Archive | April, 2015

New York Times missing back men

25 Apr

1.5 Million Missing Black Men


New York Times


For every 100 black women not in jail, there are only 83 black men. The remaining men – 1.5 million of them – are, in a sense, missing.

17 missing black men for every 100 black women“Missing” men

Among cities with sizable black populations, the largest single gap is in Ferguson, Mo.

40 missing black men for every 100 black women

North Charleston, S.C., has a gap larger than 75 percent of cities.

25 missing black men for every 100 black women

This gap – driven mostly by incarceration and early deaths – barely exists among whites.

1 missing white man for every 100 white women

Figures are for non-incarcerated adults who are 25 to 54.

In New York, almost 120,000 black men between the ages of 25 and 54 are missing from everyday life. In Chicago, 45,000 are, and more than 30,000 are missing in Philadelphia. Across the South — from North Charleston, S.C., through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and up into Ferguson, Mo. — hundreds of thousands more are missing.


They are missing, largely because of early deaths or because they are behind bars. Remarkably, black women who are 25 to 54 and not in jail outnumber black men in that category by 1.5 million, according to an Upshot analysis. For every 100 black women in this age group living outside of jail, there are only 83 black men. Among whites, the equivalent number is 99, nearly parity.


African-American men have long been more likely to be locked up and more likely to die young, but the scale of the combined toll is nonetheless jarring. It is a measure of the deep disparities that continue to afflict black men — disparities being debated after a recent spate of killings by the police — and the gender gap is itself a further cause of social ills, leaving many communities without enough men to be fathers and husbands.


Perhaps the starkest description of the situation is this: More than one out of every six black men who today should be between 25 and 54 years old have disappeared from daily life.


“The numbers are staggering,” said Becky Pettit, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas.


And what is the city with at least 10,000 black residents that has the single largest proportion of missing black men? Ferguson, Mo., where a fatal police shooting last year led to nationwide protests and a Justice Department investigation that found widespread discrimination against black residents. Ferguson has 60 men for every 100 black women in the age group, Stephen Bronars, an economist, has noted.


The distributions of whites and blacks


Most blacks live in places with a significant shortage of black men.But most whites live in places with rough parity between white men and women.
























50% of people live in cities that are …



Percent men →

The gap in North Charleston, site of a police shooting this month, is also considerably more severe than the nationwide average, as is the gap in neighboring Charleston. Nationwide, the largest proportions of missing men generally can be found in the South, although there are also many similar areas across the Midwest and in many big Northeastern cities. The gaps tend to be smallest in the West.


Incarceration and early deaths are the overwhelming drivers of the gap. Of the 1.5 million missing black men from 25 to 54 — which demographers call the prime-age years — higher imprisonment rates account for almost 600,000. Almost 1 in 12 black men in this age group are behind bars, compared with 1 in 60 nonblack men in the age group, 1 in 200 black women and 1 in 500 nonblack women.


Higher mortality is the other main cause. About 900,000 fewer prime-age black men than women live in the United States, according to the census. It’s impossible to know precisely how much of the difference is the result of mortality, but it appears to account for a big part. Homicide, the leading cause of death for young African-American men, plays a large role, and they also die from heart disease, respiratory disease and accidents more often than other demographic groups, including black women.


Where black men are missing


Black men, as a pct. of all black adults


National average, all races

Rates are shown in counties with at least 1,000 prime-age black men and women.

Several other factors — including military deployment overseas and the gender breakdown of black immigrants — each play only a minor role, census data indicates. The Census Bureau’s undercounting of both African-Americans and men also appears to play a role.


The gender gap does not exist in childhood: There are roughly as many African-American boys as girls. But an imbalance begins to appear among teenagers, continues to widen through the 20s and peaks in the 30s. It persists through adulthood.


Rates by age group






50% men


Age 65+

55 to 64

45 to 54

35 to 44

25 to 34

18 to 24

17 & under

Blacks  Whites

The disappearance of these men has far-reaching implications. Their absence disrupts family formation, leading both to lower marriage rates and higher rates of childbirth outside marriage, as research by Kerwin Charles, an economist at the University of Chicago, with Ming-Ching Luoh, has shown.


The black women left behind find that potential partners of the same race are scarce, while men, who face an abundant supply of potential mates, don’t need to compete as hard to find one. As a result, Mr. Charles said, “men seem less likely to commit to romantic relationships, or to work hard to maintain them.”


The imbalance has also forced women to rely on themselves — often alone — to support a household. In those states hit hardest by the high incarceration rates, African-American women have become more likely to work and more likely to pursue their education further than they are elsewhere.


