Sunday Stealing: The Last…

Congress of Racial Equality

This week’s Sunday Stealing from WTIT; The Blog features The Last…

1. the last song you heard

The current song is Stop Dragging My Heart Around by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from the box set. This is the demo for the Petty/Stevie Nicks duet.

2. the last food you ate

Ritz crackers, which traveled three time zones, then three time zones back.

3. the last drink you had

Apple cider was served after yesterday’s funeral of Dwight Smith, a longtime church member and choir bass at my church. I was out of town for a few days in a warm locale and walked quite a bit. When I was in the choir singing, the back of my calves cramped up; it must be dehydration.

4. the last line in a book/newspaper or magazine you read

“We’re also making it so that it maybe not possible to to do everything in one day.” This was a direct quote from the Times Union from 10 days ago about a Pizza garden opening at Indian Ladder Farms.

5. the last movie you saw

The Good Mother, filmed in Albany, NY

6. the last TV show you watched

The previous week’s CBS Saturday Morning, specifically an Anthony Mason  interview with musician Nick Cave, who “speaks candidly about how his art helped him through grief.”


7. the last news you read about your hometown

I’m stealing this from John Hightower‘s Facebook page. John, who’s about a decade older than I, also attended the church of my youth, Trinity AME Zion. He wrote: “Yesterday (8/14/2023), I did a post here on Facebook ’bout my activist participation in my hometown of Binghamton NY, that included bein’ Treasurer of the Binghamton Chapter of C.O.R.E. (Congress of Racial Equality) …

“Of the many wonderful men & women (all of us volunteers) who gave of their time and risked their physical safety, there was … BERTA ‘CHICHA’ BERMAN … also known as … MRS. JACK BERMAN … wife of the prominent owner of Berman Trucking Express …

Her background included the horrible experience of being, along with her two sisters, a survivor of a German Death Camp … An article published in 1946 included this photo of our CHICHA; she’s in the middle, along with her sisters … The details of their near-death experience are beyond any horror movie or TV fiction, my Friends … “

I’ve read that article. It WAS a horrifying tale. “On the bright side, she met Jack, who was in the Army, the start of a happy life going forward … She passed in 2000, he in 2001 … Both outstanding Citizens of Binghamton were involved both in their individual participation & financial contribution in the areas of promoting peace, racial equality, and overall culture.”

I knew Jack and Chicha somewhat. Jack was a brother of Charlotte Yates, who was my mother’s aunt by marriage. They were lovely people. But I didn’t know they were involved with CORE, even though my father was also in the same time frame.

End of the show

8. the last photo you took with your phone , with a little explanation

I had a FABulous time.

9. the last video you watched on YouTube

John goes…to the UNITED NATIONS?

10. the last thing you brought in the supermarket

It wasn’t one thing. It was deli turkey, cheese, rye bread, 2% milk, raisin bran, orange juice, and other things. I take it back: it was one thing. After I bought the rest of those things, I returned and purchased a bottle of Mexican soda, which cost $1.19, to get some one-dollar bills.

11. the last time you were on an airplane

Very early on Friday morning.

12. the last long drive in a car

Yesterday, from Hancock, MA to Albany, NY

13. the last telephone conversation you had

Probably with my wife

14. the last letter you wrote

What is a “letter”? I can’t even remember. E-mails, texts, Facebook messages, yes, but letters? 

15. the last concert you attended

Maria Muldaur. Despite someone’s belief to the contrary, the 81-year-old is not dead.

Drumpf link dump

Have we finally reached peak Drumpf?

trump uCynicism requires some to suggest that the action by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman against Drumpf University to be politically motivated. However, this investigation has been going on for months, as they are wont to do.

John Hightower, who went to my church when I was growing up – he was about a decade older, wrote this on Facebook this past week. He wrote “Drumpf,” but the software on my computer changed them all to “Drumpf.”

IN TWO DEPOSITIONS taken over the last three months, Donald Drumpf acknowledged under oath that he had no role in selecting Drumpf University’s instructors, despite claiming in a promotional video that they “are all people that are handpicked by me.”

Drumpf University, a now-defunct sales ploy that promised to teach Donald Drumpf’s real estate “secrets” to enrollees and make them rich in the process, has become a flashpoint in the Republican presidential primary debates. In the GOP debate in Detroit, for instance, Sen. Marco Rubio lit into Donald Drumpf over the “handpicked” instructors. Drumpf retorted with a fabrication, claiming that the Better Business Bureau had given Drumpf University an A rating. As Rubio pointed out in the exchange, the most recent rating was a D minus.

