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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Police Respect Squandered in Attacks on de Blasio -


Bill de Blasio has spent weeks expressing his respect and admiration
for the New York Police Department, while calling for unity in these
difficult days, but the message doesn’t seem to be sinking in.
When he spoke at a police graduation ceremony
at Madison Square Garden on Monday, some in the crowd booed and heckled
him. This followed the mass back-turning by scores of officers when the
mayor spoke on Saturday
at the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos; the virtual back-turning the
day before by an airplane-towed banner (“Our backs have turned to you”),
and the original spiteful gesture by officers on the night Mr. de
Blasio visited the hospital where Officer Ramos and his partner, Wenjian
Liu, lay dead.
de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts
of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police
officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s
credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect.
They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral
of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us
gesture. In doing so, they also turned their backs on Mr. Ramos’s widow
and her two young sons, and others in that grief-struck family.
These are disgraceful acts, which will be compounded if anyone repeats the stunt at Officer Liu’s funeral on Sunday.

Police Respect Squandered in Attacks on de Blasio -

Sunday, December 28, 2014

How The Effects Of Trauma Can Be Passed Down From One Generation To The Next

Measuring Mayor de Blasio’s First Year by a Broken Toe and a $360 Check -

"The mayor faces serious challenges, among them a deep rift with the Police Department. But on this question, the answer is clear: Step by step, initiative by initiative, Mr. de Blasio has begun to make concrete, tangible improvements in the lives of tens of thousands of ordinary working New Yorkers.

Just ask Ms. Cagle, a 35-year-old mother and a beneficiary of Mr. de Blasio’s first major policy move, the expansion of paid sick leave. “Oh man,” said Ms. Cagle, who until this year went without pay whenever she was too sick to work. “This gives me the support that I need.”

She is one of about 1.2 million workers who now have paid sick leave for the first time, according to the Community Service Society of New York, which works on behalf of low-income people. That is about 240,000 more people than would have received the benefit if the mayor hadn’t broadened the law.

Or consider the mayor’s universal prekindergarten program. This fall, the city offered seats to 53,230 4-year-olds — up from 20,000 last year — a boon to working parents unable to afford private nursery schools."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier -

The concept of race is a political,  not scientific construct which was first developed and used by Europeans in the 1600s to facilitate slavery and a color based caste system.   Read Thomas Jefferson barbaric concept of race in his 1784 "Notes On Virginia"  The only book this serial child molester and child abuser e er wrote.  He desperately tries to justify his primitive mindset with pseudo science while living a hypocritical double life.  Jefferson is the archtypical American on race.  It sad that his views are still held and practiced by many Americans today.  The naive and the blind confuse progress with change which had had it's scab removed by the series of unarmed Blacks murdered by whites based solely on race by civilians and police.  Whites refusal to see what is so obvious to African-Americans is amazing but sad.  The difference between liberals and conservatives collapses on the issue of race as it does with homophobria.  I wish we could make real progress instead of changing the method of oppression to suit the economic and global political demands of a particular time.

John H Armwood

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Operation Revenge - Glenn Thrush - POLITICO Magazine

"Obama’s turnaround in recent weeks – he’s seized the offensive with a series of controversial executive actions and challenges to leaders in his own party on the budget — can be attributed to a fundamental change in his political mindset, according to current and former aides. He’s gone from thinking of himself as a sitting (lame) duck, they tell me, to a president diving headlong into what amounts to a final campaign – this one to preserve his legacy, add policy points to the scoreboard, and – last but definitely not least – to inflict the same kind of punishment on his newly empowered Republican enemies, who delighted in tormenting him when he was on top."

Read more:

Chinese Annoyance With North Korea Bubbles to the Surface -

BEIJING — When a retired Chinese general with impeccable Communist Party credentials recently wrote a scathing account of North Korea as a recalcitrant ally headed for collapse and unworthy of support, he exposed a roiling debate in China about how to deal with the country’s young leader, Kim Jong-un.
For decades China has stood by North Korea, and though at times the relationship has soured, it has rarely reached such a low point, Chinese analysts say. The fact that the commentary by Lt. Gen. Wang Hongguang, a former deputy commander of an important military region, was published in a state-run newspaper this month and then posted on an official People’s Liberation Army website attested to how much the relationship had deteriorated, the analysts say.

