Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
Actually happening. The cartoon refers to gun shops in Ferguson, Missouri, reporting a spike of up to 300% in gun sales as residents await a decision on whether Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, will face criminal charges. ..
"From 1945 to the end of the century, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair." .. (William Blum, ‘Rogue State’)
Sunday, October 26, 2014
"Despite the fact that whites engage in drug offenses at a higher rate than African-Americans, African-Americans are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites.” .. the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Without the proper context, Hinchliffe Stadium is nothing more than cracked earth and rotting wood. The former ballpark squats out on the bluffs of the great Paterson Falls in Paterson, New Jersey, a relic you can miss unless you're looking for it. I wasn't aware of it's existence until the first time I made that trip as an adult to the Paterson Falls, and even then, I only happened upon it by accident. I remember wandering inside the fortifications of the great structure and coming across a few older men stood in the center of the field, chain-smoking and remembering their high school days, when they played there.
Another time, on a more purposeful visit, three friends and I parked outside it, crawled through a hole in the fence, and stared up at the industrial ruin, imagining history, spinning pictures of the past. There was no one else there except for the wildlife who have made the place their home since 1997, when the stadium was abandoned after years of decay.
Playing baseball doesn't make you a better person. Read more.
I climbed the creaky stairs, devoured by years of termites, as if ascending a mountain. The summit, and my grand prize, was a battered old broadcast booth that looked as if the years had taken their toll. The inside looked about how you'd expect a place that's been all but forgotten to look.
For the next hour or so my friends and I tossed around an old baseball we found and used a tree branch as a bat. We took long breaks to sit in the bleachers—when the stadium was built, in those pre-luxury box days, all the seats were bleachers—just imagining the crowds that packed the stadium.
The park was home, from 1933-37 and from 1939-45, to the New York Black Yankees, and often played host to some of the great Negro League superstars, including Larry Doby, a future Hall of Famer who played high school ball at Hinchliffe Stadium. Doby, a seven-time All-Star who got his start with the Cleveland Indians, was the first black man to play in the American League and was the second to play Major League Baseball, after Jackie Robinson. Students from Paterson's Eastside High School also used the field, taking on their rivals from the Paterson Central in an annual Thanksgiving game.
It's hard to understand why for so long a tremendous piece of history like Hinchliffe Stadium didn't get the historical attention it deserved. I grew up in neighboring Glen Rock, a mere 15-minute drive from the stadium. When we were 15, my friends and I would get someone to drive us down the road and play "hey mister" until someone bought us beer. That was about as far as my exploration of Paterson went. It was poorer than my town, mysterious, damaged, off-limits.
But I grew up in privilege. My public high school was highly ranked and I had everything I wanted. My parents gave me a car when I was 17, I had a cell phone in high school, and I was given money for new clothes. The problems in Glen Rock were things like teen drinking and how to shelter kids from reading historical fiction that was a little too "real."
Paterson had bigger problems in those days, and still does. The city has been pegged as the gateway to Northern New Jersey's white suburban heroin problem, and with that drug "epidemic" getting national attention, the cops have been cracking down on drug-related crimes—meaning the city is spending money on arresting and prosecuting minorities and not restoring Hinchcliffe.
Last year, however, the stadium got some recognition when it was designated a historic landmark by the National Park Service.
"Today marks a great day in Paterson's history," US Congressman Bill Pascrell, who played high school baseball at the stadium, said. "As one of the last remaining Negro League stadiums in our nation, this designation allows us to honor the many athletes, including Larry Doby, who proudly called this historic stadium home.
"It's had a great history, and you can't ever replace that history, ever," he continued. "We've come a long way since the days of institutionalized segregation, but we still have a long way to go. We can't forget where we came from if we want to keep moving forward. I say this to the Doby family: We are not going to forget, and we will always not only keep your dad in mind, but we keep your whole family and what you meant to our city."
Over the years, there have been attempts at putting together money to renovate the stadium, but it still sits in disrepair despite the efforts of groups like the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of the stadium. It won't be demolished, at least—thanks to a bill passed this week by Congress, the ballpark is going to become part of Great Falls National Historical Park, and thus safe from anyone who would want to tear it down and build something in its place.
