Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Going the Distance

“All I knew was that you had to run, run, run without knowing why you were running, but on you went through fields you didn't understand and into woods that made you afraid, over hills without knowing you'd been up and down, and shooting across streams that would have cut the heart out of you had you fallen into them.” Alan Sillitoe, “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner”
Seventy-year-old Kathrine Switzer completed the 2017 Boston Marathon in 4 hours and 44 minutes, 50 years after officials tried to remove the Syracuse University student from the then males-only event.  Her finishing time that year was 4 hours and 20 minutes.  I first learned of Switzer in Nicole Anslover’s Women’s History class.  Not until 1972 was the Boston Marathon officially open to women.  In 2013, feminist pioneer Switzer said, When I go to the Boston Marathon now, I have wet shoulders—women fall into my arms crying. They're weeping for joy because running has changed their lives. They feel they can do anything.
above, Ryan Shelton; below, Anna Villanueva

Hooray!  IUN has named Ryan Shelton as its new Athletic Director.  For the past ten years, while predecessors have come and gone and the men’s team has generally foundered, Ryan, a 2000 IUN graduate, has guided the Lady Redhawks to six stellar 20-win seasons, in addition to being head graphic designer for the Office of Marketing and Communications.  IUN grad Anna Villanueva, who lettered in both basketball and volleyball, will serve as assistant athletic director. So often, rather than rewarding people familiar with the campus, the university chooses someone from the outside looking to move on after a few years.  Hiring Shelton will bring stability to the program.
Jose Bustos speaks airport protest
In a Post-Tribune SALT column titled “East Chicago man advocates for immigrants” Jeff Manes wrote about 65-year-old army veteran José Bustos, manager for the Immigrant Support and Assistance Center (ISAAC).  Manes interviewed Bustos at the Gary Airport, where the Mexican-born American citizen was protesting the deportation of undocumented residents rounded up by immigration officials. Bustos told Jeff:
There are some horrific stories of parents getting deported and their American-born children getting taken by the state and being put up for adoption. At today's protest, I was here to speak for Linda, a 9-year old girl who is living in anguish since her family was separated because of our unjust system. I was here to speak on behalf of Robert, a 15-year old who was forced to quit school to look for a job so his mom and younger brothers and sisters could have a roof over their heads and something to eat. I was here to speak for the thousands of families being separated.
  Supposedly, ICE (Immigrant and Customs Enforcement) looks for people with criminal backgrounds regarding drugs, alcohol or domestic violence. But that's not entirely the way it is. For example, ICE is going after the person who had a DUI five or six years ago. Even if that person did community service and paid his or her fines.
  Some of these people have been here for 20 or 30 years. Many of these people were in the process of adjusting their status to become legal permanent residents, but when 9/11 occurred, all that (stuff) went out the window. Excuse my language. People say get in line, do it the right way. What freaking line? There is no line. Many of the undocumented are in limbo now.
Clifton Boone leaving prison in 2015 and two years later with mother Myrtis Boone (P-T photo by Jim Karczewski)
Jerry Davich wrote about Clifton Boone, Jr., released from prison after serving 38 years for the crime of kidnapping, committed while a teenager.  In 1976, when he was convicted, the crime carried a life sentence with no possibility of parole.  Soon afterwards, kidnapping no longer carried a life sentence. Nonetheless, as Davich put it, Boone “was stuck in prison purgatory.”  Davich added:
       Boone was raised at Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, where his hair turned gray, his skin wrinkled and his odds of dying behind bars seemed likely. He was rightfully convicted but wrongfully sentenced, and exceedingly so, officials agreed.  While numerous supporters worked to get his release — including the former prison superintendent and the judge who initially sentenced him — it didn't come until April 14, 2015. That's when I watched him walk out of the correctional facility a free man.
        He works at Lake County Jail in Crown Point as an early morning supervisor in the facility's kitchen area. After his release, Boone spoke about his experiences at an NAACP banquet, where Lake County Sheriff John Buncich first heard his story. He offered Boone a job the next day.
Boone resides on Gary’s West Side with his mother Myrtis and wishes that more employers gave ex-felons a chance.  He told Davich: There are too many preconceived notions about ex-felons and still a lot of roadblocks out here for us.  How are ex-felons supposed to prove themselves if they're not given a chance to do it?  Employment is crucial for those men, but jobs are hard to find.”