The missing-men phenomenon began growing in the middle decades of the 20th century, and each government census over the past 50 years has recorded at least 120 prime-age black women outside of jail for every 100 black men. But the nature of the gap has changed in recent years.


Since the 1990s, death rates for young black men have dropped more than rates for other groups, notes Robert N. Anderson, the chief of mortality statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both homicides and H.I.V.-related deaths, which disproportionately afflict black men, have dropped. Yet the prison population has soared since 1980. In many communities, rising numbers of black men spared an early death have been offset by rising numbers behind bars.


It does appear as if the number of missing black men is on the cusp of declining, albeit slowly. Death rates are continuing to fall, while the number of people in prisons — although still vastly higher than in other countries — has also fallen slightly over the last five years.


But the missing-men phenomenon will not disappear anytime soon. There are more missing African-American men nationwide than there are African-American men residing in all of New York City — or more than in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston, Washington and Boston, combined.


Places with the lowest rates



Ferguson, Mo. 37.5%

Shaker Heights, Ohio 38.1%

Highland Springs, Va. 38.3%

Westmont, Calif. 38.3%

Farmington Hills, Mich. 39.0%

Union City, Ga. 39.1%

Euclid, Ohio 39.3%

Oak Park, Mich. 39.3%

East Chicago, Ind. 39.4%

Garfield Heights, Ohio 39.6%

Places with most missing men



New York 43.1% 118,000

Chicago 43.4% 45,000

Philadelphia 42.8% 36,000

Detroit 45.2% 21,000

Memphis 43.6% 21,000

Baltimore 44.0% 19,000

Houston 45.5% 18,000

Charlotte, N.C. 43.3% 15,000

Milwaukee 42.2% 14,000

Dallas 44.8% 13,000


21 Apr

Tal Afar
Omar al-Shishani
Abu al-Baraa al Dimaschqi
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Lebanon
Sharia sheiks
Euphrates River
Sharia law
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Anbar Province
Stasi domestic intelligence agency.
Camp Bucca and Abu Ghraib Prison
Dawah office
Emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Azmi
Abu Suheib
Bashar Assad
Saddam Hussein’s
Abu Ahmed Osama
Abu Yahya al-Tunis
al-Tawhid Brigade
Haji Bakr
Abdelmalik Hadbe
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Kafr Takharim
Nidal Abu Eysch
Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi
Tal Rifaat
Persian Jabir Ibn Hayyan
Abu Luqman
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Tal Rifaat
Haji Bakr
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Muhannad Habayebna

New York Times Father’s day 2004 Ed Condon feature

20 Apr

The New York Times, June 20, 2004
Title: A Broken Man Leaves His Legacy in Letters.
Subject: Ed Condon
This is a Father’s Day story of imperfection and failure, of multiple divorces
and personal demons. But it is also a Father’s Day story of a broken yet
stubbornly dutiful and devoted man. It is a tale pieced together with the
scraps of letters that a loving father kept sending to his children over the
years of discord and despair — from distant locales, both physical and

The letters are touched with encouragement and wisdom, tenderness and sorrow.

”It is hard not to be near you on your big day,” begins one. ”I was so
proud the day you were born it was like floating on air. Since then, we
haven’t been together as much as we should have, and that is my fault. But I
never stopped loving you and with your mother’s strength and the affection of
others, I know you are growing into a fine, intelligent, active young man.”

That letter, written as a birthday greeting on Oct. 16, 1973, was sent from
Chicago to Jackson Heights, Queens, by Ed Condon — divorced, unemployed
father — to his 9-year-old son, Clifford.

The letter came some 20 years after Ed Condon’s life seemed most suffused with
unbeatable promise.

Ed Condon had been a local legend as a teenager on Long Island. From there, he
had gone on to Harvard, where he became the starting point guard on the
basketball team. John Updike was a fellow member of the class of 1954. F. Lee
Bailey was another. Edward M. Kennedy was yet one more.

When their reunion was written about 25 years later, the headline in The New
York Times read, ”Harvard Class of ’54 — Achievers Who Sleep Soundly at

Ed Condon never slept that soundly.

After college, good jobs were lost, regained and lost again to alcohol and
gambling. Two marriages failed and four children were left. Condon drifted —
call it abandonment or escape. He called it, in his letters, ”errant

But through those letters, he never lost complete contact as a father. Written
longhand, addressed to his three daughters and son, and signed ”with love,”
they bore the imprint of his intelligence and schooling. They were also
candid, courageous and full of an optimism often drawn from the depths of his
own turmoil.

