Tuskegee Airman, Martin Luther King Jr. Bodyguard Dies at 93

In June 2013, Tuskegee Airman Dabney Montgomery waves to the crowd as he is introduced before the start of a baseball game in New York. Kathy Willens/AP hide caption

toggle caption Kathy Willens/AP

Dabney Montgomery fought for America on two battlegrounds: in southern Italy, during World War II, and in the American South, during the civil rights movement.

Montgomery, who died on Saturday at the age of 93, was a ground crewman with the Tuskegee Airmen. He went on to be a bodyguard for Martin Luther King Jr., guarding the civil rights leader during the march from Selma, Ala. — his hometown.

Montgomery, along with the other Tuskegee Airmen, received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

The heels from the shoes he wore during the march from Selma to Montgomery will be on display in the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, which is opening later this month.

Dabney Montgomery grew up in Selma; his father was a fireman (a stoker) for Southern Railroad.

“Watching my father board his train, I wanted to be an engineer when I grew up,” he told the Wall Street Journal last year. “But only white men were engineers then, and only a few blacks became firemen.”

As a young man Montgomery was drafted, trained as a ground support crew and sent with the Tuskegee Airmen to southern Italy, where he supported the pilots.

“When I saw guys who looked like me flying airplanes, I was filled with hope that segregation would soon end,” he told the Journal.

But when he returned home at the end of the war, discrimination was rampant.

After he was discharged from duty in Atlanta, Montgomery went to the train station to head home to Alabama. He described what happened next in an oral history project by the Alliance of Ethics and Art.

“Before I could get in ,a white officer threw up his hand. ‘You can’t come in this door, boy, you got to go around the back,’ ” Montgomery remembers. “That was 10 minutes after I received my honorable discharge.”

Things were even worse once he got to Selma, he says. He told the Wall Street Journal that when he tried to register to vote, the woman at the courthouse told him he needed the signatures of three white men.

Montgomery got the signatures. When he brought them in, there was a new requirement: that he own $1,000 worth of property. He didn’t have it, and she wouldn’t let him register.

He went to college on the GI Bill and moved to New York, but the civil rights movement brought him back to the south.

YouTube

In an interview, Montgomery described the moment he decided to go home:

“I was sitting at home in New York City and I saw that attack on people in Selma on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. They gassed them and beat them with sticks — the sheriff, the officials in their uniforms, because they was marching to the governor’s office to vote.

“And I saw them knocked down, and I saw the gas in the air, and I was sitting here — this is happening in my hometown, Selma! I said, ‘I’m going and get[ting] a taste of that gas.’

“I went to my director and said, ‘I’ve got to go home. … I’m going home to take part in that movement.’ “

So he did. He joined the protests in Selma and became one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s bodyguards, The Associated Press reports, guarding the leader on the famous 1965 march from Selma.

The AP notes that Montgomery, who later moved back to New York and settled in Harlem, continued to serve his community for his entire life:

” He worked for the New York City Housing Authority and as a volunteer outreach worker for a nonprofit that assists the elderly.

“Montgomery remained active until his final weeks, frequently visiting schools to talk to children about his experiences growing up in Alabama, serving in the war and marching for civil rights.

” ‘He just loved motivating young people to be somebody,’ [his wife] Amelia Montgomery said. ‘That was his joy.’ “

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Syria Tourism Ministry: Come For Sunny Beaches, Don't Mind The Civil War

YouTube

The aerial footage shows bright beach umbrella, palm trees, swimming families, jet skis. The sun is shining. The music is upbeat.

The message? “Syria: Always Beautiful.”

Over the last few weeks, the Syrian government’s Ministry of Tourism has released more than a dozen videos on Youtube, each promoting the charms of Syria as a travel destination.

One video spotlights ancient ruins — with no acknowledgment that many cities in Syria are new ruins, destroyed by the brutal civil war raging there.

That war has stretched on for five years, killing hundreds of thousands of people.

Before the war began Syria was a relatively popular tourist destination. The Atlantic reports that the country saw 8.5 million visitors in 2010. Bloomberg says that before the war began, foreign tourism made up 14 percent of Syria’s GDP.

