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Sunday, August 31, 2014

At Risk in Senate, Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks - NYTimes.com

“Ferguson has made it crystal clear to the African-American community and others that we’ve got to go to the polls,” said Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia and a civil-rights leader. “You participate and vote, and you can have some control over what happens to your child and your country.”

Friday, August 29, 2014

This tragedy is one in a 400 year legacy of brutality endured by people of African decent in the Americas. Progress has only been made when the interests of people's of African decent are shared by a significant group of people of European decent. As a result we have seen a Sysiphean cycle of progress then retrenchment.  It is unfortunate to see us protesting against brutality both civilian and under the color of law just as my great aunt and grandfather protested nearly 100 years ago.

Statement on Ferguson « Sociologists for Justice

This tragedy is one in a 400 year legacy of brutality endured by people of African decent in the Americas. Progress has only been made when the interests of people's of African decent are shared by a significant group of people of European decent. As a result we have seen a Sysiphean cycle of progress then retrenchment.  It is unfortunate to see us protesting against brutality both civilian and under the color of law, just as my great aunt and grandfather protested nearly 100 years ago.

Statement on Ferguson « Sociologists for Justice

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Race/Off - Live From Somewhere - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central


Race/Off - Live From Somewhere - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Race/Off - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central


Race/Off - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Race/Off - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Race/Off - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

The Ferguson Protest Challenge - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central


The Ferguson Protest Challenge - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ferguson Protests Erupt Near Grave of Ex-Slave Dred Scott, Whose Case Helped Fuel U.S. Civil War | Democracy Now!



Ferguson Protests Erupt Near Grave of Ex-Slave Dred Scott, Whose Case Helped Fuel U.S. Civil War | Democracy Now!

Amnesty International director: Human rights violations in Ferguson

The effects of tear gas | MSNBC



The effects of tear gas | MSNBC

Is peace as good as justice? | MSNBC



Is peace as good as justice? | MSNBC

The effects of tear gas | MSNBC



The effects of tear gas | MSNBC

Thousands Protest in Staten Island Over Eric Garner's Death - WSJ

"In contrast with those protests, however, the Staten Island march ended with no arrests, according to the New York Police Department. Despite a heavy police presence, officers wore blue and white polo shirts for the event, not military garb, and mostly gave protesters leeway to move freely throughout the crowd. Dozens of them were seen talking with marchers or helping others navigate the maze of metal barricades.

Near the front of the crowd marching to the Staten Island district attorney's office was Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, an unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed by New York City police in 2012."

NYTimes: Those Who Serve Ebola Victims Soldier On

Video undercuts police story in shooting | MSNBC

"ST. LOUIS – Almost immediately after two police officers shot and killed an African-American man here, local authorities described the event as an act of self-defense. The victim, they said, had brandished a knife in a threatening manner.

At a press conference shortly after the Tuesday shooting, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson gave the impression that the victim, later identified as 25-year-old Kajieme Powell, had charged at police, ready to stab. “Officer safety is the No. 1 issue,” he said. “Every police officer that’s out here has the right to defend themselves and the community.”

But in a newly released cell-phone video taken by an eyewitness at the scene and distributed by the St. Louis police, Powell is seen lumbering – not lunging. As he walks toward police officers, in broad daylight and on a relatively quiet street, he doesn’t seem to be the one threatening. In fact, he can be heard telling the officers, “Shoot me now, kill me now.” It is not possible to discern in the video whether Powell is armed though police can be heard warning him to “drop the knife.” They then opened fire, shooting at him at least eight times."

Reasie's Ritin' - Ferguson

Why should a privileged, well-to-do white woman blog about Ferguson? I thought I shouldn't; I thought it would be derailing. But I have to.

Because I had to tell someone recently that no one deserves to be shot in the street. That sentence should not ever have to be said. Don't you think so? We're a society of laws, and you know what? None of our laws have "summery execution in the street" as a punishment. NONE OF THEM.

No, I don't want to hear hypotheticals. I don't care if he had a nuclear backpack. We're not dealing with extreme circumstances. We're dealing with everyday life, with a kid walking on a street in a suburb. We're dealing with THIS KEEPS HAPPENING.

What if it was your son? Your brother? Hell, what if it was the kid you babysat? The guy you pass at the bus stop in the morning? What if it was you?

Why do people bring up possible robbery as an excuse? Is the punishment for robbery death in this country? Are goods more valuable than people? Why am I even having to make this argument?

It's jarring, when you realize that some people do not live in your reality. I've been told "There is no racism." People, do you even realize how ignorant it sounds when you say, "Well, I'm a white person, and I've never experienced racism against black people."? Would you ever say "Well, I don't have cancer, and I've never experienced any shortcomings in cancer treatment, so your complaint about it not being curable must be false."?

