Titillating Tidbits is our weekly roundup of minor but interesting happenings, stuff you missed, stuff we missed, and assorted fun.
-A racial volcano has erupted in Hudson, the leafy Summit County suburb that couldn't even crack the Top 13 in Cleveland Magazine's annual "Rating the Suburbs" extravaganza. The Akron Beacon Journal reported this week that at a Memorial Day Event, a veteran's microphone was cut off for two minutes of an 11-minute speech, coinciding precisely with a discussion of the role of freed Black slaves in the creation of Memorial Day. Per the speech, the freed slaves exhumed the remains of more than 200 Union soldiers who died in the battle of Charleston, in order to give them a proper burial.
Event organizers from the local American Legion had tried to get the event's keynote speaker, Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter, to axe this portion of his speech, arguing that it wasn't relevant to the day's theme, which was the celebration of Hudson veterans. (Hudson is 93% white, 1.3% black). Kemter said he had no time to edit his speech and that its message had been warmly received elsewhere. But the American Legion could not abide this content. They literally cut his mic.
The episode has caused quite a stir. State Rep. Casey Weinstein, who lives in Hudson, and national pundits have pounced on the story, amplification being a reasonable countermeasure to censorship, and the American Legion has promised to thoroughly investigate.
The American Legion of Ohio has become aware of an incident on Memorial Day recently published by the Akron Beacon Journal. We take this matter and its allegations seriously. We will investigate and take disciplinary action if necessary. https://t.co/JKeBqnGfSN
No investigation is required. The Akron Beacon Journal has already narrowed the culprits down to two: "Cindy Suchan, who chairs the Memorial Day parade committee and is president of the Hudson American Legion Auxiliary, said it was either her or Jim Garrison, adjutant of American Legion Lee-Bishop Post 464, who turned down the audio," the ABJ story reported. "When pressed, she would not say who specifically did it." Nor should there be any doubt about the reasons for this censorious conduct.
Here's the sound-corrected video of the censored segment:
We sound corrected the part of Lt. Col. (Ret.) Barnard Kemter’s speech that was muted when his mic was cut off this past Memorial Day in Hudson, Ohio. He spoke of freed slaves being among the first to honor the fallen after the Civil War. Please take a moment to listen. pic.twitter.com/gjidUZF6ci
-Back in Cleveland, it looks like Dan Gilbert's Bedrock Detroit is marketing Tower City as a venue for "pop-up experiences" during the Rock Hall induction ceremony in October and the NBA All-Star Game next year. Crain's tried to get more info, but no one said diddly squat. Details on CityBlock, the plan to reimagine the downtown mall as an entrepreneurial hub, were gently characterized as "unclear."
-The City of Cleveland announced that veteran police officer John Kazimer, 53, has been fired for what sounds like a pattern of misconduct and rules violations on and off duty. Kazimer most recently lied about having jury duty to skip work, but is also at the center of a number of use of force allegations during last year's May 30th demonstrations.
-Fount, the Cleveland retailer of very expensive leather bags known for manufacturing its merchandise locally, is now making at least one new product line in Mexico. Fount claims that it made this decision to "drastically reduce [its] carbon footprint," (an assertion we dare not examine, lest it crumble upon even momentary scrutiny or thought.)
SOME BASKETBALL STUFF
-LeBron James just lost a first-round playoff series for the first time in his career. Unimaginable.
-James' agent, Rich Paul, is driving hard bargains as one of the NBA's premiere businessmen, giving players increased power as they negotiate with owners and front offices. One of the details reported in The New Yorker's profile: After meeting Paul at the Akron-Canton airport in 2002, James started paying him a salary of $48,000 per year as "an investment in what the relationship could become."
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