grist for the mill

A not-so-secret research cache

Friday, December 31, 2004


Israel On The Appomatox
-by Melvin Patrick Ely

"Thomas Jefferson condemned slavery but denied that whites and liberated blacks could live together in harmony. Jefferson’s young cousin Richard Randolph and ninety African Americans set out to prove the sage of Monticello wrong. When Randolph died in 1796, he left land for his formidable bondman Hercules White and for dozens of other slaves. Freed, they could build new lives there alongside white neighbors and other blacks who had gained their liberty earlier.
Fittingly, the Randolph freedpeople called their promised land Israel Hill. These black Israelites and other free African Americans established farms, plied skilled trades, and navigated the Appomattox River in freight-carrying “batteaux.” Hercules White’s son Sam and other free blacks bought and sold boats, land, and buildings, and they won the respect of whites. "

On Israel Hill
Black community pursued pre-Civil War freedoms

"For roughly three generations, as many as 150 free black people lived, worked and mingled with their white neighbors from their homes on a bluff overlooking the Appomattox River in pre-Civil War Prince Edward County."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Crimes of Augusto Pinochet

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

FilmForce: Interview: Don Cheadle and Paul Rusesabagina: "History-based tales from Hollywood are often notorious for taking the reality out of the story, glamorizing and fictionalizing events until they are almost unrecognizable when compared to what actually happened. Hotel Rwanda achieves the rare feet of not only sticking to the basic story, but also in creating an almost exact replication of what went on in Rusesabagina's life during this period. 'Well, you can say that 90 percent of the movie is the reality of what took place at the Milles Collines hotel in 1994. Let's say 10 percent is just in hints of the film? There are places, for instance, romantic times when you see Paul and his wife on the roof, enjoying wine. That good time, I didn't have it. I could go and see my wife and children late in the night, around two, around one, around four in the night, but that good time I didn't have it.'" | Local & State: "Leaders at Cary Christian School say they are not condoning slavery by using 'Southern Slavery, As It Was,' a booklet that attempts to provide a biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren't treated as badly as people think.
Principal Larry Stephenson said the school is only exposing students to different ideas, such as how the South justified slavery. He said the booklet is used because it is hard to find writings that are both sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery.
'You can have two different sides, a Northern perspective and a Southern perspective,' he said."

An Early History - African American Mental Health: "Benjamin Rush, MD (1746?1813), signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dean of the Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania and the 'Father of American Psychiatry, 'described Negroes as suffering from an affliction called Negritude, which was thought to be a mild form of leprosy. The only cure for the disorder was to become white. It is unclear as to how many cases of Negritude were successfully treated. The irony of Dr. Rush's medical observations was that he was a leading mental health reformer and co-founder of the first anti-slavery society in America."


Homicide in Detroit: Echoes of violence

Monday, December 20, 2004

Sharper minds: "Judy Illes, a psychologist at Stanford's Center for Biomedical Ethics, said mind-enhancing medicine could become 'as ordinary as a cup of coffee.' This could be good for society, helping people learn faster and retain more, she said.

But it also raises questions: Will the rich get smarter while the poor fall further behind? (Drugs such as modafinil can cost as much as $6 per dose.)

Will people feel compelled to use the medications to keep up in school or in the workplace? In a world where mental function can be tweaked with a pill, will our notion of 'normal intelligence' be changed forever?"

Murder suspect set up meeting online - World - "Other exchanges show how the board members figured out what must have happened and pointed cops to the suspect."

Sunday, December 19, 2004

STLtoday - News - St. Louis City / County: "As the day neared, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, took some time off from the Kawasaki Motors plant where she and her husband, Zeb Stinnett, worked. She focused on her hobby of breeding small, short-haired dogs called rat terriers.

That was why she was home Thursday and why she opened the door to a stranger she believed was interested in buying her dogs. Stinnett was found by her mother that afternoon. She had been strangled, her abdomen cut open and her 8-month fetus removed.

Friday, December 17, 2004

ROCHELLE RILEY: Cosby bringing tough talk to Detroit: "'I'm talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there' in an orange prison jumpsuit. 'Where were you when he was 2? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18, and how come you don't know he had a pistol?'"

Thursday, December 16, 2004

R.I.P. Gary Webb -- Unembedded Reporter: "Webb reported that U.S. law enforcement agents complained that the CIA had squelched drug probes of Blandon and his partner Norwin Meneses in the name of 'national security.' Blandon's drugs flowed into L.A. and elsewhere thanks to the legendary 'Freeway' Ricky Donnell Ross, a supplier of crack to the Crips and Bloods gangs.
While Webb's series could be faulted for some overstatement in presenting its powerful new evidence (a controversial graphic on the Mercury News website superimposed a person smoking crack over the CIA seal), the fresh documentation mightily moved forward the CIA-Contra-cocaine story that national media had been trying to bury for years. Any exaggeration in the Mercury News presentation was dwarfed by a mendacious, triple-barreled attack on Webb that came from the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.
The Post and others criticized Webb for referring to the Contras of the so-called Nicaraguan Democratic Force as 'the CIA's army' -- an absurd objection since by all accounts, including those of Contra leaders, the CIA set up the group, selected its leaders and paid their salaries, and directed its day-to-day battlefield strategies. "

Monday, December 13, 2004

MIKE WENDLAND: Book filled with intrigue, dotted with local culture: "The novel, 'The Freya Project' is set in southeastern Michigan, and local landmarks, businesses and suburban culture sprinkle the book.
Published by Bloomfield Hills-based Countinghouse Press, the novel's central character is a Troy techie who witnesses a murder halfway around the world via a teleconference."

