Archive for african americans

Webcams vs. TV news aka Real News vs. Speculative Blather

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objectivity, webcams v news

There's a fascinating article about the recent crisis in Ferguson, Missouri in today's Los Angeles Times... in the Calendar section of all places. It compares and contrasts webcams points of view and TV news coverage of identical events. Per the author of the article, Robert Lloyd, "The news is by necessity, even by definition, exclusionary. But by triple-underlining the most notable or exciting aspects of a story — the "dramatic" elements..." it decides things for the viewer.

In other words, a stationary camera allows the onlooker to scrutinize details and activities beyond the flashy headlines.

TV news runs and reruns the most memorable or sensational clips ad nauseam, while webcams capture reality as it unfolds, impartially, albeit limited by its angle and vantage point. Details become focal points, if the audience is patient enough to notice them.

Sometimes the camera looked up the street and sometimes it looked down, but in either case it sat and looked. [...] Obviously, if you want to understand what's been happening in Ferguson, you need more than a Web stream. But it offers another way of looking at things and, in some ways, a more profound one.

The news is by necessity, even by definition, exclusionary. But by triple-underlining the most notable or exciting aspects of a story — the "dramatic" elements — the media also deform the reality they report upon...

Regular readers know that one of my pet peeves is media coverage, with all the endless speculation and misinformation out there, often just to boost ratings. And don't get me started on empty time-filling convos. Robert Lloyd pointed out a mutual gripe-- mind reading:

TV news cuts things up, cuts away and litters the screen with boxes and text and throws up a wall of speculating talking heads to clot the air with opinion, speculation and mind-reading.

Wolf Blitzer to Jake Tapper, on CNN, outside Brown's funeral: "I'm sure the Brown family is pleased that three officials from the White House have decided to attend this funeral today, right?"

Tapper: "I'm sure they are."

He went on to describe the contrast between Michael Brown's funeral service as depicted in select TV clips vs. observing the ceremony in real time from beginning to end, followed by a constant and objective video feed following mourners to the cemetery, including the surroundings. It can be more enlightening to watch the tedious but unblinking coverage by webcams than dramatic cable news sound bites that interpret developments for us.

As Lloyd put it, webcams continued to record what happened after the funeral: "Life went on." But we'll never see footage of that on TV.

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Cliff Notes: "NRA only worried about the civil rights of white people." #Ferguson

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civil rights movement smaller

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here. Kudos are in order; MSNBC's Alex Wagner gave Cliff and this article a shout out and some well-deserved attention. It's about the hypocrisy of the NRA and their apparent disdain for the civil rights of Ferguson residents. Well, some of them, anyway.

Here are a few bits and pieces, bu please link over for the entire post:

The National Rifle Association has been warning us about the threat of a heavily-armed and dangerous government crushing dissent for decades.  [...]

Their dystopian nightmare sounds exactly like what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri.

Yet somehow, the NRA seems to have missed the whole thing with the SWAT teams and the tank-like vehicles and the snipers and the LRAD sound cannon and the tear gas and the rubber bullets being trained on unarmed Americans. [...]

If I were suspicious of their motives--and I am--I might point out that when I visited their 9 acres of militarized gun-fun also known as their convention in Indianapolis, I saw fewer black faces than in your average episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. I'd also point out that LaPierre blows just about every tune he knows on his dog whistle, when warning his membership of the horrors confronting them during this period when violent crime has fallen to its lowest level in a generation [...]

The National Rifle Association often claims it is "America's longest standing civil rights organization" but apparently these minor issues were more important than the murder of an unarmed teen by a policeman, and the subsequent attacks by a militarized force on unarmed Americans in a U.S. city. It is the exact nightmare the NRA has been predicting. And yet, the NRA professes no kinship for those being crushed beneath the jackboots. It seems the NRA is only worried about the civil rights of white people.

Please read the entire post at The Daily Beast, here.

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Quickie-- Missouri GOP leader: Voter registration at protests is "disgusting"

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quickie time missouri

Today's Missouri Quickie:

Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Matt Wills denounced voter registration efforts amid continued protests in Ferguson, calling it "disgusting."

"If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is," Wills told Breitbart News, a conservative website, Monday.

He also called the actions "completely inappropriate."

These blah people clearly don't know their place, right Patriot Matt? How dare they legally and rationally try to use their voices in more ways than one!

That was today's Quickie. Was it good for you?