In June 1981, Ed Condon, living in Des Plaines, Ill., had just completed a
stint in alcohol rehabilitation. His daughter Kerry, then 15, had written to
him, full of concern. He responded in a letter of June 3.

”The hardest time to write,” he noted, ”is when you feel powerless to help
another human being, especially your father.”

Of course, there was a time when Ed Condon didn’t seem to need help of any
kind. Growing up in the west end of Long Beach, Condon seemed oblivious to
pressure. He played on a championship basketball team that won 18 consecutive
games. He achieved academic all-county honors. He started in center field for
a divisional title baseball team. Years later, he would be inducted into the
ranks of Long Beach High School’s Wall of Fame.

At Harvard, he earned three letters in basketball and the respect of
classmates for his leadership and defensive intensity.

”He was the kind of player every coach loves,” Bob Gersten, his high-school
coach, recalled last week.

Ed Condon was married in 1960, and there were four children in five years. He
had his first jobs in New York in newspaper advertising. Still, no amount of
potential prevented the eventual unraveling.

A divorce in 1967 sent him to San Francisco the following year as a
self-described hippie in a suit. There, he sold ads for The San Francisco

He returned to New York in 1973, remarried the same year, drove a cab and
tried to resume a career in advertising sales. Between periods of alcohol
rehabilitation, he completed two New York City marathons and divorced again.

But if Condon felt he was not a father in the ”familial and cultural sense,”
as he once wrote to his first wife, Mary, he managed to have engaging
”what-to-do-with-your-life” dinners with his children on many Thursday
nights. He brought bagels and newspapers for them on regular Sunday visits,
helped in the college selection process and accompanied each one on the first
day of college.

And he wrote, always.

In April 1983, his daughter Jacqueline, then 20, was apprehensive about a
dinner invitation she had received to meet the family of a man she was dating
at Drew University.

With a lifelong allergy to potatoes as a starting point, Condon wrote: ”All
dinner invitations are anxiety-laden. For me because I had to search for
potatoes in the soup while pretending to chit-chat. Believe it or not the
family was probably as anxious as you. I trace it to the fact that we are all
hopelessly involved with self and to gain some release takes prayer and
effort. Before I made a business talk, I would always pray that I be able to
say, do and think the right thoughts. Developing courage in so-called small
matters is harder than battlefield courage because this aloneness we feel is
the very crux of the human condition.”

Condon’s solitary sensibility — ”he travels fastest that travels alone,” he
would preach to his children — helped when a job in a national sales position
sent him to Chicago.

”Your first allegiance should always be to your mother and you don’t really
have to participate in my friendships,” he wrote Kerry in December 1984,
after introducing her to his latest girlfriend.

”What I mean is you can apply the same standards to me and my friends as you
do to anyone else. ‘What does he see in her? What does she see in him?’ Or the
best one, ‘What do they see in each other?’ Divorce certainly complicates
matters but the different perspectives should be helpful if we can all learn
from the emotional tugs of war that surround us, learn to laugh at our follies
and oversensitive people-pleasing. Just stay as nice as you are, natural, and
thanks very much for making it so easy to love you.”

Condon’s struggles often overlapped those of his children. In October 1987,
while living in New York and selling advertising for several publishing
companies, he was into another round of heavy drinking, futile trips to the
racetrack and flirtation with drugs.

Meanwhile, Cliff, then 22 and a newly commissioned officer in the Navy, was
two months at sea and discouraged.

”I’m proud of you,” Condon wrote his son on Oct. 4, ”and may your journey
be a long and fruitful one where you find out in the midst of the worst day
that the road is better than the inn, and seeking more information is a
crucial part of life.”

Another letter followed. ”In reading and rereading your ‘coeur de cri,’ (cry
of the heart), I think you are experiencing nothing less than an encounter
with the real self,” he wrote to his son. Citing Thomas Merton, he went on,
”This encounter can free you and make you stronger but you must not give in
to the false self that thrives on pride and smiles and fatuous agreement on
what makes up a hard-charging guy.”

Still another letter to his son on Oct. 27 seemed to mirror Condon’s own

”Sometimes when you get overwhelmed and depressed, you wake up one day and
things are manageable. Notice I said manageable, not rosy and cozy keep
practicing those relaxation techniques. You can signal the unconscious to take
over and if successful, you, the big ‘I’ can recede into the background, and
all the real and imagined slights and grievances become not so important. They
just become manageable.”

Two weeks later, as 1987 was drawing to a close and Condon’s daughters had
confronted him at his favorite Long Beach hangout, Shine’s, he checked into
St. Mary’s Hospital in Minneapolis. His daughters flew out in late November
and spent time with him. By Dec. 21, out of rehab and back in New York, Condon
was again connecting.