Friday, December 10, 2004



Originally uploaded by blueten.



Originally uploaded by blueten.

Students in U-M case seek damages: "Lawyers for two white students who sued the University of Michigan claiming they were denied admission in favor of less-qualified minorities have asked a federal judge to award damages to 30,000 other white and Asian students, who also may have been illegally denied admission."

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Teens charged in gun incident; moms bemoan bond: "Wayne County Family Court Referee David Perkins set bonds at 10 percent of $10,000 and $5,000, not only because someone could have been shot with the loaded semiautomatic nickel-plated pistol, but also because the youths were part of a group of kids in the detention facility who were disrespectful to the staff."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

philadelphia weekly online - Rage Against the Machine: A WHYY reporter fights aggressive spammers--and loses.

"A few days later I received a call on my cell phone from the head of He told me he'd be campaigning to have me fired from my position at WHYY.
I asked him how he knew where I worked. He explained that I'd left my office number. That voicemail gave him my cell phone number.
I could feel a train careening through my head as my stomach hit the ground. I already regretted the message as a personal move, and I had certainly never meant to involve my workplace.
The man said I represented the 'liberal media,' and that I therefore had no right to report the news.
The man turned the voicemail I'd left into an mp3 and sent it out to the people on the company's list, the media and my employer. He'd post it to later in the week.
When I received a call from my boss that Sunday night, she explained wanted an apology. I told her I'd gladly give one. The apology wasn't brought up at work the next day when my professional relationship with WHYY ended. "

After pep talk, troops readying for Iraq put tough questions to Rumsfeld: "'Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?' Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.
Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.
'We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north,' Wilson said after asking again.
Rumsfeld replied that troops should make the best of the conditions they face and said the Army was pushing manufacturers of vehicle armor to produce it as fast as humanly possible. "

Mayor violated officer's rights: "Nelthrope's attorney, Michael Stefani, said he plans to ask a jury to award Nelthrope between $1.5 million and $3 million. A mediator earlier recommended the city settle with Nelthrope and with fired former Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown for a total of $2 million, but the mayor said he would not do so. The city would cover any payout."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Watts sentenced to life in prison without parole: "Coral Eugene Watts, 51, was found guilty last month of stabbing 36-year-old Helen Dutcher to death in a Detroit suburb in 1979. Before receiving the mandatory sentence, Watts denied killing her and said he hoped someday authorities find the person who did.

'I never seen her before in my life. It's one murder in my life I did not do,' said Watts, who plans to appeal the conviction."

Experts call for sex education to curb AIDS: "Considering that 7.4 per cent of HIV carriers in China are below 19 years of age, Wang Zhenyu, a professor from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said parents should give their children a diaper-to-dating sex education rather than dodging the topic.

Current sex education in China focuses on physiological changes but ignores safe sex, said Wang.

Basic knowledge on contraception and self-protection from sexual abuse is seldom taught to children by their parents and even schools.

So, a lot of young people get access to the so-called knowledge from some sources which contain pornographic information.

The age of adolescence among Chinese youth today is one year younger than that in the 1980s, said Jin. But the education usually starts in high schools, later than it should.

The last 10 years have witnessed great changes in notions about sex, including an increasing number of pre-marital pregnancies and abortions, according to the National Population and Development Report issued in September."

SENTENCING TODAY FOR SERIAL KILLER: Coral Watts a mystery, even to murder experts: "Experts have compiled research on what motivates serial killers, but Watts remains an anomaly.
For one, he is black, a rarity in the unholy fraternity of serial killers. He did not sexually assault his victims or mutilate them. And his methods of killing varied."

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Staplers of the Stars Online Auction

Whitewash as Public Service ( "The promise was not kept. The plain, sad reality?I report this following four full days studying the work?is that The 9/11 Commission Report, despite the vast quantity of labor behind it, is a cheat and a fraud. It stands as a series of evasive maneuvers that infantilize the audience, transform candor into iniquity, and conceal realities that demand immediate inspection and confrontation. "

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: It's Still a Man's World on the Idiot Box: "Indeed, white men are ascendant in Red State America. "

CBS, NBC refuse to run church ad welcoming all / Appealing to gays violates 'hot button' policy, networks say: "'It's ironic that after a political season awash in commercials based on fear and deception by both parties seen on all the major networks, an ad with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial,' said the Rev. John Thomas, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, in a statement. 'What's going on here?' "

MICHAEL ROSENBERG: Two few ? of 117 football coaches, two are black; it's called institutional racism: "Most people, subconsciously or consciously, think they know what a college football coach looks like. Bear Bryant, Bo Schembechler -- now those were coaches! Most of the great coaches in movies have a certain look about them -- firm jaw, glare in the eyes and, uh, light skin.
You're supposed to look the part. Schools avoid black coaches for the same reason they would avoid 400-pound coaches, 5-foot-2 coaches and goofy-looking coaches. That's not a joke. Check the record."

Michigan pulls same-sex benefits from contracts: "Contracts scheduled for adoption by the state Civil Service Commission on Dec. 15 included same-sex partner benefits for the first time. But State Employer David Fink said the administration decided to remove the provision in light of voter approval of Proposal 2, the state constitutional amendment to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The amendment passed with 58.6 percent of the vote on Nov. 2.
Fink said the benefits could be reinstated before the contracts go into effect on Oct. 1, 2005, if the issue has been resolved by court decision by then."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Wire



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