Hopefully, the money can be raised to restore Hinchcliffe to an approximation of its past glory, or at least get it to a point where people can play baseball again there without using tree branches and old balls.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
It’s because they hate. There is no other logical explanation. After all, it’s one thing to oppose a piece of legislation and fight to keep it from being passed because you honestly disagree with it as a matter of principle. Decent people can disagree on policy. But it’s quite another to celebrate like frat boys at a keg party upon hearing the news that millions of people may now lose their health care, or that their care may become so financially prohibitive as to bankrupt them. Yet that is what they are doing, and by they I mean pretty much the entirety of conservative America. Check out their Twitter spew, where you can see their nearly orgasmic delight at yesterday’s 2-1 decision by an appellate court panel to the effect that only persons enrolled in state level insurance exchanges can receive federal subsidies for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Since most states — especially those with conservative political leadership — have refused to establish exchanges, thereby forcing residents to turn to the federal version, the ruling (were it to stand) would mean that millions of Americans may no longer be able to access care under the law. Decent human beings, irrespective of their take on a matter of policy, do not celebrate at the news that millions of peoples’ lives could now be made harder. Decent human beings do not cheer and gloat at the news that millions of children could now go without care, or that millions of people may once again be forced to choose between health insurance they really can’t afford, or paying a light bill, or buying groceries, or paying rent. Decent human beings don’t put such a premium on political victories that they would purposely seek to harm people, deliberately make them worse off, intentionally leave them adrift with no real recourse to obtain care, possibly causing them, in many cases, to quite literally die. But conservatives in America do all of these things. Because they hate. There is no other logical explanation.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Monday, March 3, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Washington lobbyist Jack Burkman issued a statement saying that his firm, J M Burkman & Associates, is preparing legislation that would ban gay athletes from playing in the National Football League (NFL). In a statement, Burkman wrote that “We are…
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
There are people who say that Americans are not very astute on the topic of Black History. But there are some who say that those who complain are just persistent whiners and race baiters who will find a problem with any issue in front of them.
But what do you say when the so-called smartest people on the planet avoid Black History Month questions like they are the plague? This is what happened on the show Jeopardy! during a college panel that they had on the show. Of course the episode was all-white, which is what you’re usually going to get, but that doesn’t mean that the contestants can’t be enlightened on matters of race.
According to Jezebel.com, there were these categories: “International Cinema Showcase,” “Weather Verbs,” and “Kiwi Fauna.” The sixth category was “African American History.”
The players did all they could to avoid Black History, leaving the questions over to the side like the five year old who refuses to eat his green beans. What’s saddest about this episode, which you can view below, is that it explains why you hear so many incidents of college students doing disrespectful things to African Americans, like hanging nooses in their fraternity houses or having parties in blackface. It happens because even the brightest college students don’t know the first things about black history, mainly because their campuses never force them to learn it.
If black people were lined up on a show and asked to give answers to questions about white history, they’d nail them in a heart beat. Black cultural competency has been a matter of survival to people of color since we arrived on slave ships. So, we know more about white people than whites know about themselves. But when the situation is reversed, the answer is basically, “who gives a sh*t?”
The two students from Oklahoma and Texas A&M might have an excuse, since racism there is so bad that you think you’ve gotten into a time machine. But the third student was from The University of Chicago. There’s no excuse for that and it doesn’t say good things about their racially-biased curriculum.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Decorated (with poo) veteran (of phallic gun fantasies about other men) Ted Nugent caused a mild headache for former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) in 2012 over whether the Republican presidential candidate had sought and welcomed the controversial figure’s endorsement (yes and yes). Now, Texas gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Greg Abbott (R-TX) faces a similar problem, as he campaigns with the man whom Wolf Blitzer just called out for using Nazi rhetoric.
