from cell phones.
Congressman John Lewis, the distinguished champion of the Civil Rights movement, and other leaders of the sit-in were relying on a time-tested and largely respected device of peaceful disobedience reminiscent of the sit-ins of the 1960s. This gives the House sit-in an aura of moral urgency. Some of the participants in the sit-in were members who represent places that had experienced mass gun violence. To them this was not a stunt but a call to action.  It suggests that some things are higher in order and magnitude than mere House rules of decorum. The sit-in suggests that this moment in our history is one where we have to disenthrall ourselves of some conventions that hamstring progress and raise the stakes of the debate. Compared with Senator Ted Cruz’s recent Senate filibuster, where he read from Dr. Zeus, the House sit-in was a grace note. It has historical significance in this context.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Visions

"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." Jonathan Swift
Vaino Hannell, "Steel Making" 1936, in "Sand and Steel" catalogue
John Cain and Gregg Hertzlieb subtitled the "Sand and Steel" exhibit currently at the Munster Center for the Arts "Visions of Our Indiana Shoreline." Thanking me for contributing the historical essay for the catalogue, Cain added: "I love what you wrote for us."  Cain's essay, "Visions of our Indiana Shoreline, " stated: "Long before there were steel mills in Northwest Indiana, there were artists lured here by the natural beauty of our shoreline."  Hertzlieb's essay, "Artistic Vision and Personal Identity," noted that while the artists came from diverse backgrounds whose work reflected their unique sensibilities and means of execution, all saw the Dunes and the mills, in his words, "as exotic places in the world that could be approached but not fully possessed and yet secretive, able to share treasures  accessed only through impression and confrontation."  Like me, Hertzlieb injected a personal note in his remarks, writing:

  The dramatic juxtaposition of nature and industry in this setting has inspired me throughout my life and lies, I believe, at the heart of my identity.  I think about my memories of the Dunes as a place where anything can happen.  These graphic works invite me to tell myself a story, and the story is thrilling because the wind and the trees in the Dunes are thrilling, a little scary if I want them to be – and as a child visitor to this place, I wanted them to be.
David Sander, untitled
One of the featured artists, David Sander, once managed a coffeehouse in Porter, Saturday's Child, and I included a Dale Fleming drawing of him in "Tales of Lake Michigan."  When I visited Sander in Chesterton, I noticed literally dozens of impressionistic drawings lying around his work space of the dunes, the lake, and the sky.  I was tempted to ask him for one for the Archives and now am sorry I didn't. The three tempera on paper drawings in the show were done between 1988 and 1990, around the time of my visit.
above, Marion and Robert Merriman; below, Ernest Hemingway, center
In "Spain in My Heart"Adam Hochschild noted that only one known survivor of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade is still alive.  Many died in battle, including Robert Merriman, thought to be whom Ernest Hemingway modeled the main character after in "For Whom the Bell Tolls."  Hyman Katz, like Merrimam killed during a retreat from Teruel, wrote that had he not joined the fight, he'd forever ask himself, "Why didn't I wake up when the alarm clock rang?"  I hadn't realized that "1984" author George Orwell fought for the Republican cause or that his book "Homage to Catalonia" is considered the best memoir of the Spanish Civil War.  For over 50 years the family of Philip Schachter didn't know his fate.  Then a Spaniard who fought beside him got in touch with the family, and Schachter's niece Rebecca arranged a kaddish at the spot where he was slain.
photo by Anne Balay
Anne Balay is enjoying a ten-day retreat at the Prindle Institute in Greencastle, Indiana, home of DePauw University.  She wrote: "I'm paid to sit and write, with like-minded others.  Writing workshops, presentations, and other activities planned.  I hope we make lanyards and have bonfires." With her hectic life, she deserves a break.