Chinese Annoyance With North Korea Bubbles to the Surface -

Recommended read from "A 21st-century segregationist claim": Why Giuliani's race screed is so foolish -- and dangerous

"During a recent appearance on "Meet the Press," former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani inspired days of criticism by telling fellow guest and Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson that his focus on police brutality was misguided. "We are talking about the significant exception," Giuliani said, referring to white police officers killing black people. "Ninety-three percent of blacks are killed by other blacks." Giuliani then went further, telling Dyson, "Why don’t [black people] cut [crime] down so so many white police officers don’t have to be in black areas?"

Except for Giuliani die-hards or unreconstructed racists (far from mutually exclusive), most people recognized the ex-mayor's comments as insensitive — at best. But while there's been criticism of Giuliani's use of crime statistics, especially his failure to note a similar figure is true for white killings, there's been less focus on whether these statistics themselves are as objective and reliable as we believe. With that in mind, Salon recently spoke on the phone with Dr. Khalil G. Muhammad, the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and author of "The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America," a widely praised study of the history of how racism and criminology have mixed."

Recommended read from Elizabeth Warren goes to war: Why the Democratic Party could seriously change -- for real, this time

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Two New York police officers killed, gunman dead: media

"Quoting a law enforcement source, NBC's New York affiliate reported that the gunman may have been seeking retribution against police after posting a threatening message on a social media account."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Poll: 57 Percent of Americans Say Race Relations in U.S. Are Bad - NBC

No kidding, when will Americans wake up and stop wishing this divide will go away. It is structural and permanent. It is the glue that holds the America class structure of inequality together. White Privilege is the basis of the social contract between the wealthy and working and middle class whites.

Poll: 57 Percent of Americans Say Race Relations in U.S. Are Bad - NBC

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jon Stewart blasts Dick Cheney’s outrageous torture denial -

Jon Stewart blasts Dick Cheney’s outrageous torture denial -

City Comptroller Seeks to Settle Civil Rights Claim by Eric Garner’s Family -

"A spokesman for the Law Department, Nicholas Paolucci, said: “The comptroller has the authority to settle claims against the city before a lawsuit is filed. We trust that he will exercise that authority wisely. As always, the Law Department is available to consult with the comptroller in connection with any settlement of this matter,” referring to the Garner family’s claim.

Mr. Stringer — who, like Mayor de Blasio, a fellow Democrat, won a landslide victory last fall — said he saw the Law Department as a partner. But he added, “Not all cases should be litigated.”

“At some point, you have to look at the process holistically,” he said, adding that early settlement of a meritorious claim can save the city money in terms of the settlement cost itself, litigation costs, legal fees, interest and administrative costs. “And you also have an opportunity to bring closure and security to those who have been wronged,” Mr. Stringer said."

City Comptroller Seeks to Settle Civil Rights Claim by Eric Garner’s Family -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Karl Rove and Fox News’ worst nightmare: White males, the changing South and the truth about demographics and Democrats -

"The projected rise in the minority portion of the electorate—from more than 30 percent in 2016 to nearly 40 percent in 2028—demands that both parties cross the racial divide to succeed in the future. Hispanics will contribute the most to this gain as they overtake blacks among eligible voters in 2020—two decades after Hispanics overtook blacks in the total population."

On Torture Report, Colorado’s Udall Leaves Subtlety at Door on the Way Out -

"Mr. Udall, a Colorado Democrat who pressed his case against the agency even as he packed up his office after his re-election defeat last month, sees the agency’s strong effort to rebut the findings of the Senate’s report on the torture of terrorism suspects as proof the intelligence community has not learned from its mistakes.

“We did all these things and had the opportunity over the last six years to come clean, and the C.I.A. just fought tooth and nail to prevent that from happening,” Mr. Udall said in an interview after the stinging attack he delivered on the Senate floor against the intelligence community and the White House. “Now we are doing the same thing today that we did six or eight or 10 years ago by denying this happened.”

Friday, December 12, 2014

Elizabeth Warren goes to war: Why the Democratic Party could seriously change — for real, this time -

"Warren doesn’t sound like she’s readying herself for a presidential campaign. No, she sounds more like she’s readying for an ideological war."

