Friday, 18 October 2019


My obituary of Elijah Cummings, recent foil (and thus, inevitably, target) of Donald Trump as head of the House Oversight Committee, was online at the Guardian yesterday, and is in the paper paper today. You can link to the online version here. It is pretty much as I wrote it; a couple of literals snuck in, but they also edited it nicely to make clearer his children and relationships. There were a couple of other stories. One I left out because I didn't see it as relevant, which involved the murder of his nephew at college in Virginia. Another was the mini-scandal around his debts, including on taxes, at one point in his life. The source I was reading attributed it to ill-health, which I thought might have some relevance given his poor health in the last few years, but another source mentioned his child support payments, which led me to dig out his first wife and the parentage of his three kids. I left the debt out, but as I said, I thought the piece in the end explains his children well. One of his daughters was also in the news when it turned out she was using Cummings' congressional car while driving for Lyft, which isn't quite at Hunter Biden levels of scandal, but did get a lot of press.

Last summer I posed for a picture in my Baltimore Elite Giants shirt (they were a team in baseball's Negro Leagues, and the Elite was pronounced ee-lite) in support of Rep. Cummings when Trump was attacking him, and the city of Baltimore, in which I worked one summer and which I liked immensely, because, even though it was still more or less de facto segregated, it was a real city. Cummings strikes me as an old-fashioned machine kind of politician, although the machine has changed as it constituent parts have changed, and one who, when he had his opportunity on the bigger stages, didn't let that constituency down. RIP

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