The John Batchelor Show

Friday 12 July 2013

Air Date: 
July 12, 2013

Photo, above:  a Bantu people known as Bamilekè, of Bandjoun in Cameroon, at a ceremony. See: Hour Four for American compatriots whose ancestors hailed from here.

The Bamilekè live in the grass fields in the western providence of Cameroon. They were known as “the people down there,” associated with an inhabited area made up of mostly grass fields and a mountainous plateau. The region is known for its hilly relief and rich soil.  Including some 100 kingdoms of chiefdoms in this Bantu group, they are of varying size but similar in cosmology and social and political structure. They all speak similar languages but some more specific to the immediate tribe. These people refer to themselves as Bamilekè when speaking with non- Bamilekè tribes but specify their kingdoms when speaking with other Bamilekè tribe members. The Bamilekè region is divided into five administrative divisions in the western province: Bamboutos, Haut-Nkam, Mifi, Menoua, and Nde.

http://kwekudee-tripdownmemorylane.blogspot [dot] com/2012/11/bamileke-people-most-business-oriented_25.html


Hour One

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Christie Thompson, ProPublica, in re:  Amidst news of force-feedings at Guantanamo and questions on how California will deal with their 12,400 prison hunger strikers, ProPublica looks at the legalities of force-feeding inmates on U.S. soil.  "While there [are] no national data available on the prevalence of force-feeding in U.S. prisons, a number of cases have been documented in recent years, largely after appeals to stop the process were rejected by state courts," writes Thompson.  

And even though courts have ruled against the practice in California, judges noted "prisons could use force-feeding if a hunger strike was a threat to order in the prison and the safety of other inmates."

Thompson goes on to explain what the California hunger strike is about, how and why it spread and how the protest might be resolved. 

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re:

IRAN CLERIC: WOMEN MUST SATISFY MEN'S SEX DRIVE  Also blasts those with more education than their husbands.

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: To Have and Uphold: The Supreme Court and the Battle for Same-Sex Marriage (Kindle Single) by Adam Liptak  (1 of 2)   The U.S. Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage made for a historic day. But the struggle for the rights of gay men and lesbians to marry is a tense, complex story that has been unfolding over many years—a story told in great sweep and detail by Adam Liptak in The New York Times / Byliner Original To Have and Uphold.   Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times, who has been covering the same-sex marriage debate for years, takes readers into the lawyers’ offices and courtrooms, and through the arguments and opinions, where history has been debated and shaped. It is a tale filled with emotional ups and downs as proponents of same-sex marriage in California win a right, lose a ballot proposition, and debate whether to move the issue forward to a Supreme Court fight.  It is also a story with many ironies, perhaps none larger than the coming together of the lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson—who fought each other before the Court in Bush v. Gore—to press for the overturning of Proposition 8. Liptak weaves his narrative together with the kind of deep reporting and analysis that are hallmarks of his work. To Have and Uphold is truly a first draft of history.

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 1, Block D: To Have and Uphold: The Supreme Court and the Battle for Same-Sex Marriage (Kindle Single) by Adam Liptak  (2 of 2)

Hour Two

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  David Drucker, Washington Examiner, in re: Rubio and Immigration Reform, and the presidency Marco Rubio rolls the dice  The Florida senator, the presumptive front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, could have taken the lead on any number of national issues. He chose the one that posed the greatest risk for a conservative: comprehensive immigration reform.

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Matt Haber, in re: A Trip to Camp to Break a Tech Addiction  In the woods, tech-addled adults can break the bonds of the digital world, at least temporarily, and return to the glories of color wars and real (not Facebook) friends.

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Scott Paltrow, Reuters, in re:  The US military uses some of the most sophisticated and expensive technology on the planet to help fight its wars.  However, it manages its payroll using an antiquated and error-prone network of incompatible computer systems—some of which are five decades old.  An astounding report has just been published  on how the defense department’s payroll bureaucracy inflicts punishing and impoverishing errors on America’s soldiers.  According to the report, pay errors in the military are rampant, and Reuters found multiple examples of pay mistakes affecting wounded warriors, active-duty personnel and discharged soldiers. Some are erroneously shorted on pay. Others are mistakenly overpaid and then see their earnings drastically cut as the Pentagon recoups the money.  And the errors can be devastating.  For example, Shawn Aiken is profiled, an Army medic who returned to the US with serious injuries after two tours of combat and soon found himself struggling to feed his family as the Pentagon took thousands of dollars from him in alleged debt he didn’t actually owe.  Another example is Gary Pfleider, who served in the Oregon National Guard and was eventually deployed to Iraq.  There he was shot by a sniper and lost a good portion of thigh muscle to gangrene.  Captain Stephen Bomar, who was in Iraq with Pfleider, called him “one of our heroes.” After Pfleider was discharged, he returned to Oregon, suffering from pain and PTSD.  Then the Pentagon moved aggressively to collect erroneous debts and he eventually had to move into a shack in back of his parents’ house. See: Special Report and Paymaster sidebar

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Henry I Miller, M.D., Hoover &, in re:  "Domestic Eco-Terrorism Has Deep Pockets. And Many Enablers."