Noam Chomsky on Syria, China, Capitalism, and Ferguson

Noam Chomsky discusses Ferguson: “This is a very racist society; it’s pretty shocking” -

"There are prospects, but it is going to be very hard. This is a very racist society; it’s pretty shocking. What has happened with regard to African-Americans in the last 30 years actually is very similar to what Blackmon describes happening in the late 19th century."

"The constitutional amendments after the Civil War that were supposed to free African-American slaves -- it did something for about 10 years, then there was a North-South compact that granted the former slave-owning states the right to do whatever they wanted. And what they did was criminalize black life, in all kinds of ways, and that created a kind of slave force ... It threw mostly black males into jail, where they became a perfect labor force, much better than slaves.”

“If you’re a slave owner, you have to pay for — you have to keep your ‘capital’ alive. But if the state does it for you, that’s terrific. No strikes, no disobedience, the perfect labor force. A lot of the American Industrial Revolution in the late 19th, early 20th century was based on that. It pretty much lasted until the Second World War, when there was a need for free labor."

"After that, African-Americans had about two decades in which they had a shot at entering society. A black worker could get a job in an auto plant, the unions were still functioning, and he could buy a small house and send his kid to college. But by the 1970s and 1980s it’s going back to the criminalization of black life."

"It’s called the drug war, and it’s a racist war. Ronald Reagan was an extreme racist — though he denied it — and the whole drug war is designed, from policing, to eventual release from prison, to make it impossible for black men and, increasingly, more and more women and hispanics to be part of society."

"In fact, if you look at American history, the first slaves came over in 1619, and that’s half a millennium. There have only been three or four decades in which African-Americans have had a limited degree of freedom — not entirely, but at least some."

He continues later:

"They have been re-criminalized and turned into a slave labor force — that’s prison labor. This is American history. To break out of that is no small trick."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why millions of Christian evangelicals oppose Obamacare and civil rights -

"My argument in a nutshell is that the apocalyptic theology that developed in the 1880s and 1890s led radical evangelicals to the conclusion that all nations are going to concede their power in the End Times to a totalitarian political leader who is going to be the Antichrist. "

Thursday, December 04, 2014

NYC protests over Eric Garner case resume for second night - NY Daily News

"Protesters flood Manhattan for second night to oppose grand jury’s ruling not to indict NYPD cop in chokehold death of Eric Garner
By 6 p.m., at least 3,000 demonstrators had gathered in Foley Square. They shouted ‘Justice! Now!’ and ‘Black Lives Matter!’ and held signs to reveal their anger toward a Staten Island grand jury. More demonstrators flocked to Union Square for a peaceful march. Demonstrations were also breaking out in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta."

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Staten Island, Home Is Where The Hatred Is

In three weeks I will be staying a couple of miles from where Mr. Eric Garner was murdered on tape on tape where I grew up on Staten Island. I hated living on Staten Island due to the pervasive racism and move away when I was 21. My two Black friends and I were pulled over with no legal basis even asserted by the police 8 times in a row on Hylan Blvd. In direct violation of the 1968 Terry v Ohio Supreme Court case.  I and my two friends were harassed and followed by these police.  None of us ever had got in trouble with the law.  Unlike these police we were in college and all received graduate degrees from excellent,  highly rated schools.  Unlike these cops we spoke English properly.  Unlike the cops we had good grades in school so we never would have considered being a cop even if there were Black cops on Staten Island in the 60s and 70s. We only knew of one named DeQhilla.. For me,  Staten Island. Holds at of painful memories of racial violence,  racism in practice and students in school who engaged in racial violence and taunts.  As Gill Scott Heron wrote "Home is where the hatred is". My left was shut for three weeks after a racial attack by Gary Felini and Sal. De Falco at Richmond Town Prep on Staten Island where the school administrators did nothing about it,  they gave me a towel and I had to wait for the old 113 Bus,  which ran every half hour to take me or the HIP HMO on Targee Street in October of 1969. Staten Island has always been the most racist part of NYC and still is.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Judge allows libel lawsuit against Glenn Beck to proceed

"A federal judge on Tuesday denied Glenn Beck's request to dismiss a libel lawsuit that accuses the conservative talking head of defaming a Saudi man Beck falsely accused of funding the Boston Marathon bombing last year.