A few weeks ago, Nugent launched his latest verbal volley at President Obama, calling him a “subhuman mongrel,” among other things. On Tuesday afternoon’s Wolf, the eponymous host discussed Abbott’s decision to campaign with Nugent, and went into great detail about the historical origins of the rocker’s comments about the President. Blitzer asked Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News if the Abbott campaign was aware of “the history of that phrase, subhuman mongrel?”
“That’s what the Nazis called Jews to justify the genocide of the Jewish community,” he continued. “They called them ‘untermenschen,’ subhuman mongrels, if you read some of the literature that the Nazis put out there, there is a long history of that specific phrase he used involving the President of the United States.”
Slater said he didn’t know, but that Nugent’s history of outrageous remarks is easy enough to check. “When you talk about something like the word ‘mongrel,’ with its racial and ethnic and historic ramifications, there is no doubt, it seems to me, that whether or not Abbott’s people recognized it instantly or not, it’s offensive, deeply offensive, to some voters, and not just Democratic voters, but other voters,” Slater said, adding “might that phrase be a kind of dog whistle, and code to exactly some of the voters that Greg Abbott wants?”
Blitzer then went deep on Nugent’s remarks, telling Slater, “As someone who has studied the Holocaust and studied World War II, I went back and we checked, and during World War II, Julius Streicher, this is what he would say about the Jews in justifying the genocide of the Jewish people: ‘The Jew is a mongrel. He has hereditary tendencies from Aryans, Asiatics, Negroes, and from the Mongolians. Evil always preponderates in the case of a mongrel.’”
“That’s the history of that phrase,” Blitzer continued. “And a) I wonder if Ted Nugent himself knows that history, the use of that phrase; but b) the Republicans in Texas who are welcoming him on the campaign trail and saying, ‘You know what, he’s using some outspoken language, that’s Ted Nugent’ — do they know what this means to so many people out there?”
Yesterday was President's Day here in America. It is a time for Americans to reflect on their presidents and how they brought us to this point in our history. From Washington to Obama, it has been an interesting ride to say the least.
We know for a fact that Jefferson, Clinton, and Kennedy, all stepped out on their wives while they were in office. Jefferson took it to the next level and fathered children with his black mistress.
Eight of our presidents died in office and four of them were assassinated. (Four out of forty three isn't a very good record.)We happen to know much more about the assassination of John Kennedy than we do about James A. Garfield, but then he was Camelot, and he was cut down in the prime of his life while America was coming into the television age, so you can't really blame us for that one.
Anyway, Americans, to my displeasure, all happen to think that Ronald Reagan was a great president. I believe that they are wrong.
Here is why:
Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt.
By cutting taxes for the wealthy he left the government with less money. We were 900 billion in debt when he came into office and 2.8 trillion in debt when he left. Do the math.
The Iran/Contra affair. If wingnuts believe that Benghazi(drink drink, gulp) is a scandal,they should read up on Iran/Contra a little bit sometime. Now that, my friends, was a scandal.
Under Ronald Reagan unemployment went from 7.5% to 11%. It eventually started falling again with the help of low paying jobs. This happened in part because large American companies started shipping jobs oversees and cutting out the American worker.
Ronald Reagan ignored the AIDS crisis, and, one could argue, contributed to the devastating crack epidemic that engulfed inner city America in the eighties. Sadly, it is a scourge that is still ravaging some African- American families today.
Ronald Reagan did more to destroy unions and the American middle class than any other President in history. (Google Reagan PATCO for an example.)
Ronald Reagan raided the Social Security Trust Fund and raised the social security tax on the middle class to fund his scheme.
Finally, Ronald Reagan and his government funded the Taliban and Afghan freedom fighters so that they could fight the "evil" Soviets.
What did we get for it? We got a tall cave dwelling dude with a beard who brought terror to the shores of the United States on September 11, 2001.
The next time you hear conservatives showering hero worship on Saint Ronald of Reagan; send them a link to this post. It won't change their minds about their conservative god, but you will feel better knowing that you have done your part to make your neighbors smarter.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Ashleigh Banfield is not pleased with how Twitter users have treated her as of late. The CNN anchor railed against alleged death threats she and her family have received in response to her coverage of Michael Dunn‘s murder trial.
