Saturday, April 8, 2017


[It was] at the end of the summer of 1956 that – wham! – the world had changed overnight.  I would go on to learn that this new music had been seeping under the door for years with artists like Fats Domino, but to me it felt like it happened in the blink of an eye.” Robbie Robertson, “Testimony”
 The Band, Robbie Robertson on right

In his autobiography, Robbie Robertson describes growing up in Toronto, Canada, and forming The Band with drummer Levon Helm after both played with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks.  I had an epiphany similar to Robertson’s when I heard Elvis singing “Don’t Be Cruel” and Fats Domino’s recording of “Blueberry Hill some 61 years ago.  After that, my world was never the same.
Probably the most famous Congressional committee testimony was John Dean’s 1973 Watergate statement revealing White House actions that constituted, in his words, a cancer on the Nixon presidency.  My favorite quote was attorney Joseph N. Welch rebuking Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy during the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings for needlessly smearing lawyer Fred Fisher, who had once belonged to the leftwing National Lawyers Guild.  Welch said, Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” The 1975-76 Senate Select Committee chaired by Frank Church investigated CIA assassination attempts against Patrice Lumumba, Rafael Trujillo, Fidel Castro, and other heads of state.  Gerald R. Ford subsequently signed an executive order to prohibit such actions in the future. It remains to be seen whether the present Congress will investigate thoroughly evidence of collusion between Trump campaign honchos and the Russians.
 Rev. Charles Strietelemeier speaks at Gary Airport protest

Post-Tribune reporter Javonte Anderson's front-page article was about protesters at Gary Airport demonstrating against the weekly flights transporting undocumented detainees  from a detention center in Broadview, Illinois, back to Mexico. Former IUN colleague Ruth Needleman told Anderson: We want this airport to be a clean airport. This should be a friendly place where people can fly, where people can get jobs, where we are not deporting people whose main crime is wanting to be with their families. This airport could be an engine for growth.  It could provide hundreds of jobs. But we do not get a single job from the deportation services.”
 Jose Bustos
On his sixtieth birthday Jeff Manes wrote:
  Attended the prayer vigil-protest at Gary Airport today. On hand were rabbis, priests, a Lutheran pastor, Muslims, Mexicans, Black Lives Matter, NWI Green Party, socialists, unionists, etc. Saw some familiar faces.  Bus drivers hauling deportees were tipped off that we would be there so they entered the airport at a gate they usually don't use. Every week undocumented people are bused to Gary Airport and then flown to Mexico. Often, their American-born children are left behind and become wards of the state here.
      My Easter Sunday column will feature José Bustos (holding microphone in photo). He was Mexican-born, but is an American Citizen, a veteran of our Armed Forces, and a former member of the United Steelworkers of America.
José has quite a story to tell.
Lewis Alcala commented; “So sad and unreal!  Can this really be happening in the Region? Melting pot not only of steel, but the Region is a melting pot of many nationalities, many religions, and many decent hard working people.” 
 Allison Schuette thanks Jimbo for Shavings magazine at Mama Pearl's; photo by Liz Wuerffel

Allison Schuette sent a thank-you card signed by Valpo students whom I met  at Mama Pearl’s during their field trip to Gary.  Allison repeated Rabbi Joachim Prinz’s statement at the 1963 March on Washington, that “neighbor is not a geographic term, it is a moral concept.”  She added: “I have come to know Gary and its people in a way that, I hope, makes me something less of a stranger and more of a neighbor.”
Tim Helfin interviews LaTaunya Pollard

Tim Helfin, whose Romanian grandparents emigrated to East Chicago, has produced “We Are E.C.” The Untold Story of East Chicago Basketball.” In addition to covering the four boys basketball state championships (Washington in 1960and 1971, Roosevelt in 1970, and Central in 2007), the documentary does not neglect women’s teams, such as Roosevelt’s state titles in 1977 and 1979 led by Miss Basketball LaTaunya Pollard.  Helfin interviewed several dozen former players, including 1971 Washington grads Junior Bridgeman and Pete Trgovich.  East Chicago native Gregg Popovich, longtime coach of the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, even appears.

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