As Josh Gerstein explains, Beck sought to have the lawsuit tossed out on the grounds that Abdulrahman Alharbi, the man who brought the suit, was a public figure because of his presence near the finish line of the marathon, where two bombs exploded, killing three people. As a public figure, Alharbi would have had to clear a difficult hurdle in order for the lawsuit to proceed, proving that Beck intentionally lied or acted with malice in making the accusations.

But in ruling that the lawsuit could move forward, U.S. District Judge Patti Saris rejected the argument that the mere act of attending the event made Alharbi a public figure."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I am utterly undone: My struggle with black rage and fear after Ferguson -

"If I have to begin by convincing you that Black Lives Matter, we have all already lost, haven’t we? So let’s not begin there. Let’s begin at the end. At the end there is only Michael Brown Jr.’s dead body, no justice, and weeping and gnashing of teeth.

For his parents, there is only grief."
I am utterly undone: My struggle with black rage and fear after Ferguson -

John Armwood - This is a white problem. White culture must face...

This is a white problem. White culture must face that this is a group culture problem. This does not mean that all whites are bad but the view of this as a few bad apples stretches credibility into fantasy land. This is a group culture problem. There must be both responsibility and accountability. JHA
"Police officers are so rarely held accountable for killing even unarmed black and brown people, that no one was really surprised at the outcome this time. People have lost faith in the system, which repeatedly tells them black lives don’t matter.
But even if the grand jury had indicted Darren Wilson for killing Mike Brown, even if the grand jury in Staten Island indicts Daniel Pantaleo for killing Eric Garner, it wouldn’t resolve the structural and institutional racism that underlies police violence against black people. Yes, more officers should be held accountable for killing unarmed young men, but it isn’t a few bad apples, it’s the way that police are trained to see communities of color as war zones and to behave like occupying forces. In his testimony, Wilson called the neighborhood a “hostile environment” and told the grand jury, “it is just not a very well-liked community.”
Black people are angry because of the way we're treated, the way the police, who are sworn to protect us and uphold the law, are so often above the law. What we are seeing in Ferguson is a pro-democracy protest like other pro-democracy protests we’ve cheered worldwide in recent years. The people are saying that justice ultimately cannot spring from the status quo, so it must be dismantled.As Martin Luther King said, "Riot is the language of the unheard."

John Armwood - This is a white problem. White culture must face...

NYTimes: Egyptian Court Dismisses Criminal Charges Against Mubarak

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Shocking mistake in Darren Wilson grand jury | MSNBC

Shocking mistake in Darren Wilson grand jury | MSNBC

Fury After Ferguson -

"And yet the reaction was also about more than Wilson and Brown. It was about faith in fundamental fairness. It was about whether a population of people with an already tenuous relationship with the justice system — a system not established to recognize them, a system used for generations to deny and subjugate them, a system still rife with imbalances toward them — would have their fragile and fraying faith in that system further shredded."

Fury After Ferguson -

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bigger Than Immigration -

"As usual, issue-oriented opposition overlaps with a historical undercurrent, one desperate for demonstration (of liberal folly) and preservation (of conservative principles and traditional power).

From this worldview, liberalism isn’t simply an alternate political sensibility, but a rot, an irreparable ruination, a violation of the laws of the land as the founding fathers (most of whom owned slaves at some point) envisioned, but also of the laws of nature, which they see as being directed by God. There are so many examples of this: opposition to L.G.B.T. rights, to the science undergirding climate change and efforts to arrest that change, and to allowing women a full range of reproductive options.

Maybe that’s why the president cited Scripture when laying out his immigration plan: “Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too.”

But that is surely to have fallen on deaf ears, if not hostile ones. Conservatives slammed the usage, and Mike Huckabee went so far as to accuse the president of trying to rewrite the Bible while bizarrely invoking the Bill Cosby sexual assault allegations"

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Recommended read from The real JFK mystery, 50 years later: Why the infamous murder must be reinvestigated

"For the public has never embraced the official verdict, handed down by the Warren Commission in September 1964. After less than a year of hearings and deliberations, the team—led by Chief Justice Earl Warren—concluded that President Kennedy had been shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old ex-Marine portrayed by the Commission as a shiftless loner with communist sympathies. But they could not explain why.

The most obvious question about the murder was also the one that could not be answered. Not only had Oswald been murdered in police custody two days after the assassination, but the Commission had been unable to find a single person who remembered Oswald criticizing Kennedy. On the contrary, Oswald had frequently expressed his admiration for the president. The Commission interviewed at least six witnesses who remembered Oswald praising Kennedy.

