I'm coming up for air after a busy week, and there are a lot of interesting news items.
The Sean Taylor murder was the big sports news of the week, but it might have some interesting implications beyond football; it seems that a rough past came back to haunt Taylor, although that's informed speculation. One of the more intriguing pieces of the week is this Jason Whitlock piece taking the hip-hop culture to task as the "Black KKK."
Rather than whine about white folks' insensitivity or reserve a special place of sorrow for rich athletes, we'd be better served mustering the kind of outrage and courage it took in the 1950s and 1960s to stop the white KKK from hanging black men from trees.
But we don't want to deal with ourselves. We take great joy in prescribing medicine to cure the hate in other people's hearts. Meanwhile, our self-hatred, on full display for the world to see, remains untreated, undiagnosed and unrepentant.
Our self-hatred has been set to music and reinforced by a pervasive culture that promotes a crab-in-barrel mentality.
You're damn straight I blame hip hop for playing a role in the genocide of American black men. When your leading causes of death and dysfunction are murder, ignorance and incarceration, there's no reason to give a free pass to a culture that celebrates murder, ignorance and incarceration.
Strong stuff that needs to be heard by folks that don't read the sport section.
Good news out of New Hampshire, and I'm not talking about Mike Huckabee making a good move in the polls. The hostage standoff at the Clinton campaign office in Rochester, NH ended peacefully, with possibly the best dressed hostage-taker in recent history turning himself in.
Shortly after releasing the last hostage, Leeland Eisenberg walked out of the storefront office, put down a homemade bomb-like package and was immediately surrounded by SWAT team with guns drawn.
The suspect — clad in gray slacks, white dress shirt and a red tie — was put on the ground, handcuffed and taken two blocks to the police office in the back of a tactical response vehicle
He's dressed better than I am, and I'm finishing up teaching a Managerial Econ class. Nobody got hurt; he had let all the hostages go without hurting anyone. Next, we need to have Eisenberg's uncertainty tamped down with some more counseling and drugs.
An media icon of my childhood, Robert "Evil" Knievel, passed on. There have been daredevils before and since, but he mastered the art of marketing himself jumping over stuff. He also knew how to push a motorcycle and the human body to its limits; he's very fortunate to have died of lung problems at 69 than from one of his many nasty spills, where he broke just about every bone available to break.
Speaking of icons, a more noble one passed on yesterday. Henry Hyde, he of the no-federal-abortion-funding Hyde Amendment, went to his reward. Other than an affair as a younger man that came out as partial payback for Hyde's work helping impeach Bill Clinton for lying about his affairs, there wasn't a whole lot of dirt to be found on Hyde.
"Henry Hyde was a credit to public service and to the House of Representatives," said Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. "He practiced the old school values like civility, which help make the legislative process work. And he knew how to defuse a difficult situation with humor."
The white-maned, physically imposing Hyde was a throwback to a different era, a man who was genuinely liked by his opponents for his wit, charm and fairness. But he could also infuriate them with his positions on some of the more controversial issues of the day.
When someone almost a polar political opposite like Leahy is saying nice things about you, you had to be especially nice.