Remembering two jazz legends, Von Freeman and Dave Brubeck, who have passed this year, reminds me of why I love this music. I had planned to round out the year by remembering saxophonist Von Freeman who passed in August. Writer Howard Reich from the Chicago Tribune recently wrote a lovely piece on Freeman. Check it out. But with the news of pianist Dave Brubeck’s passing on December 5, I now think of both men and I am reminded of their similarities, the legendary and unique lives they lived. Continue Reading →
The City of Minneapolis is preparing for the elections of 2013. It will, in all probability, be a very contentious election, with a three-term mayor on the political ropes. The key factor that will influence candidates to run and determine how citizens will vote centers on developing intended and unintended consequences of the Vikings stadium funding, which in turn centers on four areas:
1. How the mayor deliberately and knowingly violated the City charter by refusing to let voters decide on any stadium bill over $10 million (the mayor being quite comfortable with having the City absorb the stadium debt);
2. How the actual numbers, with interest, are nearly 10 times the original projection for the City’s costs;
3. Continue Reading →
As we enter the season when folks think about peace and goodwill toward all, I am struck by the many times folks have an opportunity to make a difference to actually change things — or at least make a dent in injustice — but when they are confronted with the opportunity, they pass. Everyone on some level, I believe, knows that we live in a society and in a world that is desperately in need of change. Our society in particular is clearly in need of more love and concern and compassion. Most people want to see their neighbors do well. I think it’s safe to say that most folks think that people should be able to eat, have clean drinking water, shelter, clothing and work that provides a sufficient living as well as dignity. Continue Reading →
The way the system handled the Rodney King case was not meant to be an instructional manual. The recent Eric Hightower incident has nothing to do with how bad Hightower was or is and all about what the police are free to do. St. Paul Police Federation President Dave Titus said the decision shows that the officers “acted in good faith and according to their training.” I would like to see police training footage of recruits kicking people lying on the ground. Titus, within the same statement, called “potentially hostile onlookers” a “large threatening crowd.”
So what were they, “potentially hostile” or a real “threat?” Titus said the video taken “does not tell the whole story of the officers’ perception of the entire situation.”
Even when there is real life footage of police brutality, the police tell us it is not real: “No, no, no, that unprovoked kick to Hightower’s upper chest, lower-neck area is not reality. Continue Reading →
In the midst of this struggling economy, many use crime as an outlet for relief. The excuse of “I’m just trying to survive” is hollering out relentlessly as if it justifies the assault on the community, who is also “just trying to survive.”
At the start of this school year, an event occurred in St. Paul that made me acutely aware of just how absurd and unnecessary crime can be sometimes, even in a poor economy. A young mother set out on the task of teaching her nine-year-old daughter how to get her hustle on out on the block. The mother brought her daughter to a local connect to purchase some weight. Continue Reading →
After 40 years of existence, Title IX still raises the hair on the necks of those critics who strongly feel the federal law hurts men’s sports. These naysayers continue to propagandize this lie. However, more often than not it seems that White females have been the main beneficiaries of the equity legislation since its passage 40 years ago. “I think it has been a law that helped all women,” says University of Wisconsin-Madison law student Valyncia Raphael. “But I think right now the conversation does not acknowledge that there are different types of women who have benefited from the law in different ways.”
Raphael made her observation during a national Title IX conference held last spring at the University of Michigan. Continue Reading →
For the third straight week, tragedy has again gripped our consciousness, this time away from the NFL — the horrific events in Connecticut on Friday. Sunday all across the NFL there were moments of silence and athletes and fans showing heartfelt expressions of sorrow for the senseless murders of the 26 victims.
The Vikings and Rams, before kickoff, gathered at midfield holding hands, with both head coaches and one player wearing the jersey number 26 representing the lives lost at the Sandy Hook school. President Barack Obama, speaking at a memorial service Sunday, said, “These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change.”
The Vikings kept alive their Wild Card playoff hopes by dominating the St. Louis Rams 36-22. The Vikings improved to 8-6, and with two games left they have positioned themselves as the number-six seed in the rugged NFC. Continue Reading →
Mistakes can happen anywhere and anytime. This column is no exception. I overlooked one of the state’s best basketball players last week and then realized the photos submitted last week were inadvertently misidentified. This week, I took the liberty of resubmitting the pictures, with three from different contests last week. Hope this clears some things up. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
Quincy Lewis says a large part of his new role as an associate development officer at the University of Minnesota is to create and maintain “the passion” among the school’s many supporters. He also wants to improve relations between the school and the city’s Black community, which historically have generated mixed feelings over the years. “As for the African American community, we have to do a better job of asking for engagement, and when we get engagement then we have to perform,” proclaimed Lewis in a recent interview with the MSR.
With a new president and new athletic director, “I think sometimes when you have change, there’s new opportunities. Now it’s time to step up and come with some fresh ideas, some fresh engagements and some opportunities. I think it’s a great opportunity for the university to be aggressive” in this area. Lewis said he is keenly aware of the historical distance between the school and the city’s Black community. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
The WNBA last week did a Buddy Miles “Them Changes” and announced several new moves for the upcoming season.
W draft in prime time
After years of having their annual draft shown during daytime soap opera hours, the 2013 WNBA Draft will be shown for the first time next spring in prime time. ESPN2 will show the first round at 7 pm Central time on Monday, April 15. The second and third rounds then will be shown on ESPNU. Both league and network officials cite the historic change due to an anticipated star-studded first round that is expected to include Baylor center Brittney Griner and Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins. Continue Reading →