Faced with a substantial hole in their case, the Commission tried to plug it by filling the report with airy speculation about Oswald’s tormented psyche. Oswald, they insisted, was someone who had been driven by “resentment of all authority,” “antagonism toward the United States” and an “urge to try to find a place in history.” Perhaps he had shot the president, the Report blandly suggested, because of his “inability to enter into meaningful relationships with people.”

Ferguson 'anxious' awaiting jury decision | MSNBC

Ferguson 'anxious' awaiting jury decision | MSNBC

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A cornerstone of the Immigration debate | MSNBC

A cornerstone of the Immigration debate | MSNBC

When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 4 -

"But we in white society should be equally ready to shoulder responsibility. In past articles in this series, I’ve looked at black/white economic inequality that is greater in America today than it was in apartheid South Africa, at ongoing discrimination against African-Americans in the labor market and at systematic bias in law enforcement. But these conversations run into a wall: the presumption on the part of so many well-meaning white Americans that racism is a historical artifact. They don’t appreciate the overwhelming evidence that centuries of racial subjugation still shape inequity in the 21st century.

Indeed, a wave of research over the last 20 years has documented the lingering effects of slavery in the United States and South America alike. For example, counties in America that had a higher proportion of slaves in 1860 are still more unequal today, according to a scholarly paper published in 2010. The authors called this a “persistent effect of slavery.”

Obama’s Immigration Plan Could Grant Papers to Millions, at Least for Now -

"While the practical effect of the measures could therefore be broad, legally they will be limited, providing only temporary reprieves from deportation. Congress could change the laws that Mr. Obama will rely on for his actions, and a future president could cancel the program, leaving immigrants out in the open and even more exposed to removal."

Friday, November 14, 2014

Obama To GOP After Elections: I'm Still The President

"WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's party may have taken a beating at the polls last week, but that hasn't stopped him from taking an aggressive series of actions to push his agenda forward.

Over the last week, Obama announced a historic deal on climate change, took a bold stance to protect an open Internet, and is expected to soon announce sweeping changes to the nation's immigration system. Some progressives are already taking notice."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finally the President the President did the right thing.

NYTimes: Obama Said to Plan Moves to Shield 5 Million Immigrants

"Asserting his authority as president to enforce the nation’s laws with discretion, Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.

That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people."

Monday, November 03, 2014

Author Of Critical Obama Book: What I Got Wrong

One World Trade Center Ready For First Tenants As Conde Nast Moves In

One World Trade Center Ready For First Tenants As Conde Nast Moves In

Blacks, Obama and the Election -

"Others believe that there is also something else at play, implicitly or explicitly: race. Last week NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Senator Mary Landrieu, the Louisiana Democrat locked in a tight re-election race, why President Obama has a hard time in her state. One of the reasons she gave was this: “I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans.”

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Fight over American identity & the creation of culture | MSNBC

Fight over American identity & the creation of culture | MSNBC

The Return Of Jim Crow

"Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America. At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials say that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison."

Friday, October 31, 2014

America's Midterm Indifference - George Takei - The Colbert Report - Video Clip | Comedy Central

America's Midterm Indifference - George Takei - The Colbert Report - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Democalypse 2014 - South by South Mess: Blueless - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Democalypse 2014 - South by South Mess: Blueless - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Why Republicans Keep Telling Everyone They’re Not Scientists -

"WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican who is fighting a Democratic challenge from former Gov. Charlie Crist, was asked by The Miami Herald if he believes climate change is significantly affecting the weather. “Well, I’m not a scientist,” he said."

Georgia governor’s corruption shocker: Right-winger’s shady get-rich scheme could be wildest GOP scandal -

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Reverse Racism Isn't Real

"I spend a lot of time on the internet. I write in various places on the internet, I interact in lively and active commenting communities at different websites, and I partake in a multitude of online forums that have an ongoing and pretty continuous stream of communication between the contributors. Ya know what I’ve noticed? Any time a PoC starts to talk about their experiences with racism, a white person chimes in to derail the conversation and talk about their own experiences with ‘reverse racism.’ And yes, I’m going to say ‘any time’ and not ‘sometimes’ because I have never once been in an internet dialogue amongst commenters and observed a PoC bring up their experience with real, actual, systemic or overt racism and not encountered a white person trying to make it all about their experiences with perceived racism. Not once. It happens every time. Ya know what else? That shit is tired, played out, and incorrect. So let’s talk about why reverse racism isn’t real and why white people need to let that one go."