I'm being a little mean there, but one of the things that helps ME deal with my innate biases is to re-frame the story. There's a well-known phenomena of human minds called "Illusion of Asymmetric Insight". Basically: You can't help it. I do it to. We have met the enemy and they are us.

Here's an article on Asymmetric Insight: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/08/21/the-illusion-of-asymmetric-insight/
It's a good read. (I link Youarenotsosmart.com a lot. Love his articles. It's a pity he's switched to a podcast format. I prefer to read.)

Also we have Confirmation Bias working against us. (http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/23/confirmation-bias/ ) Basically - it's easy to say "This is the way I perceive the world so it must be as I perceive it." The bad news is - that's what the word "Prejudice" means. The good news is, there is a way to combat your own prejudices - through skeptical examination of facts.

Okay okay. So I'm just going to throw down some facts.

FACT: Law enforcement disproportionately targets black people.
https://www.aclu.org/billions-dollars-wasted-racially-biased-arrests
Maybe you don't like the ACLU - have a scholarly study: http://pqx.sagepub.com/content/4/1/4.short

FACT: Blacks are disproportionately the victims of violent crime.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2700237/

FACT: While the targets of violent crime are overwhelmingly the same race as their attackers, there are no "Stop White on White Crime" rallies. Now why is that?

All right, all right, that last one isn't cited. It's a statistic I've heard often enough, though. Most often, the victim of a violent crime knows their attacker - but our fear of the unknown makes us more likely to frame crime in the narrative of random strangers preying on random victim.

(Take kidnapping as a fun example. The vast majority of kidnappings are done by the child's birth mother, with other relatives coming in second, family friends in third, and strangers a distant fourth. Citation: http://www.parents.com/kids/safety/stranger-safety/child-abduction-facts/ Obviously, that's just a hot button issue for me - I was a victim of kidnapping as a child.)

I'm done. I'm just rambling now. Just... walk in another man's shoes, okay? When did that become an unpopular concept? And if you think I'm just a liberal hippy dippy dumbass, just please read the article on Asymmetric Insight first.

Peace.

Reasie's Ritin' - Ferguson

Marchers Demand Justice for Eric Garner - Video - NYTimes.com



Marchers Demand Justice for Eric Garner - Video - NYTimes.com

Saturday, August 23, 2014


"So now, a grand jury sits in St. Louis County, taking testimony and parsing evidence. Yesterday we learned the racial makeup of that grand jury: nine whites, and three blacks. Which raises the obvious question: Can whites empathize with Michael Brown and the larger grievances Ferguson’s black community has with police? And can America more broadly value the experiences and concerns of black America enough to address them rather than dismiss them?
Arguably, many white people’s systematic inability to validate the experience of black America, let alone empathize, is in and of itself a profound version of racial bias. According to a poll released this week by Pew’s Center for People and the Press, 80 percent of black Americans think the shooting of an unarmed African American teenager in Ferguson “raises important issues about race.” Yet only 37 percent of white Americans agreed with the same sentiment; more whites (47 percent) think “race is getting more attention than it deserves.”  This is why I have little hope for progress in America.

The Question in St. Louis County: Can Whites Empathize With Blacks? - The Daily Beast

"So now, a grand jury sits in St. Louis County, taking testimony and parsing evidence. Yesterday we learned the racial makeup of that grand jury: nine whites, and three blacks. Which raises the obvious question: Can whites empathize with Michael Brown and the larger grievances Ferguson’s black community has with police? And can America more broadly value the experiences and concerns of black America enough to address them rather than dismiss them?

Arguably, many white people’s systematic inability to validate the experience of black America, let alone empathize, is in and of itself a profound version of racial bias. According to a poll released this week by Pew’s Center for People and the Press, 80 percent of black Americans think the shooting of an unarmed African American teenager in Ferguson “raises important issues about race.” Yet only 37 percent of white Americans agreed with the same sentiment; more whites (47 percent) think “race is getting more attention than it deserves.”  This is why I have little hope for progress in America.

Brown autopsy assistant discusses results Shawn Parcells who assisted in the autopsy of Michael Brown takes questions from Lawrence O’Donnell, James Cavanaugh and NBC News legal analyst Lisa Bloom.