A year before the war started, NPR wrote of one ancient Syrian city that was “making a name for itself as a tourist destination for food lovers.”

The city was Aleppo — now infamous as a site of abject human suffering and horrific destruction, as some 2 million civilians are trapped in a battleground.

Needless to say, the regime isn’t promoting Aleppo in their promotional videos. The “Always Beautiful” video spotlights the coastal town of Tartus, Foreign Policy reports.

As NPR’s Steve Inskeep has reported, the port city is relatively peaceful, compared to the rest of Syria. It’s home to many supporters of President Bashar Assad, and Russia maintains a naval base there.

But Tartus, too, has been touched by violence. Attacks there and in the seaside city of Jableh killed more than 150 people in May.

On Monday, as we reported earlier, a string of attacks in Syria killed dozens of people. The bombings targeted regions under regime control or occupied by Kurdish forces, which are areas normally understood to be relatively secure.

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Is it a bird? A plane? Smartphone sent into sky for record attempt

A smartphone attached to a balloon took to the skies on Monday in an attempt to set a record for the highest livestream from such a device.

The Huawei Honor 8 phone was attached to a weather balloon also carrying a camera and other equipment, and set off from the SSC Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden. The balloon was expected to burst at an altitude of 30,000 meters (98,425 ft) with the device then making its way back down by parachute.

Peter Lundkvist of Huawei Technologies Sweden said the balloon reached 18,421 meters before bursting.

“Hopefully, Guinness (World Records) will accept this as a world record in highest smartphone livestreaming,” he said.

(Reporting By Reuters Television; additional reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian)

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For Lizards, Climate Change Is A Deadly — And Complex — Threat

The spiny lizard, like other lizards, relies on sunshine and shade to regulate its body temperature. That makes the animals particularly vulnerable to climate change. Michael Angilletta, Arizona State University, Michael Sears, Clemson University hide caption

toggle caption Michael Angilletta, Arizona State University, Michael Sears, Clemson University

Lizards are expected to be hard hit by climate change — and a new study suggests it might be even worse for some lizards than scientists thought.

Lizards are sensitive to global warming because they regulate their body temperature using the environment. They bask in the sun, and cool off in the shade. It’s been predicted that about 40 percent of the world’s lizard populations will die off by the year 2080, which means roughly 20 percent of lizard species will go extinct.

That prediction was based on certain assumptions about how easy it is for lizards to find shade, says Michael Sears, a biologist at Clemson University who was the study’s lead author.

“The thing that those models assumed is that the lizard can find a piece of shade anywhere in the environment instantly if it needed it,” says Sears. But in reality, of course, it takes lizards energy and time to find shade, which means those past predictions of extinction risk could be off-base.

He and his colleagues recently did a study using computer modeling and real-world experiments to see how the kind of shade available affects a lizard’s ability to keep its body temperature in the optimal range.

The team surgically implanted tiny temperature sensors into dozens of spiny lizards, and then did experiments in special enclosures constructed in the New Mexico desert.

“We use these pieces of shade cloth to cool down temperatures in spots to see how the animals react to it,” Sears says.

In the experiment, shade was arranged in different-sized clusters. Michael Angilletta, Arizona State University, Michael Sears, Clemson University hide caption

toggle caption Michael Angilletta, Arizona State University, Michael Sears, Clemson University

What they found is that the lizards did much better when they had access to lots of small patches of shade, compared to just a few big patches, according to a report of their work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“It’s sort of like, if you were out jogging, and there was only one tree and it was a long way to the next one, and it was a hot day — that’s a bad environment,” says Sears. “But if there were a bunch of trees along the way providing little bits of shade, you’d feel a lot better.”

That means predicting the future for lizards as the climate changes will be more complicated than people thought, as each population may be significantly affected by its local distribution of plants and rocky outcroppings that can provide shade.

In general, lizards that live in already-warm places will probably suffer from increased temperatures, while lizards that live in cool places might actually benefit to some extent, says Sears.

He adds that “everything in between, all bets are kind of off now. Because what our study suggests is that how bushes are placed in an environment might really impact the lizards just as much as the temperature itself.”