Gary Council member Rebecca Wyatt convened a meeting at City Hall of people interested in preservation efforts related to the city's history.  State Senator Earline Rogers talked about a sports hall of fame.  Ron Cohen mentioned tourism possibilities relating to Michael Jackson's old neighborhood.  I gave away half-dozen copies of my latest Steel Shavings, "My Name Is Gary," including one to Naomi Millender, whose mother Dolly is on the cover, along with Coach Claude Taliaferro.
Despite the rain IUN's Savannah Center was packed for Thrill of the Grill.  New freshmen and parents were visiting, and Audrea Davis, Jackie Cheairs, and I sat next to a Bishop Noll grad and her father.  He asked about work/study opportunities, and Audrea said she'd be hiring library assistants next month.  By the gym were folks wearing "Branden Dawkins 2016" t-shirts.  A basketball camp for kids was in progress hosted by the former Lew Wallace and Michigan State star (above) currently the property of the L.A. Clippers.  Chancellor Lowe dropped in to check on the proceedings.

Nancy Coltun Wenster wrote a Post-Trib article on the history of the South Shore Railroad in connection with Indiana's bicentennial, quoting Archivist Steve McShane, railroad buff Bob Harris, and documentarian Paul Nelson.  The commuter train's antecedents date to 1899 and an inter-urban known as the Chicago and Indiana Air Line railway.  Starting in 1904 under new owner James B. Hanna, the route expanded from Chicago to Michigan City.  Rail traffic increased after the horrific sinking in 1915 of the S.S. Eastland, an excursion ship scheduled to take Western Electric employees from Cicero to Michigan City that overturned in the Chicago River, with 844  fatalities. When Hanna's company went into receivership, Steve McShane told Webster, utility magnate Samuel Insull "came to the rescue," purchasing the company in 1925 for $6 million.  One marketing tool he used was posters, many now in the possession of the Calumet Regional Archives, thanks to Bob Harris.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Longest Day

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”  Coach Jim Valvano
Phil Lane with Miranda, Alissa, Tori  and Anthony; photo by Delia Soto-Lane

"The Longest Day" (1962) was a rather over-dramatic account of D-Day with big-name stars of a half-century ago, such as Richard Burton, John Wayne, and Robert Mitchum, but the phrase also refers to the summer solstice that literally results in the occurrence of the longest day of the year.

On Fathers Day I got calls from Phil and Dave as well as granddaughter Alissa, who had her dad’s family over for spring rolls and the seventh game of the NBA finals won by Cleveland, led by “King” Lebron James, the series leader in scoring, rebounds, blocks, and assists.
In “Couple share lifelong love of Miller Beach” Post-Trib columnist Jeff Manes  reported that Judy Ayers donated cookbooks to the Calumet Regional Archives.  Judy told him:
              My mother, Barbara Neal, was the owner of Barbara's Cover Girl Beauty Shop for 40 years and her business was always on Lake Street. For most of those years, it was located next to Ayers Realtors where she rented her side of the store from Gene.
Mom's patrons, ladies from Miller, Gary, Ogden Dunes, Portage and Lake Station, sold their community or church cookbooks as fundraisers. My mother bought them to support her customers and their causes. In each cookbook there was the history of the church or organization. After every recipe was the name of who contributed it.
It was always fun to see the recipes friends and neighbors served their families. Many years later, the cookbooks and the names of the recipe contributors serve as reminders of the ladies my mother knew.

In 1922 N. Guy Ayers, Gene’s great-uncle, hung out a shingle to launch Ayers Realty.  Gene’s father Bruce joined the business in 1946 after serving in World War II.  Gene, like Judy a 1965 Wirt High School grad, said:
            When I was really young, we lived in Aetna. They hadn't yet built the 1950s Fifield-Aetna houses, so we lived on Aetna Street at the end of a sand dune. The Fifields took raw land and subdivided it into all those inexpensive homes that were built in that post-war era. Close to 70 percent of the houses in Miller were built from '46 to '66.
My father was in partnership with some people who were going to build a workingman's lakefront housing project where Bethlehem Steel (ArcelorMital) is now. It was going to be called Duna Beach, but Dad's partner became gravely ill and Duna Beach never happened.

At Tom Eaton’s for bridge Pat Cronin mentioned that she is in a knitting club with Judy Ayers.  Last year the group made a hundred caps for kids with cancer.  I finished second to Brian Barnes, who with wife Connie will host next month’s get together.  A great cook, Eaton served Bavarian cream cake.