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"You can’t go shoot someone already down.” + ENTIRE VIDEO of autopsy presser #Ferguson

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Ferguson Michael Brown autopsy shoot downImage via L.A. Times

The headline above, "You can't go shoot someone already down," comes from Nicole Tinson, a 23-year-old Yale Divinity School graduate student. However, her statement wasn't about Michael Brown's horrific death at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. It was about Ezell Ford, another young African American man who was gunned down by an LAPD officer. Via an L.A. Times article about hundreds who rallied for Ford over the weekend:

Ford’s killing has been compared with that of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by police Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., whose death has attracted national attention.

This morning on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell interviewed Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D). She quoted a young male Ferguson resident, also African American, who in two sentences expressed feelings of betrayal, fear, anger, resentment, pain, and disenfranchisement felt by so many others:

"I don't mind giving up my life right now. It's amazing I made it to twenty-one."

People want charges brought. People want decency and justice. People are hurting.

This morning, a private, preliminary autopsy report was released.

L.A. Times:

A preliminary autopsy commissioned by the family of Michael Brown suggests that there was no sign of a struggle in his death, and that all but one of at least six gunshot wounds in his body were likely survivable, according to Dr. Michael Baden, a renowned New York forensic pathologist who performed a private autopsy after a Ferguson, Mo., police officer killed the unarmed, black 18-year-old.

Baden said in his preliminary autopsy that he believes Brown would not have been able to survive the bullet that hit at the top of his head and traveled through his brain.

Baden said that Brown would have survived had that last gun shot not been fired into the top of his head. There were four bullets to the arm, two to the head, according to the preliminary report.

There was no reason to shoot Michael Brown in the head after having disabled him with at least four other bullets, based on what we know.

Via Gawker, Cops in Ferguson Threaten to Shoot Reporter, Mace Chris Hayes:

Also threatened by police Sunday night was MSNBC's Chris Hayes, who was filming when police told him, "Media do not pass us, you're getting maced next time you pass us."

Video at the link. Per Hayes, today the curfew has been lifted.

Sunday's Los Angeles Times has a regular feature in their Calendar section called "Underrated, Overrated." There is no link to this, but here it is, verbatim:

Overrated

The year 2014: Amid a summer filled with a bad action movie's worth of global crises that include a drought, an ebola outbreak and too many reports of war and violence to count, this year has seen a disproportionate loss of creative spirits, including Charlie Haden, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Maya Angelou and now Robin Williams. If no one minds, how about we just fast forward to New Year's Eve and get this over with?

It's nearly too much to bear. But that doesn't matter, because despite how tough this is, we have to right the enormous wrongs. We have to look beneath the surface to understand that there's way more to this than these two appalling incidents. We have to educate ourselves and each other-- are you listening, news media?-- so that we can prevent further excruciating episodes, defuse the senseless discrimination and socioeconomic bombs that will continue to go off if we don't.

Chaos is not the answer. Listening, understanding, behavior modification, enforcing and respecting civil rights, finally doing something to effectively improve economic disparity, and practicing mutual respect is a start.

Just do something. The injustice, persistent anguish, and gaping wounds must not be tolerated. We're supposed to be better than this.

what is happening

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Two shows, two reviews, two painful reminders

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changes smaller reviews

When I opened my morning paper, I came across two separate reviews of two very different shows: one live at the Hollywood Bowl ("Hair") and one a three-camera situation comedy on the Tee Vee Machine ("Partners"). It was striking that included in each of the reviews was a reminder of the sad state of affairs in this world. Maybe they should have reviewed "post racial America" and tragedies of war.

I was an usher at the original production of "Hair" at the Ivar Theater in Hollywood (godI'mold), and was completely and utterly swept away by that production. Anti-war protests were everywhere, bell bottom jeans were coming into fashion, and long-haired, pot-smoking, peace-loving hippies were a gentle, emerging force to reckon with. I wanted to be a part of the show, live the show, not seat audience members. It was a magical time, but also a scary one. I wore one of these proudly:

war is not healthy for children and other living things

Another focus of what seemed like perpetual protests was civil rights. One day, we dreamed, one day there would be equal rights for everyone regardless of color. In our idealistic vision, making a film like "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" would be a quaint period piece, not an expression of growing pains and hope or a demand for change.

guess who's coming to dinner

Those were the days, right? Sadly, those are still the days, right now as we speak.

