Tearing down the Great Emancipator

By Edward Achorn

The war on Abraham Lincoln continues.

San Francisco’s school district has opted to strip Abraham Lincoln’s name from a high school, evidently because (in the view of some activists) he did not do enough to protect Native Americans while a civil war was tearing the nation apart.

Though Lincoln was instrumental in freeing 4 million black slaves, he was also, it seems, among the presidents who failed to do enough to demonstrate that black Americans matter.

“Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building,” Jeremiah Jeffries, the chair of San Francisco United School District’s School Names Advisory Committee said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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The best Christmas movie ever

By Edward Achorn

In 1975, Jean Shepherd observed: “Can you imagine 4,000 years passing, and you’re not even a memory? Think about it, friends. It’s not just a possibility. It’s a certainty.”

If you’re asking “Who’s Jean Shepherd?,” you’re proving his point.

Shepherd, who died in 1999, was a big-time radio star from the 1950s to 1970s, and a “hip” Playboy writer (he did the magazine’s interview with the Beatles at the height of the mania).

Does anyone remember anymore what Playboy — or even a magazine — was?

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Remembering John: a strange and brilliant man

By Edward Achorn

Forty years ago, on December 8, 1980, I was sitting in front of a computer in a newsroom, working on a story about a local meeting I had covered. A friend who knew I loved the Beatles yelled at me to check out the Associated Press alert.

“John Lennon wounded in New York shooting.”

Quickly, there was a follow-up: “John Lennon dead.”

I went home about 2 a.m. Then, finding it hard to do anything else, I got in my car, drove back to work, and wrote a column about what John Lennon had meant to me. It wound up on the front page.

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