Dunn, the so-called “loud music” shooter, was convicted Saturday on three counts of second-degree attempted murder, but jurors deadlocked on whether he committed first-degree murder when his bullets struck and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
Some TV anchors and legal analysts like Banfield have suggested race may have played a factor in the jury’s decision, leading to all kinds of criticism on social media. Though Banfield told her panelists on Monday that she intends to feature “all colors” in an upcoming discussion of the Dunn case, she lamented that Twitter has been hateful towards her and other commentators.
“Call it back, folks!” she implored. “Stop threatening to kill people on Twitter because you don’t like what they are saying! That’s the problem: If we can’t communicate, we are never going to know what the problem is. And this is a case that outlines it.”
Her co-panelists agreed that this trial has brought about a need for a longer conversation on “the laws, about race, about sensitivity, about tolerance, about ‘Stand Your Ground.’”
“And you know? No Twitter,” Banfield declared. “I have had it with people who are threatening me, and my kids, and my family over simply commenting on the law and criminal procedure and respecting juries. Because they do work hard. They work way harder than I do; and they work way harder than the rest of those people making those peanut gallery comments.”
A former U.S. airman is currently sitting in a Florida prison for what his supporters argue was a simple act of self-defense.
Just two years into a 25-year sentence, he joins a list of cases that have drawn national attention to the Sunshine State’s sentencing and gun laws. Encouraged by the activity, his family is hoping to stir up interest in his case and is currently petitioning Florida’s governor for clemency.
In the spring of 2010, 26-year-old Michael Giles was on active duty with the Unites States Air Force and stationed in Tampa. The married father of three had recently finished two tours in the Middle East and was looking forward to a career in the military, says his family. One night in February, a friend invited Giles to party at a Tallahassee nightclub. Shorty after arriving, a fight broke out among members of fraternities from nearby Florida A&M University.
According to court documents, an argument quickly escalated into a brawl involving 30 to 40 young men.
Giles reportedly was not involved in the melee but, separated from his friends, went outside to the car where he had a gun, for which he had a concealed carry permit. Giles put the weapon in his pants pocket and searched the crowd for his friends. Suddenly, he says, someone from the crowd punched him. Knocked to the ground and in fear for his life, Giles says he pulled out the gun and fired one shot into the leg of his alleged attacker.
Three men were injured, wounded by bullet fragments. Giles was immediately arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder.
Aside from his having no criminal background, Giles’ supporters argue that he was merely defending himself from an unprovoked attack. In fact, when testifying in the case, the man who punched Giles, Courtney Thrower, admitted that the assault was random. “The first person I get to I’m going to hit,” he remembered thinking.
Other witnesses testified that Thrower, having heard of an attack on one of his fraternity brothers, was outside of the nightclub pacing with his fists clenched and, in the middle of the brawl, “leapfrogged” from the crowd to hit Giles. Despite all of that, according to the Florida state prosecutors, Giles had no right to use deadly force that night.
“The evidence is clear here that the act of pointing a gun into a group of people, even if you’re not specifically deciding to kill them, is a crime,” said Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell in his closing statements during the trial. “There is no self-defense that is applicable based on the evidence that’s before the jury.”
The defense argued, however, that Giles was justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believed that such force was necessary to prevent “imminent death or great bodily harm” to himself.
“He doesn’t have to think he’s going to get killed, even though people looking in from the outside thought someone could get killed,” said defense attorney Don Pumphrey in his closing. “If the defendant was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, where he had a right to stand, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.”
The jury disagreed however and Giles was ultimately convicted in August of 2011 of the lesser charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a crime that comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years in the state of Florida. It is the same sentence Marissa Alexander received in her controversial case – a case recently awarded a new trial on appeal.
“10-20-Life” (Florida Statute 775.087) is a controversial Florida law under which Giles and Alexander were sentenced. It confers a minimum sentence of 10 years for a felony conviction where a firearm is merely brandishing. Firing the gun adds another 10 years – even if no one was hit, as was the case with Alexander. And, if someone is hit, the shooter necessarily faces 25 years to life in prison.
