Hot Air

Democracy

It’s WFHB board election time with three plucky souls throwing their hats in the ring. And, BTW, Board president Joe Estivill is snatching his hat back. Joe, proprietor of The Players Pub, is retiring after a tumultuous term as the big man of the nine-member conclave.

Among other fires he and his Board battled, the resignation of dynamic General Manager Chad Carrothers and the subsequent botched hiring of Kevin Culbertson rank among the hottest. Under Estivill’s captaincy, the Board eventually rectified the Culbertson mess and the station settled back into a somewhat peaceful existence.

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Joe’s Board also authorized the hiring of a politically-wired money-raiser: Dorothy Granger became the station’s Development Director in the summer of 2014. Granger also is District II representative on Bloomington’s City Council.  With on-air fundraiser revenues falling short of projections since the departure of Carrothers, the station has been in need of cash. Granger’s hat-in-hand work has been a lifesaver.

Station members will vote on the Board members at WFHB’s annual meeting in June. Here’s the slate thus far:

  • Attorney Pam Davidson is running for reelection. She serves on the finance committee, volunteers at Middle Way House and Lotus, and is a member of the WFIU & WTIU Community Advisory Boards.
  • Louis Malone was appointed to fill out an unfinished term on the Board early last year. He’s running for a full term now. Louis is shelter care coordinator for the Youth Services Bureau of  Monroe County. He’s a member of the personnel and nominating committees.
  • Tom Henderson is a first-time aspirant for the Board. He says he offers public radio, media technology, information technology experience.

The above three have been vetted by the Board’s nominating committee. As always, the Board has put out the call for petition candidates — that is, any who collects 10 signatures of station members can get on the June ballot. None have to this point.

Harry As Dick

Y’gotta watch Harry Shearer do his dramatization of the Nixon Tapes. That’s all; just watch.

Broken Taillights

So, a Charleston, South Carolina cop was charged with murder for shooting a guy in the back the other day. It’s not known just yet how many slugs Walter Scott caught from behind but Officer Michael Slager did fire eight shots at the 50-year-old as he ran away.

The killing might have been a blip on the radar screen of today’s police war on America’s dark-skinned citizens save for the fact that someone caught the incident on video. Hearing about a summary execution on the street is one thing; seeing it is entirely another.

Cop apologists can moan all they want about how we — the woefully uninformed citizenry — can never understand what pressures and fears officers endure on the streets. How would you react? they typically say in that challenging tone of voice. My answer in this case would be I wouldn’t shoot a goddamned guy in the back.

It’s true, we civilians don’t know all the nuances and details about the relationship between cops and people of color but we do know this: one police department after another has been busted for racial profiling, cops all over this holy land exchange racist emails, many big city police forces have KKK sects within their departments, story after story tell us about cops shooting unarmed black men but not shooting armed white men, and US citizens are 100 times more likely to be shot by the police than UK citizens, after allowances are made for the population difference.

Walter Scott was stopped for a broken taillight. Those in the know are fully aware that the broken taillight is the hassling cops best friend. As attorney Mark Geragos told one cop defender on CNN last night, “…[M]y father was a prosecutor for many years [and] used to say, ‘There’s more guys in state prison for broken tail lights than any other offense. Broken tail light means go hassle somebody of color.'”

What the cops are doing is a natural outgrowth of human behavior. Cops are confronted with the ugliest side of humanity every day. They begin feeling helpless under the constant onslaught of immorality, illegality, and — pure and simple — viscerally disgusting behavior.

Like any other human, a cop wants to lash out. He wants to find someone to punish for the flood of vice he witnesses every moment of his working day. He wants to make someone pay. In the United States, we have a convenient population of poor, alienated, scarily different-colored people. Being poor, they’re more likely to be involved in crime — petty and otherwise — so the poorly prepared cop zeroes in.

Go look for a broken tail light and fuck that gorilla up.

And don’t underestimate the usage of the term gorilla or any other similar apish pejorative. Cops are not anthropologists. They’re not scientists of any sort. Too many only know that those black bastards are animals.

Until our American city governments start training cops properly and weeding out the reactionaries and racists, until even the “mildly” prejudiced cops are separated from the overall force, more black men will be killed. And make no mistake, it’s not just bad white cops  who see black men as the enemy — far too many black cops see ghetto blacks as some kind of substandard citizen.

These shootings have to stop.

[h/t to Richard Lloyd.]

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