RAMBLER OF THE WEEK
Our Rambler of the Week award goes to Congressman John Lewis, who was awarded the National Book Award, honoring his graphic novel for young people, called March: Book Three. the final installment in his trilogy about his firsthand experiences in the Civil Rights Movement.
Lewis has been called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced.” He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama. As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts. In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement.
Hosea Williams, another notable Civil Rights leader, and John Lewis led over 600 peaceful, orderly protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. The marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a brutal confrontation that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” News broadcasts and photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated South helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In a moment of satisfying justice, Lewis received his Book Award at the same library he and his family were prohibited from using when he was a child because it was limited to white members. Here’s what Lewis said at his award ceremony:
Thank you. This is unreal. This is unbelievable. Some of you know I grew up in rural Alabama very, very poor – very few books in our home. And I remember in 1956, when I was 16 years old, with some of my brothers and sisters and cousins, going down to the public library, trying to get a library card. And we were told that the library was for whites only and not for colors. And to come here, receive this award, this honor – it’s too much.
Here’s an interview with John Lewis on NPR.
John Lewis, our Rambler of the Week and true American hero.
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RETAILERS CLOSING ON THANKSGIVING
After spending several years rushing to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, retailers have been hit with a dose of reality: It may not be worth it.
Office Depot, Mall of America and the electronics store HHGregg have all announced they will be closed on Thanksgiving. Other retailers like Sears will open fewer stores, and of the locations that do open, many will have shorter hours.
The companies give different reasons for the shift — employees should be able to spend time with family, for one — but the overriding message is clear: For some retailers, opening on Thanksgiving is too much of a headache.
“Those who have opened on Thanksgiving Day have come to recognize that you don’t need to open that early to drive the kind of sales you need,” said Wendy Liebmann, the chief executive of the consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail.
Here’s a list of 35 retailers that won’t be opening on the Thanksgiving holiday.
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QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
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DEATH OF A SONGLEADER
Barrows led the mass choirs at Graham’s crusades, sang on occasion with Shea and was the weekly host/announcer for Graham’s “Hour of Decision” radio broadcast. Barrows was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1988 and into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Famein 1996.
“His uncanny ability to lead a Crusade choir of thousands of voices or an audience of a hundred thousand voices in a great hymn or Gospel chorus is absolutely unparalleled,” Graham wrote in his autobiography, “Just As I Am.”
Graham and Barrows met in 1945 at a Youth for Christ event when Graham’s regular songleader couldn’t make it. Barrows and his wife Billie were a young couple on their honeymoon at the time, but Billy Graham was so impressed after the event that he asked them to accompany him on a six-week tour to England the following fall.
Barrows joined YFC and enjoyed success not only as a singer and gospel trombonist but also as a gifted evangelist. However, realizing Graham’s prodigious gifts in that area, he decided to join his team as a musician and songleader.
It was Cliff Barrows who said, “The Christian faith is a singing faith, and a good way to express it and share it with others is in community singing.”
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POT: GATEWAY DRUG TO . . . TOBACCO?
Health experts and officials that the legalization of recreational marijuana in California could have an unintended consequence. They fear that pot smoking just might renormalize cigarette smoking.
From the tobacco industry’s point of view, marijuana could serve as a “smoke inhalation trainer,” and thus become a gateway to tobacco use, says Robert K. Jackler, a professor at the Stanford School of Medicine who researches tobacco advertising. He says tobacco and marijuana are marketed in similar ways — as products to help people relax and ease their stress. “There is tremendous overlap potential,” he says.
Is it possible that marijuana could also become a replacement product for the tobacco industry, helping them become more profitable in the marketplace again?
According to the California Department of Public Health, the state’s adult smoking rate is the second-lowest in the country, at 11.6 percent. The smoking rate dropped by more than 50 percent between 1988 and 2014, cutting health care costs and reducing tobacco-related diseases.
Another ballot initiative passed by voters, however, should help continue to make smoking tobacco less palatable. Proposition 56 will add $2 per pack to the tax on cigarettes and increases taxes on electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine and other tobacco products.
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When a fire suppression system in a general aviation hangar at the Mineta San José International Airport activated and a giant, giggly foam mass flooded a nearby street, Harrington knew just what he had to do.
As residents, television reporters and police watched, he jumped on his bicycle and headed directly into the abyss.
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THAT’S SOME GOOD WORK!
When a massive sinkhole swallowed a sizeable chunk of a Japanese city’s downtown last week, the mayor vowed to “do our utmost to restore important infrastructure.” He wasn’t kidding. Within a week, the street was better than new.
The sinkhole appeared around 5 am on November 8, creating a hole about half the size of an Olympic swimming pool. By midmorning it had devoured about 8,700 square feet of road, signs and light poles, and was filling with water. The mess knocked out electricity, water and other services to 800 households and caused delays at a train station and the airport.
No one had time for that nonsense. That afternoon, workers were filling the hole just enough to allow crews to repair sewage pipes and buried utility lines. That done, they poured a mixture of soil, water, and cement into the hole—they use more than 7,100 cubic meters of the stuff in all– into the 65-foot-deep hole. Then they set to work repairing street lights, replacing signs, and repainting the street.
Exactly one week later on November 15, it looked like nothing ever happened.
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For a wonderful online exploration of the diverse nature of today’s American Thanksgiving menu, take a look at these photos, videos, and essays at the New York Times.
And may you and yours have a Thanksgiving holiday filled with grace and shalom.