Hour Three

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 3, Block A: L   Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, in re: Snowden seeks temporary asylum in Russia    The ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, [putatively] encamped at a Russian airport and evading the reach of U.S. authorities, said he had sacrificed a comfortable life in disclosing U.S. spying secrets but had no regrets.  Full article

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  . Patricia Leigh Brown, A Disease Without a Cure Spreads Quietly in the West

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution, Chicago Law, in re: Across a wide range of business cases, the Supreme Court is defined by a five-to-four split that pits the conservative quintet of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito against the liberal quartet of Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. That split makes it easy for indignant commentators to denounce the Court’s “pro-business” decisions. Just that position was taken in a forceful New York Times op-ed by Dean and Professor Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California, Irvine, entitled, with evident sarcasm, “Justice for Big Business.” Much the same theme was echoed by Adam Liptak in his review article in the Times, which announces that “Corporations Find a Friend in the Supreme Court.” But a closer analysis of the issue reveals a more complicated picture . . . [more]

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution, Chicago Law, in re (continued): This anti-business mentality is also seen among legal academics. In particular, Liptak cites my NYU colleague, Professor Arthur Miller, and his recent NYU Law Review article on the “deformation” of civil procedure. Miller argues that the procedural decisions of the Supreme Court on critical matters, such as pleading and class actions, have often taken a pro-defendant stance that could easily tilt the balance strongly in favor  of business interests. In their detailed empirical analysis of Supreme Court decisions, Professor Lee Epstein (no relation) of the University of Southern California, together with my University of Chicago colleagues Professor William Landes and Judge Richard Posner, also observe a pro-business slant on the Supreme Court in their recent article in the University of Minnesota Law Review. They conclude: “The Roberts Court is indeed highly pro-business—the conservatives extremely so and the liberals only moderately liberal.”

Hour Four

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 4, Block A: The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, A Search for Family by Joe Mozingo (1 of 4) “My dad’s family was a mystery,” writes prize-winning journalist Joe Mozingo. Growing up, he knew that his mother’s ancestors were from France and Sweden, but he heard only suspiciously vague stories about where his father’s family was from—Italy, Portugal, the Basque country. Then one day, a college professor told him his name may have come from sub-Saharan Africa, which made no sense at all: Mozingo was a blueeyed white man from the suburbs of Southern California. His family greeted the news as a lark—his uncle took to calling them “Bantu warriors”—but Mozingo set off on a journey to find the truth of his roots. He soon discovered that all Mozingos in America, including his father’s line, appeared to have descended from a black man named Edward Mozingo who was brought to the Jamestown colony as a slave in 1644 and won his freedom twenty-eight years later. He became a tenant farmer growing tobacco by a creek called Pantico Run, married a white woman, and fathered one of the country’s earliest mixed-race family lineages. [more]

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 4, Block B: The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, A Search for Family by Joe Mozingo (2 of 4)  . . . But Mozingo had so many more questions to answer. How had it been possible for Edward to keep his African name? When had some of his descendants crossed over the color line, and when had the memory of their connection to Edward been obscured? The journalist plunged deep into the scattered historical records, traveled the country meeting other Mozingos—white, black, and in between—and journeyed to Africa to learn what he could about Edward’s life there, retracing old slave routes he may have traversed

The Fiddler on Pantico Run is the beautifully written account of Mozingo’s quest to discover his family’s lost past. A captivating narrative of both personal discovery and historical revelation that takes many turns, the book traces one family line from the ravages of the slave trade on both sides of the Atlantic, to the horrors of the Jamestown colony, to the mixed-race society of colonial Virginia and through the brutal imposition of racial laws, when those who could pass for white distanced themselves from their slave heritage, yet still struggled to rise above poverty. . [more]

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, A Search for Family by Joe Mozingo (3 of 4) . . . The author’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather Spencer lived as a dirt-poor white man, right down the road from James Madison, then moved west to the frontier, trying to catch a piece of America’s manifest destiny. Mozingos fought on both sides of the Civil War, some were abolitionists, some never crossed the color line, some joined the KKK. Today the majority of Mozingos are white and run the gamut from unapologetic racists to a growing number whose interracial marriages are bringing the family full circle to its mixed-race genesis.

Tugging at the buried thread of his origins, Joe Mozingo has unearthed a saga that encompasses the full sweep of the American story and lays bare the country’s tortured and paradoxical experience with race and the ways in which designations based on color are both illusory and life altering. The Fiddler on Pantico Run is both the story of one man’s search for a sense of mooring, finding a place in a continuum of ancestors, and a lyrically written exploration of lineage, identity, and race in America.

Friday  12 June  2013 / Hour 4, Block D: The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, A Search for Family by Joe Mozingo (4 of 4)

From The Fiddler on Pantico Run  As I listened to the dry rasp of the elephant grass, I gazed out over the Kingdom of Kom. A narrow gorge threaded through the lush terrain below, opening into a smoky blue chasm in the distance, the Valley of Too Many Bends. . . . This belt of fertile savannah in western Cameroon rested at a terrible crossroads, with no forest to hide in when the marauders arrived. The kings may have been safe in their fortified isolation, but their people were not. They were taken first by Arab invaders in the Sudan in the north, and then by the southern peoples who found that humans were the commodity Europeans most desired. . . .

    Those who survived had been handed from tribe to tribe, through too many hostile foreign territories to dream of escaping and returning home. And then off they went, into the sea.

High on a ridge, three hundred miles by road from the Atlantic, I sat at the headwaters of that outward movement, imagining the people flowing away like the rivers below. I pictured a boy, gazing down into that blue mountain cradle, the grass dry-swishing in the breeze, the drums coming up in the night. A boy suddenly pulled into the current and scrambling to reach the bank. A boy unable to imagine the ocean and sickly white men in big wooden ships and the swampy, malarial settlement called Jamestown where he would be sold to a planter in the year of their lord 1644.  This is the beginning, I said to myself. The beginning of my family’s story, the point just after which my forebears obscured the truth—and nearly buried it forever.

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