At Primary Care to renew three blood pressure prescriptions, I learned that Dr. Ostroski's daughter is teaching in the Nursing Department at Valparaiso University.  I wonder if she’s met Chemistry professor Julie Peller, John Ban’s daughter, who who left IUN after getting screwed over for promotion by the old boy network.  I was tempted to suggest that Len  quit the rat race and see about becoming a professor at IUN Medical School.
Chesterton High School hosted a ceremony in honor of 2014 grad Mitchell Alexander Winey, who drowned in Texas along with 8 others in a military training accident when floodwaters washed their transport truck from what was supposed to be a shallow crossing.  Class president and captain of Chesterton’s soccer team, Winey was a West Point cadet.  During the ceremony Indiana senator Joe Donnelly remarked: “I will never make a better nomination or make an easier one than this one [to the military academy.]”

Funeral services took place over the weekend for many of the 49 victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando.  Because it occurred on Latin Night and approximately half of the dead were Puerto Rican, Attorney-General Loretta Lynch announced that the FBI is investigating whether it was a hate crime against Latinos as well as gays.
 
NWI Times photo by John Luke 
Members of the Pokagon band of Potawatomi Indians held a blessing to Mother Nature at the waters of Lake George at Festival Park in Hobart.  NWI Times reporter Chas Reilly wrote:
         The Potawatomi prayed for the healing of the water and those participating in the ceremony at Festival Park.
They used rattles and drums to keep time as they sang. During one song, a copper kettle filled with water was held toward the sky. The large crowd that gathered was later given water from that kettle to drink.
Bob and Rhea Laramie
I attended a party at Woodland Park for Portage High School grad Stephanie Laramie, who will be a freshman at Vincennes University in the fall.  Her grandfather, Bob Laramie, coached Phil on several youth soccer teams, and we reminisced about highlights from years past.  Bob knew the names of all 16 of his grandchildren and his 24 great-grandchildren, many of whom he introduced me to.  On hand was an IUN History major (Tyler) whom I knew from Jonathyne Briggs and Nicole Anslover’s classes.  For Fathers Day son Bobby gave Bob, a former steelworker, “Steel Giants” and said one of the authors had signed it, not Steve McShane but Gary Wilk, who had been at a booth with wife Nancy at European Market.
At the Democratic state convention in Indianapolis John Gregg was nominated to oppose Governor Mike Pence along with running mate Christina Hale, a Michigan City native.  East Chicago former judge Lorenzo Arredondo is the party’s attorney-generalnominee, and Glenda Ritz will seek a second term as superintendent of public instruction.

The Cubs swept the Pirates, and Anthony Rizzo pulled off an unusual play that I’ve long advocated.  On first with bases loaded and two out Ben Zobrist hit a grounder to deep short.  Rather than side, Rizzo ran to second in full stride and beat the throw.  He got tagged out overrunning the base, but the man on third, reaching home beforehand, scored.


Adam Hochschild's “Spain in Our Hearts” profiles American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, many of whom were demonized during the Red Scare as "Premature Anti-Fascists." Robert Merriman, the son of a lumberjack, received a grant to study in the Soviet Union during the Great Depression while a grad student at the University of California.   One of his Economics professors at Berkeley was Paul S. Taylor, whose account of Mexican-American steelworkers in the Calumet Region Ed Escobar and I excerpted in “Forging a Community.”  Taylor’s wife was photographer Dorothea Lange.
Dorothea Lange; photo by Paul S. Taylor