The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on msnbc

Ferguson focuses on Michael Brown case grand jury | MSNBC



Ferguson focuses on Michael Brown case grand jury | MSNBC

America reacts to Ferguson | MSNBC



America reacts to Ferguson | MSNBC

Dyson: Obama needs to 'show up' in Ferguson | MSNBC



Dyson: Obama needs to 'show up' in Ferguson | MSNBC

Staten Island protest for Eric Garner: The march arrives at the police precinct - Video | SILive.com

Staten Island protest for Eric Garner: The march arrives at the police precinct - Video | SILive.com

Michael Eric Dyson: Obama "Failed Us Not Only As Black People But He Failed The Nation" | Video | RealClearPolitics


Michael Eric Dyson: Obama "Failed Us Not Only As Black People But He Failed The Nation" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Friday, August 22, 2014

Self-Segregation: Why It's So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson - The Atlantic

"Overall, the social networks of whites are a remarkable 93 percent white. White American social networks are only one percent black, one percent Hispanic, one percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one percent mixed race, and one percent other race. In fact, fully three-quarters (75 percent) of whites have entirely white social networks without any minority presence. This level of social-network racial homogeneity among whites is significantly higher than among black Americans (65 percent) or Hispanic Americans (46 percent).".This explains the insensitivity of so many whites to the experience of Black Americans with racism.

How do you explain racism to your black son?

"Anyone raising a Black child in America has to have The Talk, especially if that child is male. I’m not talking about the requisite birds and bees talk. I mean The Talk about how to survive being Black in this country."

Oops! Rick Perry does it again, can’t remember his two felony charges - Salon.com

"Perry was a little unclear when explaining what felony charges were issued against him.”I’ve been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t really understand the details here,” Perry said of the grand jury that indicted him.

A grand jury indicted Perry last week on two felony counts — abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official — over a 2013 veto threat."

Why Did Ferguson Erupt? The Answer Depends on Your Race - NBC News.com

" Some whites in Ferguson acknowledge its racial tension, too. Pastor Mike Trautman, who is white and leads the mostly white First Presbyterian Church, said the city has a long history of racial exclusion that his white parishioners are now being forced to reckon with. “African-American folks are frustrated," he said. "They are frustrated economically and with the sense of their voices not being heard. These are systematic issues. The kind of healing we need will take a long time. I think everyone is awakening to that.”

Across the street, Rev. Steve Lawler of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, says his parishioners, two-thirds of whom are white, have been actively supporting the protesters who gathered near the QuikTrip until it was barricaded off by police earlier this week. “We’ve been flowing some food over to the QuikTrip site,” he said. “We heard there was need for sandwiches. We made 200.”

But the refrain from many white residents of Ferguson is one of worry about the city’s future in the aftermath of the violence.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Holder and Obama Differ in Approach to Underlying Issues of Missouri Unrest

“I thought of them again sometime after that,” he added, “when a police officer stopped and questioned me in Washington while I was running to catch a movie, even though I happened to be a federal prosecutor at the time.”

As a young lawyer and prosecutor, Mr. Holder started programs intended to bridge the divide between law enforcement and communities. “We all bring our life experiences to the job we do — and that’s exactly what we want our attorney general to do,” said Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court, a former colleague. “He does care, and it just shows the character of the man himself.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ACLU: First Amendment 'suspended in Ferguson' | MSNBC

"Police in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday began telling protesters – who have been gathered for days demanding justice for the death of an unarmed teenager at the hands of police – that they were no longer allowed to stand in place for more than five seconds, but had to keep moving.

“When inquiries were made to law enforcement officers regarding which law prohibits gathering or standing for more than five seconds on public sidewalks,” the ACLU of Missouri wrote in its emergency federal court filing to block the apparent policy, “the officers indicated that they did not know and that it did not matter. The officers further indicated that they were following the orders of their supervisors, whom they refused to name.” The ACLU argued the policy was a prior restraint on speech and asked for a temporary restraining order."

Atty.: He surrendered before 'kill shot'



Atty.: He surrendered before 'kill shot'

Tough night for press freedom amid Ferguson crackdown | MSNBC



Tough night for press freedom amid Ferguson crackdown | MSNBC

Trayvon Martin’s Mom: ‘If They Refuse to Hear Us, We Will Make Them Feel Us’ | TIME

Trayvon Martin’s Mom: ‘If They Refuse to Hear Us, We Will Make Them Feel Us’ | TIME

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Day Ferguson Cops Were Caught in a Bloody Lie - The Daily Beast

"Police in Ferguson, Missouri, once charged a man with destruction of property for bleeding on their uniforms while four of them allegedly beat him.

“On and/or about the 20th day of Sept. 20, 2009 at or near 222 S. Florissant within the corporate limits of Ferguson, Missouri, the above named defendant did then and there unlawfully commit the offense of ‘property damage’ to wit did transfer blood to the uniform,” reads the charge sheet."


