05 Apr 2015

Columbia Journalism School to release full report on Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus”

Tonight at 8 PM, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (CJS) will release its full report online, regarding Rolling Stone’s now-discredited article titled “A Rape on Campus.” The report will be released on RollingStone.com and CJR.org. A press conference with the deans takes place on Monday from noon to 1 p.m. and will stream live.

04 Apr 2015

Saturday History: The Church on the Hill

Gradually our church loosened rules and let men and wives sit together. None of the older folks did that because the habits run deep. Except for hands and face, women were covered head to toe. Thick stockings covered any bit of leg that showed. Shoes were ugly, black laced and chunky looking. My mother referred to the hats women wore as “pot hats” because they resembled a cook pot turned upside down. Men wore suits, usually the one they married in years before if they could still get it on. The preacher wore a long black robe. God would never see his flock joyful or relaxed. They were solemn, serious, and unfriendly.

01 Apr 2015

Over Easy: Police shootings: Are they necessary?

It’s amazing that a motorist can essentially be executed for expired inspection stickers, but David Kassick’s death- and the cop’s excuse- is both formulaic (‘I thought he had a gun’) and de rigueur- ?hardly a day passes without a headline somewhere in the US featuring an officer-involved shooting of an unarmed person. In an article titled, “We’re asking the wrong question about police shootings,” Radley Balko looks beyond whether the shootings are in line with some sort of departmental policy or even if the shootings are technically “justified” somehow. The right question is: Are they necessary?

28 Mar 2015

Savannah Great Horned Owls – Branching/Fledging; Decorah Eagles – First Hatch 2015

The Savannah, Georgia Great Horned owlets are exercising their wings and visiting branches as they learn to fly. The first fledge was on Wednesday. In Decorah, Iowa, on the Decorah Bald Eagle nest, eaglet D-21 hatched yesterday

25 Mar 2015

Over Easy: Middle Class Has Shrunk in All 50 States Since 2000

A Pew Stateline analysis published earlier this month shows that “the percentage of “middle-class” households- those making between 67 percent and 200 percent of the state’s median income- shrunk between 2000 and 2013.”

18 Mar 2015

Over Easy: Ohio Legislators Seek to Enact Death Penalty Reforms

In the case of ‘progress not perfection,’ these proposals make sense, but it does give one pause to reflect on the concept that such bills are even necessary. Can someone really be convicted and sentenced to die based on shoddy or straight-forward bogus crime lab work? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. How about fact-free jailhouse snitch testimony? Is that sufficient? Apparently it is.

14 Mar 2015

Saturday History: Fall Walnuts and Winter Wool

When I see black walnut meats advertised in catalogues, I wonder who gathered and hulled them, and if somebody got black hands in the process. Walnuts grow encased in a green hull that oozes black liquid dye when it is removed. The green hull covers a rock-hard shell that in turn covers the nut kernel. Observe a moment of silence when you see black walnuts meats for sale in neat packages. They did not get there without effort and patience on somebody’s part. Hickory nuts do not ooze liquid around their husks, but the shells are so thick and hard and the kernels so small, they require more energy spent than they repay in calories.

07 Mar 2015

Saturday History: The Two-holer Out Back

President Franklin Roosevelt’s alphabet soup, REA, WPA, PWA, CCC, and so on brought improvements to rural areas. Electricity came to some outlying places, but plumbing was another thing. Stringing wires could be done without much disruption of standing buildings, so some farmers got the use of power to run lights and heaters, but no changes came in access to water. As long as the farm houses stood, outhouses remained.

01 Mar 2015

Georgia to execute sole female death row inmate tomorrow, despite family pleas

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency for Kelly Gissendaner on February 25. She is scheduled to die tomorrow. She is the only woman on death row in Georgia. She is convicted of orchestrating the murder of her husband, but she did not kill her husband. The co-defendant in the case, the man who did kill her husband took a plea deal and is serving life in prison- with parole eligibility in eight years, according to the clemency application. Following the advise of her trial attorney, Ms. Gissendaner rejected a plea offer and took her case to trial.

28 Feb 2015

Saturday History: The Hicklin Place

The farm my father purchased in 1920 was referred to as the “Hicklin place” because it was a hundred and sixty acres carved from the Hicklin plantation. The designation “plantation” was given to land owned by a farmer if he had at least twenty slaves. The graveyard for the Hicklin slaves was on our farm. My father plowed around it, so it survived as a weed patch with tumble-down tombstones. As a kid, I sometimes walked there to have a look. It always gave me the creeps, especially when I noticed how many of the stones marked the resting place for children. I wondered what they had looked like and why they had died so young.