”The human race was given ineffable ‘hope’ by the creator to carry out
through long winter nights in the cave as an antidote to Celtic melancholy,”
he wrote to Cliff. ”So alongside our vulnerability is this amazing resilience
which lets us forge ahead, climb the mountain and enter the peaceful valley
‘just over the horizon.’ In the years ahead, I have faith and hope that in
living a simple, sober life it will become ever so much clearer what action I
can and should take for day-by-day peace and serenity.”

To change his luck and ”charge my batteries,” Condon moved to Las Vegas in
1988, worked at sports betting parlors, security at the Sahara casino and sold
real estate.

His advice was sometimes brutally and self-mockingly practical, as opposed to

”Don’t ever bet any sports that has a ball, which means concentrate on horses
and trainer manipulation,” he wrote Cliff. To Christine, on why he gambled,
he said, ”You don’t want to walk around lucky and not know it.”

But the luck never lasted.

In the early 1990’s, Condon tried telemarketing and borrowed money from
classmates and friends to pay bills and cover bets. The letters and advice

”Find your dream early and go for it,” he urged Cliff in February 1990,
”that way you will never experience the type of soul death you can see around
— death by boredom, death by drugs and alcohol, death by too much doing and
not enough seeing, not enough reflection.”

The assorted datelines on Condon’s letters — Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Pompano
Beach, Fla.; Atlantic Highlands, N.J.; Long Beach; New York City — reflected,
at a minimum, real uncertainty.

”Happiness, ah there’s the rub,” he wrote Jacqueline on Dec. 29, 1994, after
receiving her Christmas card. ”It’s a byproduct of doing the right thing, of
answering the small voice within, of somehow knowing and accepting what
William James called the sentiment of rationality.”

The candor found in his letters often eluded him elsewhere. He found, for
instance, that the ability to complete crossword puzzles in minutes or quote
Walker Percy, one of his favorite authors, resonated less at Manhattan
meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, where Ed Condon became a familiar figure.

But his children were good listeners through the mail, even to the harshest
news and self-assessments.

”There has always between a special bond between us — maybe we are
emotionally too much alike,” he wrote to Christine in July 1996. ”What I
want you to try and understand is that since January 1, I firmly believe I was
not just a problem drinker, not just an alcoholic Dad on another spree but in
fact mentally ill.”

Ed Condon, it turned out, did attend the celebrated 25th anniversary of his
college class — the one that had prompted the headline and articles in The
Times — with Cliff and Christine.

And in recent years, as that class’s 50th reunion neared, he wrote a poignant
five-page letter to Kerry that recounted his college experience and mused:
”If I didn’t scale the social heights or crash the inner circle, I was given
something much more valuable. A lifelong penchant for reading and asking

A Condon essay is in the 50th reunion book. But Condon was not at the class
ceremonies held last week: he died March 20 in Hollywood, Fla., of heart
failure brought on by kidney and liver failures. He was 71.

Two days later, Cliff found his father’s letters in a box in the attic and was
so moved he read several at the wake and funeral. Other family members and
friends told the children they had also preserved letters.

”I have 22 of them and I treasure them,” said Ed Lauter, a childhood friend
and Hollywood actor for more than three decades. ”They should be in the

”Eddie was our Brendan Behan — a poet, philosopher, marching to his own
unique tune,” Neil K. Bortz, a prominent Cincinnati real estate developer and
college classmate, wrote to Christine several weeks after her father’s death.

Christine, 43, is single and lives in Manhattan. Jacqueline, 42, is married
and raising toddler twins in New Rochelle, N.Y. Cliff, 39, is married with
three children, lives in Rockville Centre on Long Island and is executive
director of structure finance for the German firm, WestLB AG. Kerry, 38, is
married with two children, lives two minutes from her brother and is director
of employee communications for Verizon.

The children understood their father’s shortcomings (”His accomplishments
were frozen in time and he never recognized them,” said Cliff) and they still
tear up when they talk of his letters and ”evocative voice.”

They also respected his seven attempts at rehabilitation and realized that
finding an appropriate Father’s Day gift or card was often futile because
”too much sentimentality wouldn’t have applied.”

”For Father’s Day in the early 80’s,” Christine recalled recently, ”we gave
my father a desk chair with the Harvard crest and motto Veritas on the back.
Though he disdained material possessions too large to fit in an overnight bag,
he treasured that chair. Veritas is Latin for truth. The truth is my father
left us no estate to squabble over and left us richer for that.

”His love of literature, introspection, his humor, wit, resilience, this was
his priceless legacy to his children.”