A critical part of Drumpf University’s SALES PITCH to prospective students was the claim that Donald Drumpf PERSONALLY SELECTED the program’s instructors— a claim repeated over and over in the company’s marketing literature. Drumpf University’s direct mail advertising included letters with Drumpf’s signature on them that claimed that Drumpf University students would receive guidance from Drumpf’s “HANDPICKED INSTRUCTORS and MENTORS”. At live events, Drumpf University instructors recited speeches from a company-authorized script that read, in part, “I remember one time Mr. Drumpf SAID TO US over dinner…”

In a memorandum to the court submitted in late February 2016, Drumpf University’s attorneys reference “instructors, who were selected based on Mr. Drumpf’s criteria and input.” The mantra about Drumpf’s “handpicked instructors” was a critical part of the RECRUITMENT STRATEGY for a GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEME whose appeal centered entirely on Donald Drumpf’s personal reputation as a real estate business virtuoso. But in a brief filed on March 3 in a class-action lawsuit, attorneys representing THOUSANDS OF FORMER STUDENTS revealed that in a video recorded deposition, DRUMPF “CONFESSED UNDER OATH that he did NOT handpick a single TU live events instructor.” Drumpf further “acknowledged that other instructors’ presentations showed they LIED TO STUDENTS about their connections to him.”

Not only did Drumpf have nothing to do with selecting instructors, “he personally did nothing to confirm their purported qualifications” and “could not identify a single live events instructor or mentor by name or pick one out of a photo lineup,” according to the brief. (For his part, Drumpf claimed that the reason he never personally interviewed even his top instructors was that he had heard that the school was doing well, and thus deemed it unnecessary.)

Many of the “handpicked” instructors have testified that they have never met Drumpf. In the depositions, Drumpf was unable to even affirm whether his instructors had ever bought or sold real estate before. The brief, filed in federal district court, further asserts that Donald Drumpf admitted under oath that he retains no real estate techniques beyond what has been published in his books. In other words, students who PAID AS MUCH AS $60,000 to Drumpf University over the course of a year could have gotten the exact same information through a $10 BOOK PURCHASED ON AMAZON!

In 2010, Drumpf University changed its name to “Drumpf Entrepreneur Initiative,” five years after the New York State Education Department warned the company that its use of the “university” moniker without an NYSED license was UNLAWFUL. In Drumpf’s deposition, he admitted to having known that the company was out of compliance with the law even as it continued to operate under the “Drumpf University” brand name, presenting itself as an elite educational institution on par with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. The new brief adds to the abundance of evidence that Drumpf University was, essentially, a high-pressure sales RACKET aimed at BILKING GULLIBLE PEOPLE, many of them senior citizens, out of tens of thousands of dollars apiece. The original complaint in the suit describes its practices in detail:

•Students in the program’s introductory three-day seminar were told to use their break times to double or even quadruple their CREDIT CARD LIMITS and were asked to fill out financial statements so they’d be prepared to finance lucrative real estate transactions. Instructors then used those higher credit limits and financial information to pressure the students into enrolling in Drumpf University’s $34,995 Gold Program. Drumpf University sold “one year apprenticeship” programs for $1,495 that were in actuality a three-day workshop and a 1-800 number to a “client advisor.”

•Drumpf University assigned “mentors” to students who, once paid, would rarely call the students back and often advised students to invest in deals that the mentors had financial stakes in.

•Drumpf University taught students to engage in practices that are illegal in some states, such as placing “bandit signs” on the sides of roads — signs that resemble official road hazard signs but read, “WE BUY HOUSES, 323-555-5555.”

•Students were routinely stiffed on refunds that were promised under Drumpf University’s “money-back guarantee.”

Meanwhile, as those of you in the United States know, re: Drumpf:


What’s happening?!

He is the GOP’s Frankenstein monster. Now he’s strong enough to destroy the party. The Republicans liked the enthusiasm that Drumpf generated and thought, incorrectly, that they could harness it.

Some Republicans call for a third-party option. Shades of the 1850s, when the Whig party disintegrated, and the Republican party grew from its ashes.

The big news is that Drumpf announces a possible third party bid after Mitt Romney unloads, and calls him a “fraud.” Romney was the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, and the 2008 candidate, John McCain, who Drumpf criticized for being a POW, shared in the sentiment.