“Frankly, I think the 25-year mandatory is overly harsh on the facts of this case, but that’s what the law requires I do and I intend to follow the law,” said Judge James C. Hankinson when issuing Giles’ verdict
Given the facts of the case, Giles’ supporters – led in an effort by his parents – are hoping to have his case reevaluated by the state. His mother, Phyllis Giles, has created an online petition through Change.org asking Florida Governor Rick Scott for executive clemency for her son. She claims that not only do the facts of the case show that Michael was reasonably defending himself, but that his lawyer pressured him against taking the stand and evoking a “Stand-Your-Ground” defense.
Giles’ new defense attorney is currently in the process of filing a motion for post-conviction relief, claiming that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and, so far, the petition for clemency has received more than 56,000 signatures.
Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard (D-39) has also written a letter to Gov. Scott asking him to commute Giles’ sentence. According to a statement to theGrio from Bullard’s office, he has received no response from the governor.
“As of yet our office has heard nothing from Gov. Scott’s office. His office has time and again proven non-responsive on issues related to injustice,” Bullard said in a statement to theGrio. “He subsequently has turned a definitive blind eye to high[-]profile plights of injustice involving African-Americans. His lack of intervention on behalf of Marissa Alexander and lack of compassion for the killings of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis have not gone unnoticed by Black Floridians – and all Floridians. So it comes as no surprise that he has been noticeably absent in the case of Michael Giles. Nonetheless I will continue pressing his office and others to take notice of cases like Mr. Giles, Ms. Alexander and others.”
In response, John Tupps, deputy press secretary for Governor Scott, told theGrio, “Florida is at a 42-year low in its crime rate, and Governor Scott works every day to ensure that Florida families are kept safe and have the opportunity to live the American Dream.”
Michael Giles supporters believe that’s not enough and are asking for direct action on his behalf. Ultimately, Phyllis Giles says she would like the state to take into consideration her son’s character and the extraordinary circumstance he was in the night of the shooting.
“Michael is a very caring person, never been in trouble, never been arrested. He’s a family man. We’re a bible-based family and both my husband and I are retired military,” she says. “We believe that we have raised a good man, so we don’t understand how the state of Florida could sentence him to 25 years in prison for defending himself. Michael is a good man. He is honest. He is hard working and, through all of this, he is our rock and confidence we need to keep fighting.”
Three Oklahoma police officers were placed on administrative leave Saturday after a man whose ID they requested arrived dead and disfigured at a nearby hospital.
The Moore, Oklahoma officers detained Luis Rodriguez after he tried to chase after his wife following a fight she had with their daughter outside a movie theater. His wife, Nair, told local station News 9 that she’d slapped her daughter after a fight and that Luis was simply trying to keep her from driving away upset. That’s when officers asked her husband for ID.
According to Nair and their daughter, Lunahi, Luis tried to bypass several officers to prevent Nair from leaving the scene. He was then taken to the ground, they said. Then, they claim, the situation turned grave and five of them beat Luis to death.
“When they flipped him over you could see all the blood on his face, it was… he was disfigured, you couldn’t recognize him,” Lunahi told the station. ”My mom was taking a video and asking, ‘What are they doing this for? Why?’ And they didn’t give really an explanation.”
“I saw him,” Luis’ wife, Nair, told News 9. “His body when [they carried] it to the stretcher. I knew that he was dead.”
Nair told the station Luis was trying to defuse the fight, and that she’d given the same account to the police.
“I told them I hit her and he was just trying to reach me,” she said. “Why didn’t they arrest me?”
Police reportedly seized Nair’s phone, but another family member kept an audio recording.
According to NewsOk, the officers were two on-duty Moore police, one off-duty officer and two off-duty game wardens. “They jumped on him like he was some kind of killer or drug dealer and beat him up,” Lunahi told NewsOk. “He never fought the officers, they beat him on the head and that’s how he lost his breath.”
Rodriguez’s body was taken to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.