Via L.A. Times theater critic Charles McNulty reviewing the '60s rock musical "Hair":

I worried that this co-opting of the 1960s — a criticism leveled at the musical at least since its Broadway premiere in 1968 — might be depriving a new generation of theatergoers the chance to connect to a radicalism that our own war-torn age could badly use. But the musical's tragic ending laid its punch. "Hair" is fun-loving but also serious-minded. I left humming "Let the Sunshine In" but also wondering how I could make a difference in a world once again going up in flames.

israel hamas warVia NBC

Via L.A. Times TV critic Robert Lloyd reviewing the premier of a new sit-com starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence, "Partners":

A black actor and a white actor splitting top billing in a sitcom is enough of a rarity to be noted approvingly. And there are moments that suggest that the stars will find their footing. But for the nonce they're playing attitudes more than characters, and at times they seem to be in the same show only by virtue of sharing the shot.

end racism- hands

Splitting top billing in a prime time half-hour comedy between a black actor and a white one should not be a Moment of Happy rarity. Especially in 2014. It should be the damned norm. Sigh.

Let the sunshine in.

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Conference caller: "Black people harvested cotton," Cochran “harvesting black votes”

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thad cochran farm animals

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran's resurrection, er, re-election campaign has further devolved into something nearly unrecognizable. As Rachel Maddow reminds us, the Cochran v. Chris McDaniel primary spectacle has been one of the most bizarre in recent memory. And it just got weirder. Call it Conference Caller Unplugged Unhinged.

But first, your Moment of Maddow:

Recently, there was a conference call held for the national media to address a lawsuit challenging the primary runoff results for the GOP nomination. It was a pretty big call, with nearly 80 participants hopping on the line. On that call was Austin Barbour, a Cochran campaign adviser. He was trying to fend off charges of double-voting-- "people who voted in the Democratic primary and then voted for Cochran in the Republican primary runoff"-- and said this, per Roll Call:

"The time has certainly come in our minds for the McDaniel campaign and their allies to either put up or shut up.”

And then an unidentified conference caller, who was not a reporter, crashed the party and spit up this little morsel:

That person repeatedly said that “black people harvested cotton” and accused the Cochran campaign of “harvesting black votes.” Barbour asked him to stop multiple times, saying he would answer questions from anyone at the end of his statement. [...]

Finally, Barbour apologized and announced he was ending the call, telling national press that they had the contact information for the campaign if they had any questions.

At that point, someone who was possibly a reporter, interrupted to try to keep Barbour on the line. Barbour cut the line.

Then things got even more out of control...

With the Cochran campaign people gone, callers on the line broke into an argument...

... and even more outrageous:

Thirty minutes after the call ended, the call line was still open. Someone was using a soundboard of President Barack Obama’s voice saying “Hey! What’s up?” Someone else was playing the audio from the movie “Animal House.”

Republicans just can't help themselves.

Stay tuned for Mystery Conference Caller, the Sequel, coming to a blog near you!

eating their own

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Head of Detroit Civil Rights and Ethics Division possible victim of racial profiling (VIDEO)

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welcome to detroit

detroit portia roberson shopping while black

Detroit has its issues. In fact, Detroit has major issues. Take their mass water shut-off, for example:

A right-wing state and corporate push to cut off water is economic shock therapy at its most ruthless and racist, but resistance is growing.

Anyone notice the word "racist" in that quote? Hey, me too! Guess what? Here it comes again...

Portia Roberson is African American. Apparently, shopping while black is a no-no in Detroit.

Via Think Progress:

Portia Roberson is an attorney, a former prosecutor, and a former Obama Administration official who worked in the Justice Department and the White House. She currently heads the Civil Rights and Ethics Division for the city of Detroit. Yet, when she walked into a Talbots clothing store last Sunday to return some clothes and try on new ones, a member of the store’s staff looked at her and somehow saw a shoplifter.

Pretty ironic, considering she heads a civil rights agency.

irony4

Here's what Ms. Roberson wrote on her Facebook page:

When I exit the fitting room, I'm confronted by two GP police officers who ask to search my bag and ask me if I have any merchandise in the bag. I tell them to go ahead and search and point out the items and the receipt. He (the officer) tells me it is clear that someone made a mistake and then takes my bag to the store manager to point out that everything that I have in my possession, I have purchased...

The manager’s explanation was that she had asked the police to do a walk around the store because it was so busy (four customers, including me) however I pointed out to her that after searching me, they left without searching anyone else.

She added that she felt "embarrassed" and "shaken." Or to put it another way, racially profiled and targeted.

Maybe she can take her case all the way to the Supreme Court, where they'll rule that Talbot's corporate religious beliefs justified their racist actions.

Video courtesy of WXYZ.

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