Future of Ferguson police dept. is in question | MSNBC

Future of Ferguson police dept. is in question | MSNBC

Democalypse 2014 - South by South Mess: Ad of Brothers - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Democalypse 2014 - South by South Mess: Ad of Brothers - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vote, Vote, Vote. Vote for Furgeson, Vote to control rogue cops. Vote for YOUR lives.

Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate -

"WASHINGTON — The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A letter to Gov. Nikki Haley: Time to take down the confederate flag in South Carolina | MSNBC

A letter to Gov. Nikki Haley: Time to take down the confederate flag in South Carolina | MSNBC

How is Ebola treated? | MSNBC

How is Ebola treated? | MSNBC

How Ebola could trigger famine in West Africa | MSNBC

How Ebola could trigger famine in West Africa | MSNBC

MHP: We have two standards for health care in America | MSNBC

MHP: We have two standards for health care in America | MSNBC

Health Scare in Texas Also Sends Political Ripples -

"DALLAS — Along with dramas of disease transmission, treatment protocols and personal safety, one story line about the Ebola cases here has concerned the man who wasn’t there, sort of.

Gov. Rick Perry.

As national attention has obsessively focused on the three Ebola cases diagnosed here, Mr. Perry has been somewhat removed and, for a time, even absent, after he went ahead with a planned international trip as events were still playing out. Not surprisingly, Democrats have largely been critical and Republicans largely supportive. But with Mr. Perry on the verge of a potential presidential run, his low profile has been a subject of discussion in Texas and beyond."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Supreme Court Stops Parts Of Texas Abortion Law

"The justices largely granted the request of abortion providers Tuesday. With three dissenting votes, the court suspended a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed Texas to enforce a rule making abortion clinics statewide spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades.

The appeals court's ruling suspended an August decision by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who found that such upgrades were less about safety than making access to abortion difficult."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ebola Puts Nina Pham, a Nurse Unaccustomed to the Spotlight, in Its Glare -

"Ms. Joseph called Ms. Pham, 26, a conscientious and careful nurse who double-checked her charts and never seemed to make a mistake, a description that deepens the mystery of how a nurse garbed in gloves, mask and other protective gear contracted the disease from a Liberian man who died last week of Ebola. On Monday, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that Ms. Pham’s positive test for Ebola over the weekend had prompted the agency to “substantially” rethink how it approaches infection control for health officials."

Recommended read from Noam Chomsky: Corporate business models are hurting American universities

" That’s part of the business model. It’s the same as hiring temps in industry or what they call “associates” at Walmart, employees that aren’t owed benefits. It’s a part of a corporate business model designed to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility. When universities become corporatized, as has been happening quite systematically over the last generation as part of the general neoliberal assault on the population, their business model means that what matters is the bottom line.

The effective owners are the trustees (or the legislature, in the case of state universities), and they want to keep costs down and make sure that labor is docile and obedient. The way to do that is, essentially, temps. Just as the hiring of temps has gone way up in the neoliberal period, you’re getting the same phenomenon in the universities.

The idea is to divide society into two groups. One group is sometimes called the “plutonomy” (a term used by Citibank when they were advising their investors on where to invest their funds), the top sector of wealth, globally but concentrated mostly in places like the United States. The other group, the rest of the population, is a “precariat,” living a precarious existence.

This idea is sometimes made quite overt. So when Alan Greenspan was testifying before Congress in 1997 on the marvels of the economy he was running, he said straight out that one of the bases for its economic success was imposing what he called “greater worker insecurity.” If workers are more insecure, that’s very “healthy” for the society, because if workers are insecure they won’t ask for wages, they won’t go on strike, they won’t call for benefits; they’ll serve the masters gladly and passively. And that’s optimal for corporations’ economic health."

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Sunday, October 05, 2014

VP Biden Apologizes for Telling Truth About Turkey, Saudi and ISIS - The Daily Beast

" Vice President Joe Biden is apologizing again for speaking the truth. After talking for an hour and a half at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Forum last Thursday, he took a question from a student who asked a wise question: “In retrospect do you believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not, why is now the right moment?"

