Tomorrow Relives the Past
My friend was actively engaged as one of the wiretappers, tapping some of his own friends.
Published: June 19, 2013
All that your normally on-time cartoonist Tom Tomorrow (June 12) now worries about, re: telephone tapping, allegedly already happened 43 years ago in Baltimore in a collusive effort between the local telephone company and President Richard Nixon’s administration.
In 1970, as a college student, I worked full-time as a Mastercard telephone authorizer for Maryland National Bank’s night operations center downtown. A Hopkins student friend of mine also worked a night phone job, except with this major difference, as he told me then: “Don’t say anything over the phone that you wouldn’t want played back to you or read in a transcript. We’re routinely tapping all known and suspected residents who live on all streets near the Homewood Campus running south to north: Calvert, Charles, Maryland, and Greenmount Avenue-York Road,” as well as several others running parallel to them.
My friend, personally, was actively engaged as one of the wiretappers, tapping some of his own friends.
This had been authorized, he said, by federal authorities working hand-in-glove with the phone company. Why was this being done? I asked. He said that the government feared that Hopkins and other student radicals were planning to violently overthrow and seize control of the Federal government in Washington.
Later, many of us also heard rumors that the Nixon administration was seriously considering its own military takeover of the same via a declaration of martial law, and the cancellation of the 1972 Presidential election.
Allegedly, this plan was only halted when it became certain that the Democrats were going to nominate their weakest candidate of the 20th century—the late South Dakota U.S. Sen. George S. McGovern, whom I both covered and met in 1972 as a reporter.
When that happened, the Nixonians allowed the election to occur, winning in a landslide.
Do I believe the tapping happened then? Yes. Do I believe the government now? No. What I fear now at home is our second civil war, at a time when gun purchases in Baltimore and Maryland are at an all-time high! We have reason, therefore, to be concerned on all fronts. I am.
The Listening Project
I agree with much that Evan Serpick writes in his review of Beneatha’s Place at Center Stage (“Race Matters,” Stage, June 12) and his comparison of that play with Clybourne Park. It is certainly true that in neither play do the characters seem more than mouthpieces for contending ideas and viewpoints. You are not moved by them as “real” people. But the review, unfortunately, illustrates one of the points of both plays—that the assumptions we make about others can color our ability to comprehend what is, in fact, going on.
In Act 2, Beneatha is not the head of the African-American Studies department. She is, rather, a dean of that California university. The head of that department is the white faculty member who proposes renaming the department Critical Whiteness Studies, a proposal which the ensuing discussion makes clear is not as crazy as it sounds, winning Beneatha’s eventual support.
In its dialogue with Clybourne Park, Beneatha’s Place emphasizes the capabilities of people of color (globally, not just in the U.S.). As well, in the latter play, people not only listen to each other, they sometimes allow themselves to be persuaded by others’ arguments. I, myself, think that’s progress, as is the ending announcement that Beneatha has been named president of her university. But her final gesture of placing a picture of President Obama on her mantel is a laboring of the obvious.
It’s interesting to me that City Paper chose to run an article (“Kiefaber loses homes too,” Mobtown Beat, June 12) with almost zero new information in it regarding the state of Tom Kiefaber’s real-estate issues with the city and state. One of the three homes was taken in 2010, the next in 2011, and the last one, in Sparks, in the spring of 2012. The Sparks house sale was over one year ago. I’d like to know why CP saw fit to publish this naked character attack on Kiefaber using information that was well over a year old.
CP chose to use an image of Kiefaber from a mugshot taken a year ago and made sure it took up almost 45 percent of the copy space. Why is that? If you do a Google image search for “Tom Kiefaber” there are hundreds of images of him, some more recent and most more flattering.
As a former employee (and someone who was actually fired by Kiefaber), I can’t help but be skeptical concerning the ridiculous negative press he’s received over the last years.
Tom Kiefaber has been totally fucked over by members of the City Council, two mayors, and the folks who really control everything going on in Baltimore: the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC). It’s really sad that a paper like CP has neglected to investigate anything concerning Tom’s advocacy of the folks who tried to fight BDC over redevelopment of the west side/Howard Street area. Anyone who’s been around long enough understands that’s where the city’s issue with Kiefaber began—yet not a peep in CP.
Kiefaber is a showman who tried to keep the final remaining first-run, single-screen theater afloat in Baltimore, a city that fucked over Belvedere Square tenants. At the same time Kiefaber fought to keep those same tenants in business by personally doing marketing for them. Back in the mid-1990s, Kiefaber was the only person with skin in the game openly advocating for a new Belvedere Square. Tenants that now enjoy better circumstances seem to have long forgotten Kiefaber’s free marketing and advocacy now that they are on more stable ground.
The current owners of the Senator Theatre are woefully behind schedule and anyone who knows anyone who’s actually been inside it recently can attest to the pitifully sad amount of “progress” that’s taken place. Meanwhile, the owners own the company that is doing the “restoration,” the same owners who complained that they needed more money because of bad estimates that they themselves originally proposed. Could CP send a reporter to check in on how the progress of the Senator’s restoration is going? I heard it was supposed to reopen in March of 2013, which was the second or third postponed date. After seeing the property myself and talking to those inside, I’d be surprised if it opened before 2015. Where is the money going?
The entire situation disgusts me, and CP’s lame-ass article, which served to do nothing more than spank the same chicken that the mainstream press has been spanking for years now, shows me where CP’s real priorities are.
I must admit I really don’t get where this Charm City Porn Star guy is coming from (June 5). I mean, anytime you’re in the public eye, you’re subjecting yourself to criticism and potentially to ridicule. If he is so uncomfortable with this fact, he should have gotten a job at the post office or the bank or some place where the job description does not subject you to public scrutiny.
That said, I don’t see what he’s going on about: Every time I turn on Dave Letterman, Jay Leno, or Jimmy Kimmel, they’re too busy making fun of actual celebrities to bother picking on porn stars. It seems to me that for every joke they make about porn actors, I hear them make 25 about regular actors, 50 about politicians, and 100 about Lindsay Lohan.
I guess I’m just perplexed that CP even gave this dude a space in which to vent about his made-up problems in the first place. In a city that’s just about overrun with fascinating personalities, I don’t think you guys would have had to turn over too many more stones before you found a columnist who’s as interesting with his or her clothes on as they are with them off.