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Eco-Culinary Retreat Off Maine Coast Showcases Creative Ways To Cook Invasive Species

This weekend, chefs and ecologists will gather on Appledore Island for the eco-culinary retreat called “Take a Bite Out of Appledore.”

The retreat seeks to showcase the bounties of the island and also demonstrate how invasive species — plants and sea life that are often thought of as pests — can be good eating. Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst attended last year’s “Take a Bite out of Appledore,” and joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to talk about what it was like.

See more recipes and cooking segments with Kathy Gunst.

See more images from last year’s “Take a Bite Out of Appledore.”

More Photos From Appledore Island

The view from the boat as it leaves the harbor in Portsmouth, New Hampshire bound for Appledore Island. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)Participants hike during a foraging expedition on Appledore Island. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)Participants hike during a foraging expedition on Appledore Island. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)John Forti, director of horticulture and education at Massachusetts Horticultural Society, leads a foraging expedition on Appledore Island. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)John Forti, director of horticulture and education at Massachusetts Horticultural Society, leads a foraging expedition on Appledore Island. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)Chef Sam Hayward gives a cooking class at "Take a Bite Out of Appledore." (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)Chef Sam Hayward gives a cooking class at “Take a Bite Out of Appledore.” (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)The sun sets during the Saturday night dinner. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)The sun sets during the Saturday night dinner. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)The menu for the Saturday night dinner. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)The menu for the Saturday night dinner. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)A pot lid used as a serving tray containing a dish made using green crabs, an invasive species. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)A pot lid used as a serving tray containing a dish made using green crabs, an invasive species. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)Wildflowers on Appledore Island. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)Wildflowers on Appledore Island. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)Wildflowers on Appledore Island. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)Wildflowers on Appledore Island. (Courtesy Amy Sherwood)

Recipes From Chef Evan Mallett

Chef Evan Mallett making his lobster tamales. (Courtesy Enna Grazier)Chef Evan Mallett making his lobster tamales. (Courtesy Enna Grazier)

Lobster And Kelp Tamales

Serves 6.

This wry twist on traditional tamales may take a bit of handwork, but it makes a stunning presentation and tastes great when served piping hot. Unlike most tamales that call for inedible wrappers like corn husk and banana leaf, this one is 100 percent edible.

The lobster-processing procedure used in many professional kitchens may not appeal to some home cooks. Killing a lobster by cutting through the center of its carapace, between the eyes, is the same thing to me as dropping it live into boiling water. The issue is that tail meat and claw meat require different cooking times, similar in some ways to a Thanksgiving turkey whose dark and white meats require (but don’t often receive) different cooking times. So if anyone preparing lobster for this recipe doesn’t mind the difference in texture (overcooked claw meat can be rubbery), the lobsters can be killed in boiling water and then dismantled.

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 gallons (7.5 L) water
  • ¼ cup plus ½ teaspoon (50 g) salt, divided
  • Two 1¼- to 1½-pound (570–680 g) lobsters
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, julienned
  • 1 poblano chile, stem and seed removed, julienned

Lobster Stock Ingredients

  • 2 lobster bodies, lightly pounded with a mallet
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 stalk celery, medium dice
  • 1 small carrot, peeled, medium dice
  • ½ small yellow onion, medium dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • Small bunch chervil or tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 Tepin chiles (optional)
  • Water to cover
  • For the Masa Dough
  • 2 cups (225 g) masa harina
  • 1 cup (235 ml) lobster stock (preceding recipe)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Six 8-inch (20 cm) squares sugar kelp

Make the filling: Fill a medium-sized stockpot with the water and ¼ cup (40 g) of the salt; bring to a boil. In the meantime, separate the tails, crusher claws, and pincher claws from the lobsters. Put the tails in one deep bowl, the crusher claws in a second bowl, and the pincher claws and knuckles in a third bowl. Pour the boiling water over the lobster parts until they’re fully submerged, and cover each bowl with plastic wrap. Cook the tails 7 minutes, the pinchers and knuckles 10 minutes, and the crackers 13 minutes. Remove the parts carefully from the water and set aside in a large bowl until cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, clean the meat out of the shells, chop coarsely, and set aside.

Combine the olive oil, onion, poblano pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a 10-inch (25 cm) pan over medium-low heat. Sweat until soft, about 10 minutes, and set aside.

Make the stock: Sear the two lobster bodies in a deep, dry, nonreactive pot over medium-high heat until you begin to smell toasting shells. Add the tomato puree and toast for about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the sherry, scraping the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the next nine ingredients, ending with the chiles (if you’re using them). Add enough water to almost fully submerge the bodies, bring to just under a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes. Strain into a container and allow the stock to cool slightly. This will be the stock used to make the tamales.

Assemble the tamales: Combine the masa harina, lobster stock, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix with your hands to combine.

Lay the squares of sea kelp out on a board or table and fill each with one-sixth of the masa mixture, shaping and flattening it into a rectangle, leaving ½ inch (1 cm) of space on the top and bottom and 2½ inches (6 cm) on each side. Fill each tamal with one-sixth of the onion mixture and one-sixth of the lobster mixture. Starting with one side, roll the kelp like a burrito, tucking in the top and bottom as you go. Repeat with the remaining five tamales.

Pour 2 inches (5 cm) water in the bottom of a large pot and fit it with a steamer basket. When the water comes to a boil, transfer the tamales, seam side down, to the steamer basket, stacked tightly so the steam will still get through but they won’t unfurl. Cover and steam 10 minutes, until cooked through. Halve the tamales on the diagonal and serve in the kelp shell.

Purple seaweed, to be used for Evan Mallett's Asian seaweed salad. (Courtesy Enna Grazier)Purple seaweed, to be used for Evan Mallett’s Asian seaweed salad. (Courtesy Enna Grazier)

Asian Seaweed Salad

Serves 8 to 10.

I served this as part of a lobster bake at the first Take a Bite Out of Appledore event on the Isles of Shoals.

All these seaweeds thrive in coastal waters throughout the Gulf of Maine. If you don’t want to take the time to snorkel for your dinner, these sea veggies can be bought dried, boiled until tender, and chopped into very thin strips. If you’re working with fresh seaweed, be sure to rinse it well and pick through it for any unwanted visitors to your salad.

The fish sauce, rice vinegar and togarashi can be sourced online (may I suggest stockandspice.com?) or at Asian markets. Togarashi is a flavor-packed (and relatively salubrious) Japanese seafood seasoning made from dried seaweed, sesame, and spices. Making the conversion from fresh to dried seaweed is not a perfect science, but in most cases a ratio of 10 to 1 applies.

  • 2-foot length of sugar kelp (about 100 g), chiffonaded
  • 1 cup (85 g) fresh alaria, chiffonaded
  • 1 cup (85 g) fresh dulse
  • ½ cup (40 g) fresh sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca)
  • 2 large carrots
  • ½ head napa cabbage
  • 6 leaves lacinato kale, rolled and chiffonaded
  • 1 red onion, julienned
  • 2 jalapeños, ribs removed, julienned
  • 2 scallions, sliced thinly on deep bias
  • 1 thumb gingerroot, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup (120 ml) rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Togarashi

Chop the leaves of all the seaweeds except the sea lettuce into very thin strands. One at a time, dip each seaweed variety in boiling water for about 15 seconds. Remove to an ice bath and repeat until all the seaweed is blanched. Run the carrot and the cabbage through the finest blade on a Japanese mandoline, or — using a very sharp knife — slice into the thinnest possible ribbons. Combine all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the ginger, oil, vinegar, nectar, citrus juices, fish sauce, and salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine. Portion the salad and serve with a sprinkle of togarashi on top.

These recipes are from Evan Mallett’s forthcoming book Black Trumpet and are printed with permission from Chelsea Green Publishing.

Guest

Kathy Gunst, resident chef for Here & Now and author of the upcoming book “Soup Swap.” She is also the author of “Notes from a Maine Kitchen” and the video series “Simple Soups from Scratch.” She tweets @mainecook and is on Instagram @kathygunst.

