January 20, 2003
In 1955, while visiting relatives in the South, a young black boy named Emmett Till supposedly whistled at a white woman as he exited a grocery store. That night, that woman's husband and another white man proceeded to abduct, beat, mutilate, and then shoot Emmett in the head. As you can see from the before & after pictures above, the only way his mother could identify his body was because of a ring she'd given him just before he went on that trip. An all-white jury acquitted the two assailants, and they've subsequently died quietly of old age after a long, peaceful life as racist child murderers.
PBS just aired a documentary detailing the whole sordid affair and the efforts by Emmett's mother, also recently deceased, to find some justice in the world.
As I think about James Tate down in Texas, I'm reminded that, in some places, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Fire From the Gods
The White House appears ready to approve the Prometheus project, a NASA nitiative to develop and build the next generation of reusable spaceflight vessels with nuclear-powered engines capable of interplanetary flight (i.e. trips to Mars). Now, ordinarily, I'd be jumping for joy about anything that helps us boldly go where no man or woman has gone before, but the two words "Bush" and "Nuke" in the same sentence makes me a little edgy. And, since our commander-in-chief isn't known for being much of a futurist, it makes me wonder if this has any relationship to our rejection of the ABM treaty, that specifically calls for a ban on space-based weapons.