Wall Street readies big assault. But will it work, or will it backfire, with voters thinking that Donald is being persecuted?

The plan now for some establishment Republicans is to push Florida senator Marco Rubio, who lost the support of Fox News – as though a “news” organization ought to be supporting a candidate – to win in Florida, and for Ohio governor John Kasich (rhymes with basic) to win in Ohio, both winner-take-all states, on March 15. Winner-take-all means that candidate gets ALL the delegates, not just a proportion.

If Drumpf does not have a majority of delegates going into the convention, there’s some fuzzy plan to deny him the nomination, for delegates are bound to their candidate for the first round. In other words, rigging the convention and installing someone else (Rubio? Kasich? ROMNEY?) as the nominee. Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, has already declined.

This is the one reason to vote for The Donald that actually makes sense to me: “My goal is to destroy the Republican Party”: Former Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett explains his vote.

William Rivers Pitt: A Call to His Evangelical Voters.

Quora: Should I vote for him because at the very least he won’t be corrupt? Er, no.

How did this happen?

He is an opportunistic infection.

Revenge of the Simple: How George W. Bush Gave Rise…

The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism.

The novel that foreshadowed his authoritarian appeal. (Sinclair Lewis)

Weekly Sift: Have we finally reached peak Drumpf? “Arguing with Drumpf supporters has been like telling your 17-year-old daughter that her 29-year-old boyfriend is no good for her: It’s obvious to you, but everything you say just reinforces the me-and-him-against-the-world mystique that has been driving the relationship from the beginning.”

They say tragedy plus time equals comedy. Maybe I need more time.

John Oliver: Here’s why his self-funded, business-savvy, tough-talking campaign is a lie.

Jimmy Kimmel: A musical comedy about the 2016 presidential race.

Your drunk neighbor.

5 places black people can move if Donald Drumpf wins the presidency.

More Polly-ticks

Why Do People Hate Hillary Clinton So Much?

Elizabeth Warren is savvy not to endorse Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

Marcheta Hamlin

Too infrequently, I went to visit Mrs. Hamlin in her later years.

Marcheta HamlinMarcheta Hamlin, who was always Mrs. Hamlin to me, was one of the classiest people I’ve ever known. I don’t mean she was fancy, or put on airs; quite the opposite. She was proud, but not arrogant; dignified and gracious.

When I say she was like family, this wasn’t just a saying. Her parents, Rev. Alphonso Whitfield (d. 1999) and Constance (Walker) Whitfield (d. 2000), were my godparents. Her “nephson,” her sister Pat Jones’ son Walter (“Butch”), who lived right next door to the Hamlins, and from whom I inherited TWO jobs, was MY parents’ godson, and probably the closest thing I ever had to a brother.

Mrs. Hamlin was the organist at the church in which I grew up, Trinity A.M.E. Zion in Binghamton, NY, for decades. When I was 11 or 12, I took piano lessons from her for a little over a year. I just wasn’t very good at it, though I did practice. No regrets, since it was useful for singing.
One day, I was laboriously trying to play the Minuet in G major, then attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, which, incidentally, I had danced to in second grade; it’s now credited to Christian Petzold. Mrs. Hamlin said, “It’s like A Lover’s Concerto by the Toys.” I had no idea what she was talking about, though, of course, now I do. But it was clear that she, who was my parents’ age, was cooler than I, at least at that moment.

Marcheta_HamlinHer daughters Connie and Lauren went to the same grade school and junior high my sisters and I did, Daniel S. Dickinson, which was but a block away from their home. We comprised approximately 40% of all the black kids going to school there at the time. Lauren sang at church with my sister Leslie and me in the MAZET Singers at church, which was only a couple blocks away from home for all of us.

Too infrequently, I went to visit Mrs. Hamlin in her later years. My wife got to meet her equally dignified husband, Garland, who died in 2003, and who figures prominently in this 1972 story I wrote a few years ago. I visited her a couple of times after his passing, at least once with my late mother c. 2007, and Mrs. Hamlin was, as always, a charming hostess.

The top picture is her c. 1942, holding her little cousin, John Hightower. The middle picture is of Garland and Marcheta’s wedding in 1949. Also pictured, her sister Pat (d. 1978) and Pat’s then-husband Walter L. Jones, who I barely remember.

Here is Mrs. Hamlin’s obituary. Today is her funeral, after 90 wonderful years, and she will be in my heart.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial