Thursday, September 21, 2017

Why we need a monument to civil rights leader Rev. Joseph A. De Laine

“Before it was over, they fired him from the little schoolhouse at which he had taught devotedly for ten years. And they sued him on trumped-up charges and convicted him in a kangaroo court and left him with a judgement that denied him credit from any bank. And they burned his house to the ground while the fire department stood around watching the flames consume the night. And they stoned the church at which he pastored. And fired shotguns at him out of the dark. But he was not Job, and so he fired back...Then he fled, driving north at eight-five miles an hour country roads, until he was across the state line. Soon after, they burned his church to the ground and charged him, for having shot back that night and so he became an official fugitive from justice with felonious assault with a deadly weapon. All this happen because he was black and brave."

Richard Kluger, Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education.

At a time when statues are coming down, my family is arguing that a new one should be put up. You can read about it in The New York Times.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

“Nothing I have heard about this situation so far makes me uncomfortable. I think we’ve handled ourselves impressively.”

That's how an editor at Stat responded to the news that it has been publishing pharma advertorials stage-managed or ghosted by public relations companies.

It's hard to know what the Stat editors are thinking. The messages of these pieces are pretty transparently pro-industry, and it doesn't take much work to find out that the authors are getting paid by pharma. All you need to do is go to Open Payments or Dollars for Docs.  True, the kind of digging that Kevin Lomangino has done for Health News Review to expose these deceptive editorials is harder, but the authors of the editorials did not even try to hide the fact that they were working with public relations agencies. Why didn't Stat editors call the authors and ask those questions themselves?

Most baffling of all is just how nonchalant the Stat editors seem to be about the issue. Dismissing the seriousness of the problem just makes it worse.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

“Campus agitator. Marxist. Jew.”

That's how University of Minnesota administrators described the man who fought to integrate student housing in the 1930s.

A new exhibit at the U's Elmer Andersen Library "unearths long buried information about the efforts of university administrators to segregate housing, spy on mostly Jewish students and quash student activism."  And the names of those anti-Semites and segregationists are memorialized on some of the best-known buildings at the university.