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer Lists

"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you."  Barack Obama

President Obama traveled to Orlando to offer support and condolences for victims of the mass murders at PULSE nightclub and their loved ones and to praise the first responders and medical staff that have been treating the wounded.  What a horrible week for that community, as, to add insult to injury, an alligator snatched a two year-old boy walking in shallow water at Disney World.  A sign warned against swimming but not against alligators.  Eighteen hours later, the boy's body was found intact, the cause of death drowning.  Officials vow to euthanize the killer alligator.
Lorenzo Arredondo blasting Donald Trump with Jose Bustos on left; Post-Trib photo by Jim Karczewski
Lake County Democrats gathered in front of the Immigrant Support and Assistance Center (ISAAC) in East Chicago to castigate Donald Trump for his malicious remarks against California judge Gonzalo Curiel, a native of Indiana Harbor.  ISAAC manager Jose Bustos noted that anxious clients are asking for ways to transfer care of their children to others in the event that Trump becomes President and they are deported.
Responding to Post-Trib columnist Jerry Davich's interest in a summertime to-do checklist, one reader said she wanted to check out a new pizza place every Friday.  Former student Joseph Coates (above), an archivist at Purdue North Central, wrote: "Taking kids on vacation, finishing landscaping, pressure wash and stain the deck, clean the garage, drink beer, apply to graduate school, and get a paper ready for publication."   My wish list includes inviting Dean Mark Hoyert and History Department members to Gino's for Chris Young's July history book club presentation on Andrew Jackson and delivering free Steel Shavings copies to the Remarkable Book Shop in Merrillville.  Long range, I hope to take Toni to Ireland and conduct at least a hundred more oral histories pertaining to my adopted hometown in Gary, Indiana.

Celebrating his 57th birthday birthday, Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker savored a 12-inning comeback win over the Cubs, who nevertheless finished a nine-game road trip 5-4.  Baker comes from a long line of Cubs managers unjustly blamed for the team's century-long World Series drought.  I talked baseball with old friend Paul Turk, who lives in the DC area but is a diehard Cleveland Indians fan.  When he heard about the ceremony for Midge and my dad's gravesite, he said he'd have attended had he known about it.  In 1965 he drove from Ohio through a snowstorm to attend Toni and my wedding.

Samuel A. Love posted two photos of Miller Woods, one taken following a March brush fire and the other a contemporary shot on his 39th birthday, showing how much greener the forest affected by the fire is than the adjacent area.
Miller Woods photos by Samuel A. Love
Phil sought advice on suitable attire for his daughter Alissa's wedding.  I suggested something practical rather than a tuxedo "monkey suit."  When hippie-leaning  Ivan Jasper got married during the 1970s, guys in the wedding party wore denim outfits.  On the other hand, at a "lefty" friend's nuptials where I expected blue-collar outfits, guys wore tuxedos.  Both receptions were at Marquette Park pavilion where Dave and Angie was held.  Nephew Beamer's family will be visiting the weekend of Alissa's bridal shower, so wife Kim can go with Toni to Grand Rapids while the guys engage in board games.  Two summers ago Beamer loved attending Wade Game Weekend.

I'm reading Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!  Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America" (2016), which Phil gave me.  The Grand Valley PBS station where he works is one of over 1,400 carrying Goodman's hour-long daily program.  When "Democracy Now!" aired commentary by death row inmate and convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal two decades ago, pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police caused Temple University to halt its airing on the campus radio station.  In 1999 Goodman reported on protests in Seattle against the World Trade Organization that niece Andrea Okomski participated in.
On Facebook Missy Brush (above with Marianne) wrote: "This was one of the greatest nights of my life!!!!  We finally got to see our favorite bucket list band, The Cure. They sounded unbelievable."

A new eight-hour documentary on O.J. Simpson revealed that his father was gay and that the then-married celebrity forced his future wife Nicole to have sex with him on their first date.  The irony is that while Simpson tried not to think of himself as a black man, in the end that's what got the jury to find him not guilty, given the tawdry history of the LAPD's treatment of minorities.

The ordering of my new Apple computer has been delayed while Ryan Vega in Tech Services figures out how to make a substitute request for a wired keyboard.  My last computer came with a miniature wireless device that I hated, so I continued to used an old keyboard that now sticks on certain letters, making capitalization difficult.  Meanwhile, I'm making do on a MAC located on the first floor of the library.

Ron Cohen just told me that Lotte and Seymour Meyerson died on the same day at an assisted living facility in Asheville, North Carolina.  Married in 1943 when she was 20 and he 26, they lived in Gary for 45 years beginning in 1952.  Lotte was President of the Gary League of Women Voters and head of the Northwest Indiana Open Housing Center.  Toni worked with her at the Center and on the 1972 MCGovern for President campaign.  A chemist, Seymour had worked on the Manhattan Project and then for Standard Oil.  They loved folk dancing and once had us and several other couples over for food, conversation, and dancing.  Lotte was active in Temple Israel and both were ACLU members.  They were good friends and role models.