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Why Your Facebook Habit At Work Makes Economists Worry

Productivity, a key measure of the economy's health, has been growing more slowly in recent years.

Ivary/Getty Images

Productivity, a key measure of the economy’s health, has been growing more slowly in recent years — and it has dropped for the past three quarters. Can Facebook and other social media distractions on the job be partly to blame?

Growth in the U.S. economy has been frustratingly slow during the recovery from the Great Recession. And it has fueled a lot of political discussion this year. One characteristic of that slow growth has some economists scratching their heads and others promoting grand theories to explain it.

The mystery for economists is exactly why the productivity of U.S. workers has stagnated in recent years. Their ability to increase their output per hour has been a pillar of economic growth.

Princeton professor Alan Blinder says productivity may sound a little bit boring but, he says, “that is the well from which wages come and wages are, for most people, the well from which their standard of living comes.”

If that well runs dry — as it nearly has — you’re in trouble. If you can’t produce more output in every hour you work, your employer can’t afford to give you a raise. And if you don’t get paid more, your standard of living stagnates.

Blinder says during most of the past century, U.S. workers increased their hourly output by about 2.3 percent a year, and at that rate, standards of living rise rapidly.

“It takes about a generation or so to double your income,” he says.

So each successive generation of Americans had a standard of living roughly double what their parents did.

But, since the turn of the century, productivity growth has been disappointing. And in the in the past five years, it’s has grown at a record slow pace — less than half a percent a year.

“If this doesn’t change, our standard of living is going to barely grow over the next 30 years. That’s a horrible prospect,” Blinder says.

For the record, the professor doesn’t think that will happen.

He does think he knows one reason the productivity of U.S workers hasn’t been increasing recently: Businesses aren’t investing enough in better tools for those workers, such as new computer-aided machines, or better-organized workplaces.

Blinder says one would think companies would be doing that. In recent years, they’ve made record profits, but they’ve been slow to reinvest them. And even if companies don’t have cash, they can still borrow and invest at record low interest rates.

Princeton University Professor Alan Blinder says one reason productivity has been sluggish is because businesses aren’t investing enough in better tools for workers. John Locher/AP hide caption

toggle caption John Locher/AP

So what’s stopping them?

“I’m kind of baffled,” Blinder says. “I’ve been scratching my head a lot to try to figure out what’s going on and I haven’t succeeded.”

Could it be that companies are still cautious after having been burned by the Great Recession? Blinder is doubtful. He says when someone offers that explanation he asks, “Well then how come they’re hiring so many people?”

Economist Robert Gordon of Northwestern University thinks he knows the answer. He says companies are not investing because there are no new “game changing” innovations to invest in — real, transformative innovations like electricity, the internal combustion engine and jet travel — innovations that raised the productivity of American workers in the last century.

But, you might ask Gordon, what about computers and the Internet?

“The main benefits of the IT revolution have already occurred,” he says. “There just are not as many fruitful ways to invest.”

Gordon says since the late 1990s, investment in computer equipment has fallen by half. “And my diagnosis is that people have the computers they need,” he says.

But, he says, it’s not that Silicon Valley isn’t busy. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s no innovation, I’m talking about the impact of it,” he says.

Gordon says the current crop of innovations, like smartphone apps, may be making life easier or more fun, but they’re not making workers significantly more productive.

Blinder goes a step further, listing some distractions that may subtract from productivity: “Things like … tweeting, Snapchatting, things that to me are unlikely to raise industrial productivity and may, by the way, reduce that. I’m thinking of things like Facebooking when on the job and other things like that.”

But what about advances in artificial intelligence or self-driving vehicles? Gordon says their impact on worker productivity is still a long way off. He says productivity growth is likely to be slow for the next 25 years and suggests it will be 50 years or more before autonomous vehicles are fully integrated into the society.

But Gordon says that measures of industrial productivity have never captured all the advancements in quality of life that come from innovation: “The value of the conquest of infectious diseases, infant mortality and the removal of horse waste from the streets when automobiles replaced horses.”

Both Gordon and Blinder agree that boosting productivity remains the key to boosting incomes and U.S. growth, and one long-term answer is better-educated workers.

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