Monday, July 17, 2006

Mickey Spillane passes, R. I. P.

One of the more controversial and best selling authors of hard boiled private eye fiction passed away Monday. Mickey Spillane (March 9, 1918 - July 17, 2006), creator of tough guy Mike Hammer and star in his own right of many of the popular Miller Lite commercials. I was never into his books as much as I was Raymond Chandler and Walter Mosley and others, but I loved those covers with his second wife posing on them. Man! Seriously, Spillane was an interesting complex man who contributed more than his share to American pulp and pop culture. Coach takes a moment to salute him.

  • Mickey Spillane obit on yahoo

  • Spillane obit at cbs
  • Sunday, July 16, 2006

    Denmark Vesey revisited

    In a country so lacking in historical self knowledge as ours, mentioning the name Denmark Vesey in conversation will probably draw blank stares from most folks. Vesey was a free black man who was executed in 1822, for supposedly planning a slave revolt. He's been in the news recently in a couple of stories. One item was where a historian called into question whether or not Vesey was actually planning such a revolt or whether the whole thing was cooked up by the authorities of the time as a way of silencing and getting rid of Vesey, who was apparently a courageous person who spoke his mind about the evil system of slavery that the US allowed until Abe Lincoln saved us from ourselves.

    The other news item is that a group of citizens in South Carolina think a monument needs to be put up honoring Vesey. This seems fair enough to me, regardless of whether or not DV was planning a revolt. Certainly there are enough monuments to southern slave owners and confederate revolters around here in Georgia and South Carolina. I would think we could put at least one up to a man who courageously stood against slavery. Mark me down as a vote for a Vesey monument. While we're at it, how about some memorials to the many folks who fought against segregation and racism during the Jim Crow era? There are a lot of unsung heroes and heroines who spoke out and fought for justice in this country, and their story needs to be more celebrated. Just a thought.

    Here are some links to the stories mentioned. The first two are basic bios:

  • Denmark Vesey on wikipedia

  • another Vesey bio

  • Here is the revisionist article from The Nation regarding whether or not Vesey was planning a revolt. Let me throw my two cents in here that I certainly think DV a hero either way. If I was alive in 1822 and saw no future for my children or other human beings who were in chains simply because they looked like me, then I hope I would have been planning some type of revolt. Period. Anyway, here's the article.

  • Denmark Vesey: A New Verdict

  • And here is the story about the Denmark Vesey and Spirit of Freedom Monument Committee, the group of folks pushing for a monument. The article doesn't say how to reach the committee or founder Henry Darby. If any of my readers know please forward the info to me. I'd like to hear how the iniative is going.

  • Denmark Vesey monument proposed
  • Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Jack Kemp scores a direct hit

    A recent article by Jack Kemp compares those Republican congressmen who are opposing the extension of the Voting Rights Act to the 1850's American party (commonly known both at the time and today by their nickname as the "Know-Nothing" party). Kemp, who has actually spent much of his life working with minorities (unlike most Republican leaders) and embracing the big tent concept of the GOP understands the symbolism and the perceptions that Republicans send out when they oppose Civil Rights measures like this. Unfortunately he's probably a voice crying out in the wilderness, just like President Bush is in the immigration debate. I predict that this stance will basically win the GOP a few more elections at best, and that then there will come a period of Democratic dominance to rival the old New Deal coalition. The only thing saving Republicans right now is that many moderate swing voters still fear the looney left wing of the Democratic party and it's lack of credibility on defense. Of course, if the Republicans keep alienating Latinos, Blacks, Women, Gays, and various other political and ethnic groups, along with squandering their perceived areas of strength - foreign policy and defense, by their inability to end the prolonged Iraq war, face down North Korea and Iran, then the Democratic renaissance wave may come sooner rather than later.
    For now Republicans can sit back and gloat as the Tom Tancredos, Lynn Westmorelands, and Jeff Sessions of the party win their safe districts, but the day will come when a few African American votes or Latino votes might win an election, and guess what? They ain't gonna be there...
    Kemp, making more sense than the whole House of Representatives...

  • Those Who Oppose the Voting Rights Act are true "Know-Nothings"