Biden, predictably, said “the answer is ‘no’ for two reasons.” The first being the unreliability, incompetence and radicalism of the forces the United States would have been supporting on the ground. No real surprise there. But then he said what everyone in the region knows and The Daily Beast has reported extensively:

“My constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies — our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria,” Biden told his listeners in remarks subsequently posted on the White House YouTube channel (go to 1:32:00 if you want to skip the earlier speech). 

“The Turks were great friends,” he notes, adding that he recently spent considerable time with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and they have “a great relationship.” Ditto the Saudis and the Emiratis. But when it came to Syria and the effort to bring down President Bashar Assad there, those allies’ policies wound up helping to arm and build allies of al Qaeda and eventually the terrorist “Islamic State.”

“What were they doing?” Biden asked rhetorically. “They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”

Note that Biden did not say the intent of any of these allies was to supply terrorists, only that a hell of a lot of the arms and the money wound up in the hands of people who are sworn enemies of the West as well as of Assad."

NYTimes: Protesters in Hong Kong Ease Sit-In at Government Headquarters
This is sad. At some point democracy demonstrators mutual confront the Chinese government and risk another June 6th 1989 massacre.

Bill and Melinda Gates top Forbes list as most philanthropic Americans - CNET

"Bill and Melinda Gates have taken the No. 1 spot on Forbes' list of the 50 top givers in America.

Ranking the most philanthropic people across the country, Forbes singled out the Gates couple, who donated $2.65 billion last year toward fighting disease and reforming education, among other initiatives. One notable gift cited by Forbes was $50 million dollars given by the pair to the International Aids Vaccine Initiative. Over their lifetime, the two have given out $30.2 billion, about 37 percent of their net worth.

The couple coordinate their efforts through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which works with other people to donate money and resources on trying to solve a select number of global problems and concerns."

Saturday, October 04, 2014

BBC News - World wildlife populations halved in 40 years - report

"The global loss of species is even worse than previously thought, the London Zoological Society (ZSL) says in its new Living Planet Index.

The report suggests populations have halved in 40 years, as new methodology gives more alarming results than in a report two years ago.

The report says populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52%.

Populations of freshwater species have suffered an even worse fall of 76%."

An Inconvenient Protest for Both China and the U.S. -

We must have the courage to do what is right and speak out.

" WASHINGTON — President Obama is scheduled to visit China next month, and with tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters on the streets of Hong Kong, human rights could force itself onto the agenda between the United States and the Chinese in a way not seen in many years.

A major caveat, of course, is that the fervent crowds in Hong Kong could be long gone by Nov. 10, when Mr. Obama and 20 Pacific Rim leaders gather in Beijing for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting. That would certainly be a relief to the Chinese host, President Xi Jinping, and perhaps to Mr. Obama, too.

Human rights have not been a major topic of discussion between the two countries since the aftermath of China’s bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square 25 years ago. With Washington eager to work with Beijing on a list of priorities — from climate change to curbing Iran’s nuclear program — officials in both countries are eager to keep it that way.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

MHP: If ‘angry white man’ was a caricature | MSNBC

MHP: If ‘angry white man’ was a caricature | MSNBC

Good news for Obamacare New numbers from a federal study found that the number of uninsured Americans fell by about 8%.

To all the haters Obamacare is working as all thinking people knew it would.


Melissa Harris-Perry on msnbc

Is war against ISIS growing in scope? Chantelle Bateman from Iraq Veterans Against the War and Iraq War veterans Earl Catagnus Jr. and Matt Southworth talk about the latest U.S. mission against ISIS, in what seems to be an “ongoing war growing in scope.”

We must stop this march towards a third war in Iraq. I know Colin Powell said to George W Bush if you break it you own it and of course Bush broke it killing over 100,000 civilians using conservative U.S. Military statistics but do we really think we can mend what Bush broke? I think not.