Apple iPad Air 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 vs Nexus 10: A Clear Comparison

"Apple has been one of the top ranking brands that have fully dominated the market with its iPhone series. Samsung has also made up its name in the industry with their Galaxy smartphones. Nexus on the other hand, has marked its name as it has joined Google, the world’s most popular search engine. Over the years, these three flagships never stopped innovating a series of products that catches the attention of the public."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

CNN - New low for U.S.-Israel relationship?

"Blaming Israel for an attack that killed several people at a school in Gaza, the United States said it was "appalled" by the "disgraceful shelling" -- sharp criticism from Washington rarely heard when Israel is engaged in battle.

"When you have a situation where innocent civilians are killed in Gaza, there's more that Israel can do to hold themselves to their own standards," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said."

Israel has broken my heart: I’m a rabbi in mourning for a Judaism being murdered by Israel - Salon.com

"My heart is broken as I witness the suffering of the Palestinian people and the seeming indifference of Israelis. All my life I’ve been a champion of Israel, proud of its many accomplishments in science and technology that have benefited the world, insistent on the continuing need for the Jewish people to have a state that offers protections from anti-Semitism that has reared its head continuously throughout Christian and Islamic societies, willing to send my only child to serve in the Israeli Army (the paratroopers unit-tzanchanim), and enjoying the pleasures of long swaths of time in which I could study in Jerusalem and celebrate Shabbat in a city that weekly closed down the hustle and bustle of the capitalist marketplace for a full 25 hours. And though as editor of Tikkun I printed articles challenging the official story of how Israel came to be, showing its role in forcibly ejecting tens of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and allowing Jewish terrorist groups under the leadership of (future Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir) to create justified fears that led hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians to flee for their lives, I always told myself that the dominant humanity of the Jewish people and the compassionate strain within Torah would reassert itself once Israel felt secure."

Sunday, August 03, 2014

REPORT: Israel Eavesdropped On Kerry In Mideast Talks

"New information indicates that Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on telephone conversations by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Sources told SPIEGEL the government then used the information obtained from the calls during negotiations in the Mideast conflict.

SPIEGEL has learned from reliable sources that Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on US Secretary of State John Kerry during Middle East peace negotiations. In addition to the Israelis, at least one other intelligence service also listened in as Kerry mediated last year between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states, several intelligence service sources told SPIEGEL. Revelations of the eavesdropping could further damage already tense relations between the US government and Israel.

During the peak stage of peace talks last year, Kerry spoke regularly with high-ranking negotiating partners in the Middle East. At the time, some of these calls were not made on encrypted equipment, but instead on normal telephones, with the conversations transmitted by satellite. Intelligence agencies intercepted some of those calls. The government in Jerusalem then used the information obtained in international negotiations aiming to reach a diplomatic solution in the Middle East.

In the current Gaza conflict, the Israelis have massively criticized Kerry, with a few ministers indirectly calling on him to withdraw from peace talks. Both the US State Department and the Israeli authorities declined to comment."

NYTimes: Newly Insured, Many Now Face Learning Curve

"For those reasons, hospitals, clinics, insurers and health advocacy groups around the country are organizing education efforts, aimed particularly at lower-income people who might not have had insurance in years, if ever. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has jumped in, too, with a project called “From Coverage to Care,” which provides educational materials to community groups and medical providers who are trying to teach health and insurance literacy."

NYTimes: U.S.-Russia Nuclear Deal Stalls as Tensions Over Ukraine Rise

This turn of events is very sad.  We need to build the international confidence to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Eric Garner's family reacts to medical examiner's report | MSNBC



Eric Garner's family reacts to medical examiner's report | MSNBC

How perception can inform border security | MSNBC



How perception can inform border security | MSNBC

Sign the petition: Tell these venues to dump Ted Nugent

Rewrite: Why no women on U.S. currency? | MSNBC



Rewrite: Why no women on U.S. currency? | MSNBC

Frances Perkins Center - A short history of her life -Created Social Security and the Minimum Wage.

When FDR invited Frances to be his Secretary of Labor, she brought with her a hastily written laundry list of ideas for which she would expect his support if she were to accept his appointment. FDR agreed and she began twelve years as his Secretary of Labor. Throughout these years, some of them during the height of the Great Depression, she worked tirelessly and accomplished a huge number of reforms, establishing new programs for American workers. This story is very well told at the AFL-CIO website and at the Department of Labor website where it is claimed that she led the battle against the Great Depression (with New Deal reforms and programs she either proposed or supported). Among Frances Perkins' major achievements during her tenure, establishing social security for the American people is one of her best known and FDR called it the "cornerstone of his administration." This story is told at the Social Security Administration's website.



Frances Perkins Center - A short history of her life

Booker and Paul is ‘bipartisanship on steroids’ | MSNBC