In “Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy” Nicholas Reynolds asserts that the friendship between novelists Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos ended during the Spanish Civil War when communists executed Republican translator José Robles as a spy, probably because he wasn’t a comrade and knew too much. After that, Dos Passos, whom I met at the Library of Congress when I was researching Jacob A. Riis and he was perusing the Woodrow Wilson papers, became disillusioned with big government.  Once Eleanor Roosevelt’s guest at the White House for a screening of a documentary, “The Spanish Earth,” the macho Hemingway found Franklin D. Roosevelt “all Harvard charming and sexless and womanly.”
 Phyllis Smock

Ray Smock wrote:
Yesterday Vice President Pence went to the DMZ to issue a stern warning to North Korea not to mess with us. I hope he is half as successful as was my wife Phyllis's trip to the DMZ on August 17, 1989, when she showed American resolve to the North Koreans. While tensions have been high over the years, Phyllis's visit to the DMZ almost 28 years ago, ushered in more than a quarter of a century without war with North Korea and with the safety of South Korea protected. I hope Vice President Pence can say the same 25 years from now.
On a more serious note, Ray stated:
        Of all the many, many tons of bombs used in Afghanistan in our 16-year-long war there, the Trump administration drops one big bomb on a remote encampment of caves and tunnels and now he is the bold Commander-in-Chief. This seems to have emboldened him to talk tough to the North Koreans and to enter an escalating game of chicken with North Korea. The Washington Post cartoon today by Toles sees this action as two characters, Kim Jong Un and Donald John Trump, entering the ring of a wrestling match both wearing shirts with the same name MADMAN. Ask yourself how you feel about the United States starting a pre-emptive war with North Korea that at minimum will cost a million lives, including many of our 28,000 soldiers there? Who is the real madman, the guy that puffs and blusters war, or the guy who starts one? 
        In Trump’s first 100 days I see nothing but incompetence, embarrassment, massive lies and contradictions, and extremely dangerous behavior. He is still campaigning and not governing. He is still promoting himself and the Trump brand over the real needs of the American people. I see nothing to like and much to fear. I see signs of incredible corruption in the continued high profiles of Trump’s family members as presidential advisers and as the operators of the Trump financial empire.

NWI Times reporter Ed Bierschenk wrote about Gary Redevelopment Commission proposals to move the city forward. One calls for luxury apartments near IUN; another makes the case for university housing.  Several proposals have to do with the Miller area, including a full-service hotel adjacent to Marquette Park.

In “I Am Not Your Negro,” a documentary film about James Baldwin directed by Raoul Peck, actor Samuel L. Jackson reads Baldwin’s eulogy to teacher Orilla Miller, whom students called Bill, in “The Devil Finds Work” (1976):
      She gave me books to read and talked to me about the books, and about the world: about Spain, for example, and Ethiopia, and Italy and the German Third Reich; and took me to see plays and films, plays and films to which no one else would have dreamed of taking a ten-year-old boy. I loved her, of course, and absolutely.   It is certainly partly because of her, who arrived in my terrifying life so soon, that I never really managed to hate white people – though, God knows, I have often wished to murder more than one or two.  From Miss Miller, therefore, I began to suspect that white people did not act as they did because they were white, but for some other reason, and I began to try to locate and understand the reason.

Dottie Hart called in need of a duplicate bridge partner, as Terry Bauer is occupied with grandfather duties.  A couple weeks ago, Dottie suffered a mild heart attack, and this was her first time back.  One woman asked if she’d brought cookies, like she usually does.  No, but she’d baked a batch right before falling ill that ended up with her at the hospital. We didn’t play many game bid hands until the final round, when there were three straight five-bids.  In one, sitting South, I opened a Diamond with a six-card suit headed by the Ace-ten, two singletons, and five Clubs, Ace-King-Jack.  When East overcalled mu one Heart, Dottie, holding four to the Jack and five other points, raised to two Diamonds.  The opponents went to 4 Hearts, but I bid five Diamonds, figuring that if I went down one or two, it would still be a good sacrifice. I got set one, as East held the other two Aces plus King-Queen of Diamonds.  To add insult to injury, other East-West pairs playing four Hearts went down one.  The final hand, however, we took top board.

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