Melissa Harris-Perry on msnbc

Coming Soon, a Century Late: A Black Film Gem -

"For decades, the seven reels from 1913 lay unexamined in the film archives of the Museum of Modern Art. Now, after years of research, a historic find has emerged: what MoMA curators say is the earliest surviving footage for a feature film with a black cast. It is a rare visual depiction of middle-class black characters from an era when lynchings and stereotyped black images were commonplace. What’s more, the material features Bert Williams, the first black superstar on Broadway. Williams appears in blackface in the untitled silent film along with a roster of actors from the sparsely documented community of black performers in Harlem on the cusp of the Harlem Renaissance. Remarkably, the reels also capture behind-the-scenes interactions between these performers and the directors."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Is this deja vu all over again? White House leaves Congress behind on war designation | MSNBC

White House leaves Congress behind on war designation | MSNBC

What does a victory against ISIS look like? | MSNBC

What does a victory against ISIS look like? | MSNBC

We know what Obama told us, but who told him? President Obama has a habit of explaining his decisions to the American public, and not always with success. As President Obama informs the American people about his strategy for defeating ISIS, who’s informing him and do those informers agree that ISIS is a real threat to the U.S.? Phyllis Bennis and Hillary Mann Leverett discuss.

Melissa Harris-Perry on msnbc

The Way to Beat Poverty -

"One reason the United States has not made more progress against poverty is that our interventions come too late. If there’s one overarching lesson from the past few decades of research about how to break the cycles of poverty in the United States, it’s the power of parenting — and of intervening early, ideally in the first year or two of life or even before a child is born."

Friday, September 12, 2014

George Zimmerman Allegedly Threatens To Kill Man In Road Rage Incident

"George Zimmerman is in legal trouble again.

WSVN reports that his latest brush with the law came on Tuesday when Zimmerman allegedly threatened to kill a man during a road rage incident in Lake Mary, Florida.

The man, whose name has not been reported, also told police Zimmerman was waiting for him at his work."

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Meet the Host: Defying the Rules -

"Chuck Todd was an imperfect host of “Meet the Press” on Sunday. And that’s perfect.

Sunday talk shows, and most particularly NBC’s “Meet the Press,” defy the normal rules of television news: spit-shine good looks and slick urbanity are unwelcome. Viewers don’t want anchors as hosts; they want hosts who don’t act like anchors.

That became obvious when the NBC anchor David Gregory took over “Meet the Press” in 2008 after the death of its revered host, Tim Russert, and sent the show spiraling down to third place in the ratings."

Inquiry Into Ferguson, Mo., Police Practices Is Just a Start -

"But the investigation should not be limited to Ferguson. News accounts and a recent study of court systems in neighboring towns strongly suggest that the police in St. Louis County may be systematically targeting poor and minority citizens for street and traffic stops (in part to generate fines), which has the effect of criminalizing entire communities. This history of discriminatory stops and abuse fueled the protests and violence that erupted after Mr. Brown was gunned down.

In 1994, Congress gave the Justice Department the power to restructure troubled or corrupt police departments, after Los Angeles police officers were captured on video three years earlier beating up a black motorist, Rodney King."

Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks -

"More than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

The money is increasingly transforming the once-staid think-tank world into a muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington. And it has set off troubling questions about intellectual freedom: Some scholars say they have been pressured to reach conclusions friendly to the government financing the research."

Thursday, September 04, 2014

BP May Be Fined Up to $18 Billion for Spill in Gulf -

"NEW ORLEANS — In the four years since the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has spent more than $28 billion on damage claims and cleanup costs, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and emerged a shrunken giant.

But through it all, the company has maintained that it was not chiefly responsible for the accident, and that its contractors in the operation, Halliburton and Transocean, should shoulder as much, if not more, of the blame.

On Thursday, a federal judge here for the first time bluntly rejected those arguments, finding that BP was indeed the primary culprit and that only it had acted with “conscious disregard of known risks.” He added that BP’s “conduct was reckless.”

ISIS, Deep in the Heart of Texas -

"But through the anger we must still stay levelheaded, and not allow politicians and pundits to talk us into armed conflict without clarity of mission and scope. And we also mustn’t allow them to inflate the image of the enemy to such a degree that we feel that caution and patience are not options."

ISIS, Deep in the Heart of Texas -

Wealthy Choice - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Wealthy Choice - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central

Sunday, August 31, 2014

At Risk in Senate, Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks -

“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

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:
It's a good read. (I link 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. ( ) 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.
Maybe you don't like the ACLU - have a scholarly study:

FACT: Blacks are disproportionately the victims of violent crime.

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: 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.


Reasie's Ritin' - Ferguson