Sideglances
by SARAH GREENE
Aug 15, 2013 | 672 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WATCHING TV in the daytime seems a slothful, unproductive activity—unless it’s August in Gilmer and the temperature hovers around 106 degrees or higher.

It’s necessary to slow things down if you have a limited number of channels, even on your new flat panel TV that hangs so handily, picture-like, on the wall.

This past weekend I got involved with C-SPAN2 BOOKTV, which devotes two hours to authors, famous and otherwise. The first hour is given over to an interview with the author, and the second hour viewers are invited to call in with their own questions, Some of these callers are highly knowledgeable themselves, and some spirited discussions result.

A REPRESENTATIVE guest was Randall Robinson, a distinguished scholar in residence and a lecturer at Penn State Law School. Himself black, he is an author and activist who spoke on slavery and legal discrimination. The idea of who we were, he said, is one the whole society must be induced to wrestle with.

Before the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, he said, black people experienced 246 years of pain. Through the Civil War and its aftermath things seemed to be looking up for them, but by 1877 Reconstruction had ended and states of the former Confederacy began to pass Jim Crow laws. Their intent, of course, was to make sure the former slaves and others of their race would be considered inferior to whites in perpetuity.

ANOTHER IN the televised C-SPAN2 books series profiled a most unusual woman, Cathy L. Lanier, chief of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

An attractive blonde, for the TV program Chief Lanier was dressed in dark pants and a white short jacket with at least six rows of ribbons standing for medals. She looked truly like “an admiral in the Queen’s Navy.”

Her entry on the Metropolitan Police Department’s website reads as follows, in part: “Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier’s leadership lies in her commitment to reducing violent crimes through the strong relationships she has fostered with partners in community as well as those within the criminal justice system. . .

“Various modes of communication have also expanded under Lanier’s direction. The Metropolitan Police Department has expanded its social media to include tools like Facebook and Twitter. The Department also accepts anonymous text tips to help solve crimes.

“Between 2008 and 2011, the number of tips received through the text tip line increased by 319 percent. Through the MPD’s reward program, concerned community members have been recognized for the contributions they made in reducing violent crimes in the District of Columbia. Between 2007-2011, the MPD gave over $1 million in rewards for information. . . “

“In 2006, the MPD’s Office of Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism (OHSCT) was created, and Chief Lanier was tapped to be its first Commanding Officer. .”

ALSO IN THE news recently has been the sale of the Washington Post, a nationally important daily newspaper, to billionaire Jeff Bezos, not himself a newspaperman, but founder and CEO of Amazon.com.

The Graham family had owned the Post for four generations. I imagine Chief Lanier will be one of the main